Monday, December 5, 2016

New columns on the "presents for pimps" amendment to the Family First Act, a stunning report on child welfare in Arkansas, and another lesson from Election 2016

➤Legislation that would tinker with federal child welfare financing known as the "Family First Act" was dead, then alive, now, probably, dead again. Unless it isn’t.  More to the point, there’s a real lesson in the callousness and cynicism of the group home industry in the form of one of the changes they added to further weaken the bill.  It amounts to a Christmas present for pimps. I’ve written about it here:

➤In Arkansas, the child welfare agency hired a consultant to find out why there was a sharp increase in the foster care population.  I suspect they wanted the consultants to say it was all because of drug abuse and budget cuts.  But they didn’t.  I wrote about it for Youth Today, here:

The most ardent backers of “predictive analytics” in child welfare tend also to be the most ardent backers of a “take the child and run” approach to child welfare. But there are exceptions – reform-minded leaders of child welfare systems who say, in effect, you can trust me to only use the algorithms the right way.

➤The New York Times has a striking story about how President Obama took the same approach to national security issues – exercising self-restraint on issues such as use of torture but resisting efforts to establish stronger protections via laws or court decisions. 
For obvious reasons that’s coming back to haunt him – and us.

So in this column I ask What Happens When the Good Guys Ride into the Sunset, Leaving Their Algorithms Behind