Monday, April 15, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending April 15, 2019

For a long time, I’ve been sending a weekly round-up of news and commentary making the case for family preservation to advocates across the country.  Beginning this week, I’m posting the round-up here for everyone to see.

● Dorothy Roberts, professor of law, sociology and civil rights at the University of Pennsylvania (and a member of NCCPR’s Board of Directors) has an article in Harvard Law Review examining the dangers of predictive analytics in child welfare and criminal justice.  The article reviews Prof. Virginia Eubanks’ book, Automating Inequality.  “In this Review,” Prof. Roberts writes, “I expand Eubanks’s focus on state welfare programs to include a broader range of systems, with particular attention to the criminal justice system, and Eubanks’s focus on poverty management to include white supremacy.” Read the article here.

● The Chronicle of Social Change looks at the work of Prof. Martin Guggenheim, co-director of the New York University School of Law Family Defense Clinic, the father of the family defense movement (and the President of NCCPR).

● Last week on this Blog I discussed an appalling case in Arizona. A lot of the excellent reporting on the case was made possible by the fact that the initial court hearing in the case was open to the press and the public.  Now, a different judge has kicked the reporter out. Here’s her follow-up story.

● Gothamist reports on a New York City Council hearing at which the city’s Administration for Children’s Services came under fire for harassing families when parents smoke marijuana.  (Poor families, that is. Affluent parents can even brag about smoking pot without fear of reprisal from child protective services.)

● In the Chronicle of Social Change Vivek Sankaran has a column called “While We Celebrate [adoptions] Some Children Grieve.” He writes: “…[B]efore courts take the dramatic step of permanently ending a child’s relationship with their birth family, they should ensure that the decision makes sense for the specific child before them. At a minimum, this must include hearing the child’s voice, and considering other alternatives that might give the child a permanent home while also preserving important relationships.”

● And finally, a rerun of sorts.  The Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing was awarded to Brent Staples of The New York Times for a body of work that included this editorial condemning what can best be called “crack baby” journalism.  Unfortunately, at almost exactly the same moment that brilliant editorial was published, the Orange County Register was reviving this discredited genre, something I discussed in WitnessLA  Perhaps the Pulitzer will help drive home the message to the Register and others.