Monday, April 29, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending April 29, 2019

● The Northwest Indiana Times has begun an excellent series on the confusion of poverty with neglect in Indiana, which takes away children at one of the highest rates in the country.  And, in this op-ed for the Palladium-Item, in Richmond, Indiana, a former foster parent agrees.

● Remember that case in which Arizona sent in the functional equivalent of a SWAT team to break down a family’s door and take away the children?  Needless to say, the state child welfare agency is extremely embarrassed about this. In fact, they’re desperate to keep as much as possible about what they did a secret.

So, the Arizona Republic reports, they’ve gotten a judge to do the functional equivalent of imposing a gag order.  So please spread this particular story far and wide – because the best way to counter a gag order is to let as many people as possible know the information that’s already part of the public record.

● Call it the sequel to Sequel: NBC Nightly News has another story about the problems at Clarinda Academy, an Iowa residential treatment center run by Sequel, a for-profit chain of juvenile institutions.

● The couple met while in college, through an organization for conservative Baptist students.  “Prior to this, I never would have called myself a supporter of Black Lives Matter,” says the father.  “My view of law enforcement has completely changed.”  The “this” is a case that, though it involves only one family, will remind readers who are old enough of cases such as the McMartin Preschool  The story is in Reason magazine.

● On the Rethinking Foster Care blog, Cathy Krebs, who chairs the American Bar Association Children’s Rights Litigation Committee, writes about children taken when poverty is confused with neglect only to become effectively homeless in foster care.  She writes: “The incredible irony is that estimates are that 30% of children (I’ve even seen numbers as high as 50%) are in foster care due to housing problems.  The thought process seems to be that it’s not okay for a child to be homeless with his or her family but that it’s okay for the state to make a child homeless on their own.”

And I have a blog post about a newly-rediscovered study which shows that Krebs is right – it can be as high as 50 percent.  But this study documents even more: Not only is the solution housing, it works better when the housing is not accompanied by forcing the recipients into all sorts of other “soft” services that are largely designed to help the helpers.