Sunday, May 19, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending May 18, 2019

● The good news: In Montana, the state that tears apart families at the highest rate in the nation, the state Supreme Court finally found a case in which the child welfare agency’s rush to terminate parental rights was so egregious they felt compelled to overturn it. The bad news: Out of 250 appeals since 2012, this has happened no more than five times. Simply by reciting the facts of the case the story offers useful insight into the appalling mentality that permeates child welfare in Montana.

● In Arizona, the judge presiding over the case in which police broke down a family’s door and took the children at gunpoint has returned the children to their parents – but, the Arizona Republic reports, legal custody remains with the state, so they’ll still have to jump through all sorts of pointless hoops.

● I have a blog post about how the advocates-in-scholars’-clothing at Chapin Hall are fanning the flames of foster-care panic in Illinois.  And the Family Justice Resource Center has a letter to the Chicago Tribune warning of another group trying to exploit recent tragedies in that state: so-called child abuse pediatricians.

A former foster youth on the HBO documentary “Foster”: “In regard to dignity for foster youth, this film is a travesty.”  (We agree.)

●Two more examples of the horrors of being a foster child in Oregon:

--After a scandal involving the placement of Oregon foster children in out-of-state institutions, the state child welfare agency promised to visit the places to be sure that Oregon children were not ill-treated.  So off they went to the Red Rock Canyon School in St. George, Utah.  They came back with a glowing report that made the place sound like the best summer camp you could imagine.

Just one problem: As Oregon Public Broadcasting reports, one day later, Utah issued its own report.  They found such severe problems that they put the institution’s license on “conditional” status.  Actually, make that two problems: The Oregon DHS representatives visited the place, and wrote their gushy report “shortly after a brawl erupted on campus where a SWAT team responded and reportedly aimed guns at the foster youth.”

Why did the Oregon visitors see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and write no evil in their report? Because Oregon tears apart families at a rate far above the national average, creating an artificial “shortage” of in-state foster homes.  So they ship kids all over the country and absolutely do not want to know what really happens to them.

--This also explains the other horror to come to light in Oregon last week: If the allegations in the lawsuit described in this story are correct, Oregon all but guaranteed that the foster children on whose behalf the suit was brought would be abused in foster care.