Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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

● There’s nothing unusual about a child protective hotline being used as a weapon of family destruction by those making malicious false reports and by “mandated reporters” making CYA calls.  It is unusual when the child protective services agency admits this is a problem – even when they won’t actually do anything about it.  That’s what’s happing in New Mexico, as revealed in an excellent story from Searchlight New Mexico.  And I have a blog post about what could be done about the problem if agencies ever mustered up the courage to do it.

● Still another abuse of families is state central registers of alleged child abusers. They’re really easy to get on and really hard to get off.  WNYC Public Radio has a story about how that hurts children and families.

● Did racial bias prompt Texas child welfare authorities to needlessly tear a black child from his parents? Yes. Who says so? The caseworker assigned to the case.  The Houston Chronicle has the story; a story that also illustrates why the longtime flack for the state child welfare agency needs to see an otolaryngologist.  All that time defending the indefensible has compromised his sense of smell.

A Forbes commentator writes about a new study in JAMA Network Open, part of the Journal of the American Medical Association network of medical journals. The study found that child neglect decreased in states that chose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The story includes a link to the study.  In an invited commentary in JAMA Network Open the author says the findings may indicate “an unexpected benefit” of Medicaid expansion.  But by now we should realize that nothing is more predictable.

● Prof. Martin Guggenheim, co-director of the New York University School of Law Family Defense Clinic (and President of NCCPR) and Susan Jacobs, founding executive director of the Center for Family Representation discuss the implications of that landmark study demonstrating the success of high-quality family defense in safely reducing foster care.

● And I have a postscript to the brilliant Netflix series When They See Us. It’s about how the mother of one of the Exonerated Five, Sharonne Salaam, went on to help reform child welfare in New York City.