Wednesday, July 3, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending July 3, 2019

● The most interesting news of the past week is Prof. Robert Latham’s findings about the Florida CASA program.  He found that, using the program’s own criteria for measuring success, there is no evidence that the program does any good, and some evidence that it may do harm. (This is on top of a wealth of other evidence that CASA is harmful.) The Florida program has descended to using the worst kind of fearmongering to keep itself in business.  I have two blog posts about it. This link goes to part one, and includes links to part two and to Prof. Latham’s full analysis.

● But there is an intervention that does work: high-quality defense counsel for families. NCCPR President Martin Guggenheim has written two articles on the latest study to demonstrate this, one for Child Law Practice Today, (co-authored with Susan Jacobs), a publication of the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, the other for Children’s Bureau Express, a publication of the federal Administration for Children and Families.

● In The Hill, Charissa Huntzinger, a policy analyst for the Center for Families and Children at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, has an excellent overview of the harm of needless removal and a timely reminder that “Removing children from their parents doesn't just happen at the border.”

● In San Diego, activists are demanding a seat at the table – literally – on a new advisory board, in order to ensure that the county child welfare system addresses the issue of racial bias.

● The child welfare system in Canada is depressingly similar to the one in the United States.  Brielle Morgan, a reporter for The Discourse, has done outstanding reporting on the failings of that system.  This story zeroes in on the confusion of poverty with “neglect.”  As one of those interviewed put it: “When they remove children from a family in a home and put the child into another home, they pay that family a substantial amount of money to look after these children. Why didn’t they just take that money they were going to pay to foster care into the family and put preventative measures and family supports into place — so that that family unit can stay together?”

● And check out this speech, in which Jerry Milner, acting commissioner of the federal Administration on Children, Youth and Families, calls for changing what child welfare does, how we pay for it, and even how we talk about it. (It’s worth sticking around for it all, it gets better as it continues):