Tuesday, July 23, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending July 23, 2019

● By now almost everyone has heard about the Pennsylvania school district that threatened to turn in parents to child protective services – and risk having the children placed in foster care – if they didn’t pay their school lunch debts.  People were outraged.  But there is nothing unusual about school districts using child protective services agencies as a weapon to force families to do what they want. It happens because we allow it to happen.   

On the NCCPR Blog: How half a century of horror stories that bear no resemblance to what CPS agencies typically see, combined with politicians trying to score points by “cracking down on child abuse” have led us to this: a child welfare surveillance state where everyone is under constant suspicion and CPS is the weapon of choice for all sorts of bureaucratic bullies.

● Speaking of CPS bullying, there’s nothing unusual about child protective services agencies retaliating against families who dare to speak out against them.  What is unusual it putting the threat right into the case plan.  Thatt’s what happened in Arizona.

In an open letter, 27 scholars warn about the racial bias and other flaws in the use of predictive analytics in criminal justice.  The dangers are at least as great in child welfare.

● And David Kelly, special assistant to the acting commissioner for the  federal Administration on Children, Youth and Families writes on the Rethinking Foster Care blog about some of America’s great anthems, and the need for one for families.