Wednesday, July 31, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending July 31, 2019

● The first story this week actually was published eight years ago. It’s a New York Times story about families investigated – or worse – by child protective services agencies because a parent smokes marijuana. I’m linking to it now because the New York City Council cited the story when it passed a resolution last week that “calls upon the New York City Administration for Children’s Services to implement a policy finding that a person’s mere possession or use of marijuana does not by itself create an imminent risk of harm to a child, warranting the child’s removal." 

The Council passed another resolution “calling on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation requiring the New York State Department of Health to create clear and fair regulations for hospitals on drug testing those who are pregnant or giving birth, including informing patients of their rights before any discussion of drug use or drug testing.”

● Another awful institution has had its license suspended, this time in Montana.  But it took an investigative series by the Missoulian and a change in state law to do it. 

According to the Missoulian, once the state health department finally was given the authority to do something about it, the agency “received multiple reports of students being ‘hit, kicked, body-slammed and spit on,’ DPHHS Deputy Director Laura Smith said Tuesday, just hours after the children’s removal. Reports included assault by staff members and “excessive discipline,” including 15- to 20-mile walks in harsh weather conditions on remote roads with inappropriate shoes at night.

● I have a follow up to last week’s post about the school district that threatened to report children to child protective services – and put them at risk of foster care – if their parents didn’t pay school lunch debts. This one focuses on how, just as with family separations at the border, the child welfare establishment is desperate to avoid tough questions about its own behavior.