Tuesday, August 6, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending August 7, 2019

● I missed this excellent story from Youth Today about the value of high-quality family representation in New York when it ran in June.

In this story for Reason attorney Diane Redleaf describes how so-called “child abuse pediatricians” can traumatize families by jumping to the conclusion that even the slightest bruise on a child must be abuse. She also discusses proposed federal legislation that would make everything worse.  “If these bills become law,” she writes, “any parent who has a baby with a bruise—regardless of whether it's from a medical condition, or even from learning to crawl—could get entangled in a months-long battle to maintain custody.” 

As you read the story, try to imagine what would have happened had the family Redleaf profiles been poor.

● At least 40 percent of America’s foster children live in states where court hearings in child welfare cases are open. But reporters rarely show up.  The Arizona Republic rectified that, at least for the moment, in a big way. They sent 12 reporters who try to observe every child welfare court hearing in the state’s largest juvenile court on one day.  Here’s the result.

The New York Times has a story about an important piece of children’s rights legislation now on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk.  It would preserve the right of adopted children to maintain contact with their birth parents after termination of parental rights – if a judge ruled it was in the children’s best interests.  Naturally, the commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services, David Hansell, and much of the state’s child welfare establishment is against it.

Voices for Children in Nebraska has a good data snapshot concerning racial disparities at the very beginning of the child welfare process in that state: who gets called in to the hotline.  There’s a story about it in the Lincoln Journal Star:  And the full report is here  

● In an interview with NPR concerning family separation at the Mexican border, an ACLU lawyer says: "Can you imagine how many Americans would lose their children if [a minor offense] was a basis for taking away your child?"

Actually, yes – something I discuss in this post to this blog.

Of course, if you’re poor you already know this.  The New York Times has a case in point in this story.