Tuesday, November 5, 2019

News and commentary round-up, week ending November 5, 2019

● The Minnesota Spokesman Recorder has two stories about racial bias in child welfare in that state – a state that takes away children at one of the highest rates in the country.

● A single mother in Muncie, Indiana, faced a choice: Stay home and risk losing her job or go to work and leave her children home alone. She chose the latter. She was arrested and jailed, before all charges were dropped. Now, WTTV Indianapolis reports she’s suing the police department. This earlier story has more context about the case. But for what is still the best insight into this whole issue, check out this 2003 story from The New York Times.

● New York City’s model of high-quality legal defense for families has been proven to safely reduce the time children are trapped in foster care. But the lawyers are not assigned until the city’s child protective services agency files a court petition – but since nearly half of all removals in New York City are so-called “emergencies,” in which the worker takes the child on-the-spot, often the lawyer isn’t assigned until the child already is in foster care.  The Chronicle of Social Change reports on legislation before the New York City Council that would change this. 

The bill is supported not only by lawyers for parents, but also for the lawyers who regularly represent children in these cases.  Rise, the magazine written by parents caught up in the system, has some of the testimony. (By the way, the New York Post hates the bill – that alone should tell you how good it is.)

● And the legislature in Wyoming, a state that is always a contender for foster-care capital of America is considering legislation to bolster family defense.