Tuesday, February 11, 2020

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending February 11, 2020

● Eli Hager of The Marshall Project looks at a particular subset of foster care placements: Each year, an average of 17,000 children are torn from their homes – and then sent back within ten days.  But even these short stays can traumatize children.  And, of course, they raise the question: If you can send the children back home in a few days did they really need to be taken at all?

● Anna Claire Vollers of The Birmingham News looks at the harm done to mothers and newborns by child abuse investigations prompted by false positive drug tests.  It’s another example of harm encouraged by  the so-called "plan of safe care" provision in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.  Fortunately, there are journalists such as Vollers reporting the side of the story that the Boston Globe / ProPublica “Spotlight Fellows” left out.

­● Erik Gunn of the Wisconsin Examiner looks at the consequences of legislation that would help turn that state’s child welfare system into the ultimate middle-class entitlement: Step right up and take a poor person’s child for your very own.

● Also in Wisconsin, Mike Hixenbaugh of NBC News reports that doctors at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin are rebelling against their own hospital administration, and the behavior of the hospital’s  “child abuse pediatricians.”  A series of meetings were held in response to Hixenbaugh’s earlier, excellent reporting.  According to the latest story:

At one internal meeting this week, some Children’s Wisconsin doctors told administrators from the Medical College of Wisconsin — which employs physicians who practice at the hospital — that without swift policy changes, they would hesitate to bring their own children to the hospital following accidental injuries, fearing that a medical mistake or overreaction could lead Child Protective Services to break their families apart.

● Sanne Blauw of the innovative news site The Correspondent has a story that has nothing to do with the American child welfare system – and everything to do with the American child welfare system. It’s about how a Dutch court ruled that an algorithm that targets poor people who might be committing public benefits fraud is a violation of human rights. It’s a lot like the algorithm Pittsburgh is using to target potential child abusers – and, soon, to try to slap a risk score on every child in the county at birth.

● A new report from researchers affiliated with what should properly be called the Penn State Penance Institute is a frightening attack on the minimal due process protections afforded those accused of child abuse or neglect in Pennsylvania.  And that means more children traumatized by unnecessary investigations and unnecessary foster care.  I have two blog posts about it.

● Another NCCPR blog post asks if a New York City foster-care panic in 2016 contributed to a child abuse tragedy last month. (It sure looks like it.)

● And Marie Claire Australia profiles an activist fighting the racism in that countries child welfare system.