Tuesday, April 14, 2020

NCCPR News and commentary round-up, week ending April 14, 2020

● ICYMI: Video is now available of the excellent American Bar Association webinar on how child welfare systems should respond to the coronavirus crisis. Speakers included the Associate Comissioner of the Children’s Bureau Jerry Milner and his Special Assistant, David Kelly. The ABA also has some excellent additional resources. It’s all available here.

● Sadly, many places are ignoring the federal guidance. One state child welfare agency in particular, has gone to extremes. It’s even trying to work around its own State Supreme Court to inflict emotional child abuse on a grand scale. What state would be so cruel? No, not Mississippi. No, not Texas.  It’s Vermont.  Read all about the proposed Vermont Anti-Hugging Law.

● To get a sense of just how much such laws and policies can hurt children, read the account of one parent, Michelle Chan, in Truthout.

● There’s been the usual run of hype and hysteria over how the sky is falling because there are fewer calls to child abuse hotlines. (Here’s why the sky really isn’t falling.) But there have been some notable exceptions both among journalists and child welfare officials:

--Uptown Radio, a production of students at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, took what is, sadly, an unusual approach to this issue: They looked at all sides.

--The child welfare agency in Butler County, Ohio is taking a more nuanced stance than most – and working hard to ensure that family preservation services continue.

--And California Gov. Gavin Newsom understands that the best “prevention program” for what child welfare agencies call “child abuse” is also the simplest: 1. Find the poor families most at risk of losing their children to foster care. 2. Send money.  And here’s more about the transformative power of cash.

● But, of course, the child welfare establishment is busy trying to cash in on the crisis by seeking billions for more of the same. This after already receiving a windfall in the first coronavirus relief bill.

In other news:

● From Yasmeen Khan of WNYC Public Radio in Gothamist: A story about another outstanding measure to prevent child neglect by preventing poverty. reforms to New York State’s blacklist of alleged child abusers.  The blacklist prevents those on it, who are mostly poor, from getting many jobs – including those most likely to be filled by poor people. As child advocate Joyce McMillan told Gothamist: “How does sentencing parents to poverty keep children safe?”