● What does it do to a family to be terrorized by an angry, abusive ex-spouse calling in false child abuse reports and hiding behind the ability to make the calls anonymously? One mother tells her story in Rise. Also in Rise: Why survivors of domestic violence support legislation introduced in New York to replace anonymous reporting with confidential reporting.
● Sometimes it’s the caseworkers themselves who do the terrorizing. A case in point from Arizona, in this excellent article from Phoenix New Times.
● Speaking of Arizona, I have a column in the Arizona Daily Star about how, like so many others, the head of the state’s child welfare agency is drawing all the wrong conclusios about the decline in child abuse reports due to COVID-19.
● And speaking of COVID-19, Ideastream, from Cleveland’s public broadcasters, has a very good story on all the harm done to families by limits on in-person visits and by delays in reunification. To its credit, at least Cuyahoga County did not impose a knee-jerk ban on all such visits in order to pander to selfish foster parents as was done in Washington State. But the curbs that were imposed still caused great harm.
Indeed, the story is an apt illustration of the need for Rep. Gwen Moore’s #stoptheclock bill, which would suspend the requirement in the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act that states petition to terminate children’s rights to their parents if a child has been in foster care for 15 of the previous 22 months – even when that was due entirely to decisions by the child welfare system itself. (Community Legal Services of Philadelphia has more information about the bill. And the Shriver Center on Poverty Law has a call to action. Click here to see how you can support the #StopTheClock bill.)
There’s something else notable about the story, though. As you read about the family at the center of the story and the reasons their children were taken – and what they must now do to get them back – please ask yourselves: If the same circumstances had been discovered in a McMansion in Shaker Heights, would the children ever have been taken at all?
● The annual Child Maltreatment reports issued by the federal government include a specific warning about trying to compare data on things like rates of child abuse among states. That hasn’t stopped Kentucky media, especially the state’s largest newspaper, the Louisville Courier Journal, from being profoundly reckless about making such comparisons. I have a blog post about why this does so much harm to children.