As schools start again, NPR is broadcasting a series of stories about how families are coping. In one excellent story, Morning Edition anchor Rachel Martin interviewed a Black single mother struggling to hold down a job while her children learn online.
“Three boys and one daughter ranging from 13 - he's my oldest boy, you know, he likes to stay to himself, and he loves to draw, though; 11 - that's my sweetheart, my special little guy (laughter); 9 - that's my athlete, that's my busybody; and 7 - my daughter, that's my cheerleader.
someone, whether well-meaning or self-righteous or some combination, heeds the
constant demands to report anything and everything to child abuse hotlines --
Go ahead and call! Leave it to we
professionals to decide! You could be a
hero! – and the wrong caseworker shows up, the children could be torn from
their mother and consigned to the chaos of foster care.
MARTIN: So there's a lot going on in your life and in your family's life. How does the school, the education part of it, complicate things, the fact that you don't have a safe place for kids to be during the day?
[MOTHER]: Well, where we are is safe. It's just I don't have - like I say, my son is old enough to keep the kids, but it's not his total responsibility to make sure that everybody is doing what they're supposed to do. Now, I do have access, you know, to the phones, you know, so while I'm at work, I definitely call and do my check-ins. And at this point, you know, for me, that's the best that I can do, you know, because I don't look for handouts. I don't need no pity parties. I don't want nobody to feel, you know, sorry for me because there's so many other women and families out here that's going through the same thing, you know, and we move in silence.
The California case [See update]
A Taco Bell proved critical for two little girls who were briefly using its Wi-Fi for school -- something that almost proved tragic after the kids were nearly taken from their mother.
A photo of two young girls sitting outside of a Taco Bell in Salinas, CA -- just outside of Monterey -- recently went viral ... which shows them plopped down on the concrete with their laptops and notepads out, while two TB employees come out to talk to them. … According to local community members who stepped in to help the family ... they were almost separated by cops and CPS officials, who apparently came knocking.
UPDATE: The original story has been updated with a statement from the police department saying they never had any contact with the family. There is no word concerning CPS.
When CPS is at the door
We also got a rare detailed look last month at what happens when CPS does come to the door, and how much harm it can do, even when they don’t walk out with the children. We got that look as a result of a court decision in Kentucky. The decision comes in a lawsuit by a Kentucky family, represented by the Home School Legal Defense Association.
Writing in a court motion, Curry’s lawyers said that Childress “proceeded to strip search the children. Starting with the younger children, she pulled up their pant legs to look at their calves, then unbuttoned their pants, undid the buttons on their onesies, pulled them up to view their chests, stomachs and abdomen area, then undid their diapers and put her fingers down and looked inside.”
For the older children who wore underwear, Childress pulled it aside, looked inside and put her hands down their underwear, the lawyers wrote.
“Deputy Furnish was present while all six children were strip searched,” Curry’s lawyers wrote.
The judge saw it differently:
The judge wrote in his order last week that the social worker and deputy had no right to strip search the children in violation of their “fundamental dignity.”
“Here, Childress lacked even a shadow of probable cause that the Currys physically abused their children,” the judge wrote.
But this drama has had a long, long run. And there’s no sign that the show is going to close anytime soon, unless we realize that, for the sake of millions of vulnerable children, it’s time to bring down the curtain.