Wednesday, October 7, 2020

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending October 6, 2020

 ● A key to good journalism is follow-up; if a reporter drops an issue after the first story, few people will notice.  But to her great credit, Eileen Grench of the online news site The City won’t let up on the story of how New York City schools and the city child welfare agency harass families who can’t get kids online for school – and the state Office of Children and Family Services refuses to do anything about it. Here’s her latest story.

● The Kempe Center at the University of Colorado is about midway through a virtual extravaganza – an online conference with scores of panels and presentations from several countries.  I gave a talk about why child abuse is not a public health problem, it’s a social justice problem.  I’ve posted the text on this Blog.

 The ongoing trauma inflicted on families by racism in child welfare is the topic of several stories.

 ● MedPage Today reports on still another study documenting such bias on the part of doctors.

 ● Such bias clearly is deeply embedded in child welfare in New Hampshire.  The New Hampshire Union Leader has two stories about cases where such bias was blatant. I have a blog post on it, with links to both stories.

 ● Tara Urs, special counsel for civil policy and practice, training, and employee development at the King County Department of Public Defense, writes about a case she argued that led to a major victory for Native American children in Washington State.

 ● And Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have introduced a bill calling for creation of a “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy in the United States.”

 According to Rep. Haaland, the bill would “establish the first formal commission in United States history to investigate, document, and acknowledge past injustices of the federal government’s cultural genocide and assimilation practices through its Indian Boarding School Policy. The commission will also develop recommendations for Congress to aid in healing of the historical and intergenerational trauma passed down in Native American families and communities and provide a forum for victims to speak about personal experiences tied to these human rights violations.”

 ●And the Juvenile Law Center’s blog includes recommendations for bolstering the use of kinship foster care when children really must be removed from their homes.  Among the recommendations:


Standards that open the door for subjectivity in decision making and invite opportunities for implicit bias should be eliminated. Guidance to counties should ensure that policies work harder to screen in—rather than out—kin who are committed to the child and family. Automatic disqualifiers should be carefully considered and should only be allowable if it places the child’s safety at risk. …

 The state should invest in ensuring parents and children receive high quality, interdisciplinary legal representation. Kin are rarely a party to dependency cases, and parent and child attorneys are best positioned to advocate for their clients’ interests in maintaining connection or placement with kin. Interdisciplinary teams can better work with their clients to identify appropriate kin and ensure children’s safety in kinship placements.