● Six years ago, bad journalism from the Miami Herald set off a foster-care panic in Florida. (You can read about how bad here.) This week, good journalism from Gannett’s Florida newspapers and USA Today documented how Florida’s most vulnerable children are paying the price. (And they didn’t flinch from saying that the Herald stories triggered it.)
Abolition of child welfare does not mean abandoning the need to protect children. It means building new ways of protecting and supporting families that also dismantle coercive systems of surveillance and punishment. It means engaging in the work of building radically different systems of care that recognize the basic need of children to be with their families in safe and supportive communities. This work must be done with families at the forefront.
● Also in The Imprint, doctoral student Victoria Copeland analyzes “The Complicity of Academia in Policing of Families.” She writes:
To this day we still see research that pathologizes families and youth impacted by the child welfare system. Many in academia stand by and consent to the proliferation of surveillance through big data. We offer up remedies of automating decision-making processes, an effort that potentially shuffles youth between subjective case worker decision-making and falsely proclaimed “neutral” computer-based decision-assisting systems.
NCCPR has more about big data in child welfare here.
"Vague neglect laws give cops and caseworkers more power than the parents themselves to decide what is safe for their own kids," notes Diane Redleaf, Let Grow's legal consultant and co-chair of United Family Advocates, which advocates for more legal protections for wrongly accused families. "It is high time we required child protection authorities to bring child abuse or neglect accusations to court for an impartial determination before they are allowed to place anyone on the registry."