Monday, November 9, 2020

NCCPR in Florida Times-Union on fixing Florida foster care

I have often written that the solution to the problems of journalism is more journalism.

 Six years ago, bad journalism from the Miami Herald set off a foster-care panic in Florida.  (You can read about how bad here.)  Last month, 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.) UPDATE: December 18, 2020: They published even more powerful stories this week.

And on Sunday, the Florida Times-Union published our response to the stories:

Investigation shines spotlight on child welfare reform

 Decades ago, in Illinois, the death of a child “known to the system” led to a surge in the number of children taken from their parents. With every caseworker terrified to have the next horror story on her or his caseload, they flooded the system with children who never needed to be taken from their homes.

 As a result, one advocate said, the child welfare system became “Like a laboratory experiment to produce the abuse of children.”

 Thanks to the outstanding stories published in the Times-Union and elsewhere by reporters for the USA TODAY Network, we know the laboratory didn’t close – it just moved to Florida.  Their reporting documents how the foster-care panic triggered six years ago by reckless scapegoating of family preservation for child abuse deaths led to thousands of children needlessly torn from everyone they know and love.

 Read the full column here: