Tuesday, December 8, 2020

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending December 8, 2020

● All over America, millions have been placed on so-called central registries of alleged child abusers. It’s done with little or no due process.  Like so much else in child welfare, it harms the children it is meant to help.  What the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says in this excellent editorial about Pennsylvania’s registry applies to most of the others as well. 

● I have often written about how child welfare agencies use funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program as a child welfare slush fund. Money is diverted from TANF, which is intended to help poor people become self-sufficient. into payments for foster care and child abuse investigations. In this column for the San Antonio Express-News, Andrew Brown of the Texas Public Policy Foundation zeroes in on how this money is misused in Texas. 

The “health terrorists” are hard at work in Michigan, conflating poverty with neglect and promoting that racially biased narrative about child abuse and COVID-19. NCCPR  has a column in Bridge Michigan: COVID-19 breeds a pandemic of fear, not a pandemic of child abuse. 

● In The Imprint, Kenyon Lee Whitman and Brianna Harvey write about The Disenfranchisement of Black Foster Youth. 

● And in the San Francisco Bay View Michelle Chan writes about how the child welfare system failed her as a child, and then failed her again as a parent. 

● What can be done about it? The founders of the upEND Movement examine the issues in depth in this article for the Journal of Public Child Welfare. 


● TODAY at Noon Eastern: The Shriver Center on Poverty Law has a webinar on The Carceral Web: How the Foster and Criminal Legal Systems Perpetuate Injustice. You can register here.

● As we return to tighter restrictions as a result of the latest surge in COVID-19, we should not repeat the mistakes of last March, when it became an excuse to further undermine due process for families. That’s the message in this letter from the director of the federal government’s Children Bureau, Jerry Milner. 

Milner writes: 

As previously communicated in March, we strongly encourage all child welfare agencies to consider decisions thoughtfully regarding whether to file for termination of parental rights in instances where services and supports have been interrupted or have been less available, where family time has been inadequate, or where court operations are unable to offer hearings of needed breadth and depth. Such decisions should always be made on a child-by-child basis and include thoughtful review of the unique circumstances affecting the child and family. 

There will be more about this at a webinar on Tuesday December 15 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern sponsored by the Children’s Bureau, the National Center for State Courts, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The webinar will focus on “the critical need for continued access to justice and judicial oversight in child welfare proceedings during the ongoing public health crisis.” You can register here.