Tuesday, January 19, 2021

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending January 19, 2021

I haven't seen a news story about this yet, but 
this billboard, at 125th St. and 2nd Ave. in New York,
the scene of a Martin Luther King Day protest led by
Joyce McMillan of JMacForFamilies, 
seems like a good way to start the week in review. 
UPDATE: Here's the story.

● Toward the start of the pandemic, several major news organizations challenged the racist myth that as soon as the eyes of overwhelmingly white middle-class professionals no longer were on overwhelmingly poor disproportionately nonwhite children, their parents would unleash upon those children a “pandemic of child abuse.”  Now, one of those organizations, the Associated Press has revisited the issue.  

● Tomorrow many parts of the federal government will have new leadership.  But a lot of progressive advocates in child welfare hope the Biden Administration will keep one leader on the job: Jerry Milner, who ran the Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau.  This story from The Imprint explains why.  And if you agree, you can sign this petition. 

● Thanks to outstanding reporting by USA Today Network reporters, Florida journalism is beginning to come to grips with the foster-care panic that has swept though that state. But Florida lawmakers have not. 

● Speaking of failure in Florida, Robert Latham, associate director of the Children & Youth Law Clinic at the University of Miami Law School has an in-depth analysis on his blog of a new report on the Florida CASA program.   

● Prof. Vivek Sankaran, director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School argues that in helping children achieve permanency we need to aim for real permanency – relational permanency – instead of what amounts to paper permanency. He writes: 

As we embark on a new year within the child protection system, might we flip the script and adopt a new prevailing narrative – that we identify what relationships matter to the child, unequivocally support them, and then use our legal tools to allow the child to benefit from those relationships. Might we better serve families by refusing to permanently destroy relationships between children and their parents that are important to children? 

The Arizona Republic reports that Arizona’s family police agency (a more accurate term than child welfare agency) will be subject to two years of federal monitoring as a result of complaints that it did all sorts of awful things to families whose first language isn’t English. 

Among other things: The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) failed to provide documents about what parents had to do to get their kids back in a language the parents actually could read.  Also, according to Sylvia Herrera of the Barrio Defense Committee, which gathered many of the complaints cited by the Office of Civil Rights in the federal Department of Health and Human Services:

Parent aides, who supervise visits between parents and their children, would bar parents from talking to their children in Spanish, out of concern the parents might say something inappropriate that the aide could not understand … 

Herrera said she was heartened that the agreement requires the civil-rights office to monitor DCS' language services for the next two years. "However, it does not address the fact that hundreds of families were destroyed by DCS practices that lead to foster care and eventual adoption to non-relatives instead of family reunification," she said. 

No agreement, she said, can undo the harm that has already been caused because a family didn't get the help it needed to navigate the system.

No word on whether this means, from now on, “Professional Kidnapper” t-shirts will have to be translated.