Thursday, March 18, 2021

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending March 18, 2021

● For decades, NCCPR has pointed out the huge disconnect between officially-reported rates of abuse in foster homes, group homes and institutions and the findings from independent studies which consistently find vastly more such abuse.

 Now USA TODAY Network Florida reporters have obtained copies of thousands of reports alleging abuse in foster care that the state, in effect, covered up, by deciding they were not serious enough even to investigate as child abuse reports.  As the story notes, NCCPR reviewed a sample of these reports and, using very conservative criteria, found that a great many absolutely would have been considered abuse had the accused been birth parents.  Florida experts agreed.

 I’ll have more about this on the blog tomorrow.  Meanwhile, you can read the full story here.

The Nation has a great overview of child welfare’s failed response to COVID-19: 

When Covid-19 shuttered schools and grounded kids and parents at home, many child welfare authorities feared surging rates of abuse and neglect. … Advocates for parents in marginalized communities, however, say the alarms raised about hidden abuse reflect ingrained biases in child protective services, too eager to remove kids from their homes and drag parents to court in the name of saving children. 

● It’s just the latest in a long line of failed responses, as Chris Gottlieb, co-director of the New York University School of Law Family Defense Clinic explains in an op-ed for Time magazine: 

Today, more than 200,000 children of color are in government custody in our foster system, and the current protesters are largely low-income Black and brown parents who explain that fearmongering about child abuse has empowered child protective authorities to unfairly target their communities and invade their homes with virtual impunity. A shocking 53% of Black children’s homes are investigated by child welfare officials. That knock at the door is not benign social work. Caseworkers routinely demand entry into homes in the middle of the night without warrants. The interrogations are frightening; the strip searches degrading. Far too often, they end with the trauma of children pulled from their parents’ arms. 

● Something unusual happened during a webinar on child welfare in New York City. The head of the child welfare agency tried to fudge the figures – and a journalist called him out.  I have a blog post about it, including video of the full webinar. 

● Several organizations in Connecticut have released a report on the harm that the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act does to the children of incarcerated parents. 

● And have you heard the one about the parents who let their eight and ten-year-old children play at the end of their dead-end street – by themselves????  Yep, this is going where you think it’s going.  Here’s the story, from Lenore Skenazy in Reason.