Tuesday, March 9, 2021

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending March 9, 2021

● “One call to the child welfare agency and my whole life could have gone another way.”  Instead, this son of a single mother had a network of friends and extended family to support him.  So Jerry Milner grew up to spend four years running the Children’s Bureau in the Department of Health and Human Services.  He discusses the work he did there, and his work on the landmark reforms that changed child welfare in his home state of Alabama on the Parental Rights Foundation podcast. 

●Milner also has a column on the Rethinking Foster Care blog, in which he writes: 

To my horror, I still read articles suggesting that we should be taking more, not fewer, children into foster care.  That black children are more likely to be abused and neglected, rather than the reality that black children and families are more likely to suffer the ravages of over-surveillance and poverty, which we continue to confuse with neglect.  That we need more and more and more foster homes. 

The Imprint has a story about a new report from Children’s Rights on the need to drastically curb the use of group homes and institutions.  Lots of groups put out reports like that. But what sets this one apart is their list of alternatives.  Instead of the usual nonsense about recruiting more foster homes, giving foster parents a big pay raise, blah, blah blah, this report focuses on keeping children out of the system in the first place and, when removal from the home really is necessary, bolstering kinship foster care. 

Also in The Imprint: 

● Jessica Pryce, director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare and Amelia Franck Meyer, founder and CEO of Alia Innovations, write about the need to face up to racism in child welfare with  truth, reconciliation – and reparation.  They write: 

We often teach our children that an apology should be followed by a change in behavior. In child welfare, although we are working on transforming how we do our work, we have skipped an essential step. We have not made efforts to admit our shortcomings and make our intentions of changing child welfare’s future clear to the very people to whom it matters most — families. 

But that won’t be easy when so many in the field are still claiming that child welfare is magically immune from racism. 

● And in Minnesota, a forum rallied support for the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act. From the story: 

The effects the child welfare system has on the disintegration of the Black family is haunting and the entryway must be closed, advocates said at the meeting. 

“The front door of child protection is too wide,” said Kelis Houston of Village Arms. Houston, who helped conceive of the bill along with legislators in both chambers, pointed out the lack of cultural competence, and the continued racial bias from mandated reporters that often mistake poverty for neglect, which leads to maltreatment allegations.