Wednesday, June 23, 2021

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending June 22, 2021

● In April, I published a post to this blog about a study showing that there was no “pandemic of child abuse” in New York City when mandated reporting was cut way back by COVID-19.  I’ll bet a lot of people were so invested in the myth they simply refused to believe the research. But now, even the head of the New York City family policing agency admits it.  In fact, The Imprint reports, the commissioner of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, David Hansell told the City Council 

…it was just as likely that the pandemic was “a very positive thing” for children, who were able to spend more time at home with their parents. 

● The move to provide high-quality legal representation to families before the family police even knock at the door has spread to Detroit – or rather returned to Detroit, which pioneered it. 

● A battered mother in Los Angeles reaches out for help. Attorney Chris Martin, a leader of the L.A. #reimaginechildsafety campaign writes in WitnessLA about why "[s]he probably will regret taking that one brave stand for the rest of her life." 

● When it comes to ending systemic racism in child welfare, the rhetoric is easy. In contrast to those who are all talk and little or no action, the upEnd Movement’s new report calls for a series of action steps, including repealing the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act, abolishing mandatory reporting, divesting from foster care and using the money to help families, and ending all placements in group homes and institutions. 

● Most of the papers from last week’s Strengthened Bonds Symposium have not yet been published.  But one that has, on bias against Native American families, includes this stunning statistic: By the time they turn 18, one in three Native children in Minnesota will have endured separation from their families and placement in foster care – not one in three investigated, one in three actually torn from their parents. Perhaps that will come up at this webinar about Minnesota "child welfare" tomorrow, sponsored by Fostering Media Connections.

● In an interview with an online news site, a state legislator from Kansas lamented that when it comes to Kansas’ failed foster care system, “nobody even knows what questions to ask.”  Don’t worry. We’re here to help. 

● Another very good bill has become law in Texas – thanks in part to the outstanding reporting of NBC News and the Houston Chronicle. As they report: 

Under the new law, caregivers accused of abuse based on a medical report will be allowed to request that CPS get another opinion from a doctor whose expertise is relevant to the child’s injuries. And when parents get a second medical opinion on their own, the law will require judges to consider that evidence before issuing orders for children to be taken into state custody. 

The state also will fund a commission to examine the work – and the abuses – of “child abuse pediatricians.” 

● And finally, I was pleased to be the guest on Pauline Goldsmith-Johnson’s Foster Features podcast: