We begin with legislation – enacted …
● Perhaps you assumed it already happens: Of course, if children are torn from an impoverished parent’s arms the parent at least gets a lawyer, right? Not necessarily. In some states, it’s at the whim of the judge. But that’s no longer true in Minnesota. And the Minnesota law has some good language about when that lawyer should be appointed.
● Vivek Sankaran writes that we should celebrate this victory while being mindful of how much more needs to be done to provide any semblance of justice for families:
“If your sister lost her children to the foster care system, would you be okay if she had to wait nearly three weeks for a court hearing? If your brother was assigned a lawyer who could make more money working a few hours at a fast food chain, would that feel like justice? If your aunt had an attorney who had to advocate for her without actually receiving the evidence the other side was relying on, would you think she got a fair shake?”
… and proposed
● A Texas lawmaker is trying to curb and track the pernicious practice of hidden foster care.
● A bill introduced in Congress seeks to curb the needless destruction of families when mothers are in prison – by encouraging alternatives to imprisoning mothers.
● Of course, there’s still the matter of the horrible laws on the books, such as the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. Check out the video of this teach-in on the harm done by that law:
● Have you heard about the white celebrities who’ve been bragging on social media about how rarely they bathe their children? Roxanne Gay has. And she makes a crucial point:
If a Black parent made the statements celebrities have made lately about bathing and their children, they would soon receive a visit from Child Protective Services. This is not hyperbole; it happens, regularly and disproportionately.
● Last December, we linked to an Albany Times Union story about what happened when New York State passed a law suspending the statute of limitations so adults could sue over sexual abuse inflicted on them as children. What happened was a lot of the suits were filed against foster parents, group homes and institutions. Another such suit has been filed, this time in Buffalo.
● And in case anyone seriously thinks things have gotten better, here’s a more recent example, involving what happened to an infant when authorities in Las Vegas refused to place him with his grandmother.