Thursday, September 2, 2021

NCCPR in The Imprint: Graphic evidence that child welfare surveillance doesn’t work

There is a graphic making the rounds in child welfare that’s gotten a fair amount of attention lately. The graphic tracks the rate at which caseworkers “substantiated” various forms of child abuse and neglect allegations from 1990 to 2018. 

It was created by Prof. David Finkelhor and his colleagues at the University of New Hampshire. In 2020, it turned up in a conference presentation from Prevent Child Abuse America. Then Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago used it in a PowerPoint presentation of its own. And then John Kelly raised it with Chapin Hall Executive Director Bryan Samuels on The Imprint’s weekly podcast. 

You’ll probably find it striking too.

“I was wondering,” one advocate said to me upon seeing the graphic in Chapin Hall’s presentation, “does slide #7 look right to you?”

No, it doesn’t look right. Because it isn’t right. Some of the numbers in the slide aren’t real.

Read the full column, and compare the real numbers to the unreal numbers, in The Imprint.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending August 31, 2021

 ● Wow! Those child abuse numbers sure look scary - but then they would, when you double and triple the real numbers. NCCPR has the graphic evidence in this column for The Imprint

ProPublica Illinois has a follow-up to their investigation revealing that the state routinely fails to provide Spanish-speaking families with help in their own language – or even a caseworker who speaks Spanish.  As the story explains: 

Parents — many of them undocumented immigrants who are already reluctant to come into contact with or speak out against government agencies — can for months or years be assigned caseworkers who don’t speak their language, or face lengthy delays in accessing services in Spanish, all of which prolongs their separation from their children. 

The Philadelphia Citizen has a story about Family Finding – a program in which agencies move heaven and earth to find extended family for foster children so at least they don’t have to be placed with strangers.  The story also is a good object lesson in a common child welfare practice: taking an excellent program, diluting the model while keeping the name, and then claiming that “we already have” that program. 

The Imprint looks at the controversy over so-called “family enrichment centers” – can a family really be “enriched” when the center is run by the same agency that can take away the children?