Wednesday, December 15, 2021

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending December 14, 2021

● Video is now available from last week’s presentations on narrowing the front door of the family policing system.  I recommend in particular the 15-minute presentation of Prof. Anna Arons that starts at 17:54 in.  She summarizes her findings about New York City’s “unintended abolition” in which COVID forced the family police to step back and community-based, community-run mutual aid organizations stepped up.  Families also got direct cash assistance no-strings-attached through various federal programs.  As even the head of the city’s family policing agency admits, all that led to far less trauma for families with no compromise of safety. 

● Who says the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act hasn’t accomplished anything good? Well, OK, I do.  But leaving that aside, this odious law has done one thing that’s worthwhile: It bridged America’s great political divide.  Read why experts from Left and Right oppose it in this column from the Washington Examiner

● ASFA has helped create a generation of legal orphans, with no ties to birth parents and no adoptive home either. Even when there’s an adoption, there’s no guarantee it will last.  And even when it lasts, the reality is more complicated than the fairytale – especially for transracial adoptees.  Some of them told their stories to The Washington Post, for a story that carried this quote as a headline: “‘I know my parents love me, but they don’t love my people.’” 

● Speaking of dangerous delusions about adoption, check out Prof. Shanta Trivedi’s analysis, in Ms., of Amy Coney Barrett’s remarks during oral arguments in the Mississippi abortion case. 

● The real story of COVID-19 and “child welfare” was not a “pandemic of child abuse” -- that never happened.  The real story is how it made all the problems for families torn apart by family police worse.  NYN Media has that story

Also in NYN Media, three members of New York’s Parent Legislative Action Network describe what family policing does to impoverished families and communities even without a pandemic: 

Low-income communities are saturated with mandated reporters who are obligated to report any inkling of child maltreatment. That means that if a parent is thinking of asking for help, such as HeadStart child care, emergency housing, domestic violence support, substance abuse counseling, or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy funded by the state, they should be prepared to deal with [the city’s family police agency, the Administration for Children’s Services]. … 

We need to stop equating safety with surveillance. Instead, we need to unlearn the notion that the government knows best. Families need real support from trustworthy service providers within their communities. But even more, families need cash. … 

● One public official who gets that is Michael Tubbs, mayor of Stockton, California, who writes about the transformative power of cash for NBC News Think.  (He’s not writing specifically about the family policing system; it just sounds that way): 

We absolutely can implement bold policies on the local, state and federal levels that will dramatically change the trajectory of people’s lives, eliminate poverty and improve the nation’s productivity. But we can only achieve that kind of change if we disrupt and replace the current narrative on poverty based on racist, classist, sexist and xenophobic stereotypes. It’s a narrative that blames people for their struggles — labeling them as lazy, corrupt, unintelligent or worse — and deems them undeserving of our trust, our investment or even their own dignity. 

● Remember when KING-TV reported that foster youth were being held under conditions that international human rights organizations recognize as torture in order to make them more docile and compliant when caseworkers tried to stash them in offices and cruddy group homes or institutions?  The state’s child welfare “ombuds” investigated and found that KING got it right.  From the story: 

Some workers and teens reported … that office stays were used as a punishment for refusing placement. … “You either get a cot, the floor, or the couch,” the youth said, according to the ombuds report. “They are all uncomfortable, even the cot. Sometimes you get a blanket. They are treating us like the trash that we are.”

Needless to say the “solutions” offered up by the agency omit the only one that would actually work: not taking away so many kids needlessly.  

● You would think if a family policing agency was going to march into school and demand that a child be produced on-the-spot for what the school would later call an “emergency extraction” they’d at least check to be sure they had the right student.  Or perhaps, knowing how family policing agencies work, you’d be wise enough to make no such assumption.

● And in Utah, KUTV reports on the alarming amount of personal information the state health department requires just so the parent of a newborn can get a birth certificate for the child.  The health department is about to merge with the department that runs family policing in Utah.  And if you want to know what that might mean, just look at Allegheny County, Pa.