Wednesday, January 26, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending January 25, 2022

● We begin this week not just with one story but with an entire magazine.  Family Integrity and Justice Works, the group started by two former top federal child welfare officials, is publishing a quarterly magazine. The first issue is devoted to the enormous harm done by the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act

● One way to reduce the harm of ASFA is, of course, to provide real help to families.  The term “primary prevention” sometimes has been just a euphemism for expanding surveillance.   But given the great panel at this upcoming webinar, I don’t think this event will be one of those times. 

● At long last, it appears America’s racial justice reckoning might be starting to reach child welfare.  That seems to be making a certain former Los Angeles Times reporter, and current contributor, very upset.  So he’s back, scapegoating family preservation – and pushing computerized racial profiling, AKA “predictive analytics.”  I have a two-part blog post about how his work is harming the most vulnerable children in Los Angeles. 

● There’s more about the problems with predictive analytics in this op-ed column for the Connecticut online news site, CT Mirror. 

● The company that makes and sells the particular predictive analytics software that, as the column above documents, failed disastrously, also used to be in charge of foster care in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas County, Florida.  That failed disastrously, too.  Now a mother whose child was taken only to be sexually abused in Pinellas County foster care is suing the agency, Eckerd Connects. But let’s also remember who took the child from his own home in the first place

● If you think you know every way in which so-called “child abuse pediatricians” run amok can make children and their parents suffer, think again, and read this story from Wisconsin Watch and the Anchorage Daily News. 

● In New Mexico an Albuquerque Journal editorial declared, children are dying “seemingly … under the noses” of the state family policing agency.  NCCPR has an op-ed in the Journal about what to do about it. 

● When the Supreme Court let religious adoption and foster care agencies discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, the debate was focused almost entirely on the harm to LGBTQ parents.  In Family Court Review, New York University Law Professor (and NCCPR President) Martin Guggenheim argues that everyone, including the City of Philadelphia, which argued before the Court opposing such discrimination, missed the point.  The real issue is the harm to LGBTQ children.

● Remember when children could walk home from school by themselves or even play in a playground without parents hovering over them?  Let Grow is supporting bills in three states to give children back that freedom – without their parents having to fear being charged with “neglect.” 

● Remember when “brain science” was the big fad when it came to justifying tearing apart families?  Looks like the brain scientists are getting smarter. 

● Of course, families enmeshed in the net of family policing agencies such as New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services have always known what the brain scientists are discovering.  As members of the Parent Legislative Action Network write in NYN Media: 

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 ACS. … Families need real support from trustworthy service providers within their communities. But even more, families need cash.