Thursday, January 20, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending January 19, 2022

Writing in The Imprint, Vivek Sankaran looks at the implications of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that never should have been necessary. It should have been obvious all along that, when the family police knock at the door, families have Fourth Amendment rights.  He also shows that, apparently, there are some pretty awful judges in his own state of Michigan. 

● It also should be obvious that caseworkers do not have a constitutional right to falsify documents in the course of their investigations.  But there’s been still another right-to-lie case in the federal courts.  I have a blog post on both cases which, together, reveal that “child welfare” is a field so arrogant it can assert the right to violate everything from the Fourth Amendment to the Ninth Commandment. 

● A great family defender, Kathleen Creamer of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, discusses that Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, another Pennsylvania case, and other crucial child welfare issues, including the harm done by the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) on The Imprint podcast. 

● Another great family defender, Jey Rajaraman will be joining the new national effort to transform child welfare led by the former head of the federal Children’s Bureau, Jerry Milner and his special assistant there David Kelly. 

● No state needs such a transformation more than Montana.  NCCPR has a column in the Daily Montanan about an audit by the State Legislature which proves what we’ve said all along: Montana is the child removal capital of America. 

● Meanwhile, in Florida, there’s been a miracle!  Apparently, in Pinellas County Florida child abuse suddenly plummeted by 50%.  After all, what else could possibly explain the fact that all of a sudden Sheriff Bob Gualtieri reduced child removals by that amount.  Well, I do have a theory

● Also in Florida, in spite of a massive fear and smear campaign by the state’s CASA program, WFSU Public Radio reports that a bill is advancing that would give children actual lawyers who will fight for what the children want, not what the overwhelmingly middle-class disproportionately white CASAs happen to think should happen to children who are neither. 

● Although it’s not directly about child welfare, NPR has an important story about recovery from substance use disorder. Contrary to the common stereotype – a stereotype often used to justify the draconian timelines in ASFA -- most people recover and maintain their recovery.

● Nor does drug use necessarily impede parenting.  In fact, as Ericka Brewington writes in Black Health “My children never felt the impact of my drug use until they were removed from my home.” 

● Ignoring testimony from family defenders, family advocates and other experts, New York State is going to allow another backdoor way to increase the separation of children from their families.  Officially, The Imprint reports, it’s called “host families” but, as NCCPR has said since this program began, a better term is sugar-frosted foster care

● And in Maine, a group dominated by “providers” has released what it calls a “Framework for Child Welfare Reform.”  Unfortunately, it’s more like a framework for false consensus.