Wednesday, March 23, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending March 22, 2022

● This week we start with an upcoming event: The New York debut of Prof. Dorothy Roberts’ new book, Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families -- and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World The event, sponsored by Rise,  takes place April 16, and it’s available in person or online. You can register here. 

Also from Rise: This column in The Imprint about how family policing systems harm families, based on their extensive research with families forced to encounter New York City’s family policing agency, the Administration for Children’s Services: 

Our research finds that the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is described as an unavoidable system in Black and brown communities, deeply entangled with schools and services. As one of our focus group participants put it: “It is hard, hard — I’m going to say ‘hard’ again, to avoid ACS. Especially when they’re in the school system, the juvenile system, the court system, it is really hard to avoid them.” … 

Our research found that economic supports of financial aid or employment assistance were the least common services in parents’ ACS service plans, even though most families had extremely low incomes, and most system involvement is related to issues of poverty. 

The Imprint also has a look back at all that fearmongering about a supposed “pandemic of child abuse” – and what the research actually tells us.

● Two states are moving to curb the practice of forcing parents to pay ransom to get their children back from foster care.  (They don’t call it that, of course, they call it “child support.”  But if you take away someone’s child and make them pay money to get the child back, the proper term for the payment is ransom.)  Moves are underway in Washington State and California to curb the practice.  In fact, the practice can, and should be abolished entirely. 

Both stories leave the impression that getting rid of ransom is harder than it really is; they cite a federal law requiring ransom.  But as NPR’s excellent reporting on this topic makes clear, the law has plenty of wiggle room.