Friday, March 4, 2022

NCCPR in Youth Today: In child welfare, if the solution is money, the problem is poverty

 In the beginning, the builders of what would become a system of massive intrusion into families, and, ultimately, the separation of millions of children from their parents, all in the name of “child welfare,” insisted that poverty had nothing at all to do with what they labeled “child abuse” and “child neglect.”

“Child abuse crosses class lines” was the mantra in the 1970s and 1980s. In the effort to pass the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), discussion of poverty was suppressed. Unless parents — and not economic inequality — could be blamed, there was no way CAPTA was going to pass. Not surprisingly, the result was a law that has led us in the wrong direction for decades.

But then, when people noticed that nonwhite families were surveilled and had their children removed at vastly disproportionate rates, the child welfare establishment had a problem. There was no way they were going to admit to racial bias, so they said: It’s because those families are poor! (Spoiler alert: it’s actually both.)

Read the full column in Youth Today