Wednesday, March 9, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending March 8, 2022

● Every once in awhile, a story about the horrors of the family policing system “breaks through” to a larger audience.  Such is the case with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott using the vast power of the family police to enact his version of a far-right agenda: persecuting transgender children and their families.  But the system he is using is largely a creation of the Left.  I have a blog post on Greg Abbott’s liberal enablers. 

● Some Texas media still don’t quite get it.  The Texas Tribune, which, under a previous editor,  pushed for expanding the power of the system, has  a very good story about parents of transgender children rushing to hire lawyers – before the family police get to the door. That’s because, as one expert said: “Once you're in the clutch of the child welfare system, you're very vulnerable.”  But while there is a brief mention of some lawyers working pro-bono, there is no other mention of all the families who can’t afford to hire a lawyer – which is most families “in the clutch of the child welfare system.” 

● But one Texas-based reporter does understand: In this excellent story for Slate, Roxanna Asgarian writes:

The child welfare system—decried as “family policing” by critics—is a particularly potent tool for transphobic politicians because it was set up to surveil families that fall outside of the white, middle class norm.

● Speaking of the fact that almost everyone ensnared in the system is poor: Remember when apologists for the system insisted that family police agencies never, ever took away children because of poverty?  Now that everybody’s seen that’s not true they have a fallback position: We don’t take children because of poverty alone.  I have a column in Youth Today about why that’s not true either – and why it’s also irrelevant – because In child welfare, if the solution is money, the problem is poverty. 

● Greg Abbott is teaching us all a lesson about what happens when you create a giant family-destroying bureaucracy with no way for families to defend themselves in conservative Texas. Honolulu Civil Beat shows what happens when the giant family-destroying bureaucracy with no way for families to defend themselves is in liberal Hawaii. 

● Remember the scandal over “hidden foster care” in one county in North Carolina? (If you don’t, here’s a reminder.) Turns out it’s not just one county.  WBTV in Charlotte found more places tearing apart families without even the minimal due process protections of the formal system.


● And a Connecticut public defender tells the story of family policing in America through one case – described in a tweet thread.