Wednesday, June 15, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending June 14, 2022

Marketplace Tech interviews Sally Ho and Garance Burke, authors of the Associated Press expose of the highly-touted child welfare predictive analytics algorithm in use in Allegheny County, Pa.  They discuss research showing that, just as critics predicted, the algorithm exacerbates racial bias. 

Among the problems: The algorithm does not even take into account the seriousness of the actual allegation against a family.  Instead it’s focused exclusively on risk factors related to the status of the family – often its income status.  So a very serious allegation against a wealthy family might lead to a risk score that’s too low, even as a minor allegation against a poor family leads to a risk score that’s too high. 

● In March, I wrote about how many liberals’ willingness to forget everything they claim to believe in as soon as someone whispers the words “child abuse” in their ears played right into the hands of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott – who used the enormous unchecked power of a system created largely by the Left to wage war against transgender children and their families.  I also noted how journalists who had been oblivious to such abuses of power when they were – and are – inflicted on poor and nonwhite families have taken notice now that white, middle-class families are under fire. 

Now, we’re seeing both phenomena again as another right-wing governor, Florida’s Ron DeSantis threatens to exploit power handed to him both by liberal politicians and by liberal media, particularly the Miami Herald, which has campaigned for years to make the state’s family policing agency ever more oppressive and more powerful.  See also Lenore Skenazy's take on DeSantis’ move in Reason: 

There's almost nothing more harmful you can do to a family than initiate a child abuse investigation. Unless you suspect actual, serious abuse is going on—not just an outing at a gay bar with a drag show—keep the cops out of other families' business. 

Writing in In These Times, Prof. Dorothy Roberts explains how the child welfare system gets away with massive infringements on civil liberties – infringements the political Left would never tolerate in any other field: 

The public accepts this extraordinary infringement on freedoms and family relationships because it masquerades as benevolence — and because it disrupts the most marginalized communities. Precisely because it seems to operate outside criminal law enforcement, the family policing system has become an extremely useful arm of the carceral state. CPS has the power to intensively monitor entire communities, all the while escaping public scrutiny and bypassing legal protections by claiming to protect children.

● It’s bad enough that a positive result on a drug test can be enough to tear apart a family forever.  But what if the test isn’t even accurate. Vice News reports on allegations that, in many cases, it’s not. 

● In April, the child welfare establishment spreads a message of health terrorism during child abuse awareness month.  In May, that establishment glorifies tearing apart families during Foster Care Month.  So in June, the American Bar Association tries to tell the other side of the story by focusing on family reunification – including profiles of “reunification heroes” such as Nora McCarthy, the founder of Rise and now the director of the New York City Family Policy Project.