● What – again??? Yes, another not-so-shocking study tells us that just a little more concrete help for poor people – in this case increasing SNAP benefits – reduces what family policing agencies call child abuse. According to a story about the study in The Hill:
States with more generous SNAP policies — and therefore more program participants — had fewer children involved in Child Protective Services (CPS) and foster care, according to the 14-year nationwide survey, published in JAMA Network Open on Wednesday.
And here’s a review highlighting some of the many other studies reaching similar conclusions.
● None of this will convince those who have built their entire careers (both in family policing agencies and in academia) on denying any such connection – or falling back on the: well, it’s not poverty alone defense. But for the rest of us Nora McCarthy, co-founder of the Family Policy Project, offers some suggestions concerning what to do next.
● If you’re relatively new to all of this, take 20 minutes to let Joyce McMillan of JMacForFamilies give you an overview of how the system really works in this podcast from Black Agenda Report:
● If you’re a journalist relatively new to covering child welfare, please don’t repeat the mistake made by a reporter in Illinois who accepted without question the Illinois “Public Guardian’s” big little lie about who is in the system and why.
● It’s always useful when family policing agencies admit they are trapping children in foster care solely because their parents can’t afford adequate housing. They generally admit this when they are applying for grants. The Wausau (Wis.) Pilot and Review reports on a case in point.
● One member of Congress who understood the confusion of poverty with neglect before almost anyone was the late Rep. Patsy Mink of Hawaii. She was the only Democrat to vote against the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act back in 1997. She knew how much harm it would do. I’ve reprinted her prescient speech against the bill in this blog post.
● According to the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Dr. Barbara Knox "fled to Alaska" after leaving "a legacy of flawed shaken baby diagnoses in Wisconsin." According to the Anchorage Daily News, Dr. Knox’s time in Alaska was “brief but calamitous.” What state could possibly want to hire someone with a track record like that? Here’s a hint: This story is from Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell. Oh, and the Anchorage Daily News has an update of its own.
● Also in Florida (you'd already guessed, right?) WFTS-TV has another excellent story about extended families who were denied custody of their children in favor of strangers who sometimes had connections to the system – like the couple who work in that state’s notorious CASA program.
● Still more evidence that when family police agencies say “We don’t remove children on our own – a judge has to approve everything we do” they’re lying.” Carolina Public Press reports on a county where the head of the family police agency signed custody orders herself. (In case anybody thinks this only happens in rural North Carolina, more than a decade ago WXYZ-TV exposed a similar appalling practice – in Detroit. Also, recall how a longtime child welfare apparatchik recently fessed up.)
● A Texas legislator who co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to narrow the state’s definition of “neglect” writes in the Dallas Morning News about how the change is making all children safer.
● Sixto Cancel, founder and CEO of Think of Us, discusses his organization’s new Center for Lived Experience on The Imprint podcast. He also shares findings from his organization’s participatory research, including some disturbing data about failed adoptions.
● Among the children most vulnerable to being needlessly torn from their parents are those whose parents are disabled. Two federal agencies condemned Massachusetts over this. There have been similar problems in Oregon and Pennsylvania – and those are only the cases that made headlines. Now, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that might help these children and families. Here’s the bill text.