● Responding to investigative reporting by NPR, the federal government has told states they no longer have to make parents pay ransom to get their children back from foster care. (They don’t call it ransom, of course, but when someone takes away your child and makes you pay money to get the child back, anything else is a euphemism).
Federal law has always been more flexible about this than states let on. But this at least takes away states’ excuse for this abominable practice.
● Responding to another NPR investigation, done with The Marshall Project, Washington D.C. is the latest place considering legislation to stop swiping Social Security benefits from foster youth.
(Hey, wouldn’t it be great if, finally, we could at least get the family police to stop stealing money from children and parents?)
● April Lee, Director of Client Voice for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, cuts through the b.s. and explains how family policing really works on CLS’ How is That Legal? Podcast. And The Philadelphia Inquirer has a story about the podcast series.
● In Kentucky, Tiffany Prater, a registered nurse – certified maternal newborn nursing, also cut through the b.s. in a column for the Lexington Herald-Leader demanding transparency from a supremely closed system:
We don’t see the large number of excellent families who have been reported to CPS and chose not to tell anyone because of fear of being judged. Referrals are made for many reasons and parents are guilty until proven innocent. … We do not see the large number of families denied rights and case plans, given no steps to work to get their children back. We don’t see or feel a child’s body crumble in fear when they’re ripped away from their parents; when there were other ways a situation could be handled.
● Someone else cut through the b.s. about family policing last week as well – but he did it by accident. I have a blog post about it.
● "It was a false report that broke apart my family,” writes Kenyon Lee Whitman in The Imprint. And that’s one reason why high-quality family defense is in the best interests of children.
● In San Diego, KFMB-TV reports:
A Marine Corps pilot and his wife are suing the County of San Diego after Child Welfare Services took their seven-month-old son from their home for more than a month after the boy head-butted his mother as he played after breastfeeding. The couple also says that while their infant son was in custody, county workers conducted invasive medical examinations against their objections.
The infant was first institutionalized at the county’s parking place shelter, then placed with strangers – all while relatives were available.
The hospital apparently didn’t believe the infant was abused but “submitted a Hotline Referral to the County as required when an infant is injured and admitted to the hospital.”
State law does not require this - it's simply a hospital policy that makes every parent who brings in an infant with an injury automatically suspect - and every such infant at greater risk of needless foster care.
● And in Kansas, which has no place to put children because it tears them from their parents at one of the highest rates in the nation, this happened.