Wednesday, August 31, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending August 30, 2022

● Montana is the child removal capital of America, tearing apart proportionately more families, by far, than any other state when rates of child poverty are factored in.  That may change if a bill approved by a legislative committee becomes law.  But the family policing establishment already is mounting a fear-and-smear campaign against the bill

● Add to the long list of those condemning the racism of the American family policing system the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. (See paragraphs 43 and 44.)  And see this story from The Imprint on the hearings leading up to the report. 

● Prof. Dorothy Roberts reminds us that the oppression of impoverished families through family policing is also a reproductive justice issue. She told The Guardian: 

Prisons are a major impediment in the United States to reproductive freedom. People who have had their children taken away by a discriminatory child welfare system that targets Black neighborhoods for family separation do not have reproductive freedom. To me, reproductive justice is inextricably linked to the fight against the prison industrial complex and the family policing system. 

● In The New York Times even social problems can be gentrified.  I have a blog post about how they just did the “oh-my-God-it’s-spreading-to-the-white-middle-class!!” story about the overuse of psychiatric medication on kids. 

● Among the many amicus briefs filed with the Supreme Court urging the court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act, this one stands out – and not just because it’s co-authored by NCCPR’s President.  The brief focuses on how ICWA is the gold standard of “child welfare” for all children, not just Native American children.  It emphasizes that requiring “active efforts” not just “reasonable efforts” to keep families together and not terminating children’s rights to their parents without proof beyond a reasonable doubt, not just “clear and convincing” evidence, should be the standard for all cases, not just Indian cases. 

What makes this significant is the groups that signed on to this brief.  They include such bastions of the family policing establishment as the Children’s Defense Fund, the Child Welfare League of America and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. 

In other words, all of these organizations are now on record as saying it’s best for children if active efforts were required to keep all families that come in contact with the family police together.  And they’re saying it’s best for children if no child had her or his rights to her or his parents terminated in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this is necessary. 

● For more insight about why ICWA is so urgently needed, check out this story in The Imprint about a survey of survivors of “child welfare” before ICWA.  The survey isn’t just a way to make sure we don’t forget “child welfare’s” complicity in attempting to wipe out Native American culture.  One of those working on the survey said it also will “provide a vital historical context for understanding struggles within Indian families who come into contact with child welfare authorities today.” 

Two scandals involving family police caseworkers are in the news: 

●The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that: 

Robin Niceta was a key child protective caseworker witness in 30 active investigations when she was arrested for allegedly falsely reporting that a vocal critic of the Aurora police chief had sexually abused her son, according to an Aurora councilwoman who is suing Niceta and the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services. 

A lawyer representing parents seeking to join the suit against the family police agency said: 

“Some of them had no say. Some of them had evidence ignored, lies told about them, false evidence introduced, false testimony given in their cases. And they have had their children taken away from them permanently.” 

● In Alabama, the Dothan Eagle reports that 

The Alabama Supreme Court says a Dale County man can sue a social worker who kept him from seeing his children based on falsified drug test results.

●And Youth Today asked Sixto Cancel, founder and CEO of Think of Us:

If you had a magic wand, and you could do one fix on the child welfare system right now, what would it be? 

I would go ahead and ensure that kin were able to take in their relatives without going through an exhaustive and intrusive process of getting licensed.