Wednesday, September 21, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending September 19, 2022

● We begin with more evidence that the solution to the problems of journalism is more journalism. About two weeks ago, I wrote about how KCUR public radio had done a story about a shortage of family police caseworkers in Missouri – and got the story wrong.  This week the Missouri Independent did the same story – and got it right

● "They said my child would be safer in foster care than with me," said the mother of Ja'Ceon Terry, "but see the outcome of what happened."  The outcome is that Ja’Ceon was institutionalized in a residential treatment center in Kentucky.  The outcome is that he died.  And the outcome is that a coroner has ruled that death a homicide.  Ja’Ceon was seven years old.  I wrote about Ja’Ceon and the death of another young child Kentucky had institutionalized for the Lexington Herald-Leader. 

● Mandatory reporting makes everything worse.  That’s clear from the research.  And now we have the perfect real-world example.  I have a blog post about it based on this excellent story from City Limits. And check out this detailed testimony from several New York City family defense and family advocacy organizations.

● Mandatory reporting often starts an unwarranted investigation.  When it concludes, a family may be blacklisted, sometimes for life, on a state “central registry” of alleged child abusers – with no hearing beforehand.  Jamie Gullen of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia has a column for WHYY Public Radio on a lawsuit they’ve brought to try to end this practice in Pennsylvania. 

● In a story that should come as a shock to absolutely no one, MedPage Today reports on a study which found that “Punitive Policies for Substance Use in Pregnancy Tied to Worse Obstetric Care.  Those policies are, in part, one more outgrowth of another of those odious federal laws, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. 

● There is an update to that story from Oregon I wrote about on September 1, about white foster parents of an Asian-American girl trying to play the bonding card to prevent the girl’s Asian-American relatives from adopting her: So far, a court is refusing to buy it. The court ordered the child placed with her relatives, at least for now.  But here’s the most remarkable part: In spite of everything the foster parents have done, the relatives say they still want the foster parents to be “a part of our family and to heal the relationship.”  So by all means, tell us again: Who really is looking out for the “best interests of the child”? 

● What does it mean to know you’re a Native American but be cut off from your family, your tribe, and your culture?  Three Native children adopted by white families – two of them before Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act -- answer that, in this story from the Lawrence (Kan.) Times. 

● For decades, the medical profession told us that “child abuse” was a medical problem – something wrong with a parent, and certainly nothing to do with poverty.  Now, this Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story suggests, medicine finally may be figuring out that it’s the other way around.  Poverty is at the root of all sorts of medical problems, and the “cure” involves easing the poverty, not forcing families to jump through all sorts of hoops. 

And finally: 

● NBC News takes an in-depth look at the recent rise in conspiracy theories about satanic cult child abusers. But what sets this story apart is this: It draws a direct line from Q-Anon and Pizzagate to the satanic panic of the 1980s.  That panic was promoted not by fringe groups but by mainstream “child welfare” groups – who’ve never been held accountable.  I’ll have more about this in a blog post tomorrow.