NCCPR in The Missouri Independent:
Fixing Missouri child welfare: Darrell Missey has it backwards
In his masterful biography The Power Broker, Robert Caro describes how New York City’s “master builder” Robert Moses, became a master destroyer of communities because of a fundamental misunderstanding.
Moses thought that if he just blasted enough highways through enough neighborhoods it would end the city’s chronic traffic congestion. But each time he opened a new highway, in just a few years, traffic would be as bad – or worse. Moses didn’t understand that each new highway was luring more people into cars and out of mass transit. And all that highway spending caused alternatives to atrophy, compounding the problem and making the cycle ever worse.
Today, the director of the Missouri Children’s Division, Darrell Missey, is making the same sort of mistake. …
And we joined Prof. Shanta Trivedi in this oped for the Baltimore Banner:
Inadequate housing for foster children is only part of the problem
Too many kids are removed from homes because of structural racism, and their families need more support.
The Baltimore Banner has been reporting on how, right now, in Maryland, children in the state’s care are living in hotel rooms and office buildings. We’re told the problem is a “shortfall of placement options” and the fact that group homes have closed. But this framing ignores the actual problem: Maryland doesn’t have too few foster homes, Maryland has too many foster children. We should be horrified not simply by where children are being housed, but also because they are being unnecessarily removed from their families in the first place.
At a fundamental level, the overwhelming majority of cases are nothing like the horror stories in the news. In Maryland, over 62% of the children in the foster system are there due to neglect. However, in many cases, family poverty is confused with neglect. Nationwide, 30% of America’s foster children could be home right now if their parents just had adequate housing. But the same Maryland governments that are willing to spend the money to house foster youth alone in hotels won’t house families who lack decent housing in hotels in order to keep them together. …