Wednesday, October 26, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending October 25, 2022

Before the news, a few words about two big virtual events:

NOVEMBER 2, 2:00 pm ET: Family Integrity and Justice Works kicks off a National Campaign to Address the Harms Caused by Adoption and Safe Families Act: Reimaging Permanency. 

Also:  Recordings of the panels at the upEND Movement convening last week are now available online.

And now the news – beginning with some good news: 

● The Family Justice Law Center plans to sue family policing agencies for needlessly traumatizing families in all sorts of ways, including violating their Fourth Amendment rights. The New York Times reports that the center’s founder, David Shalleck-Klein, just won the New York City equivalent of a “genius grant.” Congratulations to Mr. Shalleck-Klein – and to the headline writer at the Times, who got the headline exactly right. 

● A Native American child who never should have been taken in the first place.  A grandmother who waged a grueling fight for her – and the white stranger-care parents who tried to keep the child by playing the bonding card.  The grandmother won, but, The Imprint reports, the stranger-care parents are among those challenging the law that made the victory possible: The Indian Child Welfare Act. 

● Speaking of how white society treats Native Americans, Indian Country Today has a story about where Jesuit orders in the west allegedly dumped their “problem priests.” It’s where you think. 

● Speaking of the “bonding card,” should we take bets on when it will be played in connection with the horrifying case that is the subject of this story from the Associated Press? I have a blog post on key lessons from the case. 

● And speaking of horrifying, New York Magazine has a story about the harm allegedly caused by still another “child abuse pediatrician.” 

There’s also this about a psychiatrist in San Antonio contracted by the Texas family policing agency to treat foster youth. 

● If you’re wondering how easy it is to confuse poverty with neglect, check out this column from Lenore Skenazy in Reason about a bizarre policy in Maryland best described as a lot of bunk. 

NPR interviewed Julia Lurie of Mother Jones about her excellent story documenting how Massachusetts children sometimes have to wait weeks to be reunited after being wrongfully taken by the family police, entirely on their own authority, because that’s how long it takes for the “72-hour hearing” in which a judge first reviews the evidence.  Lurie cited issues that Massachusetts media almost always ignore: 

So you have a number of problems. One is the high rate of CPS involvement, again, particularly in the homes of Black or brown families. … 

And, concerning solutions: 

So child welfare experts that I've spoken to have pointed to a few changes. One is being much more judicious about removals to begin with and only removing kids from families that absolutely need to be removed. … 

● And speaking of things media sometimes miss: I have a blog post about how an attempt by the New York Times Opinion pages to expose the horrors of “residential treatment” may have backfired. 

● It’s not just the Times.  With rare exceptions, media are falling for the party line from the residential treatment industry that the only way to solve the problem of children trapped in makeshift placements is to expand RTCs and give them more money. But the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Virginia is showing that there’s a better way. 

● Are there ways to mitigate the harm of mandatory child abuse reporting laws, even while we're still stuck with them? In The Imprint, Nora McCarthy of the New York City Family Policy Project says yes - and has some specific suggestions.

● The Biden Administration has a plan to make it easier for pregnant women with substance use issues to get medication-assisted treatment.  But the plan does not address the problem of family police agencies and courts that refuse to allow such treatment and demand abstinence only – causing enormous needless trauma to infants torn from their mothers at birth. 

● And in Florida, Spectrum News 13 reports on the high turnover among family police caseworkers – including NCCPR’s perspective on what’s causing it.