Tuesday, December 13, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending December 13, 2022

“I missed years of my childhood,” said one of his daughters, Sierra, 12, who was separated from her siblings while in state custody “If I could talk to the head of Arizona DCS I would say don’t take my father from me ever again.”

The quote is from still another in the outstanding series of stories from ProPublica and NBC News.  This one focuses on racial bias in the big city where that problem may be worst – Phoenix, Arizona. And the version on NBC Nightly News is worth checking out just to hear the head of Arizona’s family police agency say this:

That is, of course, like saying if you have cancer and chemo didn’t work, you don’t really have cancer.

● I’ve linked previously to stories from NBC10 Boston describing what the Massachusetts family police did to the children of a family in Waltham – and why, harrowing though it was, this family knows so many others have it even worse.  Now there’s been a very good in-depth newspaper account – but not from the Boston Globe (which, if you know the Boston Globe isn’t surprising.  It’s from The Washington Post.  There’s a link to the Post story in this NCCPR Blog post, which zeroes in on some disturbing comments by a Harvard professor. 

● As is so often the case, the professor’s comments minimize the harm of one of the worst “adverse childhood experiences” a child can endure – being torn from everyone s/he knows and loves and thrown into foster care.  But in California, that adverse childhood experience may be more likely – thanks to a science-be-damned, ethically-questionable experiment on overwhelmingly poor, nonwhite Californians.  It involves, yes, a questionnaire about adverse childhood experiences.  I have a column about it in CalMatters

There’s still more about the harm of the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act.  

In The Imprint, Kathleen Creamer, managing attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia writes: 

My clients are the children of ASFA. It has decimated their lives. So very many of my clients are the products of a system that devalued their connections and took them away, forever, not only from their parents, but from their brothers and sisters. From their grandparents. From their aunts and uncles. From their neighborhood, their community, their culture. I have seen the trauma of this approach ripple across generations as the system that ripped children from their natural family supports seeks to take away their own children as they move into adulthood. 

● New York City’s family defenders write in the New York Daily News that “Our collective experience of representing nearly 40,000 New York City parents over the past 15 years makes clear that ASFA must be repealed.”  

● And in Family Court Review, Prof. Shanta Trivedi, director of the  Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts at the University of Baltimore explains why "The Adoption and Safe Families Act is Not Worth Saving: The Case for Repeal." 

You can read all the recent commentaries on the harm of ASFA here

● Professor Trivedi’s article is included in a summary of recent scholarship on the harm of family policing published by The Regulatory Review. Also included are links to scholarship from Dorothy Roberts, Josh Gupta-Kagan, Sarah Lorr, Alan Detlaff, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church and Ann Laquer Estin. 

● Remember that report commissioned by New York City’s family policing agency which found that some of the agency’s own workers said it has a huge problem with racism? You know, the report the agency tried to suppress?  In back-to-back interviews on public radio’s Here and Now, the head of the agency gives his spin – and then Joyce McMillan of JMAC for Families tells the real story to anchor Deepa Fernandes, who, by the way, has done some excellent reporting of her own on this topic. 

● To what should, by now, be the surprise of no one, Health Day News reports that still another study finds that when poor people have less money, their children are more likely to wind up in foster care. 

Lenore Skenazy writes in Reason about a case illustrating why Virginia is another state that needs a right-to-childhood law.  (And until then, Virginia parents, never ever let your child knock on the door of a child protective services caseworker.) 

● I’ve previously written about an absurd “task force” overseen by Colorado’s “Child Protection Ombudsman” that’s going to spend two years and nearly $100,000 to determine why children run from “residential treatment.” Yes, seriously.  The Ombudsman’s office also is overseeing another task force. This one is about mandatory reporting.  If this story from 9News Denver is any indication, this one is more promising.