Thursday, December 1, 2022

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

 There’s been so much news since the last round-up that I’m dividing this one up into two parts. Part two, tomorrow, is just for stories about Florida. 

● Two years ago, New York City’s family policing agency, the Administration for Children’s Services, commissioned a study of racism in the agency.  Among the recommendations: “Transparently share information and data around decision-making.”  ACS’ response: Don’t release the report!  When you read it you’ll see why.  The Bronx Defenders obtained the report via a Freedom of Information Act request, and The New York Times published a front-page story.  Meanwhile, new data showed that during the city’s “unintended abolition” child safety improved.  I have a three-part series about all this, including links to the full report and the Times story. 

● In Connecticut, an 11-year-old girl was sexually assaulted at a “residential treatment center.” The RTC says it was the child’s fault!  I have a column about it in The CT Mirror. 

● The CT Mirror column cites several other examples of horrible things happening to very young children at RTCs across the country, including the death of a seven-year-old in Kentucky.  Now, NBC News reports, parents of another young child are suing the same RTC over alleged abuse. 

● When Honolulu Civil Beat reached out to NCCPR for comment on the findings of a study, done by the state’s own Court Improvement Project, of what really happens in child welfare court hearings, I said: 

“What this report tells us is that Hawaii doesn’t really have a court system for ‘child welfare’ cases at all. Hawaii has an assembly line of injustice, in which everyone pretends to be holding hearings, but they’re just going through the motions before rubber-stamping whatever [the state family policing agency wants.]” 

Read the story and see what you think.  And please think of that story again, whenever a family policing apologist hands you that line of bull about “a judge has to approve everything we do.” 

That outstanding, comprehensive report from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union on the racial and class biases that permeate family policing is the subject of stories from Youth Today and from The Imprint. 

In The Hill, Dr. Ruchi Fitzgerald, a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Legislative Advocacy Committee, explains the enormous harm done by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to children of mothers with substance use disorder – by driving those mothers away from help.

KING-TV in Seattle reports that a foster mother allegedly kidnapped a five-year-old foster child in her care.  The police asked news media to alert readers and viewers.  But there was no Amber Alert.  That's because, at least in Washington State, if a foster parent allegedly kidnaps a child, the case is not eligible for an Amber Alert. And here's KING's follow-up story:

● In Massachusetts, which tears apart families at one of the highest rates in the nation, NBC10 Boston has the second of two excellent stories on what the Massachusetts take-the-child-and-run mentality did to one family.  But what was most striking is the unusual awareness and empathy this family displayed.  From the story: 

The couple is quick to point out their ordeal turned out better than many other removal situations, especially for minority and low-income parents. 

For one, their kids were placed with relatives after a brief stint in foster care, allowing them to regularly see Clarence and Cal. They also had the resources to hire an experienced attorney to navigate the complicated process. 

“There certainly needs to be a check and balance there,” Sabey said. “We’re going to try to change the system and improve things for other families that don’t necessarily have the social capital or network that we have.” 

● As the Supreme Court considers a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, NBC News has a timely documentary about what it was like before ICWA – in the days when Native American children were institutionalized in hideous “boarding schools” as part of an explicit effort to eradicate their culture. 

● And in one of the worst counties in one of the worst states when it comes to tearing apart Native American families, Iowa Public Radio looks at the annual Memorial March to Honor Lost Children. 

● In Minnesota, The Star-Tribune looks at how family police agencies in that state continue to engage in what amounts to stealing foster children’s money.  (They hate it when you call it stealing, but see what you think.)  State legislation has been introduced that would stop the theft.  Much of the impetus to change this odious practice across the country comes from this excellent reporting by NPR and The Marshall Project. 

● Ever wonder why, when states tell the federal government how many children are abused in foster care the number they give is so low, but independent studies find rates of abuse that are so much higher?  Simple. Family policing agencies pretend that the abuse never happened.  WBBM-TV in Chicago is the latest to expose this.  The findings are strikingly similar to a USA Today investigation in Florida last year. 

And speaking of Florida, please come back tomorrow for a special edition of the round-up devoted to Florida stories.