Tuesday, January 10, 2023

NCCPR News and commentary round-up, week ending January 10, 2023

● A story I first wrote about on this blog last September has taken an unspeakably tragic turn. In a state that tears apart children at a rate 80% above the national average, a state where the head of the family police agency effectively admits violating federal law requiring “reasonable efforts” to keep families together, a tragedy like this should shock, but not surprise.  I have an update.

● Here’s the good news, as reported by The Arizona Republic: 

An Arizona woman who used medicinal cannabis to combat morning sickness during her pregnancy will have her name removed from the state’s child-abuse registry. 

Here’s the bad news: It took a decision of the Arizona Supreme Court to get this done. 

There’s a new study out from Rutgers University concerning children placed in foster care for 30 days or less – placements that always raise the question: If you could return the child in 30 days why did you take the child at all?  The study found that the children to whom this happened “are overwhelmingly Asian American, Black or Native American, raising questions about the impartiality of states’ child welfare systems and policies.”  The study also found that most of these children were placed in the worst form of care – they were institutionalized.

● From a story by WMAQ-TV Chicago

“My daughter rushed to the car and she’s like, ‘mommy DCFS came to the school, and the lady made it sound like we weren’t going to come home with you today,'" she said. 

What heinous crime against her child had this mother committed?  What had she done that was so awful that the trauma of a child abuse investigation was inflicted on her child, and her child left with the impression she couldn’t return to her family?  

Mom was late picking her up from school. 

It’s standard operating procedure for Chicago Public Schools to do this to children – and for DCFS (the Department of Children and Family Services) to investigate.  Good thing they don’t have anything else to do. 

Unfortunately Chicago is not alone. It also happens in Washington, D.C.

● A “home alone” case with a twist: The parents are affluent.  HuffPost looks at how racial and class bias affect how this case is being handled, compared to so many others. 

● And then there’s this New York Times story about how, over and over, politicians insist traffic congestion can be solved by widening highways – and it never works.  The problem is something called “induced demand.”  The new highway draws people away from alternatives, and soon all you have is the same traffic mess on a bigger highway.  What’s that got to do with child welfare?  Simple. The same thing happens whenever agencies think they can curb high caseloads with a caseworker hiring binge.