Tuesday, January 31, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending January 31, 2023

● When the miracle cure turns out to be snake oil:  There’s still another problem with Pittsburgh's predictive analytics “child welfare” algorithm.  Now, on top everything else, such as ethically-challenged ethics reviews and concerns about racial bias, there’s this: The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into whether the algorithm discriminates against families in which a parent is disabled.  

● Now that people have finally caught on that much of what family policing agencies (a more accurate term than “child protective services” agencies) do is confuse poverty with neglect, the child welfare establishment has come up with a new excuse to justify all that surveillance of impoverished families and removal of their children: Neglect, they suggest, is a gateway allegation.  In The Imprint, I explain why it’s not.

The Missouri Independent reports on how that state’s family policing agency claims it’s going to rebuild the system – including NCCPR’s take on why the agency is still getting it wrong.

On The Imprint podcast, former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack discusses the stunning dissent she wrote in her last child welfare case – a call to transform “child welfare” in Michigan, and everywhere else. 

The Montana Free Press has a good rundown on the status of a whole series of excellent bills being considered in a state that, until now, has been anything but a leader in “child welfare.” I have some additional context here. 

● In Arizona, a father takes too many painkillers so he can work to raise his diabetic son.  He’s jailed and his son is thrown into foster care.  The boy dies in foster care just two weeks later.  In this post, I contrast this father to a mom who used to live in my neighborhood. She had a similar addiction to painkillers – and to booze as well.  But nobody took away her children. 

● The problems with the family policing approach to drug use are bad enough when the drug tests are valid.  But what if they’re not?  Vice News has a follow-up to their earlier reporting on this.