Wednesday, February 8, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending February 7, 2023

● The first item is one I missed when it was published last November. I link to it now because I am in awe of the work from Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel  Ken Armstrong of ProPublica that went into it and the skill required to tell this story.  Called simply, The Landlord and the Tenant  It’s a story about the failings of family policing, and so much more. 

● Speaking of great journalism, on The Imprint podcast Joe Shapiro of NPR discusses his investigation into states forcing families to pay ransom to family policing agencies to get their children back from foster care.  (The agencies call it “child support” but listen closely at 36:23 in, and you’ll hear Imprint editor John Kelly use the R-word :-))  The interview starts at 16:40 in. 

● Still another victory in the fight against computerized racial profiling (or as the family police prefer to call it “predictive analytics”) in child welfare: The Associated Press reports that Connecticut’s advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says that state needs more safeguards and transparency for such algorithms.  This comes on the heels of AP’s revelation that the most far-reaching – and most highly-touted – such algorithm of all, the one in Pittsburgh, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice concerning possible bias against the disabled. 

Writing for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Policy Lab, Dr. Mical Raz writes about the harm of the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act: 

On this anniversary of ASFA, we should relieve ourselves of outdated notions of providing “new families” for children on an arbitrary timeline, and instead work to support families in creating communities in which all children can thrive.  

You can read the whole series of recent commentaries on the harm of ASFA here

● The Associated Press looks at states moving to bolster protections for Native American children in case the federal Indian Child Welfare Act is struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Imprint reports on legislation in Washington State that would provide families with lawyers when faced with being coerced into placing children in “hidden foster care.”  The state family police agency is trying to “Yes, but…” the bill to death. 

● In Hawaii, Honolulu Civil Beat reports, the family police are using a variation on the technique – the “let’s have a study commission!” diversion. They're using it to try to derail legislation to simply require the family police (or any other police) to get a warrant before tearing a child from her or his family unless the child truly is in imminent danger. 

● In Arizona, two teenagers run away from their group home.  Two weeks later their bodies are found in a nearby pond.  The only “solution” the group home industry can come up with is lamenting the fact that they can’t lock kids in.  In this blog post, I suggest a better idea

● In Dayton, Ohio, a misdiagnosis of child abuse forced infants into foster care for nearly a year.  Now the family is suing. 

● And just in case anyone needs still another study documenting that reducing poverty reduces child “neglect,” here’s another study documenting that reducing poverty reduces child “neglect.”