Tuesday, March 14, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending March 14, 2023

● I’ll begin by repeating my favorite paragraph among all the rave reviews for Roxanna Asgarian’s book, We Were Once a Family.  This is from The New York Times: 

 "[Asgarian] knows that abolishing #fostercare as it’s currently practiced might sound not only undesirable but almost inconceivable to many people — myself among them, at least before the book unsettled some of my assumptions ..." [Emphasis added.] 
Links to this review, reviews in The Washington Post and The New Yorker, and more are on this blog here.  And see also an excerpt from the book in The Texas Tribune.

There are more good books on the way: 

● NYU Press will publish Prof. Jane Spinak’s book, The End of Family Court: How Abolishing the Court Brings Justice to Children and Families on August 1.  If you use the code SPINAK30-FM at checkout, you can get 30% off.  

● In September, Princeton University Press will publish Prof. Kelley Fong’s book, Investigating Families: Motherhood in the Shadow of Child Protective Services. 

 In other news:

● With the federal Indian Child Welfare Act under threat at the Supreme Court, The Imprint reports that Minnesota is the latest state to strengthen its own statute concerning the rights of Native American children to live with their own families.  As the story explains: 

The stakes are particularly high for these families in Minnesota — which encompasses 11 federally recognized tribes. The state has the ignoble distinction of having the highest rate in the nation of separating Indigenous children from their families. Native American children in Minnesota are 16 times more likely than white children to be removed from their homes, according to state data. 

● At least ten other states have strengthened protections for Native families or are considering doing so.  Wyoming is one of them.   But KELO-TV reports, South Dakota is not.  Given that state’s history, as reported more than a decade ago by NPR, that’s not surprising. 

● Canada has a similarly ugly history when it comes to child welfare and Canada’s First Nations. Canada has done more than the United States to face up to it.  But, as a new lawsuit documents, not nearly enough.  As CBC News reports, that suit calls the modern Canadian family policing system "the next round of cultural genocide and discrimination toward First Nations." 

● Two big new studies, one in JAMA Open and one in Academic Pediatrics examine who gets drug tested in hospitals and who doesn’t.  It’s who you think. 

● The problem is bad enough when the drug tests are accurate. It may be compounded if your state is using a company that allegedly cuts corners, leading to an alarming rate of false positives.  KSL-TV reports that Utah is cutting ties with a company accused of just that.  But only after the television station exposed the problem. 

● In San Diego, Arabella McCormack and her sisters were taken from their mother not because she abused them, but because they witnessed domestic violence.  They were placed with foster parents who adopted them.  That’s where Arabella died.  As KNSD-TV reports: 

 Prosecutors say she was severely malnourished, weighing just 48 pounds at the time. They also say her body was covered in bruises and doctors found 15 still-healing bone fractures. 

Arabella’s mother is suing – and still fighting for the return of Arabella’s sisters, who remain in foster care. 

● In Massachusetts, which tears apart children at a rate 60% above the national average, a state that has been an outlier for decades, and a state where the “Child Advocate” appears determined to make that record worse, NBC10 Boston reports on a lawsuit alleging that horrific abuse in a state-licensed foster home was ignored for years.