Tuesday, May 23, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, weeks ending May 23, 2023

--Yes, children can be torn from their mothers during some of the most crucial hours and days of their lives – their first – just because Mom smoked pot.  The Bronx Defenders is suing New York City’s family police agency, the Administration for Children’s Services, over such a case. They’re also suing to find out more about that scathing internal assessment of ACS’ own racism that the agency commissioned and then tried to hide.  Check out the stories in The New York Times, Law360 and The Imprint.  But note that in all of these stories,ACS once again flat-out lies when it claims it can’t comment on individual cases. So, one more time, here’s the link to the law that says they can.

So please ask yourselves: Why should an agency that lies over and over and over again about something so basic be trusted about anything?

--“If you’re Black you’re ACS adjacent,” says one of the mothers investigated by the agency in this story by the New York Civil Liberties Union and The Appeal.  The story takes readers step-by-step past the Disney version ACS wants you to believe, and explains how it all really plays out.  From the story: 

The department has vast authority over those who come under suspicion, and it’s able to conduct “emergency removals” of children from their families. ACS can carry out these removals outside of family court hours, without prior notice, and without submitting to oversight beforehand to ensure the action is justified. The timing can leave parents reeling and unable to contact government offices with questions or objections: If ACS conducts a removal on a Friday night, for example, a judge will not review it until Monday.

In an accompanying commentary, Sarah Duggan of JMAC for Families writes about the urgent need for a family Miranda rights law, because

Once the family police gain access to a home, they inflict extreme stress on parents and children. Children watch a stranger rummage through their refrigerators, closets, and drawers. They listen as this person interrogates their parents about relationships, personal medical histories, and employment. They are forced to answer probing questions designed to portray their caretaker as negligent and untrustworthy. This stranger often asks them to undress so they can search their body for scrapes and bruises, regardless of whether there is an allegation of abuse.

And please remember: New York City’s horrible system is better than almost everyplace else – so wherever you are, it’s probably worse.

--You may think you know all about the evil - and that is the word -- inflicted on Native American children by the Child Welfare League of America – but now please read this from The New York Times.  (And CWLA’s long-ago apology rings hollow – since they still support draconian policing laws such as the so-called Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act.) 

And see also this story from Searchlight New Mexico, which focuses on a Native American child adopted by a well-meaning white couple. That couple gave her everything money could buy. But that wasn’t what she needed.

--The abuses described in the Times story were curbed by the Indian Child Welfare Act. But with ICWA facing a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court, many states are moving to enact their own protections.  The Imprint has a state-by-state rundown.

--Attn: Family police: Children’s “well-being” is none of your damn business!. It’s not that well-being isn’t vitally important. In fact, it’s far too important to leave to agencies that claim to promote “well-being” by threatening to take away children. So called “child and family well-being systems” only further increase family police power – and drive families away from seeking help.  In this column for The Imprint, Nora McCarthy explains what should be done instead.

--The extent of family police involvement may limit the effectiveness of initiatives in California such as those discussed in this story from The Imprint.  But at least they include proposals to discourage needless reporting of “neglect.”  Also, in a field where rhetoric can have a profound effect, the change in rhetoric from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from, say, a decade ago, is remarkable.  Oh, and Sean Hughes, a lobbyist and consultant for family policing agencies who has derided the very idea that poverty is confused with neglect is against it, which is always a good sign.

--The Indiana Capital Chronicle published a very good story after seeing NCCPR’s blog post about a study revealing that almost every Black child in that state will be forced to endure a child abuse investigation.

--The justification for inflicting so much trauma on millions of children is child abuse horror stories.  But as we noted on this blog, the horror stories go in all directions.

--There’s been still another expose of still another “child welfare” agency swiping foster youth’s Social Security benefits to keep for themselves – this time it’s San Diego County, California.

--And Newsweek looks at “How Hospitals Are Secretly Drug Testing Pregnant Women.”