Tuesday, August 22, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending August 22, 2023

● Until a few years ago, you probably never would have read a story like this one, from Toriano Porter, a member of the editorial board of the Kansas City Star.  Because, until a few years ago, people with Toriano Poter’s lived experience were rarely hired by newspaper editorial boards.  So this urgent story isn’t just about the tyranny of family policing, this time in the most literal sense of the term.  This story also is about the power of newsroom diversity, and the need for more of it. (And if you hit the Star’s paywall, look for the questionnaire option.  Any spam you may receive as a result will be worth it.) 

● After the tragic death of a child in Connecticut, Prof. Kelley Fong asks in a commentary for the Hartford Courant if the head of the state’s family police agency will make sure there’s no foster-care panic. 

She writes: 

DCF has expressed a commitment to keeping families together, and has worked, impressively, to decrease foster care caseloads and refer families to community supports. Now the rubber meets the road, as DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes and her team face their first big test. Will they waver in the face of pressure? Or will they uphold their commitments to child safety through family preservation?

 ­● When the data from 2021 showed that claims made the year before about a coming COVID-induced “pandemic of child abuse” were just the usual fearmongering from the family policing establishment, they replied: Just wait ‘till we see the data from 2022!  Well, the wait is over: I have a blog post about data from 2022. 

● There’s been a monumental screw-up in Arizona.  CBS 5 reports that in a minimum of 3,800 cases the screw-up “prevented judges from seeing all the information available in cases before making life-changing decisions like removing a child from their home.” 

As The Arizona Republic explains: 

The discovery has broad implications for children, parents and potential adoptive parents. In the immediate term, 596 ongoing cases will be reviewed over the next two weeks. 

Attorneys and DCS staffers also have to review the 139 adoption cases, as well as 515 guardianship cases that have been completed since the system launched, raising the possibility that decisions in those cases might be reversed, or at least revisited.

The family police agency asked the courts to postpone all "child welfare" cases for two weeks until they could figure out which documents are missing in which cases.  But in the state's largest county, Maricopa, the judges have refused. 

● In Hawaii, Honolulu Civil Beat reports, Melanie Joseph kicked a meth habit and put herself through all sorts of “services” to prove she can be a good mother to her newborn son.  But apparently, the family police don’t believe it.  The family police are the ones who took Melanie’s six-year-old daughter away and placed her with the foster/adoptive parents now accused of torturing and murdering her.  So, whose judgment should we trust here? 

● In the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, Prof. Shanta Trivedi explores the harm done to some of the children hurt most by “mandatory reporting” laws – children whose mothers are, themselves, survivors of domestic violence. 

● Prof. Trivedi also is quoted in this story from the Baltimore Banner about Maryland making it a little harder for the family police to tear apart families when a parent smokes marijuana.  Read the story in conjunction with the story mentioned here to get a full understanding of who gets to smoke marijuana and be a parent – and who doesn’t. 

● In New Hampshire, the state’s “Child Advocate” says now that two children have been removed from a horrible institution in Tennessee she can get “a good night’s sleep.”  I have a blog post about why she really shouldn’t be resting easy. 

New York Magazine spoke to Angela Tucker, author of You Should Be Grateful: Stories of Race, Identity, and Transracial Adoption, about what should now be called the alleged adoption of Michael Oher, whose story was told (or was it?) in the movie The Blind Side.  Tucker calls it 

the quintessential white-supremacy moment. What do Black and brown people have to do in order to be seen as fully human and deserving of being believed? As Black adoptees, we don’t get that benefit of the doubt. There can never be an accusation that we make without people defending white people first, looking at us sideways, thinking, There’s gotta be more to the story. Maybe they’re exaggerating. 

● And In New York City, family defenders have presented comprehensive testimony to the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  The committee is studying racial bias in the New York family policing system.