Tuesday, September 26, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending September 26, 2023

● What does it really mean to confuse poverty with “neglect”? This heartbreaking, thoroughly reported story from CT Mirror has all the nuance and all the angles. 

● Among those quoted in the story: Kelley Fong, whose new book, Investigating Families has been called by Prof. Martin Guggenheim “the best book of its kind I’ve ever read.”  Prof. Fong will be interviewed at the second of these two events sponsored by the City University of New York School of Law.  (Note that you need to register for each separately  You can register for the first event here and the second event here.)


● The head of the family police agency in Missouri is bragging that they have reduced foster care.  But, in this commentary for the Missouri Independent, one of the nation’s leading experts on hidden foster care asks:  Have they reduced foster care, or just renamed it? (And is the same sleight-of-hand going on in your state?)  

● We don’t know why the Philadelphia family police agency took Hezekiah Bernard from his mother.  But we do know that when they couldn’t handle him, they simply sent him back – suggesting there were alternatives to taking him in the first place.  So he was back home, in worse shape than before, and Mom was on her own.  The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on what happened next. 

● Last week, we highlighted a story from The Boston Globe about how the Massachusetts family police agency persecutes survivors of domestic violence.  They do it even though the damage to children from needless removal is compounded when they are taken in these circumstances.  The Boston Globe editorial board did some additional reporting for this excellent commentary. 

● But that isn’t even the worst thing the Massachusetts family police were revealed to be doing this week.  Try to imagine the worst possible place to institutionalize adults.  Now imagine an agency so cruel it would put children there.  You don’t need to imagine it.  Just check out the story from Boston25 News.  And for more context on this institution, see this excellent 2012 story from New York Magazine. 

● And, still in Massachusetts – a state that has long torn apart families at a rate far above the national average, there’s this reminder, from NBC10 that the horror stories go in all directions. 

● Next door in New Hampshire, where they tear apart families at an even higher rate and institutionalize children at an astounding rate -- I have a column in the Concord Monitor about why one worthy program isn’t enough to change this. 

● Even when the group homes and institutions aren’t as awful as those described above, “group care destroys lives almost instantaneously,” says Kaylah McMillan, a former foster youth who lived it, in USA Today. 

● The survivors of family policing need more than an apology – they need reparations.  Nora McCarthy discusses this in her column for The Imprint. 

The Imprint has a story about what the New York City family police agency is trying to, shall we say, palm off, as telling families their rights.  It's a small step forward, but what's really needed is legislation requiring that families know all their rights.

● Among those most ardent about pushing the false, racist myth that COVID would lead to a “pandemic of child abuse” were the nation’s so-called “Child Advocacy Centers” and their trade association.  In the wake of a scandal engulfing one such center in Pennsylvania, the Allentown Morning Call has some context

● California could become the biggest jurisdiction yet to stop swiping foster children’s Social Security benefits if Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a bill the legislature just passed

● There are a few reporters across the country who seem to specialize in exposing problems their journalism may well have worsened.  In Texas, no reporter has been more fanatical about ignoring wrongful removal and promoting the myth that any effort to oppose the needless removal of children is some kind of vast right-wing conspiracy than Robert T. Garrett of the Dallas Morning News.  So when you read this Garrett story about predators who go where the prey is – the makeshift placements where children are warehoused because of an artificial “shortage” of foster homes – think about how they got there in the first place. 

● You know how shelters and other institutions go out of their way to make their buildings and grounds look nice, to try to fool people into thinking good things are going on inside?  WFLA-TV has a story about a place that isn’t even bothering to try.