Tuesday, October 3, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending October 3, 2023

● It was a day I didn’t expect to see in my lifetime: Families who had been silenced for decades told their stories at a seven-hour hearing of a New York State Assembly committee.  And, it appears, the politicians listened.  The moment I’ll never forget: Testimony from the mother of a young child needlessly taken, then abused in foster care.  Now that they’re reunited, she said, “My daughter hears a knock on the door and she hides under the table because she thinks it’s ACS.”  Here’s the story from The Imprint.  And here’s the video of the entire hearing. 

● Still afraid of the A word?  Let Roxanna Asgarian explain what “abolition” is and what it isn’t in this story for In These Times.  She writes: 

The abolitionists’ vision of an alternative is more nuanced than critics claim. They want to dismantle the surveillance and punishment aspects of the child welfare system — which research shows decrease neighborhood trust — and replace them with a robust support network that isn’t punitive. The idea is that, when people have their needs met, they are less likely to harm those closest to them, and strong communities caring for children will provide better opportunities to intervene if and when harm happens. 

● Asgarian’s explanation is so clear even what should be called “the Scooby Gang” should be able to understand it.  I have a blog post about why they probably won’t. 

● But instead, all the family policing establishment can come up with is relabeling surveillance as a “child and family well-being system.” I have a column in The Imprint about why we should worry when they say “I’m from the new, improved child and family well-being system and I’m here to help you!” 

● For the Hastings Center on Bioethics, Anne Zimmerman writes that “Our System for Reporting Child Abuse is Unethical.” She calls for the abolition of mandatory reporting and the abolition of the subspeciality of child abuse pediatrics. 

● The Biden Administration has proposed, and, in one case, implemented some new rules that look like steps in the right direction, including making it easier for kinship foster parents to become licensed and expanding reimbursement for family defense.  There are stories in The Imprint and from CNN

● Remember that “computer glitch” that led to judges all over Arizona making decisions in family policing matters without all the documents they were supposed to have? In the Arizona Daily Star, a family defender and a social worker argue that 

This is not just a story about a data glitch. It’s a revealing story about the "surveillance tentacles" of the state’s “child welfare” system, the pervasive failure of the system to listen to the people it targets, and the ways adding a layer of technology magnifies the system’s harms. 

● Arizona also brings us more reminders that the horrors go in all directions. If you run a group home or an institution in Arizona and you want to abuse the kids, you’ve pretty much got a free pass, according to a state report.  Check out the story from KPNX-TV and the story from the Arizona Capitol Times

● That may help explain how a tragedy like this death in foster care could have happened.  

● Who says that great big McLawsuit brought by Children’s Rights and A Better Childhood accomplished nothing?  Texas Public Radio reveals how it helped some middle managers in the Texas family police agency get free vacations! 

● Another example of news organizations exposing problems they may well have worsened in the first place.  It’s a tossup which news organization in Washington State has been worse about ignoring wrongful removal, sucking up to foster parents and generally encouraging a take-the-child-and-run mentality: The Seattle Times or Investigate West.  

Now, Investigate West has a big expose (essentially like all the other big exposes you’ve read) about a hideous troubled teen industry institution in Idaho.  But even now, the story blames the problem on a “shortage” of foster homes – an artificial “shortage” worsened by news stories encouraging the overloading ot the the system with children who don’t need to be there.