Tuesday, October 17, 2023

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending October 17, 2023

Suppose you are very rich. In September you send your son off to boarding school. But when Christmas vacation came around, he does not return. Instead, you got a letter from a lawyer for your son’s gym coach. 

The lawyer explains that your son and the coach have “bonded.” An expert on “attachment theory” they’ve hired concludes it wouldn’t be in your son's "best interests" to return home. Instead, the coach is going to court to adopt your child – because he now has every bit as much right to your child as you do.  Consider this as you read this vitally important story from The New Yorker and ProPublica.

Here’s an excerpt: 

It’s not acceptable in most family courts to explicitly argue that, if you have more material advantages to provide a child, you should get to adopt him or her. Outside the courtroom, though, intervenors are sometimes less discreet. During a 2021 case meeting, according to a specialist who took notes, a foster parent and [attorney Tim] Eirich client said, of the prospect of reuniting a baby boy with his biological family, “He’s used to being raised by a maternal figure who stays home. We have 1.5 acres for him to run around, and they have an apartment.” Another foster parent and Eirich client told me that reuniting a baby girl with her birth mother would mean transitioning her from a “personalized nanny” to a “day care center with, you know, 50 kids running around, and sleeping on a little cot.” …

● Speaking of excerpts, The Guardian has an excerpt adapted from one of the most important books about family policing this year or any year, Prof. Kelley Fong’s Investigating Families. 

● Speaking of important books, The Imprint talks to Prof. Jane Spinak, author of The End of Family Court. 

● And Nonprofit Quarterly interviews Prof. Alan Dettlaff about his book, Confronting the Racist Legacy of the American Child Welfare System 

● Of course not everyone thinks things are so bad. I have a blog post about the newsletter that tells foster youth, in effect: Great news! We’ve ruined your lives, but you’re getting free haircuts! 

● As the Illinois family policing agency gets ready to hire a new director, Aaron Goldstein of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office writes in the Chicago Tribune that what’s needed is transformational change, not more foster-care panic. 

The Imprint reports on the new Family Miranda rights law that has now taken effect in Texas – and makes a point that most Texas media can’t seem to grasp: 

The Texas law — introduced by Republican state Rep. James Frank and jointly authored by Reps. Gene Wu and Josey Garcia, both Democrats, along with Republican Rep. Candy Noble — is part of a larger bipartisan effort to reform the state’s beleaguered foster care system and prioritize keeping families together.