Tuesday, January 2, 2024

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending January 2, 2024

● Want to see how easy it is for the foster care system to become the ultimate middle-class entitlement – step right up and take a poor person’s child for your very own? Check out KUSA-TV Denver’s story about how this case turned out in Colorado.  And if you want to know more about the lawyer who won, check out Eli Hager’s story for ProPublica and The New Yorker

● Even Scrooge didn’t go this far.  All over the country, states and localities have been swiping Social Security Survivor and Disability benefits to which some foster youth are entitled.  More than a year ago Philadelphia passed a law prohibiting the city’s family policing agency, the Department of Human Services, from doing this.  But apparently, the three ghosts never showed up at Philadelphia DHS - because, as Resolve Philly reported on the day after Christmas in this story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, they’ve done right on illegally taking the money.  So tell us again DHS, why are we supposed to trust you to determine what’s in children’s “best interests”? 

Gothamist reports that 

Black communities in New York City have long said the city's child welfare agency has subjected them to an unmatched degree of scrutiny and that their families have borne the brunt of forced separations. 

Now, a new analysis of city data by the New York Civil Liberties Union finds that the agency, the Administration for Children’s Services, has furthered racial disparities the group and other advocates say are a hallmark of the child welfare system.

● In a commentary for Honolulu Civil Beat John Hill poses this hypothetical: 

[I]magine that you are a parent wrongly accused of abuse or neglect. Imagine that the [guardian ad litem, who recommends whatever s/he thinks is in the child’s “best interests”] has submitted a report to the judge arguing that your child should be taken away and put in foster care. Imagine you then find out that the same judge is on the board of directors of the nonprofit who provided the GAL, and that several other courtroom players are on that same board. 

In this week’s edition of The Horror Stories Go in All Directions:

The Arizona Mirror reports teenagers in foster care in that state told a legislative committee why they run away: The group homes in which they are placed are so horrible that, at first, even the streets seem like a better alternative. 

From the Oregon Capital Chronicle

The Oregon Department of Human Services has agreed to pay $40 million to settle a lawsuit filed by four former foster children who were sexually and physically abused in a foster home, court records show. … One of the victims in the case endured sexual abuse that led to a 30-year prison sentence for a former foster father in 2017. With detailed documents and testimony, the lawsuit alleges caseworkers repeatedly ignored signs of abuse and tried to cover up the abuse of one child who suffered seven broken bones – even as a criminal prosecution was underway.