Tuesday, January 30, 2024

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, week ending January 30, 2024

● Twenty years ago, Youth Today revealed the stunning results of a study of Court-Appointed Special Advocates commissioned by the National CASA Association itself.  The study found that the program didn’t work.  The story concluded that National CASA’s desperate efforts to spin the findings “can border on duplicity.” 

Now, The Imprint has surveyed the research on CASA.  It finds no evidence that CASA works – and the most rigorous study finds it actually does harm.  And it does this harm at a cost of $477 million per year, most of it taxpayer funds.  Think of it: $477 million thrown away on a program that fails at best, does harm at worst.  That’s more than double total federal spending on the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. 

As for how CASA and its various chapters spin these findings – well, read the story for yourself. 

And we have more on CASA in our 2021 presentation to the Kempe Center international conference.

● Despite this dismal track record, CASA is explicitly included as an option for "representation" of children in court under the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.  Another egregious practice encouraged by CAPTA is mandatory reporting.  On this 50th Anniversary of the law's enactment, Dr. Mical Raz, author of Abusive Policies: How the American Child Welfare System Lost its Wayexplains in Time magazine why that should be repealed.

● In Rhode Island they just said the quiet part out loud.  If you’re still wondering why rampant abuse in residential treatment centers is allowed to continue year after year after year in state after state after state, check out what the Providence Journal reports the head of Rhode Island’s family police agency said when confronted about such abuse at St. Mary’s Home for Children: 

“We can’t lose this [bed] capacity,” she told members of the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday. It’s almost “like a too-big-to-fail situation.” 

The state Child Advocate, who exposed the huge problems, agrees!  

Here’s what’s been happening at the place they are so anxious to save: 

“Staff-on-child physical assault, youth stealing the program van, overdoses, a high number of AWOLs, neglect and an overwhelming number of responses by the North Providence Police Department.”
 Boston.com has more.  From the start of April through May 8, 2023: 

There were more than 20 calls to the CPS hotline, they found, including allegations of drug overdoses, sexual contact among the children, staff assaulting children, runaway children, and an overwhelming amount of police responses, the [Office of Child Advocate] said. 

One thing more about Rhode Island:  The reason they have a “bed capacity problem” is that they tear apart families at a rate 80% above the national average. 

● Remember when the county controller in Lehigh County, PA issued a scathing report on the misdiagnosis of child abuse by the local child abuse pediatrician?  Here’s a reminder from The Philadelphia Inquirer: 

Willow Feeney said she and her sister were placed in foster care after her mother was accused of falsifying their medical conditions. She told officials that her family is still traumatized by their experience. 

 “Growing up medically complex is a challenge in itself,” she said. “I was suddenly told that everything I felt wasn’t valid anymore. No matter how much I explained, I was told that I was wrong  and I was brainwashed.”

Now the update: Instead of action, the Morning Call reports, county officials and lawmakers have crawled into a bunker, retaliating against the controller and stalling any action.  I don’t know if she had Ms. Feeney in mind when one county lawmaker complained that “It all became emotional.” 

In Vital City, Prof. Jane Spinak, author of The End of Family Court, discusses why we need to end family court.  She has a blunt assessment of the arrogance at the heart of the notion that courts should not be real courts, from the original juvenile court in 1899 to the “problem-solving courts” of today: 

As long as family court judges continue to argue that only they can provide justice to families, we will continue to fail children and their families. 

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

KOLD-TV Tucson reports that 

A man was sentenced to more than 200 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a child in his care. That is in addition to a current sentence 53-year-old Francisco Medina is serving from different cases.  Medina is a former foster parent who was convicted of six counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15, all class two felonies.  He was also convicted of molestation of a child, also a class two felony and a dangerous crime against children.