Monday, March 4, 2024

NCCPR in CommonWealth Beacon: Mass. on wrong track with child protection policy; Separating kids from families should be a last resort — but it often isn’t

Late in 2019, the Massachusetts Legislature created a commission to study mandatory child abuse reporting. Like all states, Massachusetts requires most professionals who deal regularly with children to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect. 

The commission was chaired by Maria Mossaides, head of the state Office of the Child Advocate. For well over a year the commission heard only those Mossaides wanted them to hear. But at the very end of the process, with a set of draft recommendations to expand mandatory reporting ready for a vote, the commission held its only public hearing.

Experts from all over the country warned the commission that it was on the wrong track. They joined Massachusetts advocates in describing how mandatory reporting has backfired, traumatizing countless children and families and deluging the system with false reports, stealing time from finding children in real danger.

Commission members said they were “shocked” “surprised” and “taken aback.”  They rebelled. The commission made no recommendations at all. 

Now, Mossaides is at it again. ...

Read the full column in CommonWealth Beacon