Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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

● Hey, remember when Texas passed laws setting reasonable limits on the vast power of the state’s family police agency, including higher standards before that agency can tear children from everyone they know and love?  Remember how that sparked all that fearmongering about how it would lead to an increase in horrific child abuse?  Remember how that fearmongering was led by groups like Texas CASA (which presumably wants to distract everyone from the huge study showing that their program is a failure)? Remember how their media allies at the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Tribune bought into it all and amplified it all?

Well, now The Imprint has gone back to see what actually happened.  Sorry CASA, they found that the fears “have not panned out.” From the story:

According to data from the state’s “Child Maltreatment Fatalities and Near Fatalities Annual Report” published last month, the decreased reliance on foster care has not resulted in an increase in child deaths.

 Fatalities where child abuse or neglect was confirmed have continued to decline through the recent period of fewer foster care removals. In 2023, 164 children died, which is 18% fewer than in 2021 and 30% fewer than in 2019. That places Texas from a spot well above the national average on child fatality rates, to below the nationwide rate.

● Two brief notes on the NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: The Kentucky Derby isn’t until this weekend. But we already have a winner in the Kentucky Irony Derby!  Meanwhile, in Minnesota, family policing agencies are claiming they just can’t afford to stop being racist.  The two brief posts are here.

● Meanwhile Essence has a report on the legislation those Minnesota agencies are opposing.  And even the foster-care panic fomenting Minneapolis Star Tribune finally felt compelled to do a serious story about it.

● Remember that amazing story in ProPublica about the “evaluator” in Colorado custody cases who always sided with foster parents when they “intervened” in court cases to try to keep someone else’s child?  Now, KUSA-TV reports, a judge has issued a scathing order demanding that a county family police agency release its own internal investigation of one of those cases, as well as others in that county.

Kaiser Heath News has an overview of the harm of mandatory child abuse reporting laws, focused largely on Colorado, where a commission studying mandatory reporting laws is likely to recommend little more than token changes.

● As for what really can prevent child abuse: There’s still another study documenting the benefits of concrete financial help for families, in this case, paid family leave.

KFMB-TV, San Diego reports that some California lawmakers are trying again to stop county family police agencies from swiping foster children’s money.

● But in New York City, The Daily News reported in early April, the city’s family police agency appears to be reneging on a promise to do the same, and making all sorts of widely-discredited excuses.  The Imprint also has a story,

● And in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reports, the state’s family police agency shamelessly defends the practice, suggesting that it is somehow the obligation of foster children who receive such benefits to”reimburse the public taxpayer dollars that provide payment for the child's care.”

In Georgia, WXIA-TV has a follow-up to its in-depth series on the harm done by some “child abuse pediatricians.”

● In Utah, KSL-TV reports on a woman who, declaring herself a state employee, admonished anther women in a restaurant for wearing a skirt the state employee deemed to be too short.  She threatened to call Child Protective Services (because there were children in the restaurant). Then she allegedly took matters – and the skirt – into her own hands.

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

KNXV-TV, Phoenix has more about an Arizona child who never needed to be taken from his father – and wound-up dying after placement in a group home.