Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, weeks ending May 28, 2024

● The New York State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has issued its long-awaited report on racism in child welfare. It´s a blockbuster.  And as you read it, keep in mind, New York probably is less bad than most states,

● Minnesota, a state which, year after year, tears apart families at one of the highest rates in the nation, has become the latest state to enact major legislation geared toward curbing that ugly record.  As The Imprint reports, after passing the state House of Representatives unanimously, the governor signed the Minnesota African American Family Preservation and Child Welfare Disproportionality Act.  What makes this all the more remarkable is that it happened despite what reads like a desperate push by the Minneapolis Star Tribune to foment a foster-care panic.  (But hey, take heart Star Tribune, now you have a new law you can scapegoat for every future tragedy.)

Congratulations to the advocates in Minnesota who worked tirelessly for six years to get this law passed.

● In Maine, the state´s child welfare “ombudsman” says she´s never, ever seen a case in which a family was torn apart needlessly.  The Maine Monitor reports that the State Supreme Court disagrees.  One would hope that, after reading about this case, anyone would disagree – and realize that no one should pay attention to Maine´s child welfare ombudsman.

● New Jersey´s Supreme Court also issued an excellent ruling.  As NJ.Com reports

A mother did not abuse or neglect her newborn daughter by leaving her in the hospital after the baby was born and giving authorities an incorrect phone number and address, New Jersey’s highest court ruled ...

“Beth did not carelessly leave Mia alone on a street corner or in an alleyway without food or shelter, putting her at risk. Beth left Mia at a hospital -- one of the safest places for a newborn child to be,” wrote Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis for a unanimous court.

● Three years after NPR and The Marshall Project first reported on states swiping foster youth´s Social Security benefits, prompting lawmakers in several jurisdictions to demand that their states stop this odious practice, moving to curb these abuses is now an official New York Times-certified trend. (To its credit, the Times cited the earlier reporting.) AP also has done the trend story, pegged to a state that failed to do the right thing. That state is Missouri, where, the Missouri Independent reports:

Legislation that would have banned Missouri from seizing the Social Security benefits of foster children was on the precipice of passing during the final days of the legislative session, but died when GOP infighting caused the state Senate to adjourn early.

That means the state will continue to take millions of dollars in the next year in benefits and use the money to help pay for foster care.

● The head of Rhode Island´s family police agency has suggested that a hellhole institution in that state might be too big to fail, and that the answer is to wrap the instittution with support and make it even bigger.  Yes, really.  But now, the Providence Journal reports, the agency just might be thinking better of this approach.

● Being a good caseworker is hard.  Being a bad caseworker is incredibly easy, at least in Colorado, where the Colorado Sun reports, they can falsify records and then hop from county to county. 

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

MLive reports that 

The CEO of Wolverine Human Services says her agency is taking seriously a lawsuit alleging staff at a now-closed facility routinely sexually abused its minor wards.