Thursday, June 27, 2024

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, weeks ending June 26, 2024

● As noted last week, New York State again failed to pass “Family Miranda” legislation requiring the family police to tell families their rights.  So JMACforFamilies is continuing to do just that.  This photo is from  their latest campaign on New York City buses: 

 For decades, we’ve said states grossly underestimate the rate of abuse in foster care – indeed they don’t even try to find out. Now, the Associated Press reports, the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirms it. (And be sure to read the last paragraph to see what HHS is going to do about it.) 

● No self-respecting journalist for a mainstream news organization would do a big story about the criminal justice system and not so much as speak to the accused or their lawyers.  But in “child welfare” it’s common to treat birth parents as too subhuman to talk to – especially in the child removal capital of America, West Virginia.  That’s one reason why a recent NBC News story about that state’s system failed badly.  I have a blog post about it. 

● It's almost as if the producer of this 20-minute New Yorker documentary about Black parents and children desperate to reunite had the NBC story in mind, when she entitled her documentary To Be Invisible.

● Among the issues NBC ignored: In West Virginia children have been taken from mothers not because of opioid abuse, but because they are getting medication-assistant treatment for opioid abuse.  To what should be the surprise of no one, a new study finds that the fear that exactly this will happen deters mothers from seeking treatment. 

● But the biggest reason for wrongful removal is the confusion of poverty with neglect.  The Imprint has a story about bipartisan legislation which would provide a small amount of additional federal aid to states providing concrete help to families to avoid foster care.

ABC News reports on still another family tormented, and their children needlessly placed in foster care, because of a hospital’s misdiagnosis of child abuse. 

● New Hampshire is another state where, so far, the greed of the family police agency is taking precedence over the needs of the foster youth they’re supposedly protecting.  The New Hampshire Bulletin reports that the agency stalled a bill that would have stopped the state from swiping foster children’s Social Security benefits. 

● In Kentucky, the Legislature unanimously passed a bill to make it easier to place children with relatives instead of strangers when foster care allegedly is necessary.  It also would provide more aid to kinship foster parents. There may be no other state that needs this more, since Kentucky uses kinship foster care at one of the lowest rates in the nation – even as it continues to take children at a rate well above the national average.  But Spectrum News 1 reports that the state family policing agency – part of an agency with a budget of $3.5 billion – says it can’t afford to do this, so it’s just going to ignore the law. 

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

WFLA-TV reports: 

As each day passes, Zy’kiria Bell’s death is still a mystery. The 17-year-old girl died on May 29 at Lake Academy, a state-owned facility in Tampa. It’s sites like this one that are entrusted to care for our most vulnerable youth. … 

8 On Your Side has learned the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has launched a criminal investigation into Zy’kiria’s death. It comes as the Department of Juvenile Justice shut down the site. 

KOVR-TV, Sacramento reports: 

Young twin brothers drowned in a pool in Roseville last October. The Placer County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday said their foster caregiver has now been arrested in connection to their deaths. 

Schitara Victoria Page faces two counts of cruelty to a child by abuse, neglect or endangering health relating to the deaths of the 22-month-old boys. She faces two counts of special allegations of willful harm or injury resulting in death.