Wednesday, June 19, 2024

NCCPR news and commentary round-up, weeks ending June 18, 2024

● You know how every time there’s another expose of a Residential Treatment Center, defenders of institutionalizing children say the problem isn’t RTCs per se, just a few rotten apples?  The Imprint reports on a Senate committee study that makes it abundantly clear: No, we’re talking rotten barrels.  Oh, and by the way, the report notes, the whole concept of residential treatment doesn’t work.  (Not that we’d ever say we-told-you-so.) 

● Earlier this year Minnesota lawmakers refused to be stampeded by the Minneapolis Star Tribune into fostering another foster-care panic.  Now there’s another example of lawmakers getting smarter: Remember how the Massachusetts “Child Advocate,” Maria Mossaides, spent more than a year propagandizing a commission she chaired in an effort to get it to recommend further expanding mandatory child abuse reporting?  Remember how, after hearing what Mossaides didn’t want them to hear, the commission rebelled and recommended nothing?  Well, now Massachusetts legislative leaders are actually proposing to narrow mandatory reporting.  As the Boston Globe reports

Massachusetts House leaders are pushing a proposal that would free doctors, hospital officials, and others from requirements to report suspected neglect to child welfare officials solely because a baby is born exposed to drugs, offering a dramatic shift in the state's approach to child welfare reporting. … 

The measure marks a rare instance in which lawmakers are seeking to pare back, instead of expand, the state's mandated reporter law, under which critics say Black and Latino families are disproportionately the target of abuse and neglect allegations. 

Even Mossaides now claims to be for it.  Funny, though: She never mentioned supporting this idea in all that time she was running a commission on this very topic. 

● Though the journalism of child welfare is generally improving, there still are some monumental failures.  A case in point: Four years ago, Sen. Tom Cotton´s appalling, extremist rant on the New York Times op-ed page prompted outrage inside and outside the newspaper, and ultimately led to the resignation of the editorial page editor. But apparently, as long as the topic of your fearmongering is child abuse, the Times will let you get away with anything.  I have a blog post about it.

● Colorado is making it official: codifying in law a rule change that bans the family police from forcing parents to pay part of the cost when their children are thrown into foster care – payments that properly should be called ransom. 

● In Nevada, even the family police agency in metropolitan Las Vegas wants to stop having to take calls for so-called “educational neglect.”  As the Nevada Current explains the director of family services for that agency told a legislative committee 

“What we’re finding is that in a system that is overtaxed and overburdened where workers are getting sometimes two or three reports a day, getting an educational neglect report is adding to a workload that is really, in our view, taking them away from being able to do the work they need to do.” 

● At the federal level, legislation has been introduced to modestly strengthen the Indian Child Welfare Act

● Things have not gone as well in New York this year.  The Imprint reports on a series of excellent bills that failed to pass.  But just a few years ago, these bills never even would have been introduced.   

By now we all know about how governments sometimes swipe money that rightfully should go to foster youth in the form of Social Security Disability and Survivor benefits. But governments aren’t the only ones who sometimes cash in. The New York Daily News reports on efforts to close a loophole in New York State law that lets adoptive parents keep collecting subsidies for older foster youth who’ve decided they can’t stand living with them - and leave. 

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

Hawaii News Now reports that 

A new lawsuit accuses the state and Catholic Charities Hawaii of negligently placing another child in the same home where a little girl was allegedly tortured to death. 

● And WMUR-TV in New Hampshire reports that 

Olivia Atkocaitis claims … said she was subjected to years of abuse, slavery and torture at the hands of her adoptive parents when she was a child.