Executive Director, National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
My professional background is in journalism, 19 years as a practitioner three as a professor. I spent much of that time writing about child welfare, work that culminated in publication of a well-received book, Wounded Innocents: The Real Victims of the War Against Child Abuse (Prometheus Books: 1990, 1995). But I was not hired by NCCPR because I wanted to stop being a reporter; I helped to found NCCPR because of what I learned as a reporter.
After years of holding the dubious distinction of tearing apart families at one of the highest rates in California, Sacramento County finally has brought its rate of child removal in line with the state average, the Sacramento Bee reported Monday. But the Bee left out some good news: The two key measures of safety used by the federal government show that, as entries into foster care declined, child safety improved. Apparently even with budget cuts, setting clear standards and doing a better job of weeding out false reports and trivial cases has given workers more time to focus on finding children in real danger. One would think the fact that Sacramento County used to be the child remo
THE PEOPLE AT THE CHILDREN’S RECEIVING HOME OF SACRAMENTO MEAN WELL. BUT THEIR PROGRAM HURTS CHILDREN, WASTES MONEY, IMPEDES REAL REFORM, AND HASN’T HAD AN OBJECTIVE EVALUATION IN 66 YEARS. They are among the most sacred cows in all of child welfare, and no wonder. Donors love them. They can get a plaque on the wall for giving money or furniture or, if they're really rich, donating a whole building. The volunteers love them. They can turn real flesh-and-blood human beings into human teddy bears who exist for the volunteers' gratification and convenience, even as they convince themselves they're helping children. When they get bored with their human teddy bears, they simply hand them back
Bias against the birth mother of Amariana Crenshaw led Sacramento County Child Protective Services workers to “discount” her concerns that Amariana was being abused in her foster home, according to an internal review released by CPS Thursday. Amariana was taken from her parents, only to die under mysterious circumstances in a foster home with a long history of serious problems. That is the lead that should have begun the Sacramento Bee’s story today about the release of CPS’ internal investigation into Amariana’s death. But that would contradict the birth parent-bashing “master narrative” that has dominated child welfare coverage in the Bee (as is discussed in this previous post). So no
In response to my column last week, about how Sacramento County is the child removal capital of California, an aunt who is providing foster care for a nephew raised several objections. Among other things, she argued that it was unfair of me to lump in relatives providing foster care, known as “kinship care,” with strangers in calculating Sacramento’s rate of removal. In one sense she is right; it’s unfair - unfair to other counties, because it makes Sacramento look too good. When you look only at the proportion of children placed with total strangers, Sacramento actually fares even worse. My previous column documented the extensive research on the inherent trauma of foster care - trauma
Sacramento is now California’s capital in more ways than one.Data released today by the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform show that Sacramento County is the child removal capital of California. Among the state’s larger counties, Sacramento County takes away proportionately more children than any other, when the number of children taken away is compared to the number of impoverished children in each county. Sacramento takes children at a rate nearly double the average for these counties. NCCPR released its latest California Rate of Removal Index Monday. It’s available on our website here. The Index shows that in recent years, much of California has made remarkable progress i