Twenty-Five Foster-Care/Adoption/Child-Welfare Things That Caught My Eye Today

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1. Virginia House advances bill repealing protections for faith-based adoption agencies

2. Daniel Frost and Hal Boyd: The Moral Incoherence of “Family Privilege” Ideology

The desire to foster greater social inclusion and advancement for all people is certainly noble. But marriage simply won’t survive in any recognizable form if “family privilege” ideology prevails. Marriage is by definition a kind of relationship that society identifies as uniquely dignified and valuable. To argue that marriage is no more valuable than any other relational form is therefore to undermine the notion itself. It was precisely for this reason that many same-sex couples objected to the idea of civil unions, even though they were legally identical to marriage.

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The central mistake, then, is to believe that valuing one thing above another is wrong. One cannot engage in moral reasoning without valuing some things more than others, even when one is trying to argue against making such judgments. Once value judgments are recognized as necessary for any moral claim, including the claims of Family Story, “family privilege” ideology loses its rhetorical force.

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5. Salt Lake Tribune: Utah ‘troubled teen’ centers have used so-called ‘booty juice’ to sedate kids, a practice outlawed in other states

Change could be coming to Utah, driven by a partnership between two unlikely allies: Gelser, a liberal Democrat from Corvallis, and Utah Sen. Mike McKell, a conservative Republican from Spanish Fork.

McKell has sponsored legislation that would limit the use of restraints and isolation rooms at Utah youth treatment centers. It would also ban the sedatives, referred to as chemical restraints, unless a facility gets special permission from state regulators.

It’s the first time Utah lawmakers will consider new regulations on youth residential treatment facilities in the past 15 years.

6. The Pandemic Is Taking A Toll On Kids’ Mental Health. School Psychologists Are Worried.

7. Lenette Azzi-Lessing: Reform the child welfare system to protect vulnerable children

Once CPS removes children, it too often fails at providing them with nurturing, stable care in foster homes until they can be safely returned to their parents or placed for adoption in a timely manner. Instead, many children languish in foster care for unacceptably long periods of time. The average length of stay is about 20 months and nearly 27 percent of children in foster care remain there for more than two years. Many of these children experience ruptured relationships as they bounce between different homes and institutions, including shelters; damaging their mental health and capacity for forming healthy relationships.

8. Mark Courtney & Shanta Trivedi: The Case for Providing Guaranteed Income to Kids Aging out of Foster Care

Foster children face disadvantage from the start—they are more likely, for example, to become entangled in the criminal legal system, and less likely to graduate from college—and those who age out of the system without placement into a permanent home are abruptly abandoned, left to fend for themselves between the ages of 18 or 21. The government functions as their parent, and then swiftly extinguishes financial support, depriving foster kids of the safety net that so many of their peers increasingly find necessary. This added disparity compounds the systemic disadvantage that foster kids already endure, and puts them at heightened risk for poverty, homelessness, and incarceration.

9. India Legal: Keep Gender, Religion Out: Uniform Law on Adoption, Divorce 

The petition stated that no discrimination should be done on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth in cases of adoption and guardianship in the spirit of Articles 14, 15, 21, 44 of the Constitution and several international conventions. Upadhyay said that even after 73 years of Independence and 71 years of India becoming a democratic republic, Muslims, Christians and Parsis don’t have adoption laws. “Due to lack of a common law for all, Muslims, Christians, Parsis approach the court under the Guardians and Wards Act 1890. Muslims, Christians and Parsis can take a child under the said Act only under foster care. Once such a child becomes major, he can break all his relations,” his plea said.

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He said that even though India is a sovereign, socialist secular, democratic republic and the Constitution has well-expressed provisions ensuring the citizens equality, liberty and justice, the State had failed to provide uniform grounds of adoption and guardianship. Adoption and guardianship are crucial elements in a person’s life, he said, but the complex and cumbersome procedures for these, which are neither gender-nor religion-neutral, cause great injury to the public.

10. The Salt Lake Tribune: Low pay for Utah state workers causes chronic understaffing, forces some onto government assistance

“There is a sense of concern — and I believe most legislators feel it — that we are not competitive as a state trying to keep good people,” Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, told reporters recently. “And we’ve got really good people that work inside the state government.”

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Crystal Rose has been a family caseworker at the state for the past six years — but because that job doesn’t cover her bills she cleans homes on the side.

She believes in what she does as a drug court specialist, helping parents get clean and sober so families can reunite. The mother of two acknowledges, though, that she’s thought many times about searching for another job, as she watches coworker after coworker leave for higher pay elsewhere.

11. [In Nova Scotia], Calls to ban birth alerts grow louder as other provinces end controversial practice

“I have seen young families torn apart, and it has taken years and years and years to get back their children and sometimes they never do,” Pam Glode-Desrochers, executive director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, told CBC’s Information Morning. 

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The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls said in 2019 that birth alerts are “racist and discriminatory” and called on governments to immediately ban the practice.

“We know that many of our Indigenous women that are facing some kind of trauma or crisis in their life right now are totally at risk,” Glode-Desrochers said. “They are being targeted, and we know this. We’ve seen it time and time again.”

12. California Globe: San Diego Non-Profit Helping Sex-Trafficking Victims Wins Fight for New Home

Children of the Immaculate Heart was told that if they planned to open a second home, known as “the Refuge,” for sex trafficking victims, then it must also support programs and activities that violate its religious beliefs about sexual orientation, contraception, and abortion. “As a consequence of this Mandate, the government is imposing a penalty on CIH’s religious exercise that must withstand the strictest scrutiny,” the lawsuit said.

“Children of the Immaculate Heart has never been accused of discrimination, and for good reason—it does not and would not. The Refuge’s caretakers would love and nurture every foster girl regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or reproductive choices,” the lawsuit said. But the government ignores all that, because it has adjudged that CIH’s Catholic identity and Christ-centered mission are ‘offensive’ and thus anathema to its political orthodoxy.”

13. The Dallas Morning News: Gov. Greg Abbott vows Texas will do ‘exactly’ what federal judge requires on foster care

“This is great news for the children of Texas,” said Houston business litigator Paul Yetter, who served for free as the children plaintiffs’ lead lawyer at a 2014 trial in the case.

“We are ready to work with state officials to fix our long-broken foster care system. With the governor’s support, it finally looks like real improvements are coming.”

14. Columbus Dispatch: Help available to youths aging out of foster care amid pandemic

15. New housing provides place for young adults previously in group homes or foster care

Over the years Sarah lived with relatives, was in group homes and in foster care. 

“I didn’t really have anywhere to go, I didn’t have any family to stay with. So I was kind of nervous as soon as I turned 18 I would have nowhere to go,” she said.

She said kids who’ve been in care don’t want pity, they just want to be treated the same as anyone else. 

“It’s been hard, but I’m figuring it out,” she said. 

16. 615 child labourers rescued in Warangal

17. In Africa, sisters lead the way to replace orphanages with family care

Catholic sisters in three African nations — Uganda, Zambia and Kenya — are leading the way in creating new models for caring for children. Their efforts are the core of the recent launch of Catholic Care for Children International (CCCI) under the auspices of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) — one of many faith groups leading policy reform and family-based alternatives to institutional care.

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19. Youth Today: A Former Foster Youth Is Contributing To National Initiative On Child Abuse, Neglect

Child Safety Forward, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, includes five sites across the nation that are utilizing comprehensive and evidence-based strategies to identify those children most at risk and develop targeted steps to strengthen supports and address those risk factors. 

A key element to the strategy is the integration of the voices and experiences of youth and families involved with child welfare.  

As Jerry Milner, associate commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, recently noted: “Young adults with lived experience are the experts in the child welfare system. Any meaningful change in the child welfare system must happen with youth and young adults as our partners.” 

20. Group teaching foster parents how to better care for their child’s hair

“In working with the foster care system, we realize parents need to have some education around caring for a child of a different race or a different culture,” said Sherida McMullan with Jack and Jill Phoenix.

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While it may sound basic, when it comes to the self-esteem of a child, having your hair done correctly matters.

21. “He looks like me!”

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