Most CPS removals are based on allegations of neglect. Which is unfortunate because the California statute governing child dependency proceedings too broadly defines “neglect”. As such, symptoms of poverty are too easily misrepresented as risk factors, placing poor and vulnerable families at higher risk of CPS-involvement. Moreover, mandated reporting laws require welfare, public housing, school, and medical staff to identify and report so-called “neglect” that again, are all too often symptoms of poverty. Even in cases where there is no evident bias in case worker investigating or reporting, classism and racism is programmed into the daily practices and procedures. For example, caseworkers are trained to identify “risk factors” including the family’s neighborhood and income level, any past conflict, the age and education level of the parent, and whether the home is a single-parent household. It is arguable that race and class influences every one of these factors.
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Tehlia survived foster care abuse, the foster care to prison pipeline and domestic violence, only to learn that the man who abused her also raped her children. When the children of a Special Victim become special victims themselves, is placing them in foster care – destined to perhaps repeat the cycle of abuse, prison and domestic violence – really the best we can do to help them?
Jessica Gilbert was a full-time mom before she became houseless. After losing her apartment, she was unable to provide for him. Jessica now lives under a bridge and has to hustle just to find water and to charge her phone. She was arrested for shoplifting while with her son, and this was used against her.
Jessica will be at the Poverty & Parenting Justice rally to share her story and to demand support not surveillance.
Prof Dorothy Roberts, Fighting for Family: Intersections of the Family and Criminal Punishment Systems. Systems of carceral punishment need to be abolished. Abolish prison.. Abolish foster care.
Dorothy Roberts is a professor and the author of Shattered Bands and Torn Apart. In this webinar she talks about the disproportionate and systematic demolition of Black families, the intersections of foster care and incarceration, and the harms of anti-poor sentiment and "Welfare Queen" stereotypes.
Frederic Stasek is an impacted father turned family rights activist. You won't regret watching Frederic's educational video essay on the history of CPS.
This is a prime example to show that those with lived experience are the most effective and compelling presenters of the issues impacting them.
Michelle D. Chan, founder and director of California Families Rise. Families Resist, May 11, 2022.
"After my son came home from foster care, for so many months he woke up in the nights crying..."
We thank the Senate and Assembly for recognizing harmful policies in the child support program and revising them accordingly. These revisions will benefit low-income parents in California, who work tirelessly for their families even as they face significant challenges. Senator Kamlager’s SB 1085 seeks to protect and keep families together by redefining the definition of neglect. When determining child “neglect” in Juvenile Dependency Court (Court) hearings, the overly broad definition can put families at risk. This bill will provide critical protection for California’s families vulnerable to separation based on factors such as poverty, homelessness, and a lack of access to basic resources.
Assemblymember Bryan’s AB 1686 will significantly limit the Department of Social Services (DSS) from referring families in the foster care program to DCSS for recoupment of child support payable to the State. The bill recognizes that paying child support to the State is likely to hinder reunification of families, unnecessarily extend the child’s time in foster care, and create additional stress on a parent during an already challenging time period.Families in the child support and child welfare systems in California are disproportionately families of color. Families of color are nearly two-thirds of families in the child support program. Almost three-quarters of children placed in foster care were Black or Latinx in 2020. Systemic punitive policies, including license suspensions and state recoupment of foster care costs, play a role in unjust racial and economic inequality.
These two bills will bolster support of low-income families in California.