The following comes from an article from the Huffington Post (view it here), entitled "Too Poor to Parent" (people love that title...I should use it too, :-D ), by Gaylynn Burroughs, written 1 year ago today (June 30, 2008). She writes about how poor parents are often faced with questions on what to do when accidental injury (falling off of beds, etc.) occur in the home. If they go to the hospital, CPS may think that it was not accidental, and accuse the parents - or parent - of neglect, and remove their children. Parents also face problems with school officials, who might report viewable injuries or the lack of an extensive wardrobe as a basis for neglect of necessities/care. She follows this with sobering analysis; she writes:
"African-American parents are more likely to lose their children to foster care than other any other ethnic group. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Blacks make up 34 percent of the foster-care population, but only 15 percent of U.S. children. Studies have also shown that Blacks, unlike other minority groups, are overrepresented within the foster care system in every state of the nation."
If these statistics are correct, this means that black children are twice as likely to end up in a foster home. Some of this, she adds, is due to poverty, but "poverty cannot explain everything." She also adds that "This disparity remains evident even when African-American families and White families share relevant characteristics" - something is up.
Burroughs cites race-based discrimination as a factor: Even within the child welfare system, "Studies also show that Black families, both parents and children, involved in the child-welfare system receive fewer services than White families." Something is wrong - and parents are losing their rights to raise their children because of this flaw in our domestic law. But the discrepancy makes sense when we take the system on-its-face:
"Our legal system asks family court judges to make far-reaching decisions concerning the safety and welfare of children based on information presented in fifteen- to twenty-minute court appearances. Incompetent evidence is routinely admitted in child protective proceedings, and judges must often rely on the testimony of caseworkers who may be poorly trained or culturally uninformed, or who have had only limited contact with the families in question."
Judges may not even be biased; the evidence is not clearly portrayed, nor is it always checked for truth/accuracy. More than just a change in state law is required.
The solution? The Parental Rights Amendment - find more information on it at http://www.parentalrights.org/, or comment on my blog, and I'd be more than happy to share more of what I have learned with you.
Watching the stars,
"The time is right." -- Glenstorm