child welfare, law, and lots of graphs

child welfare, law, and lots of graphs

Category: What I’m Reading

What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: Parsing Parenthood

Cynthia Godsoe Lewis & Clark Law Review (Approx. 62 pages)

The story public family law tells about parenthood is both inaccurate and normatively misguided. Parents are deemed “bad” because of their need for state support, and the parent-child relationship is accordingly devalued. This devaluation has resulted in costly and ineffective child welfare policies, embodied in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and related state laws. Child maltreatment costs an estimated $103.8 billion annually, yet its incidence is not decreasing. Thousands of youth “age out” of foster care each year as legal orphans, with no connection to a family and very poor prospects.

This Article explores the consequences of this flawed framework, including the failure to recognize the socioeconomic factors underlying most child maltreatment and the disregard for the real ties between parents and children after families are separated. It argues that child welfare policies will not succeed until the underlying parenthood framework changes; implicit cognitive biases channel even new interventions in a way that stigmatizes marginalized families and over-prioritizes adoption as a panacea. This Article concludes by considering some promising paths to remapping public parenthood, incorporating lessons from the public health preventive approach and from the private family law system’s disaggregation of parental rights and responsibilities.

What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: Children’s Health Rights and Family Preservation


What I'm Reading

What I’m reading: Brooklyn Law Review

Brooklyn Law School held what looks like an amazing symposium on reforming child protection law. The TOC of the law review issue that came out of it is below. You can access the full issue for free here.


Symposium: Reforming Child Protection Law: A Public Health Approach
Introduction by Introduction by Marsha Garrison, J.D. and Cynthia Godsoe, J.D.

Taking the Risks Out of Child Protection Risk Analysis
Marsha Garrison, J.D. 

Neuroscience and the Child Welfare System 
Clare Huntington, J.D. 

Public Health Approaches to Child and Parent Screening: Implications for Child Protection
Sheila Smith, Ph.D.  

Just Intervention: Differential Response in Child Protection  
Cynthia Godsoe, J.D.  

Assessing Public Health Strategies for Advancing Child Protection: Human Trafficking as a Case Study
Jonathan Todres, J.D.  

Using Community-Based Participatory Research to Study the Relationship Between Sources and Types of Funding and Mental Health Outcomes for Children Served by the Child Welfare System in Ohio
Susan Vivian Mangold, J.D, Catherine Cerulli, J.D., Ph.D., Gregory Kapcar, Crystal Ward Allen, Kim Kaukeinen, And Hua He, Ph.D. 

Remarks Delivered April 13, 2012 to the Brooklyn Law School Symposium on Reforming Child Protection Law: A Public Health Approach
Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelson, J.D., Ph.D.

Case Law UpdatesWhat I'm Reading

Catching up: 3-Party Adoptions, SIPP, and my reading list for this weekend

I’ve been behind on posting the news, but what a news week it has been:

News #1. Judge Antonio Marin allows a three-person adoption: two moms and a dad. DO NOT read the comments unless you want your eyes to roll out of your head.

News #2. Judge Michael Hanzman writes a very long order giving AHCA and DCF hell over admission of severely ill kids into residential treatment. I have my own wordy thoughts on this topic, which will wait for another day. For now: great job, Judge Hanzman.

What I’m reading…

Have a great weekend, everyone!


What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: Dorothy E. Roberts — Prison, Foster Care, and the Systemic Punishment of Black Mothers


This Article analyzes how the U.S. prison and foster care systems work together to punish black mothers in the service of preserving race, gender, and class inequality in a neoliberal age. The intersection of these systems is only one example of many forms of overpolicing that overlap and converge in the lives of poor women of color. I examine the statistical overlap between the prison and foster care populations, the simultaneous explosion of both systems in recent decades, the injuries that each system inflicts on black communities, and the way in which their intersection in the lives of black mothers helps to naturalize
social inequality. I hope to elucidate how state mechanisms of surveillance and punishment function jointly to penalize the most marginalized women in our society while blaming them for their own disadvantaged positions.


What I'm Reading

Interesting Law Review Articles on Child Welfare

I’m about a year behind on law reviews, but here are some recent articles of interest. I’ll get to my backlog later.

Sedating Forgotten Children: How Unnecessary Psychotropic Medication Endangers Foster Children’s Rights and Health 
Matthew M. Cummings
32 B.C. J.L. & Soc. Just. 357
Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice
Spring, 2012
A Family Law Perspective on Parental Incarceration
Sarah Abramowicz
50 Fam. Ct. Rev. 228
Family Court Review
April, 2012
Let’s Go to the Videotape: Why the Forensic Interviews of Children in Child Protective Cases Should Be Video Recorded
Orly Berte
50 Fam. Ct. Rev. 344
Family Court Review
April, 2012
Student Note
What I'm Reading

Too Many, Too Much, Too Young – Oversight of Psychotropic Medication for Children in Foster Care

I was prepared to eye-roll, but this ACYF memo is the most comprehensive government document on psych meds I have seen yet.

Until all drugs are properly studied in the populations for which they are being used, the lack of specific evidence-based recommendations reinforces the need for close supervision and monitoring for patients receiving psychotropic medication for off-label uses.

What I'm Reading

Juvenile in Justice

If you have not seen the Juvenile-In-Justice blog yet, you should. Stark pictures of a system that is not living up to anyone’s expectations.


The resulting photo-survey, Juvenile-In-Justice, documents 350 facilities in over 30 states. It’s more than a peek into unseen worlds — it is a call to action and care.

“I grew up in a world where you solve problems, you don’t destroy a population,” says Ross. “To me it is an affront when I see the way some of these kids are dealt with.”