Here’s an update on what’s happening in child welfare. Got a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motion to dismiss denied. Our office, along with other child advocates, sued the Department of Children and Families on behalf of our clients who have experienced inappropriate placements and dangerously frequent placement changes. We are seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to improve the quality and robustness of the placement array in the Southern Region. The suit is being prosecuted by Children’s Rights and the law firm Baker McKenzie. More information and the complaint can be found here. On Tuesday, the trial judge issued an order denying the Department’s motion to dismiss. The case is moving forward.
We can do better by families with incarcerated parents. The Brookings Institution will be publishing a journal and policy brief focusing on improving outcomes for children whose parents are incarcerated. This is just in time for Florida’s recent legislative change to clarify the requirements of case management for parents in jail. And hopefully in time to discourage FDC’s recently proposed reduction in family visits due to staffing shortages.
Gainesville does right. Gainesville has banned conversion therapy for minors. Why this has to be done at the local level is beyond me.
Foster kids with kids. A study in Texas showed that foster kids there were five times more likely to get pregnant. The one-year pregnancy rate was 5.7%, compared to 1.2% in the general population. And yet we hear constantly about programs that won’t work with pregnant teens.
Tampa on fire. Hillsborough shut down an agency and is now struggling to manage 2,000 kids. Most of the workers from the old agency will be absorbed into other agencies. This a good reminder that privatizing a public system does not necessarily create an efficient market for that system’s services. Government exists for a reason, folks.
Yes, children have positions. The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a 5-year-old has a right to effective representation in a TPR case where his court-appointed attorney never met with him before taking a position that appeared potentially in conflict with his actual wishes regarding his mother. “At the time of the hearings, Child was just shy of six years old. While Child may not have been old enough to participate actively in [the attorney’s] representation of him, it is not unlikely that Child has feelings one way or another about his mother and his permanency.” (h/t to the Altoona Mirror)
Exodus 23:9. Florida’s resettlement offices are being reduced. This is bad news for kids.