New Article: Melody McCombs, The Willful Neglect of the American Child Welfare and Family Court System, (2022). Abstract below:
In 2015 a poor, minority mother of six young children was accused of neglect and reported to the Department of Children and Family Services. Her two youngest children, born within fourteen months of each other, were both delivered prematurely and, at the time of the complaint, suffered from significant health issues. Despite no reported concerns from the medical professionals working closely with the mother, the trial court issued an instant order placing all six children in the State’s custody after declaring them ‘in need of care’. The trial court’s decision in this case is not unique to this family, it is the norm for poor minority families in the United States.
This article examines the historical development of child welfare programs, legislation, and practice within the United States family court. Additionally, academic exploration will connect the explicit link between poverty and child maltreatment and what, if anything, the United States legal system does to address what is often considered a significant root cause of child maltreatment.
Analysis will utilize Louisiana in rel K.M., a case which was handled in Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the United States. Louisiana in rel K.M. provides important context for how poor minority families are taken through a biased and ineffective court process which attempts to “remedy” allegations of child maltreatment. The analysis confirms that in many cases, the court system fails to protect children, families, and remove systemic bias and racism against poor, minority families; and suggests possible resolutions to the failures exposed in our family court system.
News Coverage: Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui, The Extraordinary Wealth Created by the Pandemic Housing Market, N.Y. Times, May 1, 2022.
News Coverage: Amanda Horvath & Alexis Kikoen, Homeless for 9 months with a budget of $1,800, Buena Vista resident navigates the housing crisis, Rocky Mountain PBS, Dec. 16, 2021.
Editor’s Note: This article features a good 10 minute video as well. Buena Vista is my hometown–the closest place of any size to the cabin where I was born and where I still return on vacations. I thought this was a great presentation of small, rural town in transition. My mother is a bus driver in this town and four years ago it was possible to imagine buying her a small apartment or hou
se but the town is in the midst of a radical change that will price residents out of the town. Much of the increase is tied to the rise of Denver and people in Denver and beyond seeking a getaway location. Prior to the inflow of money, Buena Vista was a perfect town with some rough edges–manageable size, close community (they do an annual all town potluck down the main street and host a burro race every year). Now it is in many ways too “perfect” and those who call Buena Vista home and have to work are getting priced out. Anyway, though it is about one small town, I thought the story and video are very well done.
News Coverage: M. Mitchell Waldrop, Can science solve the poverty problem?, Knowable Mag., Dec. 10, 2021.
News Coverage: Jason DeParle, How Tech Is Helping Poor People Get Government Aid, N.Y. Times, Dec. 8, 2021.
-Thanks to Susan Bennett for the heads up!
New Article: Anjeanette Damon, He Tore Down Motels Where Poor Residents Lived During a Housing Crisis. City Leaders Did Nothing, ProPublica (2021). Description Below:
Reno, Nevada, has one of the worst affordable housing shortages in the U.S. Yet city officials let an out-of-state casino owner displace hundreds of low-income residents so he could one day build an entertainment complex.
New Article: Charles Bethea, Is This the Worst Place to Be Poor and Charged with a Federal Crime? New Yorker (Nov. 5, 2021). By Line Below:
The Southern District of Georgia does remarkably little to provide for indigent defendants.