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Child Protective Service Workers Share Their “Secret Truths That Haunt”

Child Protective Service Workers Share Their “Secret Truths That Haunt”
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

Child Protective Service Workers Share Their “Secret Truths That …  Mother Jones

Social Workers Convene Truth-Telling Circles to Address Issues in Child Protective Services

Child Protective Service Workers Share Their “Secret Truths That Haunt”

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Introduction

The gatherings of social workers resemble post-war or post-genocide scenes, characterized by halting voices, silences, and a confessional-like atmosphere. These social workers, however, are not soldiers but individuals working in child protective services (CPS).

The Tension in Child Protective Services

CPS agencies have the mandate to protect children from harm, but their most powerful tool is family separation, which can itself cause harm to both children and parents. In recent years, there has been a growing sentiment among experts that many removals by CPS do more harm than good, particularly affecting communities of color. This tension has prompted reformers and abolitionists across the country to facilitate conversations between caseworkers and families impacted by CPS in an effort to break the codes of silence and bring about meaningful change.

The Need for Truth-Telling

Lisa Merkel-Holguin, a faculty member at the Kempe Center, emphasizes the importance of individuals within the workforce speaking up about ethically wrong practices. She believes that caseworkers, administrators, and others involved in CPS should openly discuss the system’s flaws and advocate for justice-focused reforms. The data shows that low-income families, especially those from communities of color, are disproportionately investigated, have their children removed, and face termination of parental rights. This leads to various negative outcomes, including education deficits, unemployment, crime, and homelessness.

Kempe Center’s Role in Truth-Telling Circles

The Kempe Center, an anti-child abuse program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, plays a role in organizing truth-telling circles as a form of atonement. The center’s founder, C. Henry Kempe, played a major role in the development of the modern child welfare system. While some faculty members defend Kempe’s legacy and mandatory reporting laws as crucial for addressing child abuse, others see these laws as contributing to the overpolicing of low-income and marginalized families. The center aims to transform child welfare systems to reduce the number of children entering foster care and preserve community and cultural ties.

Efforts for Reform

The Kempe Center, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has brought together parents, former foster children, and social workers in three communities: Louisville, Kentucky; Washington, DC; and Nambé Pueblo, New Mexico. These truth-telling groups aim to create lasting changes by advocating for reforms such as providing financial support to biological parents and addressing the root causes of family separation. Each group operates differently, with participants sharing their experiences and advocating for change.

Challenges and Controversies

While some participants believe in the need for reform within the child welfare system, others, like abolitionist Alan Dettlaff, argue that social workers cannot ethically participate in CPS. Dettlaff, who leads the upEND initiative to eliminate CPS, believes that racial bias plays a significant role in family separation. He shares his own experiences as a caseworker and acknowledges the harm caused by the system. However, not all experts agree with abolishing CPS entirely, recognizing that there are cases where children genuinely need protection.

The Path to Reform

Despite efforts to find common ground and build a case for reform, participants working within the system have struggled to reach a consensus on the shortcomings of child protective services. Local reform initiatives may offer a more promising starting point, focusing on community-specific changes. The ultimate goal is to transform child welfare systems, reduce the number of children entering foster care, and address the historical context and trauma associated with family separations.

The Personal Perspective

Former foster child Cameron Galloway, who has participated in truth-telling circles, shares his experiences of abuse and resilience to advocate for reform. While he credits his success to his own mindset and support network, he does not see himself working for CPS. Galloway believes that change requires collective efforts and hopes to see improvements that prioritize biological parents’ support.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 1: No Poverty
  • SDG 4: Quality Education
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The article discusses issues related to child protective services, family separation, racial disparities, and the impact on communities of color. These issues are connected to the SDGs mentioned above, which aim to address poverty, education, gender equality, reduced inequalities, and justice.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • SDG 1.3: Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.
  • SDG 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.
  • SDG 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • SDG 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
  • SDG 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.

These targets address the need for social protection systems, education for sustainable development, elimination of violence against women and girls, empowerment and inclusion of all individuals, and promotion of the rule of law and equal access to justice.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Indicator 1.3.1: Proportion of population covered by social protection floors/systems, by sex, distinguishing children, unemployed persons, older persons, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, newborns, work-injury victims, and the poor and vulnerable.
  • Indicator 4.7.1: Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment.
  • Indicator 5.2.1: Proportion of ever-partnered women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months, by form of violence and by age group.
  • Indicator 10.2.1: Proportion of people living below 50 percent of median income, by sex, age, and persons with disabilities.
  • Indicator 16.3.3: Proportion of victims of violence in the previous 12 months who reported their victimization to competent authorities or other officially recognized mechanisms.

These indicators can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets by collecting data on the proportion of the population covered by social protection systems, the integration of global citizenship education and education for sustainable development in national policies and curricula, the prevalence of violence against women and girls, the proportion of people living below a certain income threshold, and the reporting of violence to competent authorities.

4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 1: No Poverty Target 1.3: Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable. Indicator 1.3.1: Proportion of population covered by social protection floors/systems, by sex, distinguishing children, unemployed persons, older persons, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, newborns, work-injury victims, and the poor and vulnerable.
SDG 4: Quality Education Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles. Indicator 4.7.1: Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment.
SDG 5: Gender Equality Target 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation. Indicator 5.2.1: Proportion of ever-partnered women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months, by form of violence and by age group.
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. Indicator 10.2.1: Proportion of people living below 50 percent of median income, by sex, age, and persons with disabilities.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Target 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all. Indicator 16.3.3: Proportion of victims of violence in the previous 12 months who reported their victimization to competent authorities or other officially recognized mechanisms.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: motherjones.com

 

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