Interview with Kelley Fong, PhD candidate in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University, Author of “Concealment and Constraint: Child Protective Services Fears and Poor Mothers’ Institutional Engagement”.
By Keyna Franklin, Rise Parent Leader, and Careena Farmer, Rise Contributor
Throughout our series on surveillance, Rise has exposed how child welfare surveillance harms families and communities, particularly low-income communities and communities of color. Far too often, when families are struggling, the response they are met with is a … Read More
For months before I caught my case with child protective services, I was dealing with my daughter Brianna’s behavioral issues. She was a bubbly little gymnast who liked to do cartwheels all over the place. But she was also very destructive, breaking things, hurting herself and stealing. She was 6.
A few days before the school called in the case, I met with Brianna’s teacher, parent coordinator, and guidance counselor. They told me that Brianna was interrupting class, sliding across the floor, being rude to teachers and stealing other students’ snacks.
I knew that Brianna had developmental challenges, but I didn’t know her behavior was going this far. I was shocked, and mad at my daughter.
Two days after the meeting I spanked Brianna because she started throwing things after I asked her to clean off her bed. I didn’t normally spank my children. But I was so fed up with her behavior. And I didn’t know what else to do.
On December 21, 2015, the school social worker called in the case. That started a 5-year ordeal with ACS that tore my family apart and caused many new problems.
This year, Rise has focused our work on examining the harmful impact of child welfare’s culture of surveillance on families, particularly low-income families of color. We are pleased that City Council has taken on this issue, and write in support of the bills introduced by members of the progressive caucus to hold the Administration for Children’s Services accountable for their disproportionate presence in our families’ communities, and to provide parents with crucial legal protections during investigations.
Nancy Fortunato, Senior Parent Leader at Rise, testified at the October 31, 2019 hearing of the General Welfare Committee.
Careena Farmer, Rise contributor and child welfare system-affected parent, testified at the October 31, 2019 hearing of the General Welfare Committee.