At a NYC City Council General Welfare Committee hearing on racial disparities in child welfare on Oct. 28, parents – including Rise’s Jeanette Vega and Imani Worthy – and advocates citywide testified about urgent adjustments and broad shifts to reduce the reach and harm of child welfare. Here is Imani’s testimony, and video where Imani shares her full story:
Hello, my name is Imani Worthy-Moore. I work as a parent leader at Rise, and I am a parent who has been impacted by the child welfare system. Here is my truth:
On April 19, 2019, I read a news article about a white actress, Jenny Mollen, who dropped her son on his head. As a result, he wound up having a fractured skull. She talked about how hard it was for her as a mother and how she was so thankful for the staff at that hospital in Manhattan. I remember reading her story and her saying, “It was a mother’s worst nightmare!”
I felt some kind of way though as I read this article because my nightmare as a mother was double fold.
When my son was injured, I became an alleged child abuser.
I didn’t have time to focus on the devastation of my child’s injuries. I was too worried about losing him. I was worried that at just 6 months, he would go off to be raised by another family, separated from me for something that was unintentional.
To this day, I wonder if ACS ever knocked on Jenny Mollen’s door? Did they go to the hospital and interrogate her during her emotional turmoil? She had an opportunity to write about her woes in the newspaper. She was able to use her voice. She probably received so much sympathy. I did not.
The child welfare system should not be based on punishing parents (namely minority parents) for mistakes. Instead of separating and destroying families, if it NEEDS to be here, it should seek to preserve and protect family dynamics. It should be culturally implicit and respectful of different backgrounds. It should aim to build stronger communities and to empower families as a whole.