Posts Tagged: Racism

Syesha Mercado Was Targeted by the Hospital and CPS — A Common Experience for Black Women

It is no surprise to me that American Idol star Syesha Mercado had her children taken from her under these horrific circumstances, because I went through something similar. Mercado was seeking help and care for her child –– and instead, her one-year-old son and newborn were both taken away. Tragically, this is common within the world of family policing, commonly known as “child welfare”. Many Black parents, myself included, have sought support from hospitals, only to be met with new traumas and more health issues.

Targeted by Two Systems: ‘I couldn’t focus only on how devastating it was for my child to be hurt and to lose my mother. I also had to worry about ACS.’

March 26, 2019 was a day I’ll never forget.

Early that morning, I got a phone call from my sister that our mom was put on life support.

I was a block away at a different hospital dealing with another emergency. A CT scan confirmed that Miles had a potential fracture in his wrist as well as a broken leg. I felt heartbroken and confused.

I couldn’t accompany him to his X-ray or visit my mother. Instead, I had to meet with an abuse doctor and Special Victims Unit detectives.

A week after the X-ray, we had a Child Safety Conference with ACS. Everything neutral was made into a negative.

Around the same time, there was a story in the news about a white actress, Jenny Mollen. She had dropped her son and he fractured his skull. She talked openly about how hard it was for her as a mother and that she was so thankful for the hospital staff. They didn’t question her motives.

Our babies were both hurt unintentionally – but we were treated very differently.

The Danger of a Misdiagnosis of Child Abuse

In When the Misdiagnosis Is Child Abuse, published in The Atlantic and The Marshall Project, journalist Stephanie Clifford reported about child abuse pediatricians — doctors who are trained to determine whether kids’ injuries are accidental or inflicted. In most cases, these conclusions can’t be made with certainty — but the child welfare system often takes them as fact. As Clifford documented, this has resulted in the unnecessary separation of families, incarceration of parents who have not harmed their children and trauma for both children and parents.

Here, Clifford discusses her reporting process and what she learned from parents, as well as the role of power dynamics, racism and classism in these situations. She shares recommendations for change and for how parents can protect themselves from a false accusation.

Imani’s Testimony to City Council

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:

>> Read in The Imprint about this hearing

>> Read Rise’s written testimony to City Council