Posts Tagged: Surveillance Isn’t Safety

The Problems with “The Tool We Have”

Throughout our 2019 series Surveillance Isn’t Safety, Rise described how over-reporting, investigations and monitoring by child protective services (CPS) harm families and weaken communities impacted by systemic racism and under-investment. Struggling families face investigations by punitive child welfare agencies with the power to take their children — but not the ability to address societal inequities at the root of so many family challenges.

Here, Kelley Fong explains her research finding that often professionals make reports to CPS to “rehabilitate” families. In most cases, the children are not in danger, but mandated reporters turn to CPS to provide resources or to pressure families to behave in ways they feel are appropriate. She also discusses research about better ways to support families without coercion and threat.

Reports are Down Overall, But Schools are Making False and Malicious Educational Neglect Reports

Due to COVID-19, children currently are not physically attending school or programs staffed by mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect. Reports to child protective services have decreased significantly. Some quickly jumped to the conclusion that abuse and neglect may be going undetected and unreported.

However, parents and advocates provide another perspective and explain that the drop in calls is not necessarily the problem the media assumes. In fact, 90% of school personnel hotline calls turn out not be abuse or neglect.

Rise Recommendations to Address Schools’ Over-Reporting to Child Protective Services

The Rise series Surveillance Isn’t Safety began with a focus on schools because NYC schools call in 26% of NYC reports to the state child abuse and neglect hotline. Parents have described the harm caused to their families when schools did not support them, but then reported them. 

Here, Rise highlights steps that the Department of Education (DOE) and individual schools, as well as our city and state child welfare agencies, ACS and OFCS, and others can take to better support families and reduce unnecessary reports.

New Research: How Fear of CPS Harms Families

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

We Just Needed Support

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.