The New Yorker Shows the Mess that is CPS
August 17, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Larissa MacFarquhar at The New Yorker is to be congratulated for this fine article on the child protective and foster care systems in New York (New Yorker, 8/7/17). The piece is long and covers most, but not all of the bases. What’s most powerful about it is that it takes time to hear from most of the players in the child protective and foster care systems. It shows the situation from many points of view, it brings home the hopelessness of a governmental entity trying to make decisions about children’s care that, often enough, it’s incompetent to make.
Most importantly, MacFarquhar makes sure her readers, along with the parents, lawyers, caseworkers and judges, walk that fine – sometimes almost indistinguishable – line between poverty and child neglect. After all, again as the article makes clear, the great majority of cases seen by child protective caseworkers are about neglect, not abuse. And what is neglect and what is poverty? My guess is that few people tasked with figuring that out in any given case would do so well. Multiply that single case by the number of cases actually handled at a single time by a caseworker and you have a prescription for getting matters wrong.