Please forward this error screen to 38. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the parenting masthead sent straight to you. Senior Reporters: Melissa Jeltsen, Emily Peck, Ryan J. Has Child Protective Services Gone Too Far?
If you are a current Subscriber and are unable to log in, you may have to create a NEW username and password. If you are not a Subscriber, Subscribe Now! A debate sparked by the free-range parenting movement has drawn attention to the threats and intrusions poor, minority families have long endured. Independent news is more important than ever. Sign up for The Nation Daily and get our hard-hitting journalism in your inbox every weekday.
For more from The Nation, check out our latest issue. 10 or more to help us continue to write about the issues that matter. Sign up for Take Action Now and we’ll send you three meaningful actions you can take each week. Travel With The Nation Be the first to hear about Nation Travels destinations, and explore the world with kindred spirits. Sign up for our Wine Club today. Did you know you can support The Nation by drinking wine? On July 29, 2013, a Latina mother in Illinois named Natasha Felix sent her three sons, ages 11, 9, and 5, out to play with a visiting cousin, a young girl, in a fenced park right next to her apartment building.
The oldest boy was charged with keeping an eye on his siblings, while Felix watched them all from the window. While they were outside, a local preschool teacher showed up at the park with her class. She saw the 9-year-old climb a tree. Advocates for families caught up in the child-welfare system hope that the national debate sparked by the free-range parenting movement will draw attention to the threats and intrusions that poor and minority parents endure all the time. Child-neglect statutes, says Martin Guggenheim, a New York University law professor and codirector of the school’s Family Defense Clinic, tend to be extremely vague, giving enormous discretion to social workers. Indeed, several recent incidents in which poor women of color have been arrested for their entirely rational parenting decisions have received national attention, though not as much as the Meitivs’ case.
In July, Laura Browder of Houston was arrested for child abandonment after bringing her kids, ages 6 and 2, to a food court and leaving them there—never out of her line of sight—while she interviewed for a job 30 feet away. Whatever you think of parents who use drugs, it’s clear that poor parents and parents of color are held to a very different standard than middle-class white parents. I took her to the same hospital, and the second time I brought her they treated me with great dignity and respect. Determining neglect is even more subjective. These are situations in which, in many respects, it’s driven by community norms: What do people believe is appropriate child-rearing?
Fred Wulczyn, a senior research fellow at the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall and director of the Center for State Foster Care and Adoption Data. Which is what makes this such a dicey issue. Lowry’s suit, however, also has plaintiffs who languished in foster care for years, and it alleges that the parents’ rights to these children should have been severed long ago in order to free them up for adoption. Michelle Goldberg was formerly a senior contributing writer at The Nation. To submit a correction for our consideration, click here.
For Reprints and Permissions, click here. Where was CFS when Bella Bond lay under a “Baby Jane Doe” coffin in Boston for months, when she had been in CFS all her short, painful life? VIDEO: People in Denmark Are a Lot Happier Than People in the United States. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you.