STOP CPS' illegal targeting and trafficking of African American children
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The African American Community is outraged by the disparities that exist within Minnesota's child protection system. Black families are illegally targeted and disproportionately represented. Once involved with child protection, the outcomes for African American families are inequitable.
The child protection reform that began under the orders of governor Dayton have failed to address the experiences of the African American child and has actually lead to higher rates of involvement and out of home placement for these children. Racial disparities are found in the entire child protection process, from initial reporting and assessment to discharge from the system.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TODAY IN A SHOW OF SOLIDARITY REQUESTING THAT MINNESOTA'S LAW MAKERS ACTIVELY ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF DISPROPORTIONALITY WITHIN DHS' CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEM!
Black families are over represented in rate of:
-Contact with the child protection system: Black children are 4 times more likely to be subjects of child protection assessments and investigations
-Reports to CPS: Black children are 5 times more likely to be reported to Child protection
-Out of home care: Black children are placed in out of home care at a rate 5.3 times higher than white children. The longer Black children remain in out of home care, the more they experience multiple moves in placement settings
-Aging out of care: Black youth have high rates of reaching the age of majority when in placement for long periods of time (REMAINING A STATE WARD)
Minnesota's Black youth are removed from their homes at an alarming rate and a large number are crossing over from Child protection into the juvenile justice system. The Department of Human Services, current child protection legislation and county guidelines lend to the national epidemic of criminalizing Black families!
We all know that healthy families are vital to the success of our children and ultimately, our communities. Everyone has a stake in ensuring Minnesota’s Child Protection system is fair and equitable. We thereby recommend the following legislative amendments:
- The implementation of an African American Family Preservation Act - Once a child alleged to need protection or services is under the court's jurisdiction, the court shall ensure that active efforts, including culturally appropriate services, by the social services agency are made to prevent placement or to eliminate the need for removal and to reunite the child with the child's family at the earliest possible time.
- A bill that states- If a child is removed from his or her parent and there is a noncustodial parent available to take the child, temporary placement with the noncustodial parent is required— rather than emergency placement into shelter or foster care. In the event that a non custodial parent is not available; the bill would require cps to comply with the parent's request to place the child temporarily with a relative or fictive kin. Make it the county agency’s duty (prior to ohp) to conduct an IMMEDIATE investigation to locate grandparents, relatives and fictive kin for placement, and to keep a record of its efforts to do so. Should a county agency deny placement with a relative or fictive kin, the court would be required to make specific findings of fact in writing regarding the considerations given to the relative or fictive kin and the reasons the placement was denied.
- A bill that both- 1. creates a process to reinstate parental rights after termination. The law would be retroactive, meaning Minnesota parents who have lost their parental rights in the past could have them reinstated. 2. revokes the court's authority to terminate parental rights in cases that do not allege egregious harm, physical/sexual abuse of a child. In its stead a transfer of legal custody or subsidized guardianship shall be granted. The caregiver becomes the legal caretaker and receives a monthly stipend, but the rights of the birth parent are not terminated.
- Adjust current foster care licensing requirements for African American families- African American families willing to foster a child, that do not have a background of abuse of a child may be considered for placement of kin. Research done by the DOJ and ACLU shows that people of color are more likely to be arrested and serve longer sentences for crimes in comparison to their white counterparts. The result of this racial disparity bars qualified African Americans from fostering a child.
- Amend the neglect statute to take into consideration a families' socio economic status- The majority of cases involving African American families do not allege physical/sexual abuse of a child but "neglect". This could mean inadequate food, clothing or shelter. A family living in poverty should not be criminalized and placed on the same track as parents that are intentionally neglecting their children (ie leaving an infant home alone, starving a child, etc). Current legislation is vague and leaves room for subjectivity on the part of child protection staff that are unable to determine neglect from poverty. An alternative track is needed to deter families in need from child protection and the consequence of a maltreatment finding to community organizations, concrete resources and service provision.
- A legislative audit of DHS' Child Protection Department- DHS' own data shows that disproportionality exists due to racial discrimination in the child protection worker's decision making process. Caucasian parents are granted in home service provision while African American parents in face of the same allegations have their children removed. Caucasian children who were placed out of the home are returned substantially sooner than are African American children. Counties across the state are disproportionally terminating the rights of African American parents while Caucasian parents are granted transfers of legal custody and/or timeline extensions to complete their case plan requirements. Racial discrimination is found in the entire process, from initial reporting and assessment, to discharge from the system making evident the need for an investigation and correction of past decisions made.
- Create an outside investigative process of Child protection employees- Allow legislators (in order to conduct a review of agency procedure) to obtain and review child maltreatment investigations conducted by CPS. It also would authorize legislators to request information concerning unlawful activity of a child protection employee related to child maltreatment investigations and procedures.
- Create a bill that addresses child protection employee misconduct- A child protection employee may not knowingly do any of the following in regard to the employee's official duties on a matter before the department or the juvenile court to influence the outcome of the matter; 1. Lie about the matter. 2. Withhold material information in regard to the matter. 3. Fabricate evidence. An employee who violates this section is guilty of a class 6 Felony. Arizona is changing its legislation to reflect this in House Bill 2507.
WE NEED YOUR HELP IN ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TODAY IN A SHOW OF SOLIDARITY TO MINNESOTA'S LAW MAKERS; THAT BLACK CHILDREN MATTER TOO!
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