Support Senate Bill S7326!
Support Senate Bill S7326!
Why this petition matters
We are students of social work at Molloy College. We are writing to ask you to support Senate Bill S7326. This bill seeks to reduce the option of anonymous calling by reporters. While the option for anonymous calls was designed to allow people to report suspected child abuse or neglect while maintaining confidentiality, data suggests that anonymous reports often do more harm than good for children and families. According to a 2015 Catholic University Law Review, minority families are more likely to receive higher levels of intervention following an anonymous report. Anonymous calls are made disproportionately against families of color. Due to oppressive factors within the system, many vulnerable families including Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) as well as poor families are more likely to experience harsh implications because of anonymous calling. For example, Black children remain in foster care fifty percent longer than children of other ethnicities (Hyunil, et. al., 2017). Also, there is a strong link between poverty and the child welfare system. In this case, poor families are overrepresented, both because of the criminalization of poverty and because of the extent and nature of their contact with other welfare services. This data suggests that once in the system, members of the BIPOC community receive harsher punishments and less support (Ceka, 2015).
One way to combat the issue of anonymous callings and the implications that follow is Senate Bill S7326. This bill was developed to promote change in the system by ensuring that all callers of suspected abuse or neglect identify themselves with their full name and contact information, while ensuring their confidentiality. The hope of this is to limit the number of unnecessary, racially motivated calls. Racial disparities exist at every point in the child welfare system, and extreme burdens fall disproportionately on families of color, subjecting them to surveillance and the trauma of being separated from loved ones. According to a study conducted by the American Public Health Association, Indigenous American children are also overrepresented in the child welfare system as they are taken away from their parents. Moreover, 53% of Black children’s homes are investigated by child welfare officials (Hyunil, K. et, al. 2017). Considering these implications, it is imperative to note that anonymous reporting increases the number of inaccurate accusations against families which further increases these vulnerable families to be harmed within the welfare system. It is necessary to remove the option of anonymous reports of abuse and neglect if we are to begin to challenge the systemic barriers that continue to disproportionately harm vulnerable families.
Senate Bill S7326 prohibits anonymous reports of child neglect to the state central registry by requiring callers to leave their names and contact information when making a report, while maintaining confidentiality. The goal of this is to limit the number of false accusations which may result in family separations and children being taken away from their parents due to systemic racism ideologies. This bill is one step closer to a more equitable and just child welfare system as it rids anonymous reporting. To protect those who are already experiencing harsh treatment within the welfare system and those who are at risk, this bill needs to be signed into law.
Please sign this petition to get the attention of our state senators who can help pass this NYS bill into law. If it becomes law, many vulnerable families will be protected from unfair and unjust treatment within the child welfare system. Thank you for your support.
Dale M. Cecka, (2015).Abolish Anonymous Reporting to Child Abuse Hotlines, 64 Cath. U. L. Rev. 51 (2015). Available at: https://scholarship.law.edu/lawreview/vol64/iss1/6
Hyunil Kim, Christopher Wildeman, Melissa Jonson-Reid, Brett Drake. (2017, Feb.1). “Lifetime Prevalence of Investigating Child Maltreatment Among US Children”, American Journal of Public Health 107, no. 2 pp. 274-280.