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Research Archive

December 11, 2023

How to make smartphones and apps safer for kids

“These are first-of-their-kind bills in the United States,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said in March at the signing of SB152, which required social media companies operating in Utah to age-verify users and obtain explicit parental consent for users under the age of 18 to open an account. “That’s huge that Utah is leading out in this…

November 11, 2023

Why is NYC Telling Teachers to Not Keep Kids Safe?

When you see something, should you say something? According to the Office of Children and Family Services, it depends on the race of the victim.  New guidance released last month for New York City teachers offers some unusual bits of advice. Rather than reporting suspected cases of abuse to the Administration for Children’s Services, teachers should actually…

October 10, 2023

The Best Place for Kids Isn’t Always Their Home

If it’s true that you can judge a society by how it treats its weakest members, then one shortcut to judging societies would be looking at their child welfare systems. A recent article in The New Yorker by Margaret Talbot gives readers a chilling view into Austria’s foster care system in the post-war years. The story revolves…

October 10, 2023

Judge Erik Pitchal’s Warped Mindset Led to Baby Ella Vitalis’ Death

Ella Vitalis was only three weeks old when her parents brought her to the hospital with two broken ankles, a fractured skull and a brain hemorrhage. The couple, who had been visited by police after a domestic-violence incident, offered no explanation for their daughter’s injuries. After an investigation, the Administration for Children’s Services took Ella and her brother,…

October 5, 2023

DCS Has Failed Children It Was Supposed to Protect, This Lawsuit Shows Why

What should anger us most about the life of Kimberly F., a 15-year-old Indiana girl in the custody of the state’s Department of Child Services? That she was repeatedly sexually abused by at least three men? That those responsible for her allowed the abuse to continue? That the state repeatedly kept her in the care…

August 14, 2023

What ‘Earth Mama’ Doesn’t Tell Us About Foster Care

There are plenty of movies that start in the middle of the story. But typically the director will eventually go back and tell you what happened at the beginning. This is not true of “Earth Mama,” a recently released film by first-time director Savanah Leaf. The story is about a pregnant woman, Gia, whose two…

August 12, 2023

Why Ending Child Services Is the New Defund the Police

Can you imagine if the New York Police Department invited Defund the Police activists to train their officers? That’s what the New York State Family Court and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) are doing. In a June webinar for almost 400 ACS workers, parents, child attorneys and family court judges, advocates who want to…

June 2, 2023

America’s Failing Child-Protection System

In her recent Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver describes the situation of a young boy whose father dies before he is born. His mother struggles with addiction, but Demon manages to get by somehow—mostly with the help of his next-door neighbors. His situation goes south quickly, though, around the age of 10, when his…

May 31, 2023

Children Are Dead Because Activists Say It’s Racist for ACS to Act

When a child is found dead with bruises on her wrists and torso, the first question is always: Were there warning signs? In the case of 6-year-old Jalayah Eason, the answer is undoubtedly yes. It wasn’t just the upstairs neighbor who heard the child “screaming for her dear life” and yelling, “Stop, stop, stop!” Who told…

May 30, 2023

Parenting While High

Last month, Albuquerque police launched an investigation into how they handled the case of a seven-month-old baby who died in 2022 of asphyxiation. The death was ruled accidental—the child fell between a couch and a windowsill—even though he also had methamphetamines in his system. Three other children in the home also tested positive within a few days,…