The article reflects the input of Rise staff and contributors and our broader community of parents and allies. It draws heavily on our collaboratively developed, parent-led reports, Someone to Turn To: A Vision for Creating Networks of Parent Peer Care and An Unavoidable System: The Harms of Family Policing and Parents’ Vision for Investing in Community Care. The Rise staff includes Naashia B., Teresa Bachiller, Jeanette Vega Brown, Ashanti Bryant, Keyna Franklin, Noshin Hoque, Shamara Kelly, Teresa Marrero, Shakira Paige, Zoraida Ramirez, Genevieve Saavedra Dalton Parker, Tracy Serdjenian, Bianca Shaw, Halimah Washington, Robbyne Wiley and Imani Worthy. Trapped in the Web of Family Policing: The Harms of Mandated Reporting and the Need for Parent-Led Approaches to Safe, Thriving Families Imani Worthy, Tracy Serdjenian and Jeanette Vega Brown
Introduction A family’s contact with the family policing system 1 often begins with a call to the child abuse and maltreatment “hotline” made by a mandated reporter. About two-thirds of reports to New York’s Statewide Central Register (SCR) are made by mandated reporters—“certain professionals mandated by New York State law to report suspected child abuse and neglect.” 2 While some states require any person who suspects abuse or neglect to report, this article focusesonmandated reportingbyprofessionals working in roles that are meant to support families and that states commonly designate as mandated reporters, including social workers, teachers/school personnel, childcareproviders, and health/mental health care providers. 3 Mandated reporting is an extension of the racist, classist, ableist family policing system— making the system unavoidable in Black and brown low-income communities. Mandatory reporting laws provide a channel through which the surveillance and threat of the family policing system saturate intersecting systems where families should be able to access care, support, resources, and education (e.g., schools/daycares, hospitals, mental health services, shelters). Mandated reporting laws and practices especially harm Black, Latinx, and Native families and communities.
Rise is a parent-led organization advocating to abolish the family policing system, including ending mandated reporting—which is increasingly being called for by parents, advocates, and social workers. Rise supports parents’ leadership to dismantle the family policing system by eliminating cycles of harm, surveillance, and punishment and creating communities that invest in families and offer collective care, healing, and support. This article is grounded in Rise’s 16-year history working with impacted parents and learning from our community, programs, research, 1 Rise uses the term “family policing system” instead of “child welfare system” because our team believes that it most accurately and directly describes the system’s purpose and impact. Learn more: https://www. risemagazine.org/2021/05/why-were-using-the-term- family-policing-system/ In our participatory action research survey, we used the term “child welfare” because it is more widely known, and we believed it would be clearer to parents completing the survey. 2 and interviews. ______________ Rise & TakeRoot Justice. (Fall 2021). An Unavoidable System: The Harms of Family Policing and Parents’ Vision for Investing in Community Care . https://www. risemagazine.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/ AnUnavoidableSystem.pdf 3 Child Welfare Information Gateway. Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect . https://www. childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/manda.pdf
38 | FIJ Quarterly Spring 2022
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