FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

1970s: Passage of the Family Planning and Population Research Act. Indian Health Services physicians sterilized as many as 25 percent of Native American women of childbearing age by 1976. As a result, the 1980 census showed that Native women had a birth rate of half that of other American women. During this time, Indian children were forced into non-Native families through the adoption scoop from 1945 to 1973. In January 1974, President Richard Nixon signed the landmark Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA), which created a role for the federal government to provide funds and oversight for state child welfare systems. In addition, the act authorizes and provides a structure for the civil prosecution of adults for the offense of child abuse and neglect. The resulting conflation of the physical abuse of children with neglect associated with poverty reflects a new movement toward pathologizing parents accused of child maltreatment; rather than confronting the reality of institutional and systemic inequality in America and situated responsibility within marginalized parents and children. 1980s: Thatcherism and Reaganomics. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan persuaded neo-conservatives and neo- liberals that the Beveridge welfare state was overgenerous and contributed to people's growing dependence on the welfare state. They led the anti-welfare state movement, embraced by conservatives and liberals alike, which introduced mass privatization of government services and created what has become known as the poverty industry. Thatcher blamed long-dead Lord Beveridge, and Reagan cited black mothers, or as he and his Democratic allies called them, “Welfare Queens.” 1990s: Bill Clinton became president. During Clinton's eight years in office, the left and right enacted laws responding to new threats. These laws included a response to crack cocaine, Hilary Clinton's embrace of the unproven concepts of 'Children Without a Conscience' and 'Super- predators.' Supported by then-Senator Joe Biden, and the result was mass incarceration of African American men, women, and other vulnerable groups. This mass incarceration of parents combined with growth-hungry private

poverty and prison industries increased the size of the foster care system, making it increasingly unfordable. As a result, Congress created the Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997, followed by the Multi-ethnic Placement Act, speeding up the termination of parental rights and making hundreds of thousands of children separated from low-income and minority families available for adoption by their foster parents. In addition, the word 'permanency' would take root, creating a new rationale for the public good done by breaking vulnerable families apart. 2018: In the most recent child welfare reform, Congress, researchers, and proprietary model authors created the Family First Prevention Services Act to reform foster care and child protection. Prevention would take the form of a required clearinghouse to sanction so-called evidence-based models of treatment, which would be required to use federal money to pay for state-operated programs. Unfortunately, these reforms would ignore the broader, socially constructed determinants of health, racial, gendered, and economic inequality, and centuries-old, community-held wisdom from natural communities. Instead, they would situate responsibility for unrelenting hardships and inequality within people, labeling them as diseased, disordered, or determining their criminality under the pretense that better, scientifically informed services and programs would finally cure the problem of the poor. The welfare state created and reinvented bureaucracies to operate institutions of many types to keep the problem of poor and unpopular groups from interfering with the prosperity of mainstream European descendants. For over seven decades, reforms have repeatedly situated the responsibility for unlivable lives within marginalized groups, families, and individuals and created programs and services to manage them. Without national truth-telling and reckoning, innovation and reform have become terrifying words for welfare recipients and allies. Raif's story below illustrates how the hybrid (American/Beveridge) welfare state "innovations" over the past 74 years objectify and dehumanize the people it claims to protect or help.

28 | FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022

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