FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

classes, drug tests, drug treatment, counseling, psychological evaluations, and visitation with their children. But the family regulation system monitoring goes beyond compliance with services. It also regulates with whom parents associate, where they go, and what they do.” 25 Dr. Na’im Akbar, a prominent Black American clinical psychologist, professor, and scholar, well known for his unapologetically Afrocentric approach to psychology, observed that Black people in the United States have been “systematically prevented from engaging in the constructive execution of their life processes and subjected to the dehumanizing experiences of being made servants of an alien culture.” 26 To recover and begin to heal from this debilitating experience, Akbar suggests that the foundation for finding solutions for the “mental health, social, and educational” problems experienced by Black people in America must come from Black people themselves, and “will have to be located in a knowledge that existed prior to the exceedingly disruptive experience of our American holocaust.” 27 Divest from Harm-Causing Approaches: Repeal Specific measures are needed to protect Black families to repair past damage and prevent further harm to Black families. [KB3] The first order of business at the federal level should be the repeal of CAPTA. CAPTA is mission control for the state-sponsored project of Black family destruction. It codified “child protection” as a national policy priority and created the “child protective services/CPS” system. States must have a CPS system in place in order to access federal funding for “child welfare activities,” and of course, there needs to be a system in place to funnel people into the system and to manage and regulate them once they are the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

ensnared. Rather than tying the receipt of federal funding to reporting, investigation, and prosecution of allegedly abusive and neglectful parents, the federal government and private foundations should invest in families, not systems. As Jerry Milner and David Kelly urge, federal legislators should “demonstrate that they see and value families by converting” CAPTA “from a tool of surveillance . . . into an altogether new vehicle funded to allocate funds to actually allow states and tribes to do things that benefit families . . . We can replace surveillance and harm with investment and support.” 28 Ending federal support for harmful practices like mandated reporting and quasi-criminal prosecution of families for poverty-framed-as-neglect and incentivizing investment in community resources and activities that support children and families is essential to creating true family strengthening practices, institutions, and environments. Black families generate a significant portion of money flowing through the foster industry. A highly lucrative, “self-protecting ecosystem”, 29 the “parasitic public/private foster industrial complex” that carry out CAPTA’s family regulation activities include “the courts and social service, health, mental health, education, and law enforcement agencies.” 30 Professor Dorothy Roberts points out that a main obstacle to redirecting the flow of public and private money from systems to families and communities is the tremendous amount of money generated by family policing. In New York State, for example, an analysis of tax filings in a recent year revealed that many foster care agency heads rake in over a quarter of million dollars ______________ 25 Miriam Mack, The White Supremacy Hydra: How The Family First Prvention Services Act Reifies Pathology, Control, and Punishment in the Family Regulation System, 11 Columbia Journal of Race and Law 767 (2021). 26 Na’im Akbar, Light from Africa, p. Iii. 27 Na’im Akbar, Light from Africa, p. Iii. 28 Jerry Milner and David Kelly, All I Needed Was a Little Help , FIJW Quarterly, Spring 2022. 29 Burton & Montauban at 644, quoting Molly McGrath Tierney, TedTalk 30 See, e.g., Emilie Stoltzfus, Child Welfare: Purposes, Federal Programs, and Funding , Congressional Research Services, page 1, (updated April 2022), https://

FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022 | 41

Powered by