Self-help, multi-racial action and support groups of mothers, other family members, former social workers, foster parents & supporters in Los Angeles and Philadelphia working together against the unjust removal of children from their families by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Children are often snatched, not because of abuse or neglect, but because of poverty, sexism and racism. We fight individual cases, build public awareness, educate the media, work to change unjust policies & practices, & challenge discrimination against mothers throughout the system. We are part of a national movement.
- DHS/DCFS to prioritize –in practice – the protection, reunification and maintenance of families, recognizing that most children are safer and better off in their own home.
- Prioritize placing children with family members if they truly can’t remain with their own parents (according to state law), not fostering them out to strangers. Children are almost always safer with family than with strangers.
2/3 of those who were in foster care report sexual abuse by an adult in a foster care facility (Casey Family Programs)
- Stop removing children from a mother because she is suffering domestic violence. Families need protection from violence, not the further violence of separation.
- The Federal Government, the State and County must provide adequate resources for mothers to keep families together, including financial support, housing, childcare day or night, family-centered drug treatment, support for people with mental and physical disabilities, legal and other help. A financial crisis is no excuse for inaction since this kind of assistance costs less than warehousing children in foster or group homes and destroying their futures.
One third of children would be home tomorrow if their parents just had decent housing! Richard Wexler, Natl Coalition for Child Protection Reform
- End financial incentives for DHS/DCFS and provider agencies to keep children in foster care.
- Families need access to free, respectful and accountable legal representation. Professionals must explain clearly what is happening in each case
- DHS/DCFS and related agencies must stop hiding behind confidentiality to keep information from the public; allow families to decide if they want their case heard in courts open to the public.
- End discrimination on the basis of race, gender, poverty, age, disability, immigration status, cultural differences, sexual preference, being a victim of domestic violence or any other.
- End the run-around, delaying of cases and abuse of power by workers, lawyers, so-called “child advocates” and others, and give mothers the time they need to meet DHS/DCFS goals. Children need their mothers and/or other family members who love them, not be detained and then given a teddy bear.
- Mothers and families must be treated with respect, not threats, harassment and arrogance. They have the right to the support and accompaniment of family and community members in all dealings with DHS/DCFS and Family Court.
Black children are more likely to be taken from their homes, to stay in protective custody longer and never to return to their parents. (Cincinnati Post)
- Mothers must not be forced to choose between homelessness and staying with an abusive partner who may be her only source of financial support – either way the child is hurt and they risk losing custody. Welfare must be available.
- When childcare arrangements fall through or when children are sick, mothers must not have to choose between staying with their children and getting fired, or leaving children alone or with inadequate care. Welfare must be available.
- Independent public scrutiny of how cases are handled.
- Accountability by case workers, supervisors & administrators for the welfare of children.
- Accountability on how DHS/DCFS and related agencies are allocating their funding, ie how much goes into foster care and adoption and how much to services families need to stay together.
New video: DHS Give Us Back Our Children: Mothers Come Together To Take Their Children Back from the Child Welfare Industry
To order or for more info:
What You Can Do
Join women across the US who are coming together to win our children back from detention by Child Welfare Departments, by adding your name to the growing national and international list of people demanding protection, reunification and maintenance of families and all of the above:
Name Organization (if any) Email Address
Poverty is not neglect!
Return petition to Box 11795 Philadelphia PA 19101 or Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086
or sign online at www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/364936228
Co-ordinator of Global Women's Strike
Quoted in NY Times Op-Ed: Pay People to Cook at Home!
Speaking at The Life and Legacy of C.L.R. James Conference
In the Guardian: From welfare to wages, women fight back against the uncaring market
More Guardian articles
Listen to speak in Ireland: "How can women defeat austerity?"
Other countries we work with (so far...)
Sojourner Truth Radio
Margaret Prescod on Sojourner Truth Pacifica Radio, KPFK, Tuesdays.
News on US domestic & foreign policy. Cutting-edge interviews with women, people of color & others around the world.
KPFK's Margaret Prescod named Best Radio Personality - 2012 by OC Weekly!
Sojourner Truth website
UK Fri 17th May 13
Letter to The Guardian reporting on launch of petition 'Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.'UK Thu 16th May 13
Messages of support to launch of petition Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.UK Thu 16th May 13
Mon 13th May 13
USA Sat 11th May 13