FAMILY POVERTY IS NOT CHILD NEGLECT!
We have a bill! H.R. 6233. See our Latest News page to read our press release and Lead Sponsor Gwen Moore's press release.
Poverty Removals and Services Fact Sheet
ENDING THE TREATMENT OF FAMILY POVERTY AS CHILD NEGLECT; TREATING POVERTY PROBLEMS WITH POVERTY-BASED SOLUTIONS.
Federal Law Should Recognize that Being Poor is Not A Good Reason for Child Protection Authorities to Intervene in Family Life. There are better ways to help poor families. Most children who have substantiated findings of abuse or neglect come to the attention of state authorities because of neglect, not abuse. Neglect includes lack of food, clothing, shelter and medical care—often conditions related to poverty. But removing children based on poverty and labeling parents as guilty of neglect when their sole “offense” is that they are poor and need help in caring for their children is grossly unfair to both children and families.
Federal policy should expressly disavow the use of neglect findings and child removal policies that amount to punishing parents for being poor.
For example, studies have consistently shown that 30% of children in foster care could be returned home if their families had adequate housing. In Illinois, tightened neglected standards resulted in the removal of more than 26,000 names from registered findings for child neglect in the State’s central register.
Children should not be removed from their homes, families and communities because they are poor. Yet child protection authorities too often lack tools to address the root causes of poverty, and instead treat those causes with label of "neglect" that deepens the families’ inability to escape from poverty (because neglect findings operate as employment bars for many positions involving caring for children).
Federal policy, driven by amendments to the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, would help to move states to treat conditions of poverty with services and benefits and eliminate the risk of separation that poor children and families currently face simply because they are poor.