The Philadelphia Daily News published this important article on Thursday about grandmother Janice Brown’s many-year struggle to reunite with her grandchildren.
Our letter to the editor (not yet published):
“Our hearts go out to Ms. Brown and her grandchildren [A Grandmother’s Ordeal, Feb 6]. Their pain is not unique, as we know from the steady stream of distressed mothers, grandmothers, aunts…. who contact us. Carolyn Hill is another loving caregiver whose nieces, placed in her care by DHS, were later removed by DHS, the only true reason given that she did not have a GED or high school diploma. She too was denied standing in court despite being in the adoption process and despite active support from her family, church, neighbors, state rep, women’s organizations, a pro-bono lawyer and even her former DHS social worker. It is because of the rubber stamping by courts of DHS’ and child advocates’ racial, gender and class profiling, financial incentives for agencies to keep kids in care, lack of good or any legal help, and a bias toward punishing low-income families rather than helping them, that Philadelphia has the distinction of the highest rate in the country for a city of its size of removing children from their homes. The trauma for children, first losing parents, then in foster care – where nationwide one third report abuse by an adult – is ignored.”
A grandmother’s DHS ordeal
Janice Brown has been fighting to get her grandchildren back after placement by DHS. Her daughter died in a car accident that killed 4 in the Feltonville section of the city in 2009. In the picture are Janice Brown with grandson Kyshone Smith, 7, and in background are husband Maurice West and her son Dontay Gilliam, 14. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )