Carolyn Hill and Pat Albright of the Philadelphia-based self-help group DHS Give Us Back Our Children, sister to Los Angeles’ DCFS Give Us Back Our Children, are among those who were interviewed and are quoted in this revealing article. Professor Dorothy Roberts (author of Shattered Bonds, The Color of Child Welfare and a co-signer of our Amicus Brief to PA Superior Court in support of Carolyn Hill’s plea for custody of her nieces) and Dr Mical Raz (author and professor at University of Pennsylvania who has been supportive of our work) are also quoted in the article. Please add your comments to the article!
This story is the tenth piece in the Truthout series, Severed Ties: The Human Toll of Prisons. This series dives deeply into the impact of incarceration on families, loved ones and communities, demonstrating how the United States’ incarceration of more than 2 million people also harms many millions more — including 2.7 million children.
Imagine your child casually mentioning to her pre-K teacher that she sleeps with you and your partner in the same bed. Or your kind but nosy new neighbor, who has just dropped off some food, noticing that your six-month-old baby sometimes sleeps with you instead of in a crib. Co-sleeping or “bed-sharing” is common, and according to a number of experts, beneficial. However, many states‘ child protective services departments, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, warn against it.
If your pre-K teacher suspects your sleeping arrangement is a form of child endangerment, they are legally obligated to call child protective services (CPS). Across the US, teachers are designated as “mandated reporters” to child protective services. But increasingly, mandated reporting laws are expanding to include nearly every single one of us. In 18 states across the United States, if your nosy neighbor, or any other person, suspects that you are putting your child in danger in some way, they are mandated by law to contact CPS and report your actions — potentially resulting in a disruptive investigation and the possible removal of your child.