- Petition to US Congress: End poverty of mothers & children. Recognize caregiving work. Support the RISE Act and Reintroduction of the WORK Act.
- Petition to the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS): End racial, income & education bias in the child welfare system! Reunite Ms. Carolyn Hill with her Nieces
- Petition to DHS/DCFS: Give Us Back Our Children!
Petition to the US Congress: End poverty of mothers & children. Recognize caregiving work. Support the WORK and the RISE Acts.
WHEREAS 21.6% of US children live in poverty, more than in any other major industrialized country; and
WHEREAS mothers are the primary caregivers everywhere in the world, working to ensure the survival and wellbeing of children, families and communities; and
WHEREAS instead of recognition and support, mothers (and others with primary care responsibilities) are deprived of income and resources for this work; and
WHEREAS since Welfare Reform (TANF) was introduced in 1996, mothers must do unpaid work to ‘earn’ their benefits (Workfare); and
WHEREAS wealthy mothers can choose to raise their children full-time, mothers on Workfare must leave their children, even without childcare, or lose their benefits; and
WHEREAS Workfare bypasses the minimum wage and drives down all wages, especially women’s, increasing the wage gap between women and men; and
WHEREAS when mothers’ caregiving work is devalued, the children being cared for are devalued; and
WHEREAS only 36% of welfare money now goes to support families; the rest goes to state bureaucracy, and to remove children from their low-income mothers; and
WHEREAS breastfeeding among welfare mothers has decreased by 22%, and in Wisconsin, the first to introduce Welfare Reform, infant mortality has increased by 11%, and by 37% in Milwaukee’s African American community;
Therefore we the undersigned:
REAFFIRM that every mother is a working mother, and every child is precious; and
URGE the US Congress to pass and implement the Rise Out of Poverty Act (RISE Act H.R. 3573) and the Women’s Option to Raise Kids Act (WORK Act H.R. 4379) so that welfare policy:
- Prioritizes the elimination of child poverty.
- Enables mothers and other caregivers to choose to raise their children full-time up to the age of three without having to take another job.
- Reflects the value of caregiving work.
Initiated by: Global Women’s Strike • Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike • Every Mother is a Working Mother Network
Petition to the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS)
End racial, income & education bias in the child welfare system! Reunite Ms. Carolyn Hill with her Nieces
WHEREAS Carolyn Hill was in the process of adopting her two young nieces that DHS had placed in her care for a year when, without any allegations of abuse or neglect, and with no explanation or warning, DHS took the children from her home and put them in foster care with strangers.
WHEREAS Despite being a pre-adoptive home with legal rights to due process and standing in court, Ms. Hill was denied access to court, legal counsel, and the right to make her case.
WHEREAS Not having a GED was given as one of the reasons she was considered unsuitable to adopt the children. Other reasons were claims of poor “cognitive skills” and unfounded allegations of “mental health issues.” A second psychological evaluation said that Ms Hill was suitable to adopt her nieces.
WHEREAS Ms Hill’s family, who all support Ms Hill getting the children, agreed that the children should go to a more distant relative as a temporary measure so the children would not be in foster care with strangers. This decision is now being used to prevent the children returning to Ms Hill’s home. The children are in daycare for 10 hours a day, while Ms. Hill would have been able to provide fulltime care to these traumatized children.
WHEREAS DHS agreed in November that the children should be returned to Ms Hill’s care, they have again reversed their decision. The Support Center for Child Advocates — a nonprofit agency with a lucrative government contract and a Board of Directors headed by CEOs of multi-national corporations — is entrenched in its opposition to Ms. Hill as the adoptive parent. Ms Hill’s visits have been cut back to twice a month.
WHEREAS With the help of Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, Ms Hill has rallied support from family, friends, the church, the community, elected officials and professionals to get the children back: former State Rep. Tony Payton and even a former DHS caseworker are among those who have written on her behalf.
WHEREAS Ms Hill, who has been pushed around, lied to, denied information about her rights & suffered false & demeaning allegations against her character, has been fighting with unwavering determination to be reunited with the children she loves who have been deprived of stability & the person with whom they had formed a deep bond.
Therefore we the undersigned appeal to DHS:
Right the wrong of taking two young children from their loving home where there was no abuse or neglect – just no GED – &
reunite Ms Carolyn Hill and her nieces
Initiated by: Every Mother is a Working Mother Network and DHS Give Us Back Our Children
Sign petition online here
or return to: PO Box 11795, Phila., PA 19101
For info: 215-848-1120 firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 215-848-1130
DHS/DCFS: Give Us Back Our Children!
Across the US, women and families are unjustly losing custody of children to child protective services. Instead of helping families in poverty with housing, childcare and legal needs, child welfare services remove kids, particularly from single mothers of color, younger/older mothers, and alternative families. Most children are far better off and safer with family than in foster care with strangers. Once in the system, it is a lengthy process & sometimes impossible task to get children back. At the same time, kids in real danger often do not get the protection they desperately need – official negligence in both directions. Government financial incentives and incentives to private agencies encourage prolonged foster care: the dollars flowing to divide, not to reunite families.
- Fact – Out of every 1000 impoverished children in their jurisdiction, Philadelphia removes 31 and LA removes 21 – the two highest rates in the country. Chicago removes 5 children (Nat’l Coalition for Child Protection Reform)
- Fact – 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)
- Fact – 1/3 of those who were in foster care report abuse by an adult in a foster care facility (Casey Family Programs). They have twice the rate of PTSD as Gulf War Veterans (see NCCPR www.nccpr.org)
- Fact – 30% of foster children could be home right now if their parents had decent housing (Nat’l Coalition for Child Protection Reform)
WE THE UNDERSIGNED DEMAND:
- Child welfare services to prioritize – in practice – the protection, reunification & maintenance of families, recognizing that children almost always are much 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.
- Stop removing children from a mother because she is suffering domestic violence. Families need protection from violence, not separation.
- Adequate resources for mothers must be provided by Federal/State/County governments, including financial support, welfare, housing, childcare day or night, family-centered drug treatment, support for people with mental/physical disabilities, legal/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.
- Mothers must not lose welfare, SSI or health benefits if a child is taken which can throw the whole family into economic crisis. End the catch-22: you can’t get your kids back because you don’t have an income, but you can’t get welfare because you don’t have your kids.
- End financial incentives to provider agencies to keep children in foster care.
- Families need free, respectful & accountable legal representation and clear explanations.
- Child welfare service & 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 difference, sexual preference, alternative lifestyle, 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” & others, and give mothers the time they need to meet the mandated goals. Children need their mothers and/or family members who love them, not to be detained and given a teddy bear. Fund services that families actually need.
- 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 child welfare services and Family Court.
- Mothers must not be forced to choose between homelessness & staying with an abusive partner who may be her only source of financial support – either way the child is hurt and the mother put at risk of losing custody.
- When childcare arrangements fall through or when children are sick, mothers must not have to choose between staying home with their children and getting fired, or leaving their children alone or with inadequate care.
- Independent public scrutiny of how cases are handled must be allowed.
- There must be accountability by case workers, supervisors & administrators for children’s welfare
- There must be accountability on allocation of funding by child welfare services & agencies, ie how much goes into foster care and adoption and how much to meet families’ needs to stay together.
Poverty does not equal neglect!
Issued by Every Mother is a Working Mother Network 215-848-1120
Fax 215-848-1130 email@example.com
Return signed petitions to PO Box 11795, Philadelphia, PA 19101