Professor Matt Fraidin spoke at the National Association of Counsel for Children’s 35th National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference in Chicago recently.
Prof. Fraidin and Prof. Mullen, law professors at UDC-DCSL and the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University, respectively, bemoaned the fact that juvenile justice/child welfare law is steeped in stories of misery, even though there are a lot of good things happening.
From Youth Today: "These kids are trapped in a sad narrative, Professor Fraidin said. "They are viewed as fruit that doesn’t fall far from the tree. News stories describe horrible injuries by violent, murderous and monstrous parents. In the foster care system, we’ve created a world based on horror stories. Yet, 70 percent of foster kids are there because of neglect, not abuse, and that neglect often comes from poverty, homelessness, bouncing around and related chronic truancy.
"Yet, he said, "people who live in crummy neighborhoods are often strong
and helpful, and kids who go to school from there are bold. Why don’t
we emphasize the strengths? Ask not, what are they lacking? Ask instead,
what do they have? What can they do? How can they help their situation?
Even the most problematic parents can clean a house, walk a dog, visit
someone in a nursing home. You empower people when you find their
strengths and talk about them that way.”