President Trump issued an Executive order on 24 June 2020 on the use of federal funds related to the child welfare system.
Maggy McKneely, ParentalRights.org, federal liaison, gave her take on the order.
Although the directive is something of a mixed bag, what are especially good news is
the attention it gives to methods and resources designed to keep innocent families together. Perhaps most useful is its focus on “high-quality legal representation,” because good legal counsel has been shown to keep more families together and to reunify families more quickly if they are divided.
There is not a lot of good news in the year 2020, but there is some good news coming from Washington DC.
It is not news that the child welfare system is broken. Many of the issues in the system are directly tied to the federal government.
Bills such as The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) have enabled states to deprive parents of proper due process, overburdened the system with faulty anonymous reporting, and ensnared parents in seemingly endless, intrusive investigations. So when the feds take it upon themselves to reverse course a bit and fix some of these issues, it’s important to give credit where credit is due.
The Executive order that President, Donald Trump issued seeks to protect children by improving the child welfare system.
Executive Order No.13930 is broad and most of the details must be determined and implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services. The order has some encouraging details that we as ParentalRights.org believe can make a difference for parents and children.
The executive order is aimed at improved data collection, to help federal and state governments to better allocate funds where the money is most needed.
This data will also be used to develop community-based prevention and family-support services, all aimed at keeping children with their families.
The most significant portion of the order is Section 5. This section includes a number of items designed to prevent the unnecessary removal of children from their homes or, in such cases when it is deemed necessary, to ensure that those children who are removed will be placed in permanent, stable households as soon as possible.
The order also directs HHS to provide guidance to states on using funds to provide families and children with high-quality legal representation “to prevent the removal of children from their families, safely reunify children and parents, finalize permanency, and ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are protected.”
Proper legal presentation by a lawyer will empower parents. This lawyer will actually listen to parents and will rule out getting overworked court appointed council that the parents met a few minutes before their hearing. We believe that this a good step and will go a long way to protect families.
It will be some time before the immediate impact from the order will be seen. It's encouraging that at last government officials admit there are serious flaws in the system, and started to address it.
At ParentalRights.org, we know that protecting families isn’t a partisan issue. Regardless of party, race, or religious ideology, every parent should have the right to act in the best interest of their kids. So, we applaud the actions taken by the current administration in this arena and continue to encourage lawmakers from both parties to protect children and preserve parental rights.
ParentalRights.org will monitor the results of this executive order. We will keep a close eye on how the order is carried out.
As always, we will continue to stand and fight for parental rights.
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Thank you for reading.