The Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act: One Small Step in the Right Direction Towards A More Just Child Welfare System
Most of the mainstream media has failed to report on this momentousness event for child welfare reform and parental rights advocates — no surprise there — wherein a state, in this case Minnesota, has finally introduced protective state child welfare legislation aimed at addressing institutional and structural racism within the state’s child welfare system — and thus, persevering black families. Parental rights and social justice advocates have been lobbying for legislation to be passed (state and federal) for several years and now someone has listened.
As a social justice and parental rights advocate, this story is a personal one and a triumph to see on many levels but specifically because I was unjustly and unnecessarily removed from my mother when I was a mere six years old and while living in St. Paul at the time. The removal was both retaliation and racially (politically) motivated due to the fact that my mother was a fearless and outspoken black woman trying desperately to address the blatant discrimination and racism that we, and the other blacks, were experiencing in the neighborhood.
Moreover, I experienced mental, physical, and emotional abuse, and very nearly died due to improper adult supervision or the lack therefore in my case, while I was in foster care. And although my mother did eventually get me and my younger sister back after two long and hard years of fighting in the Courts she was never the same mentally or emotionally after that ordeal.
I now know, as a social work professional, that my mother was very likely suffering from severe and untreated PTSD which is a very common diagnosis after a family (both parents and children tend to develop this condition) has exposed to an open CPS case. It wasn't until many years later when I myself was a mother, and found myself in the very same position (having had to experience the same CPS induced hell), that I truly realized what my mother had to endure.
It was because of cases such mine and my family’s that Minnesota (of all places) legislators, to their credit, decided to do something to prevent the above from needlessly happening to another (black) family. It is clear to all that institutionalized and structural racism and discrimination is rampant and widespread within our nation’s child welfare system and has been for at least 30 years. This racism and discrimination within the child welfare system has directly lead to what some scholars and advocates have termed, the “cultural genocide” of the black family. This bill, also known as HF3973/Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act, was created in an effort to address the many, and thoroughly documented, racial disparities within the Minnesota child welfare system.
The bill was first introduced in February of this year by Rep. Rena Moran and Sen. Jeff Hayden with the explicit purpose of the bill being, ‘The MN African American Family Preservation Act to Stop the Arbitrary Removal of Black Children by Minnesota’s Child Protection Department,’ addresses key issues and disparities within Minnesota, while also seeking to extend better standards of care across Minnesota’s Child Protection Department.
The Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act has the support of The Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage and numerous leaders within the black community in addition to several (black) parents that have had their children cruelly and unjustly removed by CPS. And while there is no doubt that there will be some issues with implementation nor will the bill be a fix all in regards to child welfare reform; I believe that it is one small step in the right direction. The fact that a group of Minnesota legislators have taken it upon themselves to try and right a very destructive and culturally devastating wrong is worthy of hope and praise.
Moreover, and more importantly, now that Minnesota has taken the first legislative step, maybe others will do follow and do the same.
A Call to Action...
This extremely important bill has yet to be placed on the floor for the vote as of now, therefore, I’m calling upon advocates, families, and child welfare professionals everywhere to call and write the appropriate committees and/or legislators and tell them that you support the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act!!!
And if you’re ready to make a positive difference and combat the cultural genocide of African American families all across the country please call or write your representatives and request that a African American Family Preservation Act be introduced in YOUR state!!! I know I will!!!
#AfricanAmericanChildWelfareAct #BlackFamilyMatters #NAFPAorg #BlackLoveMatters #BlackLivesMatter #BlackFamiliesBelongTogether #BlackHistory #KeepBlackFamiliesTogether #AbolishCPS #RacistDHS #RepealASFANow #AbolishFosterCare #EndCPS #BlackMothersForCPSAbolition #BlackMothersForChildWelfareReform
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Latagia Copeland-Tyronce, MSW, CADAS, is a longtime parental rights and social justice advocate, child welfare reform activist, writer/blogger, and journalist whose work has been featured in BlackMattersUs and Rise Magazine. She is the founder, president, and executive director of the National African American Families First and Preservation Association (NAFPA) a groundbreaking 501c4 nonprofit origination, the first of its kind, devoted exclusively to the protection and preservation of the African American (Black) Family though policy and legislative advocacy.
And for EXCLUSIVE content on any and everything (including CPS, culture, Black life, Black womanhood and white supremacy) from the perspective of an unapologetic pro-black and utterly unafraid highly educated but broke millennial Afro-American woman, PTSD sufferer and macro social worker who’s been through more than you can imagine subscribe to Latagia Copeland-Tyronce’s Newsletter. I’ll see you there:-) Be sure to follow Latagia on Instagram, Twitter, Quora, and Facebook.
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HF3973 Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act
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