A new research paper about to be published in the Columbia Journal of Race and Law, argues that the pandemic did not create a hostile environment for children in New York City and that claims of undetected child abuse were unfounded.

The paper, entitled, “An Unintended Abolition: Family Regulation During the COVID-19 Crisis,” written by Anna Arons, an acting assistant professor of lawyering at New York University, suggested that the pandemic had made a strong argument for the abolition of New York’s children’s social services, and that one of the issues was that poor parents and families from ethnic minorities had been unfairly targeted by these services before the pandemic.

Another finding from the research, which was carried out in New York City and which analysed data from the pandemic with a follow-up 12 months later, was that there had been no rise in undetected child abuse throughout the five boroughs in the city.

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services’ Commissioner David Hansell, also agreed with the findings, and said it was just as likely that the pandemic was “a very positive thing” for children, many of whom spent more quality time with their parents.

The findings have led mothers in New York City with firsthand experience of the system there to lobby the government with an ambitious reformation programme to change the way the system approaches child protection.

The proposals include revising mandatory reporting of child abuse (which is not currently policy in the UK), officials being required to tell parents what their legal rights are immediately, and removing unnecessary and invasive monitoring procedures which cause trauma.

There is a very good article on this development published in The New Republic, which can be accessed here.

Anna’s research paper can be found here.

Many thanks to Simon Haworth for alerting us to this development.

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