Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, April 16, 2021

Clinic Releases Report on Preserving Parental Rights for Incarcerated Parents

From Yale Law School:

Connecticut Voices for Children (CT Voices) and the Criminal Justice Advocacy Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School (CJAC) released a report on March 12, 2021 that examines the collateral consequences of the Adoption and Safe Families Act on children with incarcerated parents.

The report, “Incarcerated Parents and Termination of Parental Rights in Connecticut: Recommendations for Reform,” examines the unintended impacts of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), a federal law passed in 1997 that shifted the goal of child-protection policy from family preservation to adoption, and outlines recommendations to protect parental rights and promote the welfare of children with incarcerated parents.

“As it stands, the Adoption and Safe Families Act can unintentionally cause harm to children and families with incarcerated parents,” said Emily Byrne, Executive Director of Connecticut Voices for Children. “It is well within the power of the state to implement exceptions to the ASFA guidelines that would benefit the well-being of children and protect the rights of incarcerated parents; attention to this matter is even especially important during the pandemic.

By statute, judges must consider the parent’s “degree of personal rehabilitation” and “[t]he extent to which the parent has maintained contact with the child, including visitations, communications, or contributions.”

This presents unique challenges for incarcerated parents who often face barriers to maintaining contact including, but not limited to: the distance that many parents are incarcerated from their homes; the cost of visiting; the cost of phone calls; and the frequent relocation of children in foster care. According to the Marshall Project, from 2006–2019, at least 32,000 incarcerated parents’ parental rights have been terminated nationally, with approximately 5,000 seemingly on the basis of their incarceration alone.

Read more here.

April 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Helping Young Women in the Juvenile Justice System Avoid Violent Relationships

From The Boston Globe:

Lifespan researcher and Northeastern professor Dr. Christie Rizzo developed the Date SMART program, which. uses techniques to help teens build skills necessary for healthy relationships. 

The Date SMART program is designed to reduce both dating violence and sexual risk behaviors among adolescent females. The program is unique in that it uses cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques to help teens build skills that research has shown are necessary for healthy relationships. These include strategies for managing emotions, communicating effectively, selecting healthy partners, and reducing mental health symptoms such as depression.

The current study is a randomized controlled trial comparing the Date SMART program to an educational program focused on health. Two-hundred and fifty girls involved with the Rhode Island Family Court participated in the study and were followed for one year to assess changes in dating violence, delinquency, and sexual risk taking.

Studies suggest that about half of females in the juvenile justice system have histories of serious physical or sexual violence in dating relationships. We also know that these young women often possess other risk factors such as exposure to childhood adversity and experiences with mental health symptoms that may be linked to their dating violence experiences.

Read more here.

April 15, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Decision Strikes Key Parts of Native American Adoptions Law

From Associated Press:

Parts of a federal law giving Native American families preference in the adoption of Native American children were effectively struck down Tuesday by a sharply divided federal appeals court, a defeat for tribal leaders who said the 1978 law was important to protecting their families and culture.

The complex ruling from 16 judges of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court’s finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act’s preferences for Native American families or licensed “Indian foster homes” violate constitutional equal protection requirements.

It also said some of the provisions of the law “unconstitutionally commandeer” state officials’ duties in adoption matters.

The 1978 law has long been championed by Native American leaders as a means of preserving Native American families and culture.

Opponents of the law include non-Native families who have tried to adopt American Indian children in emotional legal cases.

The case could wind up at the Supreme Court.

Read more here.

April 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cahn: "CRISPR Parents and Informed Consent"

Naomi Cahn (UVA) recently posted to SSRN her article CRISPR Parents and Informed Consent, 23 SMU Science & Technology Law Review 3 (2020).  Here is the abstract:

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat Associated System (CRISPR-Cas9) is evolving as a multi-faceted technology that can help in finding cures for rare diseases, as well as creating babies with geneedited cells. Yet, along with complex ethical questions, it also raises legal issues in numerous areas, from intellectual property to health to family law, and it has been the subject of philosophers, ethicists, scientists, as well as legal scholars.

The focus in this article is at the intersection of family law and health law. The argument assumes that CRISPR will be used (black market or otherwise), and focuses on the rights of parents to make decisions about health care for their children and the subsequent consequences for children. It argues for responsible use by parents, which, in turn, requires responsibility from health care providers in obtaining informed consent and an understanding from the parents concerning any procedures used. The two issues at the core of this article are parents' rights to make decisions concerning their potential children, and the need for informed consent to support parental choices.

The mere possibility of using CRISPR-Cas9 may have a profound change on how parents and the medical profession address preconception and prenatal intervention. Might doctors try to override decisions of parents? Can doctors override that type of decision based on the child's best interests? Might parents choose--or not choose--genetic enhancements just because they can, or because of expectations of what constitutes a good parent? Might children sue their parents for not having used CRISPR-Cas9? There has been some attention given to children's rights to sue providers for illnesses relating to medical involvement, but this article suggests that the real issues center on parents for choosing to engage in and risk their children's future health on a newly developing technology, and on health care providers for ensuring adequate understanding of the technology. The fear, now with a strong basis based on actual experiences, is that the technology will be used in practice before it has been well-validated for clinical use, and thus produce unexpected, and adverse, outcomes for any resulting children.

It is yet another example of a technology that has outpaced regulation. As CRISPR--and any other germline editing techniques--move forward, patients' rights to make informed decisions should be accorded significant attention and protection.

April 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 12, 2021

A Road-Tripping Feminist in China

From the NYT:

She spends each night alone, curled up in a four-and-a-half by eight-foot rooftop tent, balanced on stilts above her car. She often eats her meals in parking lots. She has seen her daughter and grandchildren only once in the past six months, and her husband not at all.

Su Min, a 56-year-old retiree from Henan Province in central China, has never been happier.

“I’ve been a wife, a mother and a grandmother,” Ms. Su said. “I came out this time to find myself.”

After fulfilling her family’s expectations of dutiful Chinese womanhood, Ms. Su is embracing a new identity: fearless road-tripper and internet sensation. For six months, she has been on a solo drive across China, documenting her journey for more than 1.35 million followers across several social media platforms.

Her main appeal is not the scenic vistas she captures, though those are plentiful. It is the intimate revelations she mixes in with them, about her abusive marriage, dissatisfaction with domestic life and newfound freedom. Her blunt but vulnerable demeanor has made Ms. Su — a former factory worker with a high school education — an accidental feminist icon of a sort rarely seen in China.

Older women send her messages about how painfully familiar her story feels, and greet her at each destination bearing fruit and home-cooked meals. For younger women, she is a font of advice about marriage and child-rearing. “I wish my mother could be like Auntie Su and live for herself, instead of being trapped and locked in by life,” read a comment on one of her videos.

Her unexpected popularity speaks to the collision of two major forces in Chinese society: the rapid spread of the internet, and a flourishing awareness of gender equality in a country where traditional gender roles are still deeply rooted, especially among older generations.

Read more here.

April 12, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Existence of Child Abuse Makes Child Custody Issues Harder to Decide

From CBS Denver:

Domestic violence survivors say their children are being put at risk by courts who don’t understand the impact of abuse on kids. They’re fighting for a bill that would change how child custody battles are decided. In many cases, courts award joint custody even when there is evidence of abuse.

Rep. Meg Froelich introduced a bill that would require training on an ongoing basis and make abuse the first consideration when awarding custody.

Those opposed to the bill argue just because someone is a bad spouse doesn’t make that person a bad parent. They insist kids need both parents and shared custody is what’s best for the kids.

Read more here.

April 11, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 10, 2021

New Mexico: Family Tax Credit

From Buffalo News:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed into law a measure that supporters are billing as the most progressive shift in the state’s tax structure in years.

As for the Low-Income Comprehensive Tax Rebate, the new law will increase that up to $730, depending on income and family size. The previous maximum was $450.

The purpose, according to the Governor, is to lift more families out of poverty and strengthen the safety net for the most vulnerable people in our community under the anti-poverty efforts.

Read more here.

April 10, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 9, 2021

Vietnamese Law: Agreement on Matrimonial Property Regime of Spouses

From Lexology:

Similar to Belgium, China, French and the United States of America, Vietnamese law on marriage and family also prescribes two matrimonial property regimes of spouses, includes: the statutory property regime and the agreed property regime, so husband and wife are entitled to choose one of the two regimes.

The agreed property regime of spouses is the agreement in writing about matrimonial property regime established based on voluntary principle prior to marriage. Content of the agreement discussed, negotiated and agreed together both parties, about issues on their properties in the marriage period, includes bases for determining properties; rights and obligations of spouses to common properties, separate properties; and cases as well as property division rules between husband and wife. After the establishment, this agreement is a legal ground to regulate rights, obligations to their properties during the marriage period.

The Vietnamese Law on Marriage and Family 2014 bears a resemblance to the Legislative System of France, which it sets requirements of forms, content, and effectiveness against third parties.

Read more here.

April 9, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

New Hampshire: Same-Sex Adultery is Recognized

From The Union Leader:

In a unanimous ruling, the state Supreme Court on Thursday expanded the definition of the term adultery to apply to a spouse engaged in same-sex infidelity. The four justices overturned a 2003 decision (Blanchflower) that limited adultery to intercourse between members of the opposite sex.

In Blaisdell, the case involves the at-fault divorce allegation. A circuit court judge had determined that Mrs. Blaisdell’s alleged infidelity with another woman did not fit the definition of adultery set by the earlier court decision. Thursday’s ruling overturned that decision.

New Hampshire recognizes both no-fault and at-fault divorces. With at-fault divorce, a spouse alleges actions, such as adultery, that can challenge the expectation that marital assets will be divided equally. The case now returns to the divorce court.

Read more here.

April 8, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Alimony Reform

From WCTV:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Permanent alimony would end under legislation headed to the House floor, but it’s a provision in the bill dealing with time-sharing of children seems to be causing the most controversy.

Under the legislation, alimony payments could only last for half the length of a marriage, unless the recipient is medically needy or caring for a disabled child.

During a divorce proceeding courts would start with a presumption both parents should be entitled to an equal time-share of their children.

The bill now moves to the House floor and has one more committee stop in the Senate. If passed, the changes would apply to all divorces in which a final order has not been issued prior to July 1st 2021.

Read more here.

April 7, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Gender Equity in 136 Years

From CNBC:

The World Economic Forum predicts it will now take 135.6 years to reach gender equality — as the pandemic set the world back by a generation, delaying parity by about 36 years.

Saadia Zahidi, a managing director at the World Economic Forum, told CNBC that “100 years to global gender parity was already not good enough — and now (it is) 136 years globally.”

“The pandemic has had a massive impact, and essentially rolled back a lot of the progress that was made in the past,” she told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Wednesday.

Read more here.

 

April 6, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 5, 2021

Vaccinations Cause More Concerns in Family Law Disputes

From Law Times:

Disputes between parents with regard to their children's scope of activities during COVID had been increased with the lockdown and pandemic arrangements.

When Summer approached, parents disputed about whether children should go on a trip during pandemic. When back to school approached, parents fought about whether children should attend school in person or remotely.

There has been no shortage of family law files since pandemic, and attorneys are expected to see more family law disputes with child custody and parents' vaccination decisions for their children.

Read more here.

April 5, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Family Law Scholars & Teachers

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We write to invite you to join us at the Fourteenth Annual Family Law Scholars and Teachers (FLST) Conference, which will take place this year on Monday June 21, 2021.  The conference will be conducted virtually via Zoom and will be hosted by Brooklyn Law School. As in previous years, the conference  will provide an opportunity for us to share scholarship, pool our knowledge on teaching issues,    talk about our field and professional development, and get to know one another.

If you are interested in attending this year’s FLST conference, please make sure to read all the way to the bottom of this invitation letter, as the letter includes a number of upcoming deadlines.

In order to maintain a more intimate, safe space where there is an opportunity for each participant to present their work, we are continuing our practice of keeping the conference small. Space is limited (selected purely on a first-come, first- served basis), so please register as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, April 16, 2021. We will keep a waiting list so that if anyone cancels, we will invite people on the waiting    list to attend the conference.

Conference sessions 

As in past years, the conference will provide an opportunity to present and receive feedback in small groups on works-in-progress (WIP) and incubator projects.  In addition, the conference committee is planning a “Show-and-tell” teaching session, as well as a workshop on How to Write a Book.  We also welcome colleagues to join the conference to comment on other people’s work without presenting their own project if they wish.  All participants including commentators must register for the conference by April 16, 2021. 

  • Works-in-progress (WIP) presentations. We invite you to present a work in progress (WIP) for feedback. Participants will be assigned to small breakout sessions designed to foster intensive discussion of each WIP. The size of each workshop will depend on the number of proposals submitted.   WIP Participants will need submit an abstract now, and then a minimum of 10 pages of their project in advance of the conference.

If more papers are submitted than time allows to be discussed, the planning committee will select the papers that will be presented based on subject matter, methodology, etc. Participants are welcome to present papers that have been already accepted for publication, but in the spirit of works-in-progress, we ask that participants refrain from presenting accepted papers that are too far along in the production process for feedback from the conference to be incorporated.

  • Incubator presentations. Incubator presentations allow those  who have an early-stage idea to get substantial feedback on the idea without submitting a paper. Participants will submit a short summary (1-5 pages) describing their idea, and very briefly introduce the idea to the group. The small group will then provide reactions, including suggestions for framing of the idea, appropriate formats or audiences, and further reading or research strategies. The planning committee will make judgments about how many incubators can be accommodated depending on how many applications we receive; priority will go to people in their first three years of teaching.
  • Teaching Show-and-tell. This session will give conference participants the opportunity to share instructional strategies that they have used in their classrooms, or strategies that they have formulated and plan to use. This could include simulation exercises, group work, assessment strategies, visuals, or any other strategies you use to help your students learn. This assessment might be graded or ungraded, provided to individual students or to the class as a group. Presenters will have the opportunity to briefly explain the strategy or provide participants with a copy of the exercise.  Depending on the number of presenters, this session may also enable presenters  to lead the group in experiencing the instructional strategy firsthand.  Emphasis will be on the Show part of Show and Tell, with the goal that conference participants will be able to then implement the strategy in their own We encourage participants at all stages of their teaching career to sign up to present at this session.  Teaching approaches that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in family law, and which incorporate critical perspectives, are especially relevant.
  • So You Want to Write a Book? This breakout session will provide information for participants interested in authoring a book. Seasoned family law professors will present on how to conceptualize a book project, pitch it to publishers, and see it to fruition.

Registration

As noted above, registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so please register as soon as possible, but no later than Friday April 16, 2021.   Because space is limited, if you are interested in participation, be quick to register!

To sign up for the 2021 FLST Conference, please go to https://forms.gle/iVU722ov7h5Mn4bD6

Works In Progress Presentations

If you would like to make a WIP presentation, the submission form will ask you to provide:

  • Your paper’s title;
  • The topic of your paper;
  • A 500 word abstract or summary of your paper;
  • Your name and institutional affiliation;
  • Number of years you have been in academia; and
  • A list of your areas of interest and expertise.

Incubator Presentations

If you would like to make an incubator presentation, the submission form will ask you to provide:

  • The title of your incubator project;
  • The topic of your incubator project;
  • A brief description of your project;
  • Your name and institutional affiliation;
  • Number of years you have been in teaching/academia; and
  • A list of your areas of interest and expertise.

Invitation for Teaching Show and Tell

We would also like to use this opportunity to invite presenters to briefly “show and tell” their teaching strategies. Please indicate your interest on the google form. 

Joining the conference as a commentator

You are welcome to join the conference to comment on other people’s work without presenting your own project.  If you would like to join the conference as a commentator, please register at https://forms.gle/iVU722ov7h5Mn4bD6

Questions 

If you have questions about registering for the 2021 conference, please contact Susan Hazeldean at susan.hazeldean@brooklaw.edu or Sarah Katz, at sarah.katz@temple.edu.  If you have any other general questions, please feel free to contact any of us on the planning committee.

We are very excited about this conference. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you in in June!

Warm regards,

Susan Hazeldean (co-chair)

Sarah Katz (co-chair)

Meghan Boone

Charisa Smith

Gregg Strauss

  Shanta Trivedi

Nofar Yakovi Gan-Or

Jordan Blair Woods

April 5, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Impact of Inheritance

From Vox:

A large amount of cash is expected to move from the pockets of boomers to everyone younger, though guesses at just how much and when vary: Forbes reports $30 trillion over “many years,” PNC says $59 trillion by 2061, CNBC mentions $68 trillion and 25 years, and the New York Times confirms the variety of these assessments but puts it at around $15 trillion over the next decade.

[A] big, generational transfer is on the horizon, and while part of it is precipitated by possible changes to the generous inheritance laws the Trump administration put in place, as the baby boomers tick up in age, part of it is just the cycle of life.

In “Not All Millennials,” published in the Drift, Kiara Barrows noted that “the distribution of this inheritance will fall along the lines of existing inequalities, deepening the fractures in any millennial program of economic solidarity.” And that’s certainly true — the nation’s top 1 percent have received more than 35 percent of the inherited wealth, according to Edward Wolff, a professor at New York University and the author of Inherited Wealth in America: Future Boom or Bust?

But Wolff also says, surprisingly, that inherited wealth isn’t a huge driver of inequality in America — it actually has had an equalizing effect. And there’s no indication that the next decades will be any different.

The reason is deceptively simple: While much (much!) more money flows among the rich, for middle- and low-income people who receive gifts or inheritance, they represent a larger percentage of wealth. So large, in fact, that for some people, a gift from mom or dad is the thing that will keep them middle class.

But recipients-wise, we’re not talking about a lot of people. Twenty-two percent of American households receive a wealth transfer, Wolff says in a phone interview — a significant figure but certainly not a majority.

Read more here.

April 4, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Turkish Women Protest Over Erdogan’s Decision To Exit Domestic Violence Treaty

From Reuters:

Several thousand women took to the streets in Istanbul on Saturday to demand Turkey reverses its decision to withdraw from an international treaty against domestic abuse which it once championed.

President Tayyip Erdogan stunned European allies with last week’s announcement that Turkey was pulling out of the Istanbul Convention, named after the Turkish city where it was drafted in 2011.

World Health Organization data shows 38% of women in Turkey are subject to violence from a partner in their lifetime, compared with 25% in Europe.

Read more here.

April 3, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 2, 2021

How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms

From The New Yorker:

As many as sixty thousand people in the United States practice polygamy, including Hmong Americans, Muslims of various ethnicities, and members of the Pan-African Ausar Auset Society. But polygamists face innumerable legal obstacles, affecting such matters as inheritance, hospital visits, and parentage rights. If wives apply for benefits as single parents, they are lying, and may be committing welfare fraud; but if they file joint tax returns they are breaking the law. 

In 2015, when the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges established same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a dissent arguing that, if a system denying marriage to gay and lesbian couples represented an assault on their constitutional rights, existing marriage restrictions must similarly “disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships.” Roberts continued, “Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective ‘two’ in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not.” 

In 2017, the Uniform Law Commission, an association that enables states to harmonize their laws, drafted a new Uniform Parentage Act, one provision of which facilitates multiple-parent recognition. Versions of the provision have passed in California, Washington, Maine, Vermont, and Delaware, and it is under consideration in several other states. Courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana have also supported the idea of third parents.

The campaigns of both polygamists and polyamorists to have their unions recognized point to the larger questions that swarm around marriage battles: what are the government’s interests in marriage and family, and why does a bureaucratic system sustain such a relentless focus on who has sexual relationships with whom? Surveys in the past decade have consistently found that four to five per cent of American adults—more than ten million people—already practice some form of consensual nonmonogamy, and the true number, given people’s reticence about stigmatized behaviors, is almost certainly higher.

Read more here.

April 2, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 1, 2021

ICE Says It Is Ending Use of Family Detention

From The National Law Review:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) disclosed in a Federal Court filing that it is ending the use of family detention and transitioning it to short-term facilities. These facilities will release families after no more than 72 hours.

Originally there were three detention centers, two in Texas – Dilley and Karnes – and one in Pennsylvania, the Berks Family Residential Center. As of March 5, 2021, only thirteen families remained in detention, and seven had been scheduled for release that day. 

All the families in the Berks Family Residential Center were released as of February 26. ICE further disclosed that the Pennsylvania detention center will be closed, and the two Texas facilities will be used as short-term detention centers.

Read more here

April 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Third Parties Can Have Child Custody Rights Too In Pennsylvania

From JD Supra:

In Pennsylvania, a parent of a minor child may file an action for physical and/or legal custody of the child.  In certain circumstances, this right is also extended to grandparents and third parties who stand in loco parentis to the child.  Therefore, though it is presumed the parent has a right to custody, it may be forfeited if, by convincing evidence, the best interest of the child is served by awarding custody to a third party.

A person who stands in loco parentis has created a parent-like relationship to the child sufficient to warrant providing that individual the right to seek continued contact with the child.  This status can be conferred upon any third party, including, but not limited to, current or ex-spouses or partners, friends, siblings, and distant relatives.

For those grandparents who are unable to prove they stand in loco parentis, Pennsylvania has enacted specific provisions to provide them with alternative means to seek custody.  

Grandparents who do not meet the elements for standing to sue for any form of physical or legal may still have the means to insert themselves into a custody dispute if they meet the elements for standing to sue for partial custody or visitation rights.  This standing is further extended to great-grandparents who do not stand in loco parentis to the child.

Read more here.

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Pandemic Hit Households Relying on Both Incomes

From NBC News:

The pandemic upended the lives of millions of families who suddenly found themselves without one or both sources of income. Many have gone from enjoying the cultural markers of the middle class — job stability, homeownership and some disposable income — to teetering on the edge of poverty.

Some experts fear the effects could be long-lasting.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 115 million people had experienced losses in employment income from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 through last month.

And according to a Pew Research Center report released this month, more than 4 in 10 adults say they or someone else in their households had lost jobs or wages since the beginning of the pandemic.

Even with unemployment insurance, which struggled with claim delays amid unprecedented demand, and other benefits, the impact could have ramifications for years, economic experts and advocates said.

The Pew Research Center survey found that about half of nonretired adults said the economic impact of the pandemic will make it harder for them to achieve their long-term financial goals. Among those who said their financial situations had gotten worse, 44 percent said they thought it would take them three years or more to get back to where they were a year ago, and about 1 in 10 said they didn't think their finances would ever recover.

Elise Gould, a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit research organization, said lower- and middle-income families alike were vulnerable to major economic instability after losses of income.

"It's incredibly destabilizing in the short run," she said. "People just simply don't have the savings to be able to weather job losses or to cut back on hours or furloughs to be able to continue paying their bills," she said.

Losing a home, facing declines in its credit score or the continued inability to get a job could also affect a family long after the pandemic is over, she said.

Accolla said it took six or seven years to build what her family had, "and it went away within the quickness of one year."

Facing credit card debt and having to spend their savings, she wonders just when they will be able to recover.

"Are we going to be able to recover again? Will we get back to a place of comfortability? Will we be able to have a home?" she asked.

Elizabeth Ananat, an economics professor at Barnard College in New York City, said the pandemic led to major workforce declines. Some people are unable to work because of responsibilities such as being caregivers, and others want to work but have given up looking.

Food insecurity has skyrocketed, she said, especially among families with young children.

"They've lost more jobs, and of course those are children who need to be cared for all the time," she said, adding that the income losses have translated directly into "these really severe material hardships," such as evictions or the threats of them and increases in hunger.

The losses have been especially devastating for women, as well as Black and Latino families, she said.

Naomi Cahn, director of the Family Law Center at the University of Virginia School of Law, said the pandemic has had a "disproportionate impact on families of color."

"That's a really, really important part of the story," she said.

In an analysis of data collected last month in the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, the research organization Child Trends found that 24 percent of U.S. adults in households with children, or 1 in 4, reported having limited confidence that they would be able to make their next rent or mortgage payments on time. Among Black households with children, the number was 40 percent.

The Biden administration has said its $1.9 trillion relief package will lift 11 million people out of poverty "and cut child poverty in half."

"That could provide at least some temporary stability for many families," Cahn said.

Read more here.

March 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hundreds of US families have been trying for a year to adopt children from China. They're still waiting

From CNN:

According to the State Department, about 400 American families' adoptions of children in China were put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a February 2021 letter to families, the Chinese government said foreign adoptions are suspended due to Covid-19, but did not provide any information on when they might resume.
 
"Before resuming adoption registration, we will actively cooperate with local civil affairs departments and child welfare agencies by the rehabilitation needs of adoptive families," the letter said.
 
The US State Department told CNN they "have made clear" to China "the importance of resuming intercountry adoptions as a high priority and as soon as health conditions allow." The department said it is committed to working with China to find a solution.
 
Read more here.

March 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)