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Posts Tagged ‘“The Separation”’

Illustration Anna Parini (The New Yorker)

I am traveling, and I brought with me an old issue of the New Yorker, the August 7 and 14 one, for I wanted to read Larissa MacFarquhar’s article, “The Separation. Why should a child be removed from his home?” It is a superb piece about the destruction of a family, and a must-read for any parent (father) confronted for whatever reason to the monstrous US family justice system.

MacFarquhar’s article narrates Mercedes’ quest to be reunited with her three children taken away from her by the Bronx family court. Mercedes is not a bad mother. She made mistakes, like all of us, but she was not abusive and deeply cared for her kids. Once they are taken away from her, it seems to her like her life stops.

Everything starts with a phone call of Mercedes’ mother to A.C.S. (the Administration for Children’s Services), out of spite. Mercedes visited her mom, with her two kids (Mercedes would give birth to two other children later on). Leslie, her daughter, had accidentally burnt herself with a hair dryer. Mercedes‘ mother was not especially alarmed for the child, but called ACS nonetheless. Fatal mistake. A.C.S. agents are like the Inquisition. They are the ones who know about good and bad parents; You cannot question their intrusion into your life and your relationship with your children, because they hold the fate of a relation in their hands. From this point onward, Mercedes is snatched into a process that is going to crush her and her relationship with her kids.

A.C.S. is yet just one of the culprits of Mercedes’ ordeal, which has no end in sight still. They are all these actors of the system acting at cross-purposes: A liberal-minded judge, who is used to put impossible demands on the way the single parent is to raise their child, which the mom cannot meet because she is poor; Racist and classist social workers, who presume blacks to have a normal life, let alone to raise kids; A stingy social system, which does not provide for the poor, notably as far as housing is concerned. The justice system had no problem however to provide foster parents caring for Mercedes’ children with generous foster care benefits.

I wish such a detailed analysis of the working of the family court system had been available 17 years ago, when I was deep into my post-divorce saga.

 

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Let's Get Honest! Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.