Image

2:55 PM / Monday November 30, 2020

13 Nov 2020

Sheriff Rochelle Bilal appointed member of the Special Committee on Child Separations

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
November 13, 2020 Category: Commentary Posted by:

By: Rochelle Bilal, Sheriff of Philadelphia and Member, Special Committee on Child Separations

It is vitally important that the Department of Human Services (DHS) do everything in its power to protect children from abuse. 

At the same time, we have to ensure that children are not unjustly taken from parents and that all procedures and processes in place allow for the dismissal of unfounded claims, as well as the swift return of any child removed without cause (after a thorough investigation) of the situation.

It is our highest priority as leaders, parents and residents to protect the safety of all children in the City of Philadelphia. 

This is why I am very excited to be an appointed member of the Special Committee on Child Separations. I am excited to work with Councilman David Oh and Councilwoman Cindy Bass, the Committee’s co-chairs, as well as the other committee members who have significant experience in child welfare, public safety, government and law. 

As a whole, we will review child separation in Philadelphia’s child welfare system, develop recommendations to ensure compliance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law to protect children, while ensuring the due process rights of families and working to prevent the unnecessary break-up of families. 

Often these families feel like they have no voice, and that leads to real stress and a feeling of being less than whole. The system needs to realize that yes, they have a job. But they also have an opportunity to heal. That healing comes with extensive compassion, understanding and thoughtful action to find the best solution for the child.

According to a news report in 2019 by CBS 3, the Department of Human Services in Philadelphia “removes more children from suspected abusive environments than any other in the country”. 

Image

— Philadelphia Department Of Human Services Faces Heavy Criticism Over Child Abuse, Custody Battles. 

Philadelphia has a rate of child removal three times higher the New York City and four times that of Chicago 

— City Council Announces Formation Of Special Committee On Child Separations. 

In the past few years there have been a number of news reports about problems at DHS:

• Philly’s foster care system comes under fire at three-hour hearing on child abuse reporting rules 

• We should do a better job supporting families, not separating them 

• Philadelphia parents say social workers taking away their kids without reason 

• The Kids Are Crying: Three-part series chronicles despair, displacement and what DHS plans to do 

• Parents’ Nightmare: Social Worker’s ‘Feelings’ Contribute to Child Abuse Allegations

• Grandmother Saves Children From Alleged Abuse, Social Workers Blame Her Instead

These reports raise significant concerns and we have to do better, together.

We need to review the details of everything that led to these removals (and the ones not mentioned in the news) to ensure that children are protected and that parents and/or caretakers are treated fairly in the process. In addition, the Department of Human Services should be operating based on best practices in this area and make changes to root out systemic issues separating families unnecessarily.

Making recommendations to reduce the breakup of families will be one of our main goals as a Committee.

When called upon to serve, we must all do our part. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said in 1968, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve … You only need a heart full of grace, [and] a soul generated by love.”

I am committed to doing my part to improve this system and keep families together because our children are too important to let unnecessary child removals keep happening without action.

Rochelle Bilal is a Member of the Special Committee on Child Separations as selected by Council President Darrell L. Clarke & the Sheriff of the City and County of Philadelphia.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Sun Report

Pennsylvania certifies Biden as winner of presidential vote

November 26, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: In this Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate...

Commentary

COVID holidays inspire united behaviors, expectations for life in 2021

November 26, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email By Mary Firestone Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Staff Writer For many Pennsylvanians, the late...

Color Of Money

Three lessons in resilience to help you get through 2020

November 26, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Billionaire Mark Cuban was fired from his first job in software. Actress...

Health

For second consecutive year AmeriHealth Caritas’ two dual eligible special needs plans earn overall four star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

November 26, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email PA plans nationally recognized for exceptional commitment to quality For the second consecutive...

Seniors

Simple ways to safely bring joy to seniors during the holidays

November 26, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Many seniors and their loved ones are taking special precautions to stay...

Horoscopes

SUNscopes for the week of November 29

November 26, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email Aries (March 21-April 19)   This is a good week to make future...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff