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In today’s climate, “No Child Left Behind” has greater implications than just test scores and poor individual outcomes. Dennis Lockett and Lillian Somarriba allege that San Francisco school teachers abused, bullied and neglected their special needs children and the San Francisco Unified School District, Child Protective Services and the SFPD made no significant efforts to safeguard their children from future harm or to protect the public by holding the perpetrators accountable.
Parents are people. We are imperfect. We make mistakes. We struggle. And, sometimes, in the heat of the moment we say and do things we do not mean. For Donna Levey, her mistake was calling San Francisco Child Protective Services, or CPS, for support when her family was in crisis. If only she had known that that phone call would come to represent the point of no return. If only she had known that CPS would catapult their family crisis into a life-altering nightmare.
The abuse and traumatization of children strikes a chord in our society, perpetuating a vicious cycle that results in poor outcomes in adolescence, adulthood and beyond. Victims often end up in abusive situations again as adults and are more prone to substance abuse, incarceration and mental illness. For many children who have been abused, the trauma unfortunately does not end after Child Protective Services intervenes. Failure to Protect laws serve to remove these children from nonoffending parents, revictimizing the same children the system is supposed to safeguard.
Jennifer Ford has been fighting since February of 2015 to have her grandson placed in her custody. She passed the kinship home assessment, submitted five character letters, passed the criminal background check, and took parenting classes and a foster care class – all of which resulted in her approval for kinship care. In the end, none of Jennifer’s efforts or good intentions, nor the best interests of the child, mattered.