Sacramento, CA

Organizations holding statewide ‘Crush CPS’ rally at the Capitol building

Robert J Hansen
(Image courtesy of The Justice Coalition Reform)

Sacramento, Calif.- by Robert J Hansen

The Justice Reform Coalition (JRC) is one of many organizations gathering for a “Crush CPS” rally at the Capitol building in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday morning.

JRC is a collective group of people who advocate for Child Welfare reform and the restructuring of Child Protection Services (CPS).

Since 2000, 71,300 parents have had their parental rights terminated in the United States according to research by Criminal Justice Advocacy Clinic.

Executive Director of JRC, Reverend Ashiya Odeye, said the event is intended to bring people together to protest the way CPS operates.

Odeye said this will be the first rally to be held in almost ten years and will be the first statewide CPS rally.

“People are coming from across the nation,” Odeye said.

According to Odeye, 80 to 85 percent of the children and families involved with CPS should not be there, and too often the children that do need to be with CPS are left in harmful environments.

“We consider them a child trafficking organization,” Odeye said. “They are ruining lives all across the country.”

JRC is holding this day of action to hear from families who have been impacted by the CPS and will have educational sessions where people will hear from families as well as policy change-makers.

“It is important for us to come together and demand a radical transformation of the Child Welfare System including that all families have access to their children, an end to the system's practices of criminalizing poverty and seeing low-income families as neglectful,” Stephanie Jeffcoat, event organizer said.

At the rally will be families that are currently involved with CPS like Sabrina Williams and Sandra Scott. Otis & Kristina Moore are grandparents who are fighting CPS for their grandchildren.

CPS does not recognize grandparents' rights according to Odeye.

JRC board member Bob Saunders said the rally will shed light on what CPS does to harm and tear families apart.

“You have to turn your soul inside out to keep your kids,” Saunders said.

State Senator Nancy Skinner from East Bay is also expected to attend Tuesday’s rally according to Odeye.

Skinner authored SB 354 which removes obstacles in the foster care system that have prevented children from being placed with a relative caregiver who may have a past conviction and was passed in September.

California has over 60,000 children in the foster care system

children who are disproportionately from Black and Brown families.

Black and Latinx children are 2.8 and 1.22 times more likely to have contact with the foster care system than their white counterparts, according to the Child Welfare Indicators Project.

Many of these children have family members with a past conviction that creates a barrier for the child being reunited with a parent or relative.

“SB 354 ensures that children in our foster care system have a higher likelihood of being placed with a family member, a caregiver situation that is proven to help a child thrive,” said Sen. Skinner, D-Berkeley. “SB 354 also addresses the clear racial disparity that Black and Brown Californians are more likely to have a past conviction that can stand in the way of their caring for a family member.”

SB 354 took effect on January 1.

Saunders said legislation often is too narrowly focused on a specific part of the problem and doesn’t address the overall issue.

“It’s a perfect prescription to not solve the problem by just putting a bandaid on it,” Saunders said. “So the rally is intended to not only spotlight the problems with CPS but to put some legislation and policy behind it.”

The event will take place on the west side of the Capitol steps on Tuesday, January 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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