[Hpn] Philadelphia: DHS Threatens Taking Mass Custody of Protester's Children

Coalition on Homelessness, SF coh@sfo.com
Sat, 29 Jul 2000 20:48:38 -0700

Philadelphia: DHS Threatens Taking Mass Custody of Protester's Children
by Kensington Welfare Rights Union 12:00am Tue Nov 30 '99
phone: 215/203-1945 kwru@libertynet.org

This is the latest from Philadelphia: A leaked DHS Memo threatens taking
mass custody of protester's children. Read a social work professor's
response. See www.kwru.org for more information.

Temple Social Work Professor's Response to DHS Memo

My name is Mary Bricker-Jenkins. I have been a social worker since 1964,
am a professor at Temple University School of Social Administration, and
serve as the board liaison with KWRU for the Social Welfare Action
Alliance, a national organization of social workers that works as allies
with KWRU. Significantly in this context I have conducted federally
funded research on child abuse and neglect and have published in this

The Department of Human Services officials have said that they will
"stand by" to be available in case of emergency. Let us be clear that
there will be no emergency that is not precipitated by the city. KWRU
families take care of their children, often against great odds, and are
particularly responsible in their marches demonstrations, and civil
disobedience actions.

For this reason and because KWRU is leading the fight against the
foremost cause of child abuse and neglect  poverty  this march has
been endorsed by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW),
Philadelphia Division and the state chapter. As we speak, motions to
endorse are moving forward at the national level and at the
Internatioanl Federation of Social Workers now meeting in Canada. Cheri
Honkala was named public citizen of the year by NASW  PA Chapter
precisely because she is a responsible leader in a movement to end
poverty  a goal that is integral to the social work mission.

Surveillance and intimidation of poor people is not a social work
mission. Being used by city officials as political police is not a
social work mission. To ask us to engage in these is unethical and
abominable, particularly when DHS workers are overwhelmed with bona fide
reports of abuse and neglect and when they are struggling against the
odds to find resources to help keep families together in this city.

Front line social workers know that KWRU parents are responsible, and
many social workers have turned to the organization for help in doing
their jobs. We know what kind of political and economic pressures they
are under, and we are asking them to resist and refuse  to involve the
Code of Ethics of the NASW and refuse to participate in acts of
intimidation and harrassment of the people they are charged to help.

Social workers are coming to this march from all over this country. We
will monitor the actions of the city and support our colleagues who, as
conscientious objectors, stand with the families of KWRU. We will not
allow ourselves to be the soft cops of this post-welfare state; we are
determined to fulfill our mission, and that means being committed allies
of KWRU. We will march with the children and their parents to protect
the children by demanding an end to poverty in this country.


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Yeah !!
by Jeremy David Stolen 12:00am Tue Nov 30 '99

Social workers are among the greatest unsung heroes in our country. You
are wonderful !! March, and know that many are with you in spirit who
cannot be there in person. Thanks for the update.

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