‘Black Families Matter’ march speaks out against Child Protective Services
A ‘Black Families Matter’ march in the Bronx Sunday condemned the Administration for Children’s Services – commonly known as Child Protective Services – claiming that the agency polices a system that ravages families in communities of color.
News 12 is told that the purpose of the march was to show solidarity but also to let ACS know that they will not be silent about the agency’s role in destroying generations of Black communities.
Organizers say ACS acts as an arm of the police and claim the agency uses poverty as a reason to take a child away.
They’re also demanding for ACS to be defunded and abolished.
The group marched across the Grand Concourse and down East 161st Street, all the way to Family Court.
Many shared their own personal experiences, saying their families have been torn apart.
"They separated my child from me as a newborn, and the problems that that caused in trying to bond with my child still vibrates through my home today," says activist Joyce McMillan.
McMillan says ACS disproportionately separates Black families.
The march was organized in partnership with the Bronx Defenders, a group which represents many families going through similar experiences.
"It's shown in data, it's documented that folks across races use drugs at the same amount of rate," says Bronx Defenders Attorney, Miriam Mack. "Yet we know that it's Black and brown folks in hospitals and poor folks in hospitals all throughout New York State who are being targeted."
ACS responded to News 12's request for comment in a statement that reads, “We at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) are committed to addressing the role that racial disproportionality has historically played in the child welfare system nationally and in New York City. We are taking steps every day to address these systemic inequities, and believe that the best way to keep children safe is to support their families, especially during these challenging times. ACS remains committed to keeping children safely at home with their parents through community-based prevention programs, which have reduced the number of children in foster care year after year. Through our Equity Action Plan, required implicit bias training for all ACS staff, advocacy to require implicit bias training for all mandatory reporters of child maltreatment, and specific efforts to ensure our services are culturally sensitive, we’re focused on ensuring that the child welfare system treats all families equally.”