The claim that all children who end up in foster care are there because of pathology in their
homes is something we have grown used to hearing from too many child advocates. A change is
long overdue. Labeling all foster children as abused, or even neglected, slanders their parents and
contributes to the false master narrative that only children raised in dangerous homes by unfit
parents end up in foster care. Children’s advocates harm children and insult their families by failing
to carefully characterize the families into which foster children were born and raised.
IV. NACC’S AMICUS WORK
NACC has expressed itself as an organization in two principal ways. By far, the most
prominent was through its own publications, which the previous section considered. NACC also
submitted a significant number of amicus briefs, providing the organization an opportunity to
persuade courts to decide issues of importance in accordance with NACC’s policies and values.
This section will describe NACC’s submissions as a friend of the court. As will be clear, the briefs,
especially those written within the past ten years or so, are significantly more progressive than
NACC’s reports, five-year plans, and other statements in its official publications.
Consistent with its roots as an organization committed to protecting children from harm,
NACC has long shown an interest in supporting state efforts to introduce into evidence, in criminal
or civil proceedings, statements made out of court whose admissibility would arguably violate an
accused’s right to confront witnesses against them125 and to extend statutes of limitations involving
crimes committed against minors. 126 It has also involved itself in child support127 and immigration
125 See, e.g., Giles v. California, 554 U.S. 253 (2008) (making space for child victim’s testimony when unavailable
for trial); Davis v. Washington, 547 U.S. 813 (2006) (Confrontation Clause victim’s statement in response to 911
operator’s interrogation was not testimonial; batterer’s written statements in affidavit given to police were testimonial
and were subject to Confrontation Clause). In Commonwealth v. Ritchie, NACC filed a brief supporting the granting
of certiorari that argued that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court went too far in protecting the rights of an accused
defendant in a criminal sex abuse case when it ordered that the defendant had the Sixth Amendment right to
“rummage” through otherwise privileged files maintained by the civil child abuse child protective system. Brief for
the National Association of Council for Children, et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner, at 11, Commonwealth
v. Ritchie, 480 US 39 (1987) (No. 85-1347), 1986 WL 728026. The state court ruled that the defendant had the right
to see child protection files even when “(a) the prosecution had made no use whatever of the files in question; and, (b)
defense counsel’s request to review these files was in no way particularized but, rather, was based on conclusory
representations that there “could be” material helpful to the defendant in such files.” NACC argued that “[t]he
importance of confidentiality in child abuse reporting laws cannot be exaggerated.” Id. at 5, 9. NACC argued that
without “the assurances of confidentiality” in the Pennsylvania law “it is probable, indeed, highly likely, that many
fewer child sexual abuse cases would be reported.” Id. at 9-10. It particularly stressed the cases of sexual abuse
involved a child and someone in a caretaking relationship. In those cases, NACC explained, the abuse is all “doubly
harmful, since assaults or molestations by strangers do not present conflict for the child, enabling the child to identify
the abuser and to describe the abuser, more readily.” Id. at 11.
126 See Stogner v. California, 539 U.S. 607 (2003) (supporting California’s extended statute of limitations for child
sex abuse prosecutions as appropriate because victims often need additional time before alerting officials of the crime).
127 See, e.g., Blessing v. Freestone, 520 U.S. 329 (1997) (unsuccessfully arguing that children and families may
privately enforce federal child support statutes 42 U.S.C. § 651.); C.K. v. Shalala, 883 F. Supp. 991 (D. N.J. 1995)
(seeking higher AFDC benefits); Elisa B. v. Super. Ct., 117 P.3d 660 (Cal. 2005) (lesbian parent counts as parent
obliged to pay child support). It asked the Court to review the state court ruling and limit the reach of the rights of
defendants to gain access to child abuse files. See also Idaho v. Wright, 497 U.S. 805 (1990) (supporting special rules
for interviewing child victims and permitting their out of court testimony as reliable); Maryland v. Craig, 497 U.S.
836 (1990) (motion supporting granting of cert and arguing that the protection of child witnesses from further trauma
justifies, in some circumstances, protecting children from face-to-face confrontation with the defendant); see Davis,