In the wake of the unrest over police misconduct in cities across the country, calls for reform have focused on the criminal justice system — making police, prosecutors, and criminal courts more accountable and just. While much work needs to be done in that arena, too little attention has focused on the ways in which low income families are hurt in civil courts. Many more men, women and children from low income communities of color pass through the doors of our family courts every day than those who interact with the criminal justice system. Some come to court as a last resort for financial or other relief; others are compelled to be there. But the experience is almost always one in which poor families, particularly fathers, are undermined by a system that is supposed to be about strengthening families and protecting children.
Stop Making Court a First Stop for Many Low Income Parents, The Baltimore Sun, June 15, 2015