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BANNED for 28 Years: How Child Welfare Accusations Keep Women out of The Workforce

Francine Almash was not especially surprised when an investigator from New York City’s child welfare agency showed up at her door. A few months earlier, her then-10-year-old son, Shawn, who is autistic, had been pinned to a wall by a crisis counselor in his special education classroom and come home with a broken thumb. Almash refused to send him back, and so the school called the State’s child abuse hotline to report her for neglecting Shawn’s education. What shocked Almash was not the phone call—which she saw as retribution for criticizing the school—or even the ensuing investigation, which she was able to counter with proof that Shawn was being homeschooled. The stunning part was what came next: Shortly after her case was closed, Almash received a letter informing her that her name had been added to a registry of people investigated for child abuse or neglect. Though she’d never been proved guilty—or even had her case heard by a judge—the record would last until her youngest child turned 28 years old, and it would show up on background checks for any number of jobs where she might come into contact with children or other vulnerable people. Read More