The New York Times: Re: “Motherhood in the Age of Fear” by Kim Brooks

Our mission at the Center for Family Representation is to keep families together. As you know, we provide families in crisis with free legal assistance and social work services to enable children to stay with their families safely. By minimizing time in care, CFR helps to eliminate the detrimental long-term effects of foster care on thousands of children and their families.

On July 27th, the New York Times published an op-ed by Kim Brooks, “Motherhood in the Age of Fear.” It was a powerful article, describing the author’s experience as a parent under scrutiny for her parenting decisions. It was troubling to read about the fear this judgment and scrutiny is placing on parents who expect support and respect as parents, in their communities.

We took the opportunity to remind the Times’ readership that for our clients, the fear and disrepect they experience is a daily and recurring reality. The Times published our letter, on August 2nd, and we wanted to share it with you–because your help and support makes it possible for us to work fearlessly and tirelessly to support parents, helping them restore their families and achieve the respect every parent deserves.

Below is a link to the article, the text of our letter, and a link to all the letters that also appeared.

NY Times article “Motherhood in the Age of Fear”

To the Editor:

Kim Brooks’s article is an important reminder of how swiftly and energetically mothers are demonized for making decisions many parents make at some point. Ms. Brooks states that this dynamic transcends race and class, but the experience for poor mothers (and fathers) of color is vastly different from that of the parents she describes.

Too often, poor parents see their children placed in foster care when they leave a preteen to care for young children because they can’t afford day care, or because they can’t explain exactly how a young child sustained an injury. And they can remain in care for months, or years. The parents’ mistakes are labeled “abuse or neglect.”

This “age of fear” is not a new one for poor parents of color; it is ever present and has lasted generations.

Michele Cortese
New York
The writer is the executive director of the Center for Family Representation, which serves parents who are prosecuted for child maltreatment.

NY Times letters to the editor re: “Motherhood in the Age of Fear”