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Foster care kids are at risk because of social justice crusaders


In her new book, “No Way to Treat a Child: How the Foster Care System, Family Courts and Racial Activists Are Wrecking Young Lives” (Bombardier Books), out Tuesday, Naomi Schaefer Riley looks at how bureaucracy and social-justice crusading endangers those within the child-welfare system. In this excerpt, she explains the role of race.

Five-year-old Brandajah Smith grabbed the loaded .38-caliber revolver after her mother left her alone in their New Orleans apartment. It’s still not clear why she pulled the trigger. But when her mother returned from the store, Brandajah was dead from a single gunshot to the head.

Brandajah’s death in 2013 was shocking, but few people who knew her were surprised. For almost a year, her teachers had repeatedly reported suspicions that she was being sexually abused. They also told authorities that she talked about her own death, what it would be like in heaven and the gun in her home.

Following Brandajah’s death, officials from Louisiana’s Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) told the Times-Picayune that the agency “thoroughly investigated each of the complaints received.” But they also said that Brandajah’s mother, Laderika Smith, was not complying with the “safety plan” that the agency had set up.

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