Brittany Wise, a 35-year-old single mother with eight children, faced a difficult situation in Cobb County, #Georgia. After receiving an eviction notice, she was pulled over by the #police for an expired tag, leading to her arrest due to an unpaid traffic ticket. With her children in the car, Wise had to figure out where they would go. She requested help from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to care for her kids during her three-day jail stay.
However, when Wise was released, DFCS didn't return her children. They cited her lack of stable housing and income as the reason. This situation highlights a broader issue in Georgia, where inadequate housing has been a reason for child removal in more than 700 cases between fiscal years 2018 and 2022.
Child welfare advocates argue that removing children solely due to housing instability is unjust, especially when the cost of foster care is comparable to housing assistance. #DFCS spent a meager amount on housing assistance while removing children, causing criticism from advocates who believe the agency should do more to help families facing housing challenges.
Wise's case exemplifies how the requirement of stable housing can be an insurmountable barrier for parents trying to regain custody. Despite her efforts to secure housing, Wise struggled due to the court's demand for six months of stability. There is a need for better support and resources for families facing housing instability in child welfare cases, emphasizing the importance of helping families stay together rather than separating them unnecessarily.