Increasing the number of children removed and placed in foster care does not protect children nor does this improve outcomes for children or reduce abuse and neglect. Failure to strengthen families and confusing poverty with neglect instead over whelms both the foster care system – and social workers. As a result, increasing the number of children removed in fact places children at risk.
“Now, data NCCPR has obtained, comparing each district’s rate- of-removal to key safety measures confirm it: Taking away more and more children does nothing to improve child safety — in fact it makes children less safe,” Wexler said. “That’s because foster-care panics so overwhelm caseworkers with children who don’t need to be taken away that they have even less time to find children in real danger.”
“For example, in 2005, a child in District 13 in central Florida was seven times more likely to be torn from his or her parents than a child in the Miami area. But Miami’s children are safer. Children in District 13 who are left in their own homes after a substantiated allegation of maltreatment are nearly twice as likely to be abused again as their Miami counterparts.”
In addition to the statewide report, NCCPR released an expanded edition for the Fort Myers area, including a discussion of the foster-care panic now sweeping through the region and specific recommendations for the area. That report is available at http://www.nccpr.org/reports/e…
EDITOR’S NOTE: The full report discussed below is available online by cutting and pasting, or typing, this case-sensitive URL directly into a web browser: http://www.nccpr.org/reports/p…
Unfortunately, the attitude that poverty is the fault of the “undeserving poor ” is well rooted here in Massachusetts. One has only to google Professor Elizabeth Bartholet’s body of work, or look at the fact that our statutes neither define nor protect efforts to strengthen a family before taking their children – nor provide ANY protection for fatherhood at all, whether in the context of divorce, custody actions in the Probate and Family Courts, or child welfare cases.
For more information on the “take the children and run” attitude as embedded in current child welfare law, see: http://www.nccpr.org/reports/a…
For information on shared parenting as a movement, here in Massachusetts and elsewhere, see:
As a family law attorney, I support legislation to ensure that both child welfare agencies and judges must have a presumption in favor of both fatherhood and motherhood, equally, as in the best interests of a child – a level playing field. None of the pending bills would improve the plight of fathers in child welfare cases, however, nor protect children from losing their fathers. None of the pending bills provide for strengthened services to prevent the trauma to children of inappropriate loss/removal from their homes or loss of parental love and involvement.
Alarmist studies that are reported in fear-mongering ways that further demonize the poor, such as the CDC study and a headline that 90,000 infants are neglected or abused will likely further demonize the poor.
I fear this study, and how it was reported will and lead to more children being ripped away from parents when what is really needed are jobs and housing for those parents.
The marginalization of the fathers, especially in child welfare cases, must stop.