Kids Raised by the Government

Kids Raised by the Government

Kids Raised by the Government

Kids Raised by the Government

Synopsis

The child welfare system is broken, and no one seems to know how to fix it. Except for the increasing number of scandals in the news, the public knows little about the system, which is hidden from public scrutiny, allegedly to protect children. Meanwhile, the number of children being propelled into the welfare system is increasing at an alarming rate, and more than 25 state child welfare systems are being sued in federal court for abusive and neglectful practices. A careful examination of the child welfare system is long overdue. This book explores the sources of the problems in the system, places those problems in their historical, legal, and policy perspectives, and explores the implications of policies for state and national levels.

Excerpt

We never intended this project to turn into a book. It started out as a study of child welfare services in Michigan. At most, we hoped to generate a few scholarly articles and reports. However, the more we delved into the child welfare system in Michigan the more we found it to be a microcosm of child welfare systems elsewhere. The Michigan system was in a state of crisis and so were the systems in practically every other state. The only difference was that the Michigan child welfare system managed to escape the scrutiny of public interest lawyers and wasn't in litigation or under federal court order for abusive and unprofessional practices.

As much as this book focuses on the problems and issues confronting child welfare, it is first and foremost a research endeavor. This is particularly evident in chapters 4 through 6, which deal with such issues as adoption and permanency, the relationship between child welfare and delinquency, and residential treatment. Because we tried to appeal to a broad audience, the research findings are presented in as straightforward and nontechnical a manner as possible. Although our findings are limited to the state of Michigan, they are similar to those that have been found in other jurisdictions.

Child welfare systems are shrouded in secrecy under the guise of confidentiality, allegedly to "protect" children. This may have been the case at one time. Now, the secrecy primarily serves to keep the public and the media from learning what is really going on inside these systems and how they are failing America's most troubled and vulnerable children. During our examination into child welfare, we found wild and exaggerated claims about the effectiveness of services designed to keep abusive and neglectful families together -- claims that could not be supported by credible research. We also found examples of nonprofit organizations under contract with the government, particularly in Michigan, that avoided criticism about questionable programs . . .

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