Kids Raised by the Government

By Ira M. Schwartz; Gideon Fishman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
A Wake-Up Call for the Child Welfare System

The child welfare system is broken. Worse, no one seems to know how to fix it. In its report Beyond Rhetoric, the National Commission on Children summed up the situation with the following observations:

If the nation had deliberately designed a system that would frustrate the professionals who staff it, anger the public who finance it, and abandon the children who depend on it, it could not have done a better job than the present child welfare system. The goals of family reunification and permanency planning remain paramount, but dramatic increases in the number of troubled families and misplaced financial incentives to the states make these goals nearly impossible to achieve. ( National Commission on Children, 1991,p. 293)

The Commission concluded that "marginal changes will not turn this system around. Instead, we need comprehensive reform based on fundamental restructuring of our efforts to help troubled children and protect vulnerable children" ( National Commission on Children, 1991, p. 293).


THE STATE OF CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

The public knows very little about the child welfare system, except for the seemingly increasing number of scandals appearing in the media. The system is shrouded in secrecy, allegedly to "protect children." The fact that so little is known about the system is a tribute to the child welfare establishment (child welfare administrators, social workers, juvenile and family court judges, and many "child advocates"). They have done a remarkably effective job of keeping the system hidden from public scrutiny.

While the public has been kept in the dark, there have been some very troubling developments. More than twenty-five state child welfare systems are

-15-

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Kids Raised by the Government
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • List of Tables and Figures 7
  • Preface 9
  • Acknowledgments 13
  • Chapter 1 - A Wake-Up Call for the Child Welfare System 15
  • References 34
  • Chapter 2 - Child Welfare Reform: An Elusive Goal 37
  • References 49
  • Chapter 3 - The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act: Good Intentions Gone Awry 53
  • References 68
  • Chapter 4 - Adopted: Who is and Who Isn't? 71
  • References 85
  • Chapter 5 - Child Welfare and Delinquency: Between Compassion and Control 87
  • References 101
  • Chapter 6 - The Role of Residential Care 103
  • References 115
  • Chapter 7 - Public Policy and Child Welfare: Agenda for the 21st Century 117
  • References 142
  • Index 145
  • About the Authors *
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