Kids Raised by the Government

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

CHAPTER 2
Child Welfare Reform: An Elusive Goal

Federal, state, and local elected public officials, child welfare professionals, child advocates, foundation staffers, and academics have been searching for the magic formula for reforming child welfare systems for decades. They have tried legislation, regulation, and litigation. They have studied child welfare services, developed new programs, and thrown billions of dollars at the system. Although the impact of these efforts has not been carefully and systematically examined, one would be hard pressed to make the case that they've dramatically improved the quality of services for children and families.

The sad fact is that no state or county has a model child welfare system. Child welfare systems are bursting at the seams with increasing numbers of vulnerable, maltreated, and troubled children. As discussed in chapter 1, many of these systems seem incapable of providing the care and protection needed by children placed in their custody. More telling is the who that no child welfare professional, child advocate, or elected public official who has even a passing familiarity with the state of child welfare services would prefer or allow his or her own child or children to be placed into the custody of a public child welfare agency if there were any reasonable option (e.g., parents, other relatives, or friends).


WHY HAVEN'T THE ATTEMPTS TO REFORM CHILD WELFARE SERVICES WORKED?

There are many reasons why child welfare systems have been difficult to change or reform. For openers, no one knows what a reformed child welfare system should look like. There's a lot of rhetoric about reforming child welfare systems and services on the part of child advocates, private foundation staffs, and child welfare professionals, but there is no consensus or general understanding about what a model child welfare system is. Also, there is no state or county in the country that has a child welfare system that can be pointed to or referred to as a model for others

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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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