Kids Raised by the Government

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

CONCLUSION

Historically, the child welfare system was charged with the responsibility of protecting children and making decisions that were in their best interests. Beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the system took on the added responsibility of strengthening and preserving families. This was a particularly interesting development considering that there was mounting evidence to indicate that the child welfare system was failing to carry out its original mandate.

We are not persuaded that an obsolete, tired, and failing child welfare system can or even should be rejuvenated and take on the added and awesome responsibility of addressing the myriad needs and problems troubled families with vulnerable children in our society are confronting. Instead, we think the time has come to rethink our entire approach to child welfare. The current system should be dismantled and replaced with new and potentially more promising strategies and approaches for, meeting the needs of abused and neglected children. At the very least, we should insure that such children are not further victimized by the very system charged with their care and protection. We should also eliminate the practice of having so many of them ending up essentially "being raised by the government."

While we think the existing system can and should be improved, history suggests that policymakers, professionals, and child advocates should be guarded in their expectations. Previous attempts at trying to reform services to abused and neglected children along traditional lines have not accomplished very much. Although Americans do not generally favor or support radical change, it is unlikely that anything short of this will have much of an impact on the child welfare system.


REFERENCES

Bernstein N. ( 1997, May 4). "Deletion of word in welfare bill opens foster care to big business". New York Times p. Al.

"Children's Academies for Achievement". ( 1997). Our inner-city kids don't ask for much, just a chance. New York: Children's Academies for Achievement.

Gelles R. J. ( 1996). The book of David. New York: Basic Books.

Hagedorn J. M. ( 1995). Forsaking our children: Bureaucracy and reform in the child welfare system. Chicago: Lake View.

Kammerman S. B., and Kahn A. J. ( 1989). Social services for children, youth and families in the United States. New York: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Lerman P. ( 1980). "Trends and issues in the deinstitutionalization of youths in trouble". Crime and Delinquency, 26, 281-98.

Lindsey D. ( 1994). The welfare of children. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lutz Lorrie L. and Monica E. Oss. "The Kansas Child Welfare Privatization Initiative: A Look One Year Later". The Children's Vanguard. February, 1998.

Miller G. ( 1996, October 15). "Michigan leads in welfare reform". Detroit Free Press.

Moynihan D. R. ( 1996) Miles to go: A personal history of social policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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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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