Commentary: Struggling families deserve help, not punishment | Opinion


For many years, since consciousness of abuse and neglect gained wider consideration, the kid welfare system in the USA has prioritized retaining youngsters secure by eradicating them from troubled properties. That method, whereas comprehensible, is just too typically damaging.

At the moment we see hope in a rising understanding that poverty isn’t neglect, and households are worthy of assist.

In my residence state of Washington, for instance, the legislature just lately handed a toddler safety invoice that raises the bar for eradicating a toddler, specifying that sure circumstances within the residence, together with poverty, can’t be the only motive for taking motion.

In Louisiana, an increasing Household Preservation Court docket system emphasizes getting mother and father into drug remedy applications to allow them to keep little one custody. In Michigan, little one welfare officers are working with exterior specialists on new approaches, a direct acknowledgement that the present system “perpetuates injustices” by taking too many youngsters from households of colour.

The group I signify, the American Academy of Pediatrics, believes retaining households collectively every time attainable results in higher outcomes for youngsters. And in the long term, it prices lower than splitting them up.

My concern: Progress in caring for households is frustratingly piecemeal. Too many households stay weak. What’s required is nationwide recognition of the necessity to preserve youngsters secure with their mother and father, the place they belong, every time attainable. With that dedication should come ample funding in evidence-based applications to assist the well-being of households.



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