A Critical Look at the Child Welfare System


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.

-- National Commission on Children


INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUES AND ASSESSMENT METHODS

Introduction and Overview
An investigation of abuse or neglect, even if unfounded, can be the most traumatic and devastating event a family may face.

Interrogations, Repeated Questioning, Vilification
Exploring some of the more commonly used investigative techniques. False assumptions, repeated questioning, and dividing the family.

Strip Searches
Strip searching of children by child protective caseworkers. How widespread and useful a practice? What are the effects on children?


VITAL AREAS OF CONCERN

Decision Making in Child Welfare
The decisions of when and whether to remove a child from her home are central to child welfare. How reliable, consistent and fair are the decisions made by caseworkers and judges?

Defensive Social Work
Does caseworker protection play a role in the needless removals of children from their homes? A closer look at what it means to "err on the side of the child."
Updated August 14, 2013.

Reunification Plans: Recipes for Failure
Critics charge that reunification plans are often designed to ensure failure. How can failure to faithfully follow the terms of such a plan affect the chances of family reunification?
Updated October 3, 2010.

Falsification of Records
Many critics charge that case files, interview records and even evidence are often falsified by child protective caseworkers. How often does this occur?

Turnover in Child Welfare
Exploring the reasons for high child protective and foster care caseworker turnover, and the effects on children.

Caseworker Training
Are the training standards for child protective caseworkers adequate for the difficult task with which they are charged?


SPECIAL REPORTS

Analysis of Children's Drawings
Your child brings home a drawing from an art session in school. Could it have been screened for potential indicators of child sexual abuse?

Questionable Examples of Expert Testimony
A pictorial tour of the often incredible testimony and material presented as evidence by experts in child abuse cases.

Syndrome Evidence
Behavioral indicators often used in the courtroom as evidence of child abuse. Do these indicators prove only the ingenuity of the expert witnesses?


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Last updated August 14, 2013