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 searching of children by child protective caseworkers. How widespread and useful a practice? What are the effects on children?
- 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."
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?
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.
Are the training standards for child protective caseworkers adequate for the difficult task with which they are charged?
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.
Behavioral indicators often used in the courtroom as evidence of child abuse. Do these indicators prove only the ingenuity of the expert witnesses?