Failure to Protect
homelogan marrcaseworker fileschild policydiscussion

Inside America's Child Welfare PoliciesInside America's Child Welfare Policies

FAQs about Child Welfare
What constitutes "neglect"? Do most investigative caseworkers have master's degrees? Answers to these and other questions about the child welfare system in general and foster care in particular ...
Foster Care Statistics
It wasn't until the mid-1990s that the federal government set up the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and started collecting data from states about the children in their foster care systems. We now know, for instance, that the largest portion of children in foster care are those aged 11 to 15 years, and that boys slightly outnumber girls. Here is a sample of other stats and facts generated by AFCARS and other national databases and resources.
INTERVIEW: Martin Guggenheim
One of the leading voices of the "family preservation" movement, Guggenheim believes that child protective services often remove children from their homes too quickly, without sufficiently considering parents' rights or the harm that removal can do to children. A professor at New York University Law School and director of its clinical and advocacy programs, Guggenheim argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1982 that states should apply a higher standard of proof to terminate parental rights (Santosky v. Kramer). He is the author of The Rights of Families: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to the Rights of Family Members Today (1996).
INTERVIEW: Richard Gelles
Gelles, dean of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Work, is a child safety advocate who helped draft the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997. In this interview, he tells FRONTLINE that he is comfortable with the widening safety net -- even if it means that children are removed from their homes unnecessarily -- since there is a greater probability that children who are in danger will be protected. He is the author of The Book of David: How Preserving Families Can Cost Children's Lives (1996).
OVERVIEW: The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA)
The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) was the most sweeping child welfare legislation passed in decades. The controversial legislation has critics on both sides: some say it sweeps too many families into the system who don't need to be there; others say it doesn't go far enough to ensure safe homes for children. Here's an overview of the law and excerpts from books by two experts on opposite sides of the debate.

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