inside twenty years of FRONTLINE
When should a parent lose the right to raise a child?  FRONTLINE goes behind the scenes of one state's child welfare system.
Part One: The Taking of Logan Marr: The death of this five-year-old girl while in foster care led the state of Maine to reexamine how its child protection of logan marr
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Video: A panel of experts gradually, and at times uncertainly, works through the child welfare decision-making process

America's Child Welfare Policy

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Failure to Protect: The Taking of Logan Marr

In January 2001, five-year-old Logan Marr was found dead in the basement of her foster mother's home in Chelsea, Maine. The foster mother, Sally Schofield, was a highly respected former caseworker for Maine's Department of Human Services. FRONTLINE examines the girl's short, troubled life and asks a series of tough questions: Why was a little girl who had never been abused taken from her birth mother? Was her mother given a real opportunity to regain custody? And did the state miss significant clues that she was in danger? Through extensive interviews with key figures involved in the case - including exclusive access to Schofield herself - FRONTLINE rewinds the story to look closely at the events that led up to Logan's death: from the state's decision to remove her from her birth mother's home to her troubled decline and eventual death in foster care. FRONTLINE continues its examination of Maine's Department of Human Services on February 6 with the one-hour documentary "Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files" followed by a one-hour town meeting on child welfare policy.

Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files

The removal of a child from an abusive or neglectful parent is one of the most drastic actions a government undertakes; and yet it does so with little or no public scrutiny. In 2001, the state of Maine gave FRONTLINE unprecedented access to observe the daily lives of its child protection caseworkers, with whom the decision to remove children begins. In a companion presentation to Failure to Protect: The Taking of Logan Marr, FRONTLINE cameras follow a small set of caseworkers in one office as they interact with families and each other, dealing with the excruciating dilemmas and heartbreaking choices that confront them every day. Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files is both moving and probing, asking such questions as when should a child be removed? How much damage do we do to children in the name of helping them? And when should parents lose the right to raise their own child? Following the documentary, FRONTLINE will air a one-hour town meeting on child welfare policy.

published feb. 2003