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Lisa Steinberg. Elisa Izquierdo. Lance Helms. These are just a few of the names drawn from recent headlines, revealing cases of horrendous child abuse and neglect. Such cases have led to a crisis of confidence in the current child protective services (CPS) system, and to frequent calls for reform.
The public is right to be concerned, shows Jane Waldfogel, but many perceptions of the CPS system and the problems it is designed to alleviate are inaccurate. This book goes beyond the headlines, using historical, comparative, and specific case data to formulate a new approach to protecting children.
Currently, Waldfogel argues, the CPS system is overwhelmed by referrals. As a result, neither high-risk nor low-risk families are adequately served.
Waldfogel examines the underlying assumptions of CPS, compares the U.S. record with those of Britain, Canada, and Australia, and offers a "new paradigm" in which CPS joins with other public and private partners to provide a differential response to the broad range of children in need of protection. She highlights reforms underway in several states and in Britain.
This book's analytical clarity and straightforward policy recommendations will make it mandatory reading for policymakers, practitioners, and others interested in the future of child protection.
1. Child Abuse and Neglect Today
The Role of Child Protective Services
The Demographics of Children in Need of Protection
Consequences of Reporting
2. A Comparative Perspective
Operation of Child Protective Services
Criteria for Reporting
Procedures after Reporting
Differences in Outcome by Type of Reporter
Why Are U.S. Reporting Rates So High?
3. The Current Child Protective Services System
A Brief History of CPS
A Critical View of the System
Implications for a New Paradigm
4. Entry into the System
History of the Reporting Laws
The Reporting, Screening, and Investigation System
Reforming the Intake System
5. Narrowing as a Strategy to Improve Child Protection
The Case for Narrowing
What Would "Narrowing" Mean?
Evaluating the Case for Narrowing
How "Narrowing Plus" Might Be Accomplished
6. Differential Response: A New Paradigm for Child Protective Services
Paradigms for Child Protective Services
The Diversity and Complexity of Families Referred to CPS
Features of the Differential Response Paradigm
Moving to Differential Response
7. Working Together: Child Protection Reform in Britain
The Development of the British CPS System
The Impetus for Reform
The Children Act of 1989
Beyond the Children Act
8. Changing Frontline Practice
Implications of the New Paradigm
Lessons from Earlier Initiatives to Change
How States and Localities Can Help
9. Reforming Child Protection
The Current Child Protective Services System
A New Paradigm for Child Protection
Moving toward a More Fully Differentiated System
Improving the Effectiveness of the CPS
Increasing the Role of Community Partners in Child Protection
The Endpoint of the Reforms