The child welfare system is broken, and no one seems to know how to fix it. Except for the increasing number of scandals in the news, the public knows little about the system, which is hidden from public scrutiny, allegedly to protect children. Meanwhile, the number of children being propelled into the welfare system is increasing at an alarming rate, and more than 25 state child welfare systems are being sued in federal court for abusive and neglectful practices. A careful examination of the child welfare system is long overdue. This book explores the sources of the problems in the system, places those problems in their historical, legal, and policy perspectives, and explores the implications of policies for state and national levels.
The book opens with an overview of the child welfare system and the problems inherent in it. Schwartz and Fishman then analyze attempts to mend the system and review the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Actthe foundation for contemporary child welfare policy. The following chapters look at the practice of adoption, the potential movement between child welfare and delinquency, and the problems of residential care. The book concludes with the implications of child welfare policy for the state and national levels and recommends ways to reform the system.