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Out of Harm's Way : Creating an Effective Child Welfare System (Hardcover) (Richard Gelles)
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Out of Harm's Way is a follow up of the author's 1996 work, The Book of David, which helped raise awareness of the tragic and unintended consequences of the prevailing family-first model of child welfare and led to the passage of The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997. ASFA produced some important changes in child welfare systems; the number of adoptions increased, while the length of time children spent in out-of-home care decreased. But as important as national legislation can be, it only influenced one narrow aspect of the child welfare systems. The remaining key components of the child welfare system remain problematic, and individual tort actions, class-action lawsuits, and local tragedies and scandals continue to plague child welfare systems and lend support to the National Commission on Children's dismal assessment of child welfare systems. In Out of Harm's Way, Richard Gelles intends to achieve an impact beyond what was accomplished following the publication of The Book of David -- namely, a national conversation on policy and practice in the field of child welfare, leading to system change and reform. To achieve this goal, the author will employ a "center of gravity" approach to identify the center of each of the four fundamental problems in the system and then leverage it to effect a positive change, and importantly, doing so without calling for new financial resources or a major restructuring of the given system. The four problems Gelles presents and unpacks are:- Deciding who is the client. Child welfare systems attempt to balance the needs of the child and the parents, often failing both. Clearly answering this question is the most important, yet unaddressed, issue facing the child welfare system.- Decisions. The key task for a caseworker is not to provide services but to make decisions regarding child abuse and neglect, case goals, and placement -- yet practitioners have only the crudest tools at their disposal when making what are literally life and death decisions.- The Perverse Incentive. Billions of dollars are spent each year to place and maintain children in out-of-home care. Foster care is meant to be short-term, yet the existing federal funding serves as a perverse incentive to keep children in out-of-home placements.- Aging out. More than 20,000 youth age out of the foster care system each year, and yet what the system calls "emancipation" could more accurately be viewed as child neglect. After having spent months, years, or longer moving from placement to placement, these youth are suddenly thrust into homelessness, unemployment, welfare, and oppressive disadvantage.
Number of Pages: 208
Genre: Social Science, Family + Relationships
Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr
Author: Richard Gelles
Street Date: March 1, 2017
Item Number (DPCI): 248-40-2869
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