Poverty and neglect in child welfare

Poverty is the greatest threat to child well-being. Child neglect, the most common reason for child welfare intervention, is often the result of poverty rather than parental maltreatment. Furthermore, child removal and out-of-home care remains standard practice in child neglect cases. Separation of children and families is detrimental, and especially traumatic for BIPOC children, who are removed at a disproportionate rate compared to white children. Short- and long-term access to economic support and social services ensure families can invest in the long-term well-being of their children.

Short history of foster care in the United States

This P4C brief provides an introductory history of foster care and relevant historical context, critical to understanding how the current system reflects and upholds systemic racism in its policy and practice. Since its establishment in the late 19th century, the foster care system has been a microcosm of broader systemic violence against communities of color. The foster care system was originally predicated on the well-being of white children and families, and many of its present day policies continue to reflect a myopic understanding of child welfare. Harmful effects of the foster care system must be fully understood to envision, create, and enact a future that protects and ensures safety for all children.

Banning the use of restraints on pregnant women in custody

Currently it is routine practice for officers in nearly half of U.S. corrections institutions to physically restrain pregnant and laboring women. Restraining pregnant women poses health and developmental risks to the mother and baby. Heeding these concerns, many states and federal agencies have passed policies limiting the use of restraints on this population. Federal legislation could ban the use of restraints on pregnant women in all corrections institutions, including jails, prisons, and detention centers, unless a legitimate safety or security concern exists.

Supporting the Birth Parent and Caregiver Relationship: Recommendations for Programs and Policies

Entry into the foster care system can be a traumatic experience for children which can have many lasting negative effects. Burgeoning state and city practices offer ideas about how we can improve the relationships between birth parents and caregivers to maintain connection and support children. Supporting the connection of birth parents and caregivers is a key area for improving systems. Establishing the Family Connection Program puts the needs of children in the center and supports families in Washington.