You Can’t Have Child Protection Without Family Preservation

I appreciate the opportunity to debate child welfare finance with Sean Hughes in the Chronicle. But I am disappointed that in his introduction to the latest installment, Daniel Heimpel chose to repeat what I view

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Richard Wexler
About Richard Wexler 51 Articles
Richard Wexler is Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, His interest in child welfare grew out of 19 years of work as a reporter for newspapers, public radio and public television. During that time, he won more than two dozen awards, many of them for stories about child abuse and foster care. He is the author of Wounded Innocents: The Real Victims of the War Against Child Abuse (Prometheus Books: 1990, 1995).


  1. Well written article. I would add “naïve” as a descriptor used to describe those of us who attempt to transform the system, who work in prevention, and who believe in the innovative programs mentioned in your articles. In the last 20 years we have learned so much about bonding, trauma and brain development, and then in our child welfare programs we are only citing and publicizing the information that supports our preconceived notions and current CPS removal emphasis. Need to change. For all of our sakes.

  2. If they took the money they pay foster parents ( which is a lot ) and instead use it to help parents pay their rent or for food or whatever else they need to get on their feet and not be so strapped for cash ! Their home life would improve and there would be less anxiety and worry ! Which in turn makes a happier family all the way around ! Removing children from their parents should be the last resort !

  3. Why don’t we cut to the chase here. The issue is not whether foster care or family preservation is the best way to keep kids safe, the issue is as long as the federal funding is being allocated the way it is, the foster care system and everything that goes along with it will prevail. No one REALLY cares about the kids, because if they did, we wouldn’t be here now…..the issues would have already been addressed and the warped federal funding programs would have been reformed years ago. The truth is, the federal funding programs have created a monster of corruption that allows special interest groups to prosper off the backs of innocent children and poor parents.

  4. Thank you Wexler <3 Seizing children is traumatic for the entire family–a sucker punch. Parents want their day in court before (emphasis) the removal because a sucker punch out of nowhere is deliberate, malicious, destabilizing, disrespectful and disruptive. 85% of children removed are returned but not until the state has capitalized at the child (and family's) emotional expense. The same 'services' that could have been provided with a whole lot more collaboration and cooperation with the parents. In Kentucky kinship care funding was shutdown in 2013. Absolutely the state makes money at the expense of families. sickening that child removal puts people to work! Scholarships are handed out like candy for them. These students are then employed with the promise of reimbursement of loans. Definitely paid more than the few jobs left in this country. Working for the government guarantees health and retirement benefits ….when businesses are closing shop. One child removal, for six months, pays 25 employees. It is the only way they get paid–removing a child (or disabled and elderly). Think about that. It's predatory and the epitomizes 'grooming'. But, this is a system that 'grooms' committees statewide, nationwide, and globally. This doesn't even address the number of children abused and neglected, some even die — in state care. Parents are told 'trust the process'.

  5. As an adoptive mother, I can say that adoption is at times needed but very much to be avoided. It is painful to children no matter how young they are at adoption. Many more parents can safely care for their children with effective supports. Prevention is the key to child safety, and it is possible to build much safer, warmer environments for the poor children and families affected by the child welfare system in this country.

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