Marie K. Cohen
About Marie K. Cohen 68 Articles
Marie K. Cohen (MPA, MSW) is a child advocate, researcher, and policy analyst. She worked as social worker in the District of Columbia's child welfare system for five years. She is a member of the Citizen's Review Committee for the DC Child and Family Services Agency and the DC Child Fatality Review Commission and a mentor to a foster youth. Follow her blog at, on Facebook at Fostering Reform or on Twitter@fosteringreform.


  1. Surely we can save the life of a 5 year old found wandering outside her home, while safely keeping her with her own family, even in the middle of the night, if we try. Taking some children away too readily doesn’t at all make up for finding other children in danger and doing too little to make them safe. I’ve come to think that child maltreatment triggers our own trauma responses to fight, flee, and freeze. We want to beat up the parent and take the child away. When we can’t, we often don’t do what we could to protect the child.

    • I agree. I don’t think she should have been removed. However, I object to the New York Times’s biased language implying that this could happen to any parent and that it is totally normal to be listening to music so loud on your earphones that you don’t hear your kid calling for you. And I also object to their not mentioning other cases where a child is left in danger at home, or discussing the dilemma of finding the balance between too much intervention and too little.

    • How can we tell when it’s the Times bias and not a personal or systemic bias? Young children leaving their home without supervision happens too often. Have you seen data showing rich children being placed as often as poor children or white children being placed as often as minority children when it happens?

      Sometimes social workers identify imminent danger and children are removed. Sometimes social workers don’t find any danger at all. Most often social workers identify some danger that doesn’t seem imminent, tell parents, or make them promise, to do something different, and then leave the home, leaving the children in as much, or more, danger than when the social worker arrived, though often with a plan to do something in the future to make the children safer. This is our system. It’s not the New York Times fault when it doesn’t work.

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