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Common Problems of Child Welfare Agencies

While reading this morning’s news reports about child welfare among the states, the following struggles seem to be the most significant and common problems of child welfare agencies around the country.

1. First is the problem of children being removed from parents and placed into foster care for reasons of neglect because removal is a state child welfare system’s obvious tool.

2. Second is the problem of states tossing children across borders into out-of-state placements, over-nighting children in hotels and state office buildings, and losing children because states refuse to provide sufficient resources for the children in foster care. (Surely, no state intentionally plans to under serve children, but states that do not plan today for tomorrow’s needs ultimately fail children in egregious ways today and in the future.)

3. Third is the problem of children who become chronically trapped in a states’ extended child welfare and behavioral health systems because prevention and early intervention services are unavailable, or due to inattention, lack of support, insufficient collaboration with families, and the foster care shuffle.

4. Fourth is the array of difficulties created by states that under-fund child welfare budgets leaving public child welfare agencies with unfilled staff positions.

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