Wish List for the Future of Child Protective Services
Insoo Kim Berg used a “miracle question” to help families develop hope for their futures, and to begin to see possible concrete steps to move them closer to their dreams. If we asked a “miracle question” about the child protection system, it would be something like this: “Imagine you wake up tomorrow and find that a miracle happened over night—the child protective services system is now the best possible system, and everything is working better than we ever could have imagined. When you look around, what exactly do you notice that lets you know the miracle occurred?” This blog is the first in a series of answers to that question.
(in no particular order)
- Every family is treated with respect and dignity.
- Protective placement is rare, brief, and used when needed to keep children safe.
- Courts play a vital, but infrequent role.
- Assessment (and if needed, investigation) is focused, thorough, and balanced.
- Workers use reliable and valid decision-support tools and together, with the family and network, use the results to plan their course of action.
- Intervention is about change, not compliance.
- Those we ask to do this work are valued, well-prepared, and well-equipped.
- Organizations learn.
- There is no such thing as “reform.”
- Legislation is written as legislation and does not attempt to set detailed policy and procedures.
- Children and families leave the system better off than when they entered.
In blog posts to come, I’ll share a little more about each one of these answers. And I’m eager to hear from others about what you think. How much do professionals, families, and communities agree on these? How near or far are we to each of these? What can we do now to move us closer to these goals? What exactly would it look like when we are practicing like this?
Raelene Freitag is the Director of CRC and International Projects at NCCD.
Can you please elaborate on #9? My wish is that foster parents of the future work in true partnership with birth parents. from a California Child Welfare Worker