Is Racial Bias Still a Problem in Child Welfare?

Posted by MST Services

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Since its establishment in 1935, the United States’ Child Welfare Services system has worked to promote the wellbeing and safety of children. It is a complex system, which can vary quite a bit from state to state, but in general works to fulfill a few specific goals: to investigate reports of possible child abuse and neglect; to provide services to families that need help protecting or caring for their children; to arrange for children to live with family members or with a foster family when they are not safe at home; and to arrange for reunification, adoption, or other permanent family placements for children leaving foster care.

With such lofty goals, it comes as no surprise that many child welfare systems in the U.S. were falling short, much to the alarm of advocacy groups.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Multisystemic Therapy and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted by MST Services

Close up of parents looking at their son while lying on a bedIn 2017, there were more than four million reported incidents of child abuse and neglect in the United States, involving roughly seven-and-a-half million children. These incidents can stem from a range of situations including neglect, exploitation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. While rates of child abuse have reduced over time, today the U.S. ranks as having one of the highest rates of child maltreatment among industrialized nations. With rates remaining largely stagnant in the last few years, there is certainly still much to be done.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Opioid Epidemic Impact on Child Welfare

Posted by MST Services

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Lafayette, Indiana resident Jodie Hicks had watched her son Justin abuse heroin for years. The house he shared with his girlfriend, who was also an addict, was filthy and frequently chaotic with fellow users. What caused Hicks the most concern was the fact that the house was also home to her granddaughter, Tessa. Tessa’s days were largely spent alone, at times locked in her bedroom, and at four years old her speech was so poor it was largely indecipherable. She had been responsible for feeding herself since toddlerhood, taking food out of the fridge that was frequently sugar-laden and lacking in nutrients, leaving her underweight.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Foster Care Children and Unstable Education

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_41512058At just one year old, Noel Anaya was separated from her parents and removed from her home in California. Though she was too young to remember leaving her first home, she remembers all the ones that came after— Noel moved through foster placement after foster placement, put in four different families by the time she was eight. Soon, she was sent outside of California, first to Michigan and then to Idaho. “Some foster families were religious and encouraged me to participate in their traditions, which felt strange,” Noel remembers. “I moved around so much, I never felt like I fit in.” Noel’s experience of constant movement, adjustment and loneliness isn’t merely her own— for many foster children across the country, impermanence is a comfortless reality. And what is one of the most critical, long-term effects of these constant new foster placements? A child’s ability to succeed in school.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Kinship Care May Reduce the Negatives of Foster Care

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_7099980Foster care is a sad reality for 437,465 children. As of 2016, nearly half a million kids are living in foster care away from their parents. These numbers are growing each year, but a different approach is being taken to help keep children out of foster care.

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Topics: Child Welfare

The Opioid Epidemic's Effect on Children

Posted by MST Services

addiction-antibiotic-capsules-159211Elizabeth’s baby was due in June, and that’s exactly when she came— on the very morning of her due date, a new little girl entered the world. Elizabeth was ecstatic to become a mother, sharing the special moment with her partner, but as the newborn was examined, doctors came back with bad news: the baby was unnaturally stiff and had difficulty breathing. Elizabeth’s heart sank as she heard the diagnosis: neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. After years of opioid addiction, beginning with prescription painkillers like Percocet and culminating with heroin usage, her worst fears had come to fruition: Elizabeth’s baby girl had been born with an opioid addiction.

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Topics: Substance Abuse, Child Welfare

Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Disabled Children

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_170654580 Recurrence of child abuse happens to young children, but there is a higher risk for recurring abuse and neglect for those children if they have special needs.

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Topics: Child Welfare

The Crossover Between Sex Trafficking and Juvenile Justice

Posted by MST Services

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An estimated 3 of every 4 victims of sex trafficking are girls or women. In the case of young female victims, they often share similar characteristics: they are homeless or runaways, victims of previous abuse, and often involved in the juvenile justice system.

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Topics: Child Welfare

MST Therapist Helps Family Escape Domestic Violence

Posted by Ruby A., MST Therapist

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A Bad Situation Becomes Dangerous When Domestic Violence Comes to Light

I was working as a therapist with the Hernandez* family for two months before I started to suspect that there was something else going on. The case originally came in because Manny, a 17-year-old living in the Bronx, was doing drugs, cutting class, violating curfew, and stealing. The family needed Multisystemic Therapy treatment to help navigate these issues and get Manny back on the right path. Little did I know I would soon be treating additional issues—issues beyond Manny’s control.

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, Child Welfare

What is the Family First Act?

Posted by MST Services

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In 2015, the U.S. saw 683,000 child victims of maltreatment, and 430,333 children placed in foster/kinship care.1 $22.8 billion was spent by both states and the federal government on welfare services, with an additional $3.5 billion spent on foster/kinship care.

While the services provided through those expenditures were undoubtedly necessary, it’s heartbreaking to realize just how many children are displaced each year due to child abuse and neglect. The government needs to keep supporting welfare and foster services, but shouldn’t more be done to prevent the need for those services in the first place?

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Topics: Child Welfare