Shortage of Child Welfare Workers Straining The System

Posted by MST Services

social workerOne of the most important parts of the child welfare system is the professionals who work in it, dedicating their lives to ensuring the well-being of the children within their communities. Child welfare investigators are social workers who are responsible for protecting children from situations of abuse, neglect, and other forms of mistreatment, by assessing their social, physical, psychological and emotional well-being. Investigators do this by completing a number of different tasks: they make home visits in order to explore allegations of abuse or neglect; they provide assessments of home conditions to determine whether a parent or guardian is providing adequate care; they evaluate whether a child should be removed from their living situation; and they place removed children in either temporary foster care or permanent adoptive families.

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Topics: Child Welfare

Foster Youth and Reliable Education

Posted by MST Services

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An estimated 400,000 children are in foster care across the United States at any given time. While foster care is a necessary option for children in unsafe homes, it is intended to be a temporary solution, though this is often not the case for many in the system. Some children instead find themselves in foster care for a year or more. According to the National Foster Youth Institute, over 20,000 youth age out of the foster system every year before being placed in a permanent home. For many of these children, being left without a stable home for an extended period of time severely affects the quality of their education, as they struggle to keep up academically and connect with their peers.

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Topics: Child Welfare

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

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