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Child Welfare Reform

April 22, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 15
Will recent changes make at-risk children safer?
By Tom Price

Introduction

Rilya Wilson, 4, was missing for 15 months before Florida's child welfare agency noticed she had disappeared. Her foster mother's roommate later confessed to smothering Rilya with a pillow to dispel the child's “demons.” The scandal led to a major shake-up at the Florida Department of Children and Families.  (Family photo)
Rilya Wilson, 4, was missing for 15 months before Florida's child welfare agency noticed she had disappeared. Her foster mother's roommate later confessed to smothering Rilya with a pillow to dispel the child's “demons.” The scandal led to a major shake-up at the Florida Department of Children and Families. (Family photo)

The U.S. child welfare system is designed to protect the nation's children, but in recent years it has been rocked by horror stories of children who were physically and sexually abused and even murdered. But a nationwide reform movement offers hope for the future. Welfare agencies across the country are focusing more on keeping families together and quickly moving the nation's 500,000 foster children into permanent homes. Although the foster care rolls are dropping, unadopted foster teens still must struggle with a lonely transition to adulthood after leaving the system. No state program has passed a federal review, but states are hitting improvement targets in follow-up checks. Meanwhile, social workers continue to complain that they are underpaid and overworked. And Congress is divided over a Bush administration plan that would give states more flexibility in using federal funds but end the guarantee of federal support for every foster child.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Adoption and Foster Care
Dec. 06, 2011  International Adoption
Apr. 22, 2005  Child Welfare Reform
Sep. 10, 1999  Adoption Controversies
Jan. 09, 1998  Foster Care Reform
Nov. 26, 1993  Adoption
Sep. 27, 1991  Foster Care Crisis
Dec. 11, 1987  Independent Adoptions
Nov. 16, 1984  Issues in Child Adoption
Jun. 27, 1973  Child Adoption
Nov. 09, 1951  Child Adoption Safeguards
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Children
Welfare and Welfare Reform
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