Residential treatment is a failed intervention that harms children even when they are not physically or sexually abused while confined in them.
The abuse, starvation and near-death of a year-old baby while under the state’s protection put the Connecticut Department of Children and Families under intense scrutiny by the state’s child advocate and others a year ago — scrutiny that continues today. The following text is the introduction to a longer and more detailed analysis of the so-called “Baby Dylan” case by Richard Wexler, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.
In every child welfare system, certain things are inevitable. The only acceptable goal for child abuse tragedies is zero – but no system achieves it. Every system has horrible cases, including cases where it turns out the case file had more “red flags” than a Soviet May Day parade.
When such a tragedy occurs, one or more elected officials will try to play politics with children’s lives. That’s what Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano is doing now, in response to the near death of “Dylan.” He’s calling for Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz to resign. His whole approach to the case risks setting off a foster-care panic – a sharp sudden surge in needless removal of children from their homes.
A child previously known to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families dies a horrible death. A prominent public figure rushes to scapegoat efforts to keep families together. Connecticut is putting too much emphasis on family preservation, the public figure claims. Of course I’m talking about – 1995. The child was “Baby Emily” and the […]