As child development experts state emphatically, kids in child welfare placements need more than food, clothing and safe shelter. They need the sense of belonging that comes from relationship-rich family settings. In 2012, the Casey Foundation and the Youth Law Center brought child development experts together to discuss best practices for reducing out-of-home treatment and acknowledging the developmental needs of children in child welfare placements. Conference research and recommendations are presented in this report.
kids in child welfare placements need more than food, clothing and safe shelter
Findings & Stats
The effect of good parenting is biochemical, not just emotional or psychological, according to neuroscientists.
Human Connections Key
Permanent, loving relationships are a core component of human development; without them, life is a constant struggle.
Statements & Quotations
Participants agreed that some adolescents clearly have challenging problems (mental illness, behavioral disturbances, etc.) that require limited, short-term treatment in residential settings. Even so, the most troubled children and the most difficult to manage teens need treatment in the context of responsive, long-term adult relationships. This suggests that child welfare agencies, providers, advocates and families need to keep residential placements for adolescents to a minimum and work harder to keep children and teens connected to the important people in their lives, no matter their living arrangement.
There is a difference between being treated in a residential facility and living there; most children should not be living in residential placements. Treatment, several of the conferees’ pointed out, consists of more than removing a child from an abusive setting. It includes clinical interventions carefully calibrated to children’s high-level mental or behavioral health issues so that they can return to live and develop within a family.