What Comes Next for Child Welfare? Two Experts Weigh In

Child welfare scene

Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

At some point, the world and the nation will get past the initial, horrific onset of the coronavirus pandemic. In its wake will almost certainly be a recession, corresponding unemployment and hard times for millions of American families. As our coverage has reflected in the past two weeks, child welfare systems are still grappling with what to do now – how to facilitate justice through the courts, ensure some form of visits for families, how to deliver services that rely on the value of human contact through a phone.

But like the rest of the country, systems will re-emerge into a tough situation. And while leaders on the front line are still working on how to adapt to the current norms, it’s time to think about what comes next. Today we present two insightful pieces from experts in the field…


Looking Ahead: The Nation’s Child Welfare Systems after Coronavirus

Fred Wulczyn

Fred Wulczyn, senior research fellow at Chapin Hall and the director of its Center for State Child Welfare Data.

Wulczyn argues that systems must be prepared for a swift period of heightened demand after a chaotic spell unlike any in the history of child welfare. READ.

The Need for Extraordinary Efforts: Times of Crisis Reveal a System’s Values

Vivek Sankaran

Vivek Sankaran

Vivek Sankaran, law professor at the University of Michigan and director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic.

In the coming months, juvenile and child welfare courts will reopen and get back to a docket with families that judges have not seen since the coronavirus pandemic hit. How the system responds to their needs, and their experiences during a traumatic era in history, will show its real priorities. READ.

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