West Virginia Foster Care Ombudsman Reports Rampant Fear of Retaliation

More than 90% of parents and foster parents who asked for an investigation into problems they had while dealing with the West Virginia foster care system in the recent past said they did so despite fear of retaliation, according to a news account based on the ombudsperson’s first-ever report.


Write the Truth and Show the Pain of Child Sexual Abuse

As professionals who deal with maltreatment cases in a variety of forums, we write about child sexual abuse. Our audience includes attorneys, social workers, health and education professionals, and sometimes the general public.

Paul DiLorenzo writes that family support needs to go beyond regimented solutions.


Compromise Is Good, Except When It Comes to Ethics

Many years ago, I served in Pennsylvania state government and among my responsibilities was the development and implementation of family resource centers (FRCs), which are community-based family support programs that provide easily accessible services in a culturally relevant manner.


What Child Welfare Can Learn from ‘Rewiring’

Fifteen months ago, we set out to test a proposition: That with a modest injection of flexible prevention money, and thoughtful approaches to rethinking some decision-making, we could turn a child welfare system into a family well-being system. 


If Adoption and Safe Families Act Can’t Be Repealed, Here’s How to At Least Make it Better

A new memorandum from the federal government’s top child welfare leaders argues that the field has been getting one of its most important goals — permanency — all wrong. After examining the latest research — including new analyses of federal data conducted by the U.S.

Cindy Ackerman commissioner


Q&A: St. Lawrence County’s New Commissioner Faces Massive Caseload

Photo courtesy of Cindy Ackerman.
Even before the pandemic struck in March, the past year has been challenging for the Department of Social Services in St. Lawrence County, a rural county just south of the Canada border.


Report Ranks New York State Counties by Family and Child Well-Being

From the teeming high-rise tenements of New York City’s Bronx County to the sparsely populated hamlets of rural Yates County, before the pandemic, more than 800,000 of the Empire State’s children were living in poverty and over 900,000 households were struggling to keep a roof over their heads, according to a new report.

Vivek Sankaran.


Toward Relentless Support of Families

Poet David Whyte writes, “Start close in, don’t take the second step or the third, start with the first thing close in, the step you don’t want to take.” I’m thinking of Whyte’s words this morning as my client – a mother who for years has battled an addiction to drugs – prepares to enter an in-patient drug treatment program, days before Christmas.


Taking the Measure of a New Metric

Remember the parable about blind men describing an elephant? Each touched a different part of the elephant, so they came to different conclusions about what it looked like. But what if there were more people involved – and they had to compare notes?