Skip to main content



Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Browse or Search All Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages (10,000+). The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - September 14, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

Instructions: Postings are listed for browsing with the newest messages first. Click on the linked ID number to see a message. You can search the author, subject, message ID, and message content fields by entering your criteria into this search box:

Message ID: 9172
Date: 2012-05-26

Author:Lois Thiessen Love

Subject:Re: q about data regarding foster care andf legal proceedings

Sheri - Thank you for your concerns. You identify important gaps in ensuring quality. I encourage you to remain an advocate on behalf of children affected by the child welfare system. Some child welfare systems do address well being, but it's clear without accountability over the quality of care and implementation of protocol, child well being is the loser. Lois thiessen Love On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM, D F MCMAHON > wrote: Couple of questions: Anyone know how many (percentage) custody proceedings related to child abuse/neglect allegations are contested? Anyone know the average period of time for contested proceedings to be completed (i.e. resulting in either a foster care order as opposed to a shelter care order, or else return of the child). Anyone know the average amount of time it takes for a child to be returned when the proceedings do not result in a foster care order (i.e. may result in a continued shelter care order to allow for transition to reunification)? Looking at the ACF discussion about social and emotional well-being, I feel some frustration. It's presented as quasi-new information that well-being is important (duh). It's also presented in the form of an assumption that social and emotional impairments are the result of maltreatment, without acknowledging the component of governmental intrusion, including out of home placement even when allegations are ultimately successfully contested. (And even when allegations are confirmed, there is still an undeniable component of negative well-being in most cases resulting from governmental intrusion and out of home placement--after all, CFS review criteria acknowledge this much when they include continuity of relationships as a well-being measure). Would one argue that the well-being of children who linger in foster care (aka shelter care) and are ultimately found not to have been abused is not impacted? Another area not addressed by the ACF information is post-reunification well-being. Anecdotally, there seems to be plenty of evidence that families struggle to re-establish and re-define relationships after reunification. I serve on a regional human services advisory council for the agency that provides mental health and developmental disability services in a 6-county area and "oversees" child welfare services (because my state has county-provided services). In three years of service on this council, I have been able to initiate discussions about child welfare exactly twice (we meet quarterly). The discussion has not been very substantive but a couple of things have confirmed my previous impressions: oversight consists of regional human service workers attending brief (30 minutes) Permanency Plan Team meetings (4 per year)--for the most part, this seems to be the equivalent of a Title 19 client meeting; i.e. a "warm body" meeting to ensure the children actually exist and the agency knows where they are. It is very unusual for the regional representative to have any contact with the children themselves (in some cases, an older child might attend the perm plan meeting, but this is hardly a common occurrence). I also learned at the most recent meeting that the agency has limited knowledge about some of the major providers of residential services for children. Although it was confirmed that "sometimes" the agency becomes more intensively involved in a particular case, I am well aware that there is no defined process in this regard (and the state has no provision for requesting administrative hearing regarding case specifics, only the substantiation appeals process). I wonder a bit to what extent structural reforms empowering families in the system can address some of the well-being issues that are identified. Sheri McMahon ND -- Lois Finding a new poet is like finding a new wildflower out in the woods. ~ Linda Pastan

Sheri - Thank you for your concerns. You identify important gaps in ensuring quality. I encourage you to remain an advocate on behalf of children affected by the child welfare system. Some child welfare systems do address well being, but it's clear without accountability over the quality of care and implementation of protocol, child well being is the loser. Lois thiessen Love On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM, D F MCMAHON > wrote: Couple of questions: Anyone know how many (percentage) custody proceedings related to child abuse/neglect allegations are contested? Anyone know the average period of time for contested proceedings to be completed (i.e. resulting in either a foster care order as opposed to a shelter care order, or else return of the child). Anyone know the average amount of time it takes for a child to be returned when the proceedings do not result in a foster care order (i.e. may result in a continued shelter care order to allow for transition to reunification)? Looking at the ACF discussion about social and emotional well-being, I feel some frustration. It's presented as quasi-new information that well-being is important (duh). It's also presented in the form of an assumption that social and emotional impairments are the result of maltreatment, without acknowledging the component of governmental intrusion, including out of home placement even when allegations are ultimately successfully contested. (And even when allegations are confirmed, there is still an undeniable component of negative well-being in most cases resulting from governmental intrusion and out of home placement--after all, CFS review criteria acknowledge this much when they include continuity of relationships as a well-being measure). Would one argue that the well-being of children who linger in foster care (aka shelter care) and are ultimately found not to have been abused is not impacted? Another area not addressed by the ACF information is post-reunification well-being. Anecdotally, there seems to be plenty of evidence that families struggle to re-establish and re-define relationships after reunification. I serve on a regional human services advisory council for the agency that provides mental health and developmental disability services in a 6-county area and "oversees" child welfare services (because my state has county-provided services). In three years of service on this council, I have been able to initiate discussions about child welfare exactly twice (we meet quarterly). The discussion has not been very substantive but a couple of things have confirmed my previous impressions: oversight consists of regional human service workers attending brief (30 minutes) Permanency Plan Team meetings (4 per year)--for the most part, this seems to be the equivalent of a Title 19 client meeting; i.e. a "warm body" meeting to ensure the children actually exist and the agency knows where they are. It is very unusual for the regional representative to have any contact with the children themselves (in some cases, an older child might attend the perm plan meeting, but this is hardly a common occurrence). I also learned at the most recent meeting that the agency has limited knowledge about some of the major providers of residential services for children. Although it was confirmed that "sometimes" the agency becomes more intensively involved in a particular case, I am well aware that there is no defined process in this regard (and the state has no provision for requesting administrative hearing regarding case specifics, only the substantiation appeals process). I wonder a bit to what extent structural reforms empowering families in the system can address some of the well-being issues that are identified. Sheri McMahon ND -- Lois Finding a new poet is like finding a new wildflower out in the woods. ~ Linda Pastan