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Reforming Child Welfare

Children’s Rights fights to protect children because they cannot protect themselves.

Following in the tradition of the civil rights organizations that have driven every major social justice movement in our nation’s history, we have developed our own highly effective model for compelling reform of failing child welfare systems, using litigation to protect the constitutional rights of a population — abused and neglected children — that lacks the means to defend itself.

We go to court to establish the rights of children to be protected from maltreatment and raised in safe, healthy, permanent homes — and to secure court orders that mandate top-to-bottom reform of the child welfare systems that violate these rights. Our legal campaigns force open the doors of systems that lack the transparency and accountability necessary to identify and fix problems that often have plagued them for years.

Once we have gained access to the courts and to the information we need to build our case, our goal shifts to negotiating detailed reform plans based on the best and most current thinking in child welfare policy and practice — and designed to bring about drastically better results for children in state custody and at risk of being placed in state custody.

Our reform campaigns are broad-based and well-informed, encompassing a variety of approaches to solving the complex problems we confront.

  • We build partnerships with local advocates and national experts to help us thoroughly investigate failing systems and support long-term efforts to reform them.
  • We work with government officials to tackle the management and funding issues that starve child welfare systems of resources and prevent them from providing children with adequate protection and care.
  • We mandate specific benchmarks for ensuring children’s safety and well-being and helping them make their way as quickly as possible to healthy, loving, permanent homes.

And once these reform plans have been initiated, we remain in place to monitor each system’s progress and ensure that improvements are made and maintained.

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Or visit our legal cases index to learn about specific reform efforts in which we’ve been involved.


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