‘Deluged’ Child Welfare Systems Struggle to Protect Kids Amid Calls for Reform

Nearly 25 years ago, Joyce McMillan’s two children were taken away from her. One was eight. The other was just an infant. A neighbor had called a child welfare hotline. And the case worker sent out to investigate demanded a drug test that came back positive during a search of McMillan’s home. It took two years for McMillan to get her kids back.

“A drug test is not a parenting test,” McMillan told Morning Edition.

“It wasn’t a cause to separate my family and cause the harm that it caused us.”

That experience propelled her into activism, as she calls for Congress to do more to reduce punishment and surveillance — and emphasize family care and resources to reduce child maltreatment.

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