Getting tough to get child welfare reform efforts back on track

We don’t relish the prospect of taking the defendants in our child welfare reform cases back to court. We would much prefer that they implement the court-ordered reforms we secure for abused and neglected children without the need for further legal pressure.

But sometimes, when progress stalls and kids get put back in harm’s way as a result, we have no choice but to get tough and take action.

Over the past few months, for exactly these reasons, Children’s Rights has filed motions for contempt of court against the states of Connecticut and Georgia, and the District of Columbia. All three are subject to court orders mandating the reform of their child welfare systems, and all three had made progress to varying degrees before their reform efforts stalled either entirely or in particular areas.

Our recent actions in all three cases have produced positive results and started them back on the road to reform.

All three of these cases illustrate exactly why the court orders we secure through our reform campaigns are so important. It is simply not enough to propose solutions to persistent problems of child welfare systems and hope their leadership will implement them. The accountability that comes with court enforcement is vital to ensuring that real progress — and real improvements in the lives of abused and neglected children — get made.