Should Family Preservation or Child Safety Take Priority?
Last year 98 children known to Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services were killed. A study by the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall concluded this was partly due to an “extreme reluctance to remove children from their homes and place them in foster care”.
Minnesota also has a strong bias towards leaving children with parents. In this regard Olmsted County has historically led the way, with 2.8% of the state’s population but only 1.3% of the foster care population. This translates to roughly 250 children left in settings where other counties, even in a pro-parent state, might remove them.
We don’t have metrics to know how Olmsted’s children are faring. But Illinois’ outcomes highlight the risks of giving so much weight to family preservation that child safety is compromised.
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