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March 2020Vol. 21, No. 2The Impact of Removal on Children and Families

A recent article in Marquette Law Review discusses how children, youth, and families involved with the child welfare system experience the removal process. It also analyzes the gaps and emergent issues in practice, research, and policy related to child removal.

Removing children from their homes is a drastic measure taken to ensure their safety and well-being. Although the decision to remove a child from home is not taken lightly, there are many inconsistencies in the way this is handled and some children are removed unnecessarily, leading to trauma and other adverse experiences. The article seeks to answer the following questions:

  • Who has the authority to remove a child?
  • Who makes the decision to remove child?
  • What is the evidentiary burden required to remove a child?
  • How quickly should an impartial judicial officer review the removal decision?
  • What occurs at that judicial review, including who must be given a lawyer?

According to the article, the process by which children are removed from their homes is inconsistent with the core values of child welfare as well as the legal principles governing child abuse and neglect proceedings. Therefore, there is a need for child welfare professionals to reexamine the values and principles guiding their decisions to remove a child from their parents and place them in out-of-home care.

The article also examines the impact removal can have on children and families and the trauma that can result from being separated from parents, siblings, friends, and communities; presents a legal overview of the removal process and highlights discrepancies; provides an overview of the removal process by examining administrative data; and provides policy and practice recommendations.

Read the article, A Cure Worse Than the Disease? The Impact of Removal on Children and Their Families, at (PDF - 1,925 KB).