• August/September 2020
  • Vol. 21, No. 6

Current Theme or Topic

This dedicated special edition is a call to action across public, private, philanthropic, and faith-based sectors to chart a different course to strengthen families through primary prevention and create a more just and equitable system focused on child and family well-being. It is a consensus statement that stresses how we must all value and invest in families and communities. The contributors of this edition (Youth Villages, Alia, the Birth Parent National Network, the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance, the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, The Children’s Village, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bethany Christian Services, Lutheran Services in America, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the American Public Human Services Association, the Association of State Territorial Health Officials, the National Center for State Courts, the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, the Jewish Child Care Association, Prevent Child Abuse America, the National Association of Counsel for Children, FosterClub, the National American Indian Court Judges Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and other leaders in the field) join their voices in saying the time for change is now. Together, we can create a system that supports the conditions for strong and thriving families and communities where children reach their best potential. Read a message from Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, and David Kelly, special assistant to the Associate Commissioner, that challenges systems that care for families to embark on a mission to focus resources on child and family well-being that will enable families of all backgrounds, incomes, races, and creeds to achieve their full potential.

  • We Must Meet the Moment in Child Welfare
    Written by Jerry Milner and David Kelly There are moments in history when society and its leaders are forced to see, think, and act differently—times when facts and conditions cannot be...
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  • Our Moment of Obligation: Replacing Foster Care With a Family Compassion System
    Written by Vivek S. Sankaran, clinical professor of law, University of Michigan Law SchoolOne of my first cases representing children in foster care involved an 11-year-old boy whose aunt had...
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  • Learnings for Children’s Services From the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Written by Patrick W. Lawler, chief executive officer, Youth VillagesAs 2020 began, many advocates for significant change in child welfare systems were encouraged. Passage of the Family First...
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  • Family and Child Well-Being: An Urgent Call to Action
    Written by Bryan Samuels, M.P.P., executive director, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago We are living in an unprecedented time: grave challenges and monumental opportunities call upon...
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  • Building a New Way, Together
    Written by Dr. Amelia Franck Meyer, chief executive officer, Alia We no longer need to make the case that dramatic change is needed in child welfare. There is no compelling evidence to continue...
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  • Prioritizing Family Well-Being and Strong Communities
    Written by parents from the Birth Parent National Network Now is the time to develop a strong and widely available community-based approach that promotes family well-being. As members of the...
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  • A Better Tomorrow for Families and Communities
    Written by Teresa Rafael, M.S.W., executive director, Children's Trust Fund AllianceAt the Children's Trust Fund Alliance, we help parents and communities provide a quality childhood and a strong...
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  • This Is Our Story
    Written by Andrea Smith, Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe "Every child should have a happy growing-up life."                        —S'Klallam Elder The quote from a Port Gamble S'Klallam tribal...
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  • Fault Lines and Opportunities
    Written by Judy Perry Martinez, president of the American Bar Association (ABA), 2019–2020; Judge Ernestine Gray, Orleans Parrish, LA, and chair of the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk; and...
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  • After Years of Doing It Wrong as a Judge…l Know We Can Do Better!
    Written by Judge William Thorne, retired state and tribal court judge and Pomo/Coast Miwok tribal memberIt is sometimes said that a system is perfectly designed to deliver exactly the results we...
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  • Be the Child Welfare Leader Who Creates a New History
    Written by Jeremy Christopher Kohomban, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, The Children's VillageIn the December 2019/January 2020 edition of Children's Bureau Express, we acknowledge...
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  • Reimagining Child Welfare as a Well-Being System: Steps Toward the Change We Need
    Written by Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, vice president of the Center for Systems Innovation at the Annie E. Casey Foundation The COVID-19 pandemic and the most expansive racial justice movement in...
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  • Black Children Are Overrepresented in the Foster Care System: What Should We Do About It?
    Written by Cheri Williams, senior vice president of Domestic Programs at Bethany Christian Services; and Kimberly Offutt, national director of Family Engagement and Support at Bethany Christian...
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  • Child Welfare Transformed
    Written by Sheila Weber, director of Strategic Initiatives, Lutheran Services in America To say that these past several months have been an "upheaval" or "awakening" feels like a major...
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  • Reimagining Child Welfare Services: A Call to UpEND Child Welfare as We Know It
    Written by Judith Meltzer, president, Center for the Study of Social Policy We are in a moment of incredible disruption—from the COVID-19 pandemic to reckonings about entrenched racism in...
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  • Child Well-Being Belongs to All of Us: Creating a Legacy of Family Prosperity
    Written by Ann Flagg, senior director for policy and practice, American Public Human Services Association; and Mary Ann Cooney, chief program officer, Health Equity and ASTHO Challenge,...
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  • Turning Crisis Into Opportunity: Virtual Summit on Racial Justice in Child Welfare and the Courts
    Written by Chris Wu, principal court management consultant, National Center for State Courts* In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, our nation is...
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  • A Time to Listen
    Written by Matt Anderson, M.S.W, vice president of programs and business development, Children's Home Society of North CarolinaI began my child welfare career without prior knowledge of the...
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  • The Lessons of COVID-19 in Practice Improvement and Innovation in Child Welfare
    Written by Ronald E. Richter, chief executive officer and executive director, Jewish Child Care Association, New YorkLike all crises, the COVID-19 pandemic has created widespread opportunities for...
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  • We Can and Must Do Better Than Normal
    Written by Melissa T. Merrick, president and chief executive officer, Prevent Child Abuse America The stress of this moment is palpable. As we exercise our first amendment rights during the...
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  • Leaning Into Discomfort and Disruption: A Call to Action for Children's Attorneys
    Written by Kim Dvorchak, executive director, National Association of Counsel for Children We will all remember the spring of 2020. Months of pandemic and then protest—a time of isolation, fear,...
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  • Young People Need Families: Taking a Hard Look at Government’s Role in Raising Children
    Written by Celeste Bodner, executive director, FosterClub, Seaside, Oregon As child welfare stakeholders across the country scramble to meet the needs of vulnerable families and children during...
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  • Reimagining Child Welfare Through Tribal Perspectives and Practices
    Written by A. Nikki Borchardt Campbell, executive director, National American Indian Court Judges Association; Ansley Sherman, staff attorney, National American Indian Court Judges Association;...
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  • Collaborating to Break Down Silos in the Justice System
    Written by the Honorable Barbara Mack, board secretary, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ); and Joey Orduña Hastings, chief executive officer, NCJFCJ The COVID-19...
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  • What We Can Learn From Indigenous Peoples About What the Child Welfare System Should Be
    Written by Sarah Kastelic, Ph.D., M.S.W. (Alutiiq), executive director, National Indian Child Welfare AssociationIn looking for inspiration about what a reformed child welfare system could be, we...
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  • Building a True and Equitable Child and Family Well-Being System
    Written by Susan N. Dreyfus, president and chief executive officer, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Every child in every family in every community deserves the opportunity to...
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