Q: When you write about creating a new version of child welfare called Child Welfare 2.0, with a strong focus on using data and prioritizing prevention, how do you see that becoming a reality? Would it be best to create it outside the government system?

You are asking a timely question, as there is much interest in the idea of a Child Welfare 2.0. To be clear, the idea presented in Anna, Age Eight envisions a very different type of child welfare system, one that focuses as much on preventing maltreatment as it does on intervening in families after maltreatment occurs. We also advocate for a data-driven and cross-sector system that collaborates with city and county leadership to create a local system of care and safety for families.

Continue reading Q: When you write about creating a new version of child welfare called Child Welfare 2.0, with a strong focus on using data and prioritizing prevention, how do you see that becoming a reality? Would it be best to create it outside the government system?

Q: When child welfare makes a mistake–missing “red flags” in a case, is it political or lack of money?

We write in chapter 5 of Anna, Age Eight about the challenges that our current child welfare system faces. It is very complicated. When you have a government agency, politics will always be a part of the process, leading to solutions or creating more problems. It depends on elected officials and those serving them in the various government agencies.

Continue reading Q: When child welfare makes a mistake–missing “red flags” in a case, is it political or lack of money?

Q: Every school needs a psychologist, a nurse and a vice-principal. Where will we get the money?

We write in Anna, Age Eight about the benefits of having a school-based wellness center with a robust behavioral health care staff. This is because a fourth of the student population (and their parents) have endured (or will endure) three or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which means living in households where adults misuse substances, are threatening or violent, have untreated mental health challenges, are abusive and neglectful, are dissolving marriages or are incarcerated.

Continue reading Q: Every school needs a psychologist, a nurse and a vice-principal. Where will we get the money?

Q: What are the questions we should be asking about childhood adversity and trauma?

Understanding a problem starts with good questions. As you know, the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) Survey has been used across the country, and to nobody’s surprise, we find significant parts of the population likely suffering some sort of trauma after enduring three or more adverse childhood experiences.

Continue reading Q: What are the questions we should be asking about childhood adversity and trauma?

Q: Why might our work preventing childhood trauma require courage?

In our book Anna, Age Eight, we ask readers to be courageous and reflect on a challenging reality.

“Far away from you, on the other side of town, or the other side of the tracks, children live out perfectly miserable lives. If you’re a social worker, of course, this is what you face every day. If, on the other hand, you are like the rest of the American public, you take notice once in a while, perhaps engaging in a bit of head shaking. But for the most part, these boys and girls are out of sight and out of mind.”

Continue reading Q: Why might our work preventing childhood trauma require courage?

Q: Which level of government is responsible for keeping our kids safe and families strong?

Your question is excellent and the answer depends on who you ask and where you live. While every elected official on every level of government would say that our kids are a priority, the city, county and state budgets and missions may not quite reflect that. Yet.

Continue reading Q: Which level of government is responsible for keeping our kids safe and families strong?