By Tom Morton and Jess McDonald, The Imprint, February 15, 2021
The child welfare system plays a conflicted role in our society’s history. It exists in a world of competing values and basic societal assumptions. Was it developed as a way to “save” children from abuse and neglect or as a means to “control families?”
We chose to serve in this system to help children live safely with their families in safer communities. We believed it was possible to make a positive difference for children and families through service in the child welfare system and devoted our careers to this end. Can we say we have made a positive difference? We are not satisfied with our efforts and outcomes, no matter how well-meaning and vigorously we might have pursued them.
Society has not made the changes needed in fundamental cultural assumptions that are necessary if we are to ensure all children can live safely with their families. That should be everyone’s vision and commitment. We believe every effort should be made to change the child welfare system so that the future of the system is built on a foundation of strong and caring families and communities. This is why we served, and it is clear that there is yet a long way to go.