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Assignment A:
Child Welfare
Policy Analysis
Tori Rolston
SW 4710
Dr. Martin
Due: 10/07/2014
Why is Child Welfare Needed?
Child welfare policy is in place to ensure
that children are properly cared for and
do not face abuse and/or neglect.
Child abuse and neglect, also known as
child maltreatment, can be defined as:
any act or failure to act that may result in
death or serious harm to a child (Doak,
Child Maltreatment as a Social
Child maltreatment is a significant problem
that affects many children annually.
The National Center on Child Abuse and
Neglect (1990) reports that there were 3.2
million alleged cases of child maltreatment in
During this same year, there was also an
estimated 686,000 fatalities resulting from
child maltreatment (National Center on Child
Abuse and Neglect, 1990).
Policies Surrounding Child
One of the most important policies currently in place
to combat child maltreatment is the Child Abuse
Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). This policy
was first enacted in 1974 and provided states with
additional funding to strengthen their child
protection agencies, given that such agencies
reinforced reporting laws (Segal, 2013).
Reporting laws are also important in combatting
child maltreatment. These laws require specific
individuals to report if they suspect that child
maltreatment may be occurring. This aids in bringing
about awareness and attempting to stop child
abuse from happening by requiring formal reporting
(Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2012).

Other Policies
Some additional policies surrounding the issue of child
maltreatment include:
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
Requires courts review child welfare cases more regularly and
make reasonable efforts to reunify the family.
Strengthening Neglect and Abuse Courts Act
Allows state courts to apply for federal grants that may reduce
backlog of maltreatment cases
Promoting Safe and Stable Families
Increased funding for family services, preservation/reunification,
and adoption support services.
(First Star, 2009)

Many organizations and agencies also provide services
that aim to raise awareness, investigate maltreatment
cases, and ensure the safety of children.
Who Dictates Policies?
As briefly mentioned, many
states ensure the
implementation of policy
by having mandatory
reporting laws. These laws
require that certain
individuals such as social
workers, doctors, nurses,
teachers and school
personnel, and law
enforcement report any
suspected cases of child
maltreatment (Child
Welfare Information
Gateway, 2012).

Upholding Policy in Michigan
In the state of Michigan, mandated reporters
who fail to report suspected cases may be
subject to civic and/or criminal liability.
This could entail a worker being held liable for
any damages a victim suffered due to the
workers lack of reporting and/or a worker
facing misdemeanor charges which may
lead to imprisonment and fines (Department
of Human Services, 2014).

The First Steps
The government first became involved in child
welfare in the year 1874 with the case of Little
Mary Ellen. After this case the government began
to take action (Segal, 2013).
In 1875 the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
was created. This was the first step in establishing
protection for children.
In 1918, the government launched a campaign
titled The Childrens Year of 1918-1919 which
focused on developing further programs in order
to fight child maltreatment (Freeman, 2013).

Furthering Policy
Following the Childrens Year Campaign, the
government continued to become increasingly
more involved in child welfare policy.
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
(CAPTA) was enacted in 1974 and was the first
major policy set forth to combat child
maltreatment (Segal, 2013).
The presence of CAPTA brought about additional
attention to the problem and from there the topic
of child welfare has evolved with various policies
being presented in regards to this topic.

My Opinion
I believe that the policies put in place have helped
to decrease the amount of maltreatment occurring;
however, I do not feel they have been as effective
as needed.
In my experience, more funding is needed to ensure
that there is a proper number of child welfare
workers who can sufficiently carry out the tasks.
I also believe that more extensive training may be
helpful in ensuring that workers and others involved in
child welfare correctly understand their role within
this field.
I believe that this may help to ensure that the best
interest of the child is being considered above all else.
An Advocates Opinion
I spoke with Stasia Milligan from Family Service
& Childrens Aid in Jackson, MI.
Stasia shared with me that she does not have
negative feelings regarding policies themselves,
but rather feels that implementation of policies
is the problem to be addressed.
She discussed how policies may be
implemented differently by different workers
and agencies due to the various interpretations
of these policies.
Advocates Opinion Cont.
I also discussed the topic of mandated
reporting with Stasia as I feel this is the
basis to combatting child
Stasia shared that she believes
mandated reporting is incredibly
important; however, some
professionals are still hesitant to report
because they do not fully understand
their role as a mandated reporter.
She shared that while she feels this is a
good policy, she believes that more
training is needed in the field to inform
individuals of what they are required to
be doing, especially for professionals
such as doctors and nurses who may
not receive as much training in this
area as a social worker would.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2012). Mandatory reporters of child abuse and
neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Childrens

Defining child abuse and domestic violence. (2009). In M. J. Doak, Information Plus
Reference Series. Child Abuse and Domestic Violence (2009 ed.). Detroit: Gale.

Department of Human Services. (2014). Mandated reporters are required by law to
report. Retrieved from:,4562,7-124-7119_50648_44443-

First Star, Inc. (2009). Federal child welfare policy. Retrieved from:

Freeman, J. (2013). The field of child and youth care: Are we there yet? Child & Youth
Services, 34 (2), 100-111. DOI: 10.1080/0145935X.2013.785875

Milligan, Stasia. (2014, October). Personal Interview conducted by T. Rolston. Jackson, MI

National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System., National Center on Child Abuse and
Neglect., United States., & United States. (1990). Child maltreatment: Reports from the
states to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Washington, D.C: U.S.
Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Segal, E.A. (2013). Social welfare policy and social program: A values perspective.
Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.