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Hollinger 1 Running Head: Essay

Unit 5 Critical Essay Dawn Hollinger Kaplan University

February 7, 2012 CJ 102-09 Professor Chupik

Hollinger 2 In this critical essay I will be discussing the ramifications, good and bad, of Anytowns Department of Job and Family Services division new policy. This policy outlines a strict removal of children policy from there homes in certain situations. The removal of a child from their home can have serious effects on the child, and on society. In this policy the outline is to remove a child if there are more than one documented offense, such as domestic violence, alcohol related incidences, drug abuse, and/or child abuse. The child will then go into a state foster care program until the guardian completes treatment or classes. They also have to complete a period of no less than six months without another incident, or their time starts over. I believe that the repercussions from this policy can be very helpful in some situations, and very detrimental in others. I would like to begin outlining what the Social learning theory states, as it is the guideline Anytown used when making this policy. This theory states that people are not born with the ability to act violently; rather they lean to be aggressive through their life experiences (Siegel, 2007 p121). Theorists in this category have yet to determine what triggers a violent reaction from someone in this situation. Each child is different and will learn in different ways how to act in society. The theory also says that there are three principle sources: the first being the family of the child, the second the neighborhood environment, and third media. If Anytown decided to use this theory for the new policy then they should also include those areas of the town that has increased violence, or monitor the viewing habits of every child in its city.

Hollinger 3 Anytowns new policy says that it will place the children from the home of the offender into the foster care system. It doesnt specify if it will be a relative or a non-relative to the family. According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) there were an estimated number of 423,773 children in the foster care program as of September 30, 2009(Child Welfare, 2011). Of those children only twenty four percent were in a family members home, and the other forty eight percent were in a strangers home. The new policy places the goal of returning the child to their home after the parent or guardian completes the recommended classes and has no incidents in a time period of six or more months. According to AFCARS reuniting the family with the children is the goal in forty nine percent of its cases (Child Welfare, 2011). If Anytown were to continue with their plan of foster care, the children in those homes would have to compete for placement in a system with close to 500,000 other children. These children are not guaranteed a home type placement. About ten percent end up in institutions, six percent end up in a group home, and two percent end up running away (Child Welfare, 2011). Also in foster care situations siblings are not guaranteed a placement together. The caseworkers try to place siblings together, but it isnt always possible. The child being removed from the home will have some issues during their time in Foster care. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) a child will struggle with several of the following issues:

Hollinger 4 1. Blaming themselves and feeling guilty about removal from their birth parents. 2. Wishing to return to birth parents even if they were abused by them. 3. Feeling unwanted if awaiting adoption for a long time. 4. Feeling helpless about multiple changes in foster parents over time. 5. Have mixed emotions about attaching to foster parents. 6. Feeling insecure and uncertain about their future. 7. And reluctantly acknowledging positive feelings for foster parents. (AACAP, 2005) These issues cause the child a lot of stress and hurt in the formative years. During these years children learn how to empathize with people, how to love and respect others, how to treat each other, and how to feel about themselves. With Anytowns new policy many children will start to feel these things, and will need more help psychologically than if they were left in the home and had home studies done. In some cases I completely agree with Anytowns policy. I believe that children should be immediately removed from the home in cases of child abuse. In the case of spousal abuse I dont believe that punishing the parent being abused will help the situation. That parent should be allowed to retain custody on the contingency that they leave the relationship. (AACAP, 2005) In recent years there has been a decline in people opening their lives to becoming foster parents. So the Anytown policy will place more of a strain on the society because of the influx of children coming into the program. Due to the lack of parents, more and more children end up in an institution style setting.

Hollinger 5 Foster parents face a huge challenge when opening their home up to others children. Some of the most important are: 1. Recognizing the limits of their emotional attachment to the child. 2. Understanding mixed feelings toward the childs birth parents. 3. Recognizing their difficulties in letting the child return to the birth parents. 4. Dealing with the complex needs (emotional, physical, etc.) of children in their care. 5. Working with sponsoring social agencies. 6. Finding the needed support services in the community. 7. Dealing with the childs emotions and behavior following visits with birth parents. (AACAP, 2005) For these reasons more relatives are coming forward as care givers. Anytowns policy hasnt outlined if this is an acceptable form of foster care. I think this new policy has a lot of work that needs to be done in order to work. It only takes into account one theory as to why children grow up to become criminals. There are several theories out there, and choosing this one doesnt seem like good governmental policy to me. That would be like saying that all children born in Anytowns hospital need to have gene testing to see if they are predisposed to criminal behavior. Then implementing a policy to remove or institutionalize those children based only on the trait markers, or to medicate them. There is a basis here for removal that should stay implemented and that, of course, is children abused by parents should be removed. Unfortunately by the

Hollinger 6 time this usually takes place, the abuse has been going on for a long time. In conclusion I disagree with this policy.

Hollinger 7 References: Adoption and Foster Care System Analysis and Reporting system; Foster Care Statistics 2009, May 2011; Found on internet at : American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Foster Care no. 64 May 2005; found on internet at: Seigel L. J. (2011). Criminology: The core (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.