Legally Kidnapped

Shattering Your Child Welfare Delusions Since 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It's Time To Follow The Law And Take Reasonable Efforts Seriously

A caseworker driving a child four hours--one way-- to visit his mother on a weekly basis.  The child welfare agency putting a family up in a hotel for two days and hiring a professional cleaning service to return a home to a habitable condition.  A children’s attorney refusing to give up on finding a family connection for a severely disabled young man, even though he requires a residential treatment setting.  A judge understanding the treatment and recovery process and insisting a parent receive the support they need.  These are all solid examples of reasonable efforts to prevent removal or finalize a permanency plan recently provided by an audience of child welfare legal professionals.  In total, a dozen or so strong responses to the straightforward question, what are the best examples of reasonable efforts that you have seen made?  The question was posed to an audience of approximately 700.  There were twelve examples of reasonable efforts in a room of 700 participants from around the country.

Sure, this scarcity could be partially attributable to a reluctance of folks to speak up publicly-- asking for audience participation during a conference plenary is an unusual request.  But it could also be something more serious.  It could be that reasonable efforts have become a hollow finding, one made to comply with federal requirements and maintain funding as opposed to a legal finding to protect the integrity of the parent child relationship, advance the best interest and well-being of children, and prevent the trauma of unnecessary family separation.

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