Boston Globe: Expand, reinforce safety net for kids in Massachusetts
Children's League addresses child welfare concerns
Matt Stone, executive director of Youth Villages Massachusetts and New Hampshire, addressed how to best help Massachusetts' most vulnerable children through in-home, family-support services in a letter to the editor published March 8 in the Boston Globe. Stone, who is chairman of the Children's League of Massachusetts, co-wrote the letter with the Children's League's executive director, Erin Bradley.
March 8, 2017
Expand, reinforce safety net for kids in Mass.
Without in-home family support, children at risk are truly uprooted
It was heartbreaking to read the Globe’s editorial concerning the high number of children who died in state custody last year (“The job at DCF is not done” Editorial, Feb. 28). Even if the number were only one death, that would be too many, especially since many such tragedies can be prevented.
Since December 2013, there has been a 45 percent increase in the number of families entering the child welfare system in Massachusetts. More investment in intensive in-home family-support services can help ensure that children remain safe while parents learn the skills necessary to create healthy, nurturing homes. Social workers can act as the eyes and ears for the Commonwealth to detect and report situations where a child may be at risk.
Ultimately, removing a child from a family is traumatic for the child and expensive for the Commonwealth. If nothing is done to help the family, the child will not be able to return safely home, thus continuing the generational reliance on the child welfare system.
Department of Children and Families staff members often carry 18 or more cases at a time, while in-home family-support specialists usually work with only four to six families at a time.
We encourage DCF to invest more in these programs so that every child has the support needed to be safe and thrive.
Erin G. Bradley
Children’s League of Massachusetts/Boston
Matt Stone is also executive director of Youth Villages for Massachusetts and New Hampshire.