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date: 06 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the tension over recent decades in child welfare policy in the United States between two conflicting value systems, one focusing on parent and group rights over children, and the other focusing on child rights to grow up with nurturing parental care. It describes the leading legal and policy movements that have promoted keeping children with the family of origin and in the racial, ethnic and national group of origin. It contrasts these with some laws and policies that have instead prioritized protecting children against abuse and neglect, and placing them with nurturing parents including in adoption. It situates domestic US child welfare policy debates within the larger international context.

Keywords: child abuse and neglect, child welfare, adoption, family preservation, substance abuse, racial disproportionality, differential response, expedited termination of parental rights, family drug courts, birth match

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