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CAI Holds Congressional Briefing to Unveil New Report:

Shame on U.S.
Failings by All Three Branches of Our Federal Government Leave
Abused and Neglected Children Vulnerable to Further Harm
January 27, 2015

The federal government's dereliction allows states to fall short on meeting minimum child welfare standards. Below is information specific to the District of Columbia.

CFSR Results Summary: In its Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process, HHS determines whether each state is in substantial conformity with 7 specific outcomes (pertaining to the areas of safety, permanency and family and child well-being) and 7 systemic factors (relating to the quality of services delivered to children and families and the outcomes they experience).  In the first two rounds of the CFSR, HHS has concluded that the District of Columbia was:

Round 1 (2002)

  • NOT in substantial conformity with 6 of the 7 Outcomes
  • NOT in substantial conformity with 3 of the 7 Systemic Factors

Round 2 (2008)   

  • NOT in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Outcomes
  • in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Systemic Factors

Although federal law mandates that any state found not to be operating in substantial conformity during an initial or subsequent review must begin a full review within two years after approval of the state's program improvement plan, HHS has announced that the District of Columbia will not undergo Round 3 of the CFSR until FY 2016 (see CFSR Technical Bulletin #7 (March 2014)).

Documents from the U.S. Health & Human Services Children's Bureau

Child Welfare Litigation*

  • LaShawn A. v. Williams
    Litigation brought by Children’s Rights, along with co-counsel ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, against the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Director of the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS), and various officials within DHS on behalf of children in foster care or known to the D.C. child welfare system because of reported abuse or neglect. The Complaint alleged violations of the plaintiffs’ statutory rights under the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, the D.C. Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Act of 1977, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, the D.C. Youth Residential Facilities Licensure Act of 1986, and the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment.

*litigation summary taken from information provided by the website of Children's Rights.

Child Welfare In the News**

  • D.C.'s coming homelessness crisis (Opinion) (Washington Post - January 02, 2015) Because of court rulings that require the city to provide private rooms for homeless families, D.C. General has fewer rooms available than before. To help accommodate those families, the District is contracting with motels, but that still may not be enough. Using funds from the city's child welfare department has been proposed; essentially, the District plans to use funds for the poor to pay for the poorer.
  • A Lost Mother and Daughter: In the case of missing 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, emotional scars transcend generations (Washington Post - December 22, 2014) The cycle she's describing is very real, says Rahkel Bouchet, supervising attorney with the child welfare clinic at Howard University School of Law. Children who are removed from their homes and grow up in ever-shifting foster-care arrangements often lack the skills to parent effectively, Bouchet says. They are far more likely to repeat the neglect and abuse they experienced as kids.
  • Why Do We Treat Underage Sex-Trafficking Victims Like Criminals? (Associated Press - December 04, 2014) Underage sex trafficking victims are treated as criminals rather than victims, and law enforcement, lacking training and options, often sends them to juvenile detention centers. That includes D.C., which is why Frundt lobbied for the passage of the Trafficking of Minors Prevention Amendment Act (TMPAA), which the D.C. Council unanimously approved on Tuesday. Information Gateway resources: Responding to Human Trafficking of Children:

**news summaries taken from daily newsfeed service of HHS' Child Welfare Information Gateway


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Children's Advocacy Institute
University of San Diego School of Law
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