U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Future of Child Protection: How To Break the Cycle of Abuse and Neglect

NCJ Number
Jane Waldfogel
Date Published
293 pages
This book uses historical, comparative, and specific case data to critique the current child protection system in America and formulates a new approach for protecting children.
The author argues that the current child protection system (CPS) is overwhelmed by referrals. As a result, neither high-risk nor low-risk families are adequately served. This book examines the underlying assumptions of CPS; compares the U.S. record with those of Great Britain, Canada, and Australia; and offers a "new paradigm" for CPS. Under this paradigm, CPS joins with other public and private partners to provide a differential response to the broad range of children in need of protection. Three elements are central in this paradigm. First, in recognizing the diversity of families, differential response places greater emphasis on how CPS identifies the families to be served by each part of the CPS and how it develops case-specific assessments and service plans to deliver a customized response. Second, it does not envision one agency acting alone to ensure child protection in the most serious cases while other agencies handle the less serious cases. Instead, the differential response paradigm calls for a community-based system, in which CPS continues to play the lead role but works with the criminal justice system and with other public and private agencies to provide preventive and protective services for the full range of children in need of protection. Third, in recognizing the importance of family support in preventing child maltreatment, the differential response approach calls for informal and natural helpers, drawn from families and communities, to play a more active role in child protection, in partnership with CPS and the other agencies in the community-based system. Chapter notes and a subject index