Child Welfare Court-Ordered Reforms – A Best Practice?

The role of courts in demanding change from the child welfare system is not a new one.  However,  in the paper Court-Based Child Welfare Reforms: Improved Child/Family Outcomes and Potential Cost Savings, Liz Thornton, a Staff Attorney for the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, finds evidence that such reforms have resulted in both lower fiscal costs and improved child welfare outcomes.

Several case studies are presented to discuss court-ordered changes including those around service accessibility, family treatment and improvements to child welfare system processes or practices. Of interest to Pennsylvanians may be the American Bar Association’s Permanency Barriers Project which, according to the brief, resulted in 20 PA counties reducing the average time by youth spent in foster care by 9 months, resulting in a significant cost savings.

The complete brief is available for download at the First Focus website.