When we think of why children are placed in foster homes, the first thing that comes to mind is their parents’ inability or unwillingness to care for them. A consultant in Arkansas, however, argues that the reason for a dramatic increase in the number of children entering foster care has less to do with the behavior of the parents and more to do with the decision making processes of the judges.
According to The Times Record, Arkansas’ Department of Human Services reported a 30% gain in the number of children entering foster care over the previous year. Co-founder of Hornby Zeller Associates, Dennis Zeller, spoke to the legislative Joint Performance Review Committee to give his thoughts on what prompted this dramatic increase.
“Families in Arkansas had not simply all of a sudden gotten worse,” said Zeller. “But the way that decisions were made, whether by the department or by the courts, were different.”
Zeller claims that, in many cases, the motivation for the judges’ decisions to remove children from their homes is rooted in a desire to punish parents rather than keep children safe from imminent danger.
What we’re supposed to be about is promoting the welfare of kids,” Zeller said. “That’s why they call it child welfare. Sometimes we forget that…”
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