Frequently Asked Questions


Issue Papers on Family Preservation, Foster Care and "Reasonable Efforts


Other Issue Papers


Eight Ways to do Child Welfare Right


A Child Welfare Timeline


When Children Witness Domestic Violence: Expert Opinion


NCCPR Board and Staff

Additional Reading




About This Site





  • Nina Bernstein, The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care (Pantheon: 2001).
  • Malcolm Bush, Families in Distress: Public, Private and Civic Responses (University of California Press, 1988).
  • E.P. Jones, Where is Home? Living Through Foster Care (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1990).
  • Leroy Pelton, For Reasons of Poverty: A Critical Analysis of the Public Child Welfare System in the United States (Praeger: 1989).
  • Dorothy Roberts, Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Civitas Books: 2002).
  • Lizbeth B. Schorr, Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage (Anchor Press/Doubleday: 1988).
  • Lizbeth B. Schorr, Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to Rebuild America (Anchor Press/Doubleday: 1997).
  • Richard Wexler, Wounded Innocents: The Real Victims of the War Against Child Abuse (Prometheus Books: 1990).


  • Analysis of ASFA: NCCPR Executive Director Richard Wexler's analysis of the so- called Adoption and Safe Families Act was published in the New England Law Review and is available on the Review's website, in pdf format, here.
  • Akka Gordon, "Taking Liberties," City Limits, December, 2000. A former caseworker for the child protection agency in New York City describes how the agency really works.
  • Alyssa Katz, "Impaired Judgment," City Limits, February 1999.
  • Kim Nauer, "Guilty Until Proven Innocent," City Limits (New York, N.Y.) November, 1994.


  • After a child died in foster care in Springfield, Missouri, the Springfield News-Leader began looking for solutions. The newspaper produced an extensive package of news stories and commentary about the successful transformation of child welfare in Alabama. Stories include: Work to keep families together, Alabama workers: To get it right, work from ground up, and Panel of everyday people looks for trends, keeps watch on work. The entire series, including portions that may not be on the News-Leader website, is available from NCCPR.
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Barbara White Stack has been given rare access to court hearings in child abuse and neglect cases that normally are closed to press and public. The result has been several important stories, including Family values: Court, CYF show preference for reuniting families over foster care (November 17, 2002) and Caseworkers can Make or Break a Family (October 13, 2002)
  • Barbara White Stack, When the Bough Breaks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 12 - 15, 1999.
  • Michael Gougis, "Protected to Death: L.A. County's child-protective agency said Debra Reid was a bad mother, so it took away her 9-year-old son Jonathan. Six weeks later, he was dead." New Times, Los Angeles, October 8, 1998. This newspaper is no longer in business. A copy of the article is available from NCCPR.
  • Sally Kestin, "Throwaway Kids", a series on the horrors of Florida's orphanages, a.k.a. "Residential Treatment Centers," Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Nov. 7 - 10, 1999.
  • Karen Houppert, "Victimizing the Victims," Village Voice, June 15, 1999.
  • Karen Houppert, "Crisis in Family Court," Village Voice, April 20, 1999.
  • Julie Jargon, "Baby Formula: Take one Mexican father, one drug-addicted mother, and a pair of foster parents. Take away one baby." Westword, Denver, Colorado, September 7, 2000. Also, see the follow-up story.
  • Dara Colwell, "Adorable and Adoptable: a spate of new laws and financial incentives has made it easier (and more profitable) for Child Protective Services to take ostensibly abused kids away from their parents. But has the new system for fast-tracking adoptions gone too far, too fast?" Metro, San Jose, California, July 13, 2000.
  • Jason Method, "Problems at DYFS: Years lost in foster care" Asbury Park, N.J. Press, October 8, 2000.
  • Tracy Weber, "Caretakers Routinely Drug Foster Children," and "Prescription for Tragedy," Los Angeles Times, May 17, 1998.
  • Debra Jasper and Elliot Jaspin, "Foster Care's Castoff Children," Dayton Daily News, Sept. 26-29, 1999.
  • Jim Okerblom and John Wilkens, "In the Best Interest of the Child?" San Diego Union, Dec. 9, 1991.
  • Lisa Demer, "Nobody's Child," Tampa Tribune, August 15 - 18, 1993.
  • Kent Pollock, "The Child Protectors," Sacramento Bee, Aug. 4, 1986.
  • William Heffernan and Stewart Ain, "Big Money, Little Victims" (Title of first story in untitled six-part series on New York City foster care system) New York Daily News, May 13-18 1975. Though this series is over 20 years old, regrettably it is not out of date.


  • Making Child Welfare Work: How the R.C. Lawsuit Forged New Partnerships to Protect Children and Sustain Families, (Washington, DC: Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, 1998).
  • Office of the New York City Public Advocate, Justice Denied: The Crisis in Legal Representation of Birth Parents in Child Welfare Proceedings. May 12, 2000.
  • Martin Guggenheim, "The Effects of Recent Trends to Accelerate the Termination of Parental Rights of Children in Foster Care -- An Empirical Analysis in Two States," Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 1, Spring 1995.
  • The 1991-92 San Diego County Grand Jury spent a year investigating that county's child protective system with extraordinary thoroughness. The portrait painted by their reports is frightening. Though they focused on only one county, the system in San Diego is typical of the operations of child protective services throughout the United States.

Reports include: Report No.2, Families in Crisis, Feb. 6, 1992; Report No.6, The Case of Alicia W., June 23, 1992 ; Report No.7, The Crisis in Foster Care, June 29, 1992; Report No.8, Child Sexual Abuse, Assault, and Molest Issues, June 29, 1992; and Families in Crisis -- Supplement, June 29, 1992. This last report documents what the Grand Jury viewed as a remarkable willingness by authorities in San Diego to respond to the Grand Jury's findings and try to change the system.

Reports are available from the Grand Jury, County of San Diego, 1420 Kettner Blvd., Suite 310, San Diego CA 92101-2432. (619) 236-2675.

  • Karen Benker and James Rempel, Inexcusable Harm: The Effect of Institutionalization on Young Foster Children in New York City (May, 1989). Public Interest Health Consortium for New York City. This report is out of print, but available through the coalition.


  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation has an extensive website devoted to its comprehensive child welfare reform initiative Family to Family. The initiative is based on the principle that "the first and best resource for partners in the difficult work of child welfare are the communities and neighborhoods from which children are coming into care."
  • The website for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law includes a child welfare section featuring a detailed discussion of the center's pioneering reform litigation in Alabama.
  • Child Welfare Watch tracks the child welfare crisis in New York City. It is available online or by subscription from the Center for an Urban Future, 120 Wall Street (20th Floor) New York, NY 10005 (212) 479-3344