A Cure Worse Than the Disease? The Impact of Removal on Children and Their Families

Removing children from their parents is child welfare’s most drastic intervention. Research clearly establishes the profound and irreparable damage family separation can inflict on children and their parents. To ensure that this intervention is only used when necessary, a complex web of state and federal constitutional principles, statutes, administrative regulations, judicial decisions, and agency policies govern the removal decision. Central to these authorities is the presumption that a healthy and robust child welfare system keeps families together, protects children from harm, and centers on the needs of children and their parents.