When Brain Science Meets Public Policy: Rethinking Young Child “Neglect” from a Science Informed, Two-Generation Perspective
For many of us, the words “child welfare” and “foster care” may bring to mind images of children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse. Certainly, the child protection system is designed to protect children from violence. What may come as a surprise is that our child welfare agencies much more often serve children who have experienced neglect—children whose basic needs for food, shelter, supervision and care have not been met. In 2013, child welfare agencies managed cases of substantiated neglect for about 319,000 children between the ages of birth and six, of whom nearly 100,000 were infants. In fact, child neglect accounts for at least three-quarters of all child protective services substantiations in the United States today.
Service Provision Challenges Track. Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) foster healthy child development. Interventions to increase PCEs, such as home visiting…