"There's a public health tale about two people walking-up to a river and seeing children floating by. One person says we need to pull these children out of the water, and the other says yes we do, but what we really need to do is go to the head of the river and figure out why they're falling in to begin with.
We were reminded of this tale as we read "Shame on U.S.," the recent report from the Children's Advocacy Institute.
This report is speaking truth to power, and eloquently points out what's wrong with the child welfare system at every level.
The report also points to what can be done to improve the situation as we seek to ensure great childhoods and equal opportunities for the healthy development of all children:
· We can invest in real, evidence-based prevention such as home visiting, and programs like Healthy Families America, to keep kids out of the system on the first place.
· We can put child well-being front and center on the national policy agenda.
· We can develop and enforce certain maltreatment standards among all states, and the report calls for some of that, particularly in defining maltreatment.
We can go to the head of the river, but we must also acknowledge, that the report is dangerously silent on primary prevention."