Columbia's Institute for Child and Family Policy (ICFP), the Fred Friendly Seminars at the Graduate School of Journalism and PBS FRONTLINE collaborate on a panel discussion on child welfare policy tonight at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The U.S. child welfare system is in desperate need of examination and evaluation, says a panel of government leaders, policymakers, child welfare advocates and journalists as well as individuals with first-hand experience with the child welfare system. ICFP provided primary editorial consultation for the broadcast. ICFP's Tony Raden was coordinating producer, and Columbia Law School's Jane Spinak was senior advisor. Creative consultant, senior editorial director and executive producer were Fred Friendly Seminars' Joan Greco, Ruth Friendly and Richard Kilberg, respectively. ICFP co-directors Lawrence Aber and Sheila Kamerman with Social Work's Jane Waldfogel were advisors.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of children are removed from their homes following allegations of abuse or neglect. In the past year, however, America's child welfare policies have come under increased scrutiny as headlines trumpeted cases of children becoming "lost" -- and in some cases, dying -- while in the care of the state, or conversely, dying when the state did not act to take custody. When should parents lose the right to raise their own child? Who makes the critical decisions regarding a child's future? And how well is America's child welfare system protecting the children in its care? Are there ways to do it better? These are some of the questions explored in "Failure to Protect: A National Dialogue," a one-hour examination of America's child welfare policy -- moderated by NBC correspondent John Hockenberry.
Panelists include: U.S. Representative George Miller (D-Calif.); Cynthia McFadden, ABC News senior legal correspondent; Richard Gelles, acting dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work; Kathleen Blatz, Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court; Trevor John, child protective specialist; Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children's Rights, Inc.; Barbara Alexander, executive director of the First Coast Family Center in Jacksonville, Florida and a former supervisor in Florida's Department of Children and Families; Ronald Richter, deputy attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society of New York's juvenile rights division; Rose Garland, an artist and graduate student who spent much of her childhood in foster care; Sandra Jimenez, head of advocacy for New York City's Department of Homeless Services; and Dorothy Roberts, professor at Northwestern University Law School.
Click for detailed information on PBS Frontline: "Failure to Protect: A National Dialogue."
Transcripts from panel discussions at the National Symposium on Child Welfare convened at Columbia and sponsored by the Institute for Child and Family Policy, the School of Social Work, and PBS Frontline. (Jan. 22, 2003):