Rosie's Place advocates on issues that meet four main criteria: (1) addressing a critical need of the guests of Rosie’s Place; (2) no coalition is actively advocating on this campaign; (3) affects a diverse constituency to develop a broad-based statewide coalition; and (4) furthers the mission of Rosie’s Place. Join us in our campaign by visiting the campaign endorsement page.
Strengthening Families Involved with the Department of Children and Families
We estimate that almost three-quarters of our guests have been involved with the Department of Children and Families at one point in their lives. Many are parents whose children have been removed or are at-risk of removal. Many grew up as foster children and are now involved with the Department as parents. Some are grandparents or aunts who are the primary care givers of children due to DCF involvement. Whether they are personally involved or not, the vast majority of our guests fear the Department’s involvement in their communities.
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families is moving towards a stronger commitment to working with and strengthening birth families to better care for their children. The Department’s mission is often framed as the balancing of family preservation and child protection, implying an inherent conflict between both goals. Yet, numerous studies have documented the effectiveness as well as better safety and wellness outcomes for children whose families receive services while the children remain at home. In general, children who remain with their families while receiving in-home support services have lower rates of teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency and adult criminal involvement, while having better employment records.
Most children involved with the Department of Children and Families are either living with their families or are eventually reunited. Despite this philosophical commitment, the state’s spending on out-of-home placement is seven times the spending on family preservation and reunification services. Family preservation programs, with a proven track record, have the potential of preventing the foster care placement of children, expediting return of children to their families, and reducing the re-involvement of families with DCF.
Foster and other alternate care must be reserved for these most serious cases of abuse or neglect, where the risk of remaining at home is greater than out-of-home placement. These cases, although troubling and often more visible, are a small percentage of all DCF cases.
- Increase significantly the funding for prevention, family preservation, and family reunification in the state budget. Click here for our recommendations for reforms of federal child welfare funding.
- Enhance and expand family services using models with proven efficacy.
- Better connect families to services in the community, including families whose cases are ready to be closed.
- Decrease disproportionality and disparities in treatment and outcomes for families of color.