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Elizabeth Bartholet, Thoughts on the Liberal Dilemma in Child Welfare Reform, 24 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 725 (2016).

Abstract: This article presents a critique of the self-styled liberal group that has dominated child welfare policy in recent decades, arguing that the group’s policy goals unduly favor parent over child interests, and that its self-serving research fails to provide policy-makers with an understanding of how the group’s favored policies put children at risk. The article analyzes the dominant group’s problematic approach in the three most significant movements of recent decades -- intensive family preservation services, racial disproportionality, and differential response. It calls on true liberals to reject this group’s leadership, to recognize children as one of the ultimate powerless constituencies needing representation, and to fight for policies that will better serve child interests. Finally it calls for a new research culture, enabling truly independent social science to flourish so that it can guide policy makers about the pros and cons of different policy choices in terms that include child interests.