President Donald Trump is currently turning the USA and the world upside down. Some will say for good, some will say for bad. That is not a topic for us to discuss here.
In a situation where there is little to be happy about when it comes to the Norwegian authorities` handling of the crisis within the CPS, I have asked myself which attitude the new Washington administration has to the american CPS.
Through a search on the internet, I found some answers: Trump’s Top Child Welfare Official Speakshttps://chronicleofsocialchange.org/fea ... ial-speaks
Jerry Milner is now the Acting Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families.
The first thing we are told about Jerry Milner puts me in doubt, since he has previously been leading the fostercare services "over there". He has been working in the system, something I dont necessarily regard as an advantage for someone who is supposed to reform the CPS.
Nevertheless, I know quite little about Milner and the CPS in the US, and rely on what I read in this article.
Milner refers to some points where he wants to improve the CPS, and some of his thoughts are interesting. I will quote some of his statements here:
About prevention and intervention: -First, we need to change the focus of child welfare to primary prevention of maltreatment and unnecessary removal of children from their families.
On how foster families should function: -Second, we should prioritize the importance of families by ensuring that when foster care is necessary, it operates as a support for the family rather than a substitute for the parent.
On placement and traumas: -Third, we must focus our interventions on the overall well-being of children and their parents by changing our core practices, especially around removal and placement. We know that removal of a child from a family is traumatic. Trauma is very hard to undo and presents lifelong challenges. We should consciously avoid inflicting psychological and emotional damage to children in our efforts to achieve physical safety.
Milner stresses the importance of a muliti-entity approach to prevention:-Prevention cannot be accomplished by the child welfare system alone; the issues children and families are facing are just too complex.
On the need of more foster-homes: -In the long run, I don’t think we will solve the problems in foster care by finding more beds for children to sleep in. We need to resolve the problems that lead to the increased need for foster care placement.
Asked about his communication with Donald Trump on these issues, he also answers this: -The administration places high value on the importance of families, and we believe this is where we should focus our priorities.
The signals from the USA are encouraging, if we look at the intentions from the new leader of the childrens services in this presidential period. Milner also talks about how federal funding fuels fosterhome-placements, and wants to change the financing system.
Milner obviously believes that the CPS can play an important role when it comes to prevention, but he also underlines that this has to happen in a multi-entity setting. I dont share Milners` faith in the CPS`ability to contribute to prevention, if we try to apply what he says to the Norwegian CPS. But it is only fair to add that I am one of those traumatized by the CPS. My view on how much expectations one can have for improvement of a hopeless and dysfunctional system, might therefore be too pessimistic.
How Milners' intentions will change the CPS in the USA and how it might affect the systems in other western countries I dare not say. Time will show. But as far as I understand, the CPS in the US is also undergoing a crisis, not very different from the crisis in Norway. It would be delightful if the Trump-administration would make extensive reforms for the better, and that this could create at movement that would eventually spread to Europe and Norway.