Pilot CWS-R-SAP – v. 2 Redesigned System, 5.5 Child Removed to Recovery Care


Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign

Strategic Action Plan


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5.5 Child Removed to Recovery Care


“This is not about the intentions of those who developed the system we have. It is about listening to the people it harms.”[1]


5.5.1. Current Reasons for Removal of the Child

Reasons Child Removed from Home
Reasons Child Removed from Home

The above chart is based on information provided by Oregon in their annual Data Book reports from 2009 through 2019.



Data for the years 2009-2011 demonstrate a normal fluctuation in reasons children are taken from their home following a CPS assessment. Although the actual numbers and percentages vary over the years, there are 5 main reasons for removal in 2009-2011:

  • Child neglect abuse,
  • Parent drug abuse,
  • Child physical abuse,
  • Parent alcohol abuse, and
  • Child behavior,
  • with Inability to cope and
  • Inadequate housing not far behind.

However, there is a sudden and dramatic change to the data in 2012. From 2012 to the latest annual report in 2019, there are only 2 main reasons for removal of a child from their home: Child neglect abuse and Parent drug abuse.

Critical Notes:

  • The highest main reason for removal in 2009-2011, child physical abuse, has dropped significantly from the data. Child physical abuse now hovers been fifth and sixth as the reason for removal.
  • Child neglect moved from fourth to a significantly higher first reason.

Ways to View the Dramatic Change:

There are two ways to look at the dramatic change in 2012.

  • The first is to believe that child physical abuse, parent alcohol abuse, and child behavior are no longer issues. A CPS program or service introduced to families in 2012 reduced those three previously main occurrences to practically trivial, in comparison to the huge spikes in child neglect abuse and parent drug abuse. In addition, that new CPS family program or service has been continued steadily from 2012 through 2019 and probably exists today.


  • The second way to view the data is that a major shift in counting and tracking reasons for removing a child was introduced within CPS in early 2012. That change in counting resulted in a pattern that has been repeated every year since 2012. It is not because child physical abuse, parent alcohol abuse, child behavior, ability to cope, and inadequate housing suddenly disappeared from the majority of the families simultaneously in 2012 and continuously after that. It is more likely that those conditions still exist in families assessed by CPS, but CPS caseworkers are focused on two main conditions – or lump other conditions under two main conditions – child neglect abuse and parent drug abuse.


Up through 2011, there were five major areas that needed to be addressed by CPS, plus two more areas that deserved more attention. In one year, the areas needing to be addressed were reduced from five or seven to only two. Given the reduction of areas to be addressed, it would make sense that CPS would focus family programs and services on those two areas. However, data from 2013-2019 indicate no change – perhaps even a slight increase – in these two areas. If family in-home programs and services were, indeed, implemented between 2012-2019, they have not been effective.

In 2012, the state introduced a new automated system, SACWIS (State Automated Child Welfare Information System).  From the 2012 annual report: “There are changes in the content … due to data conversion issues and changes in reference values. This may impact the inclusion of, or comparability to, data reported in prior years.” [bolding for emphasis]


5.5.2. Redesigned Child and Family Support System


Distinguishing Child Assault/Battery and Criminal Neglect from the Family’s Socioeconomic Status

Do not remove a child who has not been assaulted/battered or criminally neglected from the home SOLELY due to non-assault socioeconomic situations such as poverty, unemployment, parent drug/alcohol addiction, or inadequate housing.

  • Help the family recover from those situations, while
  • regularly checking on the welfare of the child,
  • primarily looking for any new threat of harm, child assault, or neglect.
  • The socioeconomic status of the family, in and of itself, is not grounds for removal of the child from the home


Don’t remove the child, help the family.


“Family Poverty is Not Neglect: How Legal Services Advocates Can Support Preventing Child Welfare Removals. The child welfare system targets families in poverty, confusing their lack of resources with neglect. The system often worsens family poverty. Presenters will discuss recent efforts and experiences in helping low-income families facing neglect allegations and potential family disruption. Participants will gain a better understanding of how poverty is confused with neglect in practice and affects child removals and how advocates are addressing this confusion in individual and systemic litigation. National and state policies, case law, litigation and legislative developments to address this endemic issue in child welfare will also be discussed.”[2]


The Child and Family Support System, through its partnerships with other state agencies and federal assistance, can provide help and support to the family to improve the family’s socioeconomic situation in the interest of prevention of child abuse or neglect.


This is an example of combining an assessment – no current child abuse or neglect – with data-informed prevention – specifically from the NIS-4 study, “Children in low socioeconomic status households experienced some type of maltreatment at more than 5 times the rate of other children; they were more than 3 times as likely to be abused and about 7 times as likely to be neglected”[3]as the reason for the Child and Family Services System to take action on behalf of the family as prevention against potential future child abuse and neglect of the child.


[1] Let’s Root Out Racism in Child Welfare, Too, by Martin Guggenheim, https://imprintnews.org/child-welfare-2/lets-root-out-racism-child-welfare-too/44327?fbclid=IwAR3yXiYm9qZD6J1LlCXH8qcpNW_E1w7XKspeqnKiZnKX_4w6mVQK981d9SU

[2] How to Help Agencies Stop Confusing Poverty with Neglect, Workshop at the Kempe Center Child Welfare Virtual Event, October 7, 2020, by Jey Rajaraman, Leila Halwani, and Lesha Hammons all from Legal Services of New Jersey, Edison, New Jersey, USA

[3] Sedlak, A.J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., and Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress, Executive Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.


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To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.


Jo Calk


Previous Page                                                                              Next Page


To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.


Jo Calk