The purpose of Child Welfare Monitor is to advocate for a system that prioritizes the needs of the child over and above other values. This belief can best be illustrated by the biblical story of the Judgement of King Solomon. Two women each claimed to be the mother of a child and came to King Solomon for a resolution. The King had a solution. Cut the baby in half, he said, and each woman could claim her half. One of the women protested and said the other woman could have the baby. Based on her response, Solomon knew she was the true mother and awarded the baby to her.
There is so much truth in this ancient story. True parents love their children more than themselves, even to the extent that they would give up their children to protect them from harm, as, tragically, too many parents have had to do. For true parents, children are not a prized possession, a toy, or a status symbol. True parents know that once their first child is born, their world has irrevocably changed. There is now a being more important than themselves. Society needs to adopt this same view. Children come first. They are the next generation. It is better to do an injustice to a parent than to a child. While it may not be fair to take a child from an unfit parent whose unfitness is not her fault, it is better to hurt the parent than to sacrifice the child’s needs to spare the parent pain.
Unfortunately, American society has moved far away from this common-sense notion that children come first. So many things seem to get higher billing, such as the desire to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in child welfare system involvement (even when they reflect differences in parenting), parents’ objections to government interference, and taxpayers’ desire to spend less money. Through her blog, Marie Cohen hopes to show how these alternative priorities can hurt children. She envisions a child-centered child welfare system, where child safety and well-being are front and center.
Child Welfare Monitor is the blog of Marie K. Cohen (MPA, MSW). Marie is a child advocate, researcher, and policy analyst. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Harvard University, a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland. After a career as a policy analyst and researcher, Marie obtained her Masters in Social Work in 2009. She worked as social worker in the District of Columbia’s child welfare system for five years. She left in January 2015 in despair at how the system seems to have many priorities that are higher than the welfare of children. She decided to start a blog to write about these problems. She also became a member of the Citizen’s Review Committee for the DC Child and Family Services Agency and the DC Child Fatality Review Commission and a mentor to a foster youth.
Tragically, Marie and her husband Tom learned of the death of their 25-year-old son from ketoacidosis due to undiagnosed diabetes at the end of September, 2017. While struggling to come to terms with this devastating loss, Marie has vowed not to stop fighting for children who do not receive the love and care with which her son was surrounded, children who may even be killed by the people who are supposed to be caring for them.
Ms. Cohen is available to answer media questions seven days a week between 7AM and 9PM Eastern Standard Time. Call her at 301-325-9112 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.