“Safety and security don’t just happen; they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”
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 these disparities may reflect differences in parenting that may in turn be due to intergenerational patterns due to traumatic histories affecting particular groups), 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 District of Columbia Citizen Review Panel for child welfare and Child Fatality Review Commission and a mentor to a foster youth and is now in her fifth year as a mentor to a wonderful young lady who is now eighteen years old.
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.
The Child Welfare Monitor is a comprehensive and unbiased source of child welfare information. Marie Cohen’s articles are professional, science-based, and non-ideological. The Monitor has saved us many hours of having to do our own research for our advocacy work. We have come to rely on it for reliable up-to-date information about what is going on nationally.
–Rich German, Executive Director, Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota
Marie Cohen and her Child Welfare Monitor provide helpful resources to anyone working in the child welfare field. Her personal experience as a social worker in DC, combined with her exceptional research and writing skills, make her an invaluable child welfare expert. I value her insight and knowledge, and depend on her posts for up-to-date, accurate information on complex and difficult issues. We all need more people like Marie in this world. She is dedicated to improve the welfare of children by ensuring child welfare and other child-serving agencies are properly monitored and held accountable.
–Marla Spindel, Executive Director, DC Kincare Alliance