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DC Council Testimony on CFSA Budget Oversight Hearing

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This testimony was presented to the D.C. City Council during the Children and Family Services Agency Budget Oversight Hearing. Paul Ashton, Research and Grants Coordinator at the Justice Policy Institute, based his testimony on the findings in the JPI brief Fostering Change: How investing in D.C.’s child welfare system can keep kids out of the prison pipeline.


In Fostering Change, we examine some of the patterns of youth involvement in the child welfare system. We know that family and neighborhood poverty are two of the strongest predictors of child maltreatment and that is reflected in D.C. We have one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country, largely concentrated in Wards 7 and 8 and correspondingly rates of youth in foster care are highest in those wards as well.  There is also a similar pattern when examining child welfare involvement by race. Ninety-nine percent of youth involved in the child welfare system in D.C. are youth of color. Wards that have the most people of color also have the highest rates of youth in foster care, for instance Wards 5, 7 and 8 make up about 75 percent of all substantiated cases of abuse and neglect…

Smart investments in CFSA can help to reduce the number of youth who enter its care, crossover into the juvenile justice system and help to reduce future justice system involvement. Within Fostering Change, we look at the link between child maltreatment and delinquency, highlighting four major risk factors: mental health, victimization, educational instability and the type and number of placements within the child welfare system. In addition, we emphasize the role that neighborhood and parental stability play in child involvement in both the welfare system and the juvenile justice system..”


Read Testimony
View Human Services Budget Hearing
Read Fostering Change

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