Whether we as a state get it right for a child, from the moment he or she comes into the child welfare system, helps determine a lot of what happens next—both during that kid’s time in foster care and later in life.
When child victims of abuse or neglect get appropriate services and a suitable placement right at the beginning of their time in the child welfare system, it has a proven, positive effect on their success, both during and after their time in the system. First, though, the people working with that child need good information to make the right decisions about what’s best, and, for that to happen, they need accurate assessments. Child Protective Services (CPS) uses psychological, developmental, neuropsychological, and psychiatric assessments now to help judges, caseworkers, and providers determine what services children need, what medications to prescribe them, and where to place kids removed from their homes. What’s missing is standardized, quality-control measures and accountability in these assessments.