We at CFCC are excited to announce that Thursday, April 7, we continue our tradition of hosting an annual “Urban Child Symposium,” which brings together national experts on the cutting edge of the most pressing issues in the lives of children in urban environments. This year, we consider the plight of urban children in the child welfare system. The symposium’s title, “The Urban Child in the Child Welfare System: From Fracture to Fix,” describes both the experience of children in the system, who enter it with a fractured family and are meant to exit it with a loving, supportive and stable family structure, and the system itself, which too often destroys the lives it is charged with rebuilding. We know that state intervention in families’ lives touches the most profound human relationships, and sometimes trauma is magnified rather than lessened. On the other hand, failure to act can mean a child never makes it to healthy adulthood. Issues of poverty, class, race, and culture further compound this extremely complex issue. The good news is that advocates from a variety of disciplines and professions have devoted their careers to improve this system and make it work for children and families. We are delighted to have many of the leading experts on the cutting edge of this most important issue speaking on panels at the symposium.
The symposium will open with a keynote discussion by Shay Bilchik about what children in the child welfare system need, along with an exploration of the future of child welfare reform. Three interdisciplinary panel discussions will follow Mr. Bilchik’s address. The symposium’s first panel will consider the “Appropriate Scope and Process of the Child Welfare System,” followed by a discussion of “Making the Child Welfare System Work,” and culminating with “Straight Talk about the Child Welfare System: A Facilitated Discussion,” which provides insiders’ views of what really goes on in the system.
The event, scheduled Thursday, April 7, from 9am to 5pm in the Venable Baetjer Howard Moot Court Room of UB’s School of Law, is free and open to the public. We encourage you to read more about the symposium, register to attend, and bring your perspective and/or questions to this important event. You also can remain involved before and after the event by keeping up with this blog and posting comments regarding your own thoughts about the child welfare system.
Up to five questions posted on the blog before the event will be answered by panelists throughout the day, and a link to the podcast of the event will be posted on this blog shortly after the symposium.