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Does Caring equal taking Children into Care? – #SWSCmedia debate 17-April-2012

Care applications have hit all time high with an increase of 10.8% over the same period last year. This is a huge an alarming increase as it raises the a number of important questions:

Is this a reflection of worsening socio-cultural issues?

or is it  due to socio-economic factors?

Is this attributable to poorer parenting? if yes is it because economic conditions are affecting parents emotional and parental capacity?

Perhaps it is due to the lack of services that were provided by charities that could not survive the cuts?

or may be charities faced with reduced resources are raising their thresholds and serving less users of services?

It could also be that statutory service have become more risk averse and this is resulting in an increase in care applications.

or is this due to a new conception of risk and early intervention?

In today’s debate we wish to explore this and other relevant questions. So join us at 8:00 PM BST / 3:00 PM ET and share your views and experiences about this important topic.

Join  @SWSCmedia debates, discussions, case studies, focus groups and more… every Tuesday at 8:00 PM BST / 3:00 PM ET and every Sunday 6:00 PM BST  / 1PM ET.


One thought on “Does Caring equal taking Children into Care? – #SWSCmedia debate 17-April-2012

  1. These are the guideline we have to follow to allow the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare to be involved and keep a child out of the home. I keep getting tripped up on what are the reasons for a Care Application, I still don’t get it, but it is very well defined here. I thought I would share.


    The definition for impending danger indicates that threats to child safety are family
    conditions that are specific and observable. A threat of impending danger is something
    CPS sees or learns about from credible sources. Family members and others who know a
    family can describe threats of impending danger. These dangerous family conditions can
    be observed, identified, and understood. If CPS cannot describe in detail a family
    condition or parent/caregiver behavior that is a threat to a child’s safety that he or she has
    seen or been told about then that is an indication that it is not a threat of impending
    danger. Child vulnerability is always assessed and determined separate from identifying
    impending danger. If a case does not include a vulnerable child then safety is not an
    The Danger Threshold refers to the point at which family behaviors, conditions or
    situations rise to the level of directly threatening the safety of a child. The danger
    threshold is crossed when family behaviors, conditions or situations are manifested in
    such a way that they are beyond being just problems or risk influences and have become
    threatening to child safety. These family behaviors, conditions, or situations are active at
    a heightened degree, a greater level of intensity, and are judged to be out of the
    parent/caregiver or family’s control thus having implications for dangerousness.
    The danger threshold is the means by which a family condition can be judged or
    measured to determine if an impending danger threat exists. The danger threshold
    criteria includes: family behaviors, conditions or situations that are observable, specific
    and justifiable; occurring in the presence of a vulnerable child; are out-of-control; are
    severe/extreme in nature; are imminent; and likely to produce severe harm. The danger
    threshold includes only those family conditions that are judged to be out of a
    parents’/caregiver’s control and out of the control of others within the family. This
    includes situations where the parent/caregiver is able to control conditions, behaviors, or
    situations but is unwilling or refuses to exert control.
    Danger Threshold Definitions
     Observable refers to family behaviors, conditions or situations representing a
    danger to a child that are specific, definite, real, can be seen, identified and
    understood and are subject to being reported, named, and justified. The
    criterion “observable” does not include suspicion, intuitive feelings,
    difficulties in worker-family interaction, lack of cooperation, or difficulties in
    obtaining information.
     Vulnerable Child refers to a child who is dependent on others for protection
    and is exposed to circumstances that she or he is powerless to manage, and
    susceptible, accessible, and available to a threatening person and/or persons in
    authority over them. Vulnerability is judged according to age; physical and
    emotional development; ability to communicate needs; mobility; size and
    dependence and susceptibility. This definition also includes all young
    children from 0 – 6 and older children who, for whatever reason, are not able
    to protect themselves or seek help from others.
     Out-of-Control refers to family behavior, conditions or situations which are
    unrestrained resulting in an unpredictable and possibly chaotic family
    environment not subject to the influence, manipulation, or ability within the
    family’s control. Such out-of-control family conditions pose a danger and are
    not being managed by anybody or anything internal to the family system. The
    family cannot or will not control these dangerous behaviors, conditions or
     Imminent refers to the belief that dangerous family behaviors, conditions, or
    situations will remain active or become active within the next several days to
    a couple of weeks and will have an impact on the child within that timeframe.
    This is consistent with a degree of certainty or inevitability that danger and
    harm are possible, even likely, outcomes without intervention.
     Severity refers to the degree of harm that is possible or likely without
    intervention. As far as danger is concerned, the danger threshold is consistent
    with severe harm. Severe harm includes such effects as serious physical
    injury, disability, terror and extreme fear, impairment and death. The danger
    threshold is also in line with family conditions that reasonably could result in
    harsh and unacceptable pain and suffering for a vulnerable child. In judging
    whether a behavior or condition is a threat to safety, consider if the harm that
    is possible or likely within the next few weeks has potential for severe harm,
    even if it has not resulted in such harm in the past. In addition to this
    application in the threshold, the concept of severity can also be used to
    describe maltreatment that has occurred in the past.
    Impending Danger Threats – Definitions and Examples
    1. No adult in the home will perform parental duties and responsibilities.
    This refers only to adults (not children) in a caregiving role. Duties and
    responsibilities related to the provision of food, clothing, shelter, and supervision are
    considered at a basic level.
    This threat includes both behaviors and emotions illustrated in the following
     Parent’s/caregiver’s physical or mental disability/incapacitation makes the
    person unable to provide basic care for the child.
     Parent/caregiver is or has been absent from the home for lengthy periods of
    time and no other adults are available to care for the child without CPS
     Parent/caregiver has abandoned the child.
     Parent/caregiver arranged care by an adult, but their whereabouts are
    unknown or they have not returned according to plan, and the current
    caregiver is asking for relief.
     Parent/caregiver does not respond to or ignores a child’s basic needs.
     Parent/caregiver allows the child to wander in and out of the home or through
    the neighborhood without the necessary supervision.
     Parent/caregiver ignores or does not provide necessary, protective supervision
    and basic care appropriate to the age and capacity of the child.
     Parent/caregiver is unavailable to provide necessary protective supervision
    and basic care because of physical illness or incapacity.
     Parent/caregiver is or will be incarcerated thereby leaving the child without a
    responsible adult to provide care.
     Parent/caregiver allows other adults to improperly influence (drugs, alcohol,
    abusive behavior) the child.
     Child has been left with someone who does not know the parent/caregiver.
    2. One or both parents/caregivers are violent.
    Violence refers to aggression, fighting, brutality, cruelty and hostility. It may be
    regularly, generally or potentially active.
    This threat includes both behaviors and emotions as illustrated in the following
    Domestic Violence:
     Parent/caregiver physically and/or verbally assaults their partner and the child
    witnesses the activity and is fearful for self and/or others.
     Parent/caregiver threatens, attacks, or injures both their partner and the child.
     Parent/caregiver threatens, attacks, or injures their partner and the child
    attempts or may attempt to intervene.
     Parent/caregiver threatens, attacks, or injures their partner and the child is
    harmed even though the child may not be the actual target of the violence.
     Parent/caregiver threatens to harm the child or withhold necessary care from
    the child in order to intimidate or control their partner.
    General violence:
     Parent/caregiver whose behavior outside of the home (drugs, violence,
    aggressiveness, hostility, etc.) creates an environment within the home that
    could reasonably cause severe consequences to the child (e.g. drug parties,
    gangs, drive-by shootings).
     Parent/caregiver who is impulsive, explosive or out of control, having temper
    outbursts which result in violent physical actions (e.g. throwing things).
    3. One or both parents’/caregivers’ behavior is dangerously impulsive or they will
    not/cannot control their behavior.
    This threat is about self-control (e.g. a person’s ability to postpone or set aside needs,
    plan, be dependable, avoid destructive behavior, use good judgment, not act on
    impulses, exert energy and action or manage emotions. Parent’s/caregiver’s lack of
    self control places vulnerable children in jeopardy. This threat includes
    parents/caregivers who are incapacitated or not controlling their behavior because of
    mental health or substance abuse issues).
    Poor impulse control or lack of self-control includes behaviors other than aggression
    and can lead to severe consequence to a child.
     Parent/caregiver is seriously depressed and functionally unable to meet the
    child’s basic needs
     Parent/caregiver is chemically dependent and unable to control the
    dependency’s effects.
     Substance abuse renders the parent/caregiver incapable of
    routinely/consistently attending to child’s basic needs.
     Parent/caregiver makes impulsive decisions and plans that leave the child in
    precarious situations (e.g. unsupervised, supervised by an unreliable person).
     Parent/caregiver spends money impulsively resulting in a lack of basic
     Parent/caregiver is emotionally immobilized (chronically or situational) and
    cannot control behavior.
     Parent/caregiver has addictive patterns or behaviors (e.g. addiction to
    substances, gambling, computers) that are uncontrolled and leave the child in
    potentially severe situations (e.g. failure to supervise or provide other basic
     Parent/caregiver is delusional or experiencing hallucinations.
     Parent/caregiver cannot control sexual impulses (e.g. sexual activity with or in
    front of the child).
    4. One or both parents/caregivers have extremely negative perceptions of the child.
    “Extremely” means a negative perception that is so exaggerated that an out-of-control
    response by the parent/caregiver is likely and will have severe consequences for the
    This threat is illustrated by the following examples.
     Child is perceived to be evil, deficient, or embarrassing.
     Child is perceived as having the same characteristics as someone the
    parent/caregiver hates or is fearful of or hostile towards, and the
    parent/caregiver transfers feelings and perceptions to the child.
     Child is considered to be punishing or torturing the parent/caregiver (e.g.,
    responsible for difficulties in parent’s/caregiver’s life, limitations to their
    freedom, conflicts, losses, financial or other burdens).
     One parent/caregiver is jealous of the child and believes the child is a
    detriment or threat to the parent’s/caregiver’s intimate relationship and/or
    other parent.
     Parent/ caregiver see the child as an undesirable extension of self and views
    the child with some sense of purging or punishing.
    5. Family does not have or use resources necessary to assure the child’s basic
    “Basic needs” refers to family’s lack of 1) minimal resources to provide shelter, food,
    and clothing or 2) the capacity to use resources for basic needs, even when available.
    This threat is illustrated in the following examples.
     Family has insufficient money to provide basic and protective care.
     Family has insufficient food, clothing, or shelter for basic needs of the child.
     Family finances are insufficient to support needs that, if unmet, could result in
    severe consequences to the child.
     Parent/caregiver lacks life management skills to properly use resources when
    they are available.
     Family is routinely using their resources for things (e.g. drugs) other than for
    basic care and support thereby leaving them without their basic needs being
    adequately met.
    6. One or both parents/caregivers fear they will maltreat the child and/or request
    This refers to caregivers who express anxiety and dread about their ability to control
    their emotions and reactions toward their child. This expression represents a parent’s
    distraught/extreme “call for help.” A request for placement is extreme evidence with
    respect to a caregiver’s conclusion that the child can only be safe if he or she is away
    from the caregiver.
    This threat is illustrated in the following examples.
     Parent/caregiver states they will maltreat.
     Parent/caregiver describes conditions and situations that stimulate them to
    think about maltreating the child.
     Parent/caregiver talks about being worried about, fearful of, or preoccupied
    with maltreating the child.
     Parent/caregiver identifies things that the child does that aggravate or annoy
    them in ways that makes them want to attack the child.
     Parent/caregiver describes disciplinary incidents that have become out-ofcontrol.
     Parent/caregiver is distressed or “at the end of their rope” and are asking for
    relief in either specific (“take the child”) or general (“please help me before
    something awful happens”) terms.
     One parent/caregiver is expressing concerns about what the other
    parent/caregiver is capable of or may be doing.
    7. One or both parents/caregivers intend(ed) to seriously hurt the child.
    Parents/caregivers anticipate acting in a way that will assure pain and suffering.
    “Intended” means that before or during the time the child was harmed, the
    parent’s/caregiver’s conscious purpose was to hurt the child. This threat is
    distinguished from an incident in which the parent/caregiver meant to discipline or
    punish the child and the child was inadvertently hurt.
    “Seriously” refers to causing the child to suffer physically or emotionally.
    Parent/caregiver action is more about causing a child pain than about a consequence
    needed to teach a child.
    This threat includes both behaviors and emotions as illustrated in the following
     The incident was planned or had an element of premeditation.
     The nature of the incident or use of an instrument can be reasonably assumed
    to heighten the level of pain or injury (e.g. cigarette burns).
     Parent’s/caregiver’s motivation to teach or discipline seems secondary to
    inflicting pain or injury.
     Parent/caregiver can reasonably be assumed to have had some awareness of
    what the result would be prior to the incident.
     Parent’s/caregiver’s actions were not impulsive, there was sufficient time and
    deliberation to assure that the actions hurt the child.
    8. One or both parents/caregivers lack parenting knowledge, skills, or motivation
    necessary to assure the child’s basic needs are met.
    This refers to basic parenting that directly affects meeting the child’s needs for food,
    clothing, shelter, and required level of supervision. The inability and/or unwillingness
    to meet basic needs create a concern for immediate and severe consequences for a
    vulnerable child.
    This threat is illustrated in the following examples.
     Parent’s/caregiver’s intellectual capacities affect judgment and/or knowledge
    in ways that prevent the provision of adequate basic care.
     Young or intellectually limited parents/primary caregivers have little or no
    knowledge of a child’s needs and capacity.
     Parent’s/caregiver’s expectations of the child far exceed the child’s capacity
    thereby placing the child in situations that could result in severe
     Parent/caregiver does not know what basic care is or how to provide it (e.g.,
    how to feed or diaper; how to protect or supervise according to the child’s
     Parent’s/caregiver’s parenting skills are exceeded by a child’s special needs
    and demands in ways that will result in severe consequences to the child.
     Parent’s/caregiver’s knowledge and skills are adequate for some children’s
    ages and development, but not for others (e.g., able to care for an infant, but
    cannot control a toddler).
     Parent/caregiver is averse to parenting and does not provide basic needs.
     Parent/caregiver avoids parenting and basic care responsibilities.
     Parent/caregiver allows others to parent or provide care to the child without
    concern for the other person’s ability or capacity.
     Parent/caregiver does not know or does not apply basic safety measures (e.g.,
    keeping medications, sharp objects, or household cleaners out of reach of
    small children).
     Parents/caregivers place their own needs above the child’s needs that could
    result in severe consequences to the child.
     Parents/caregivers do not believe the child’s disclosure of abuse/neglect even
    when there is a preponderance of evidence and this has or will result in severe
    consequences to the child.
    9. The child has exceptional needs which the parents/caregivers cannot or will not
    “Exceptional” refers to specific child conditions (e.g., developmental disability,
    blindness, physical disability, special medical needs). This threat is present when
    parents/caregivers, by not addressing the child’s exceptional needs, create an
    immediate concern for severe consequences to the child.
    This does not refer to parents/caregivers who do not do particularly well at meeting
    the child’s special needs, but the consequences are relatively mild. Rather, this refers
    to specific capacities/skills/intentions in parenting that must occur and are required
    for the “exceptional” child not to suffer serious consequences.
    This threat exists, for example, when the child has a physical or other exceptional
    need or condition that, if unattended, will result in imminent and severe consequences
    and one of the following applies:
     Parent/caregiver does not recognize the condition or exceptional need.
     Parent/caregiver views the condition as less serious than it is.
     Parent/caregiver refuses to address the condition for religious or other reasons.
     Parent/caregiver lacks the capacity to fully understand the condition which
    results in severe consequences for the child.
     Parent’s/caregiver’s expectations of the child are totally unrealistic in view of
    the child’s condition.
     Parent/caregiver allows the child to live or be placed in situations in which
    harm is increased by virtue of the child’s condition.
    10. Living arrangements seriously endanger the child’s physical health.
    This threat refers to conditions in the home that are immediately life-threatening or
    seriously endanger the child’s physical health (e.g., people discharging firearms
    without regard to who might be harmed; the lack of hygiene is so dramatic as to
    potentially cause serious illness). Physical health includes serious injuries that could
    occur because of the condition of the living arrangement.
    This threat is illustrated in the following examples.
     Housing is unsanitary, filthy, infested, a health hazard.
     The house’s physical structure is decaying, falling down.
     Wiring and plumbing in the house are substandard, exposed.
     Furnishings or appliances are hazardous.
     Heating, fireplaces, stoves, are hazardous and accessible.
     The home has easily accessible open windows or balconies in upper stories.
     The family home is being used for methamphetamine production; products
    and materials used in the production of methamphetamine are being stored
    and are accessible within the home.
     Occupants in the home, activity within the home, or traffic in and out of the
    home present a specific threat to the child that could result in severe
    consequences to the child.
     People who are under the influence of substances that can result in violent,
    sexual, or aggressive behavior are routinely in the home or have frequent
    11. The child is profoundly fearful of the home situation or people within the home.
    “Home situation” includes specific family members and/or other conditions in the
    living arrangement. “People in the home” refers to those who either live in the home
    or frequent the home so often that a child routinely and reasonably expects that the
    person may be there or show up.
    The child’s fear must be obvious, extreme, and related to some perceived danger that
    the child feels or experiences. This threat can also be present for a child who does not
    verbally express fear but their behavior and emotion clearly and vividly demonstrate
    This threat is illustrated in the following examples.
     Child demonstrates emotional and/or physical responses indicating fear of the
    living situation or of people within the home (e.g., crying, inability to focus,
    nervousness, withdrawal, running away).
     Child expresses fear and describes people and circumstances which are
    reasonably threatening.
     Child recounts previous experiences which form the basis for fear.
     Child’s fearful response escalates at the mention of home, specific people, or
    specific circumstances associated with reported incidents.
     Child describes personal threats which seem reasonable and believable.

    Posted by Laura Hanson (@amazonwarrior27) | April 17, 2012, 9:20 pm

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