Mary Elizabeth Collins: Building a Sustained Commitment to Children
On June 25, VTDigger featured commentary by Boston University School of Social Work Professor and Department of Social Welfare Policy Chair Mary Elizabeth Collins, Ph. D. In the article, Collins discusses the need for a sustained commitment to children.
“Protecting children and supporting families challenges each of our states’ child welfare systems,” Collins says. “The challenge is also shared internationally with those countries that have developed professional social service systems.”
While modest solutions are available, Collins calls for a reorientation to the work of child protection — “one that aims for a commitment to anti-poverty interventions, opportunities for families to gain an economic foothold, and mending of the social safety net.”
“A more fundamental reorientation to the work might include the adoption of a children’s rights framework to guide our policy response,” Collins says, as nearly all countries of the world are adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Children and youth would have an entitlement to the needed services and supports to obtain safety, permanency and well-being – the three outcomes that are currently the focus of U.S. child welfare policy.”
“The moral commitment needs to be shared amongst the people of each community, state and the nation as a whole,” Collins says about the responsibility of child protection. “There is much in the larger context that must be shared by political leaders, universities, public and private agencies, faith communities, business and the citizenry in order to move toward effective and sustained change.”
Collins’ full commentary is featured on the VTDigger website.