The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provides federal funding to states to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect. It requires states to have procedures in place to respond to allegations of abuse and neglect to ensure children’s safety. This federal bill expired in 2015, and the longer it waits for renewal, the more jeopardized it becomes.

It is vitally important that those with “lived experience” of foster care and abuse as children have an active voice in the CAPTA reauthorization conversation. To discuss reforms without including their input, and the balance it provides is a recipe for failure.

Child welfare is not exempt from suffering from the pendulum swing of oscillating between one extreme and another. Ohio foster care youth and alumni believe that one way to avoid this and ensure child and teen protection is to: “Make the system youth-centered. Focus on the youth themselves; their safety, well-being and best interests.”

Implicit bias can go both ways and create a systemic impact and systemic harm. The pendulum swing between extremes has always led to chaos and uncertainty for those who would most benefit from thoughtfulness and intentionality. The bottom line needs to be youth safety: Is the child or teen being abused?

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