Restorative Justice and Child Welfare: Engaging Families and Communities in the Care and Protection of Children
From the earliest days of child welfare outreach programs, social workers have developed a wide variety of practices to engage families and communities in the care and protection of children. This chapter reviews some of the efforts to promote family-centered and community-based child welfare practices and their fit into restorative justice. Specific processes discussed include family group conferencing which originated in New Zealand, family unity meetings from Oregon, team decision making from Ohio, and Family Team Conferences from Alabama. The case study presented is an example of the team decision-making approach and illustrates its use in permanency planning. The chapter describes the skills social workers need to use restorative processes in child welfare, and speculates about future directions in restorative justice and child welfare.
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