D.C.'s Child Services Agency Shows Marked Improvement | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

D.C.'s Child Services Agency Shows Marked Improvement

Play associated audio

The District of Columbia's Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) is making progress after a 20-year-long legal battle over the treatment of children in the system, according to a court monitor.

The agency, which handles social workers, adoptions and foster care, among other things, has been under court supervision now for about 20 years, stemming from a long running lawsuit over how the agency is run.  

The news means that Marcia Lowry, who runs the group that sued CFSA, has some rare praise for the agency.

"They've done better with regard to visiting children, with regard to training of workers, putting children in non-institutional placement," says Lowry, who heads up Children's Rights. Lowry is praising the agency for the progress made over the last six months, including "organizational efforts that we as plaintiffs counsel haven't seen for a long time." 

The woman Lowry credits for this is CFSA's new director, Brenda Donald.

"I do think we're in a good position," Donald says.

The agency has reduced the numbers of kids in foster care, keeping them within their families whenever possible, and is focusing on trauma and mental health services more, according to Donald. 

"We're completely overhauling our placement services so that we do a much better job identifying what a child's needs are and then matching that child's needs with the best placement services," Donald says.

The lawsuit is far from over, but this is the first time in many years that all parties involved can point to progress. 

NPR

'Passages' Author Reflects On Her Own Life Journey

Gail Sheehy is famous for her in-depth profiles of influential people, as well as her 1976 book on common adult life crises. Now she turns her eye inward, in her new memoir Daring: My Passages.
NPR

Syrup Induces Pumpkin-Spiced Fever Dreams

Hugh Merwin, an editor at Grub Street, bought a 63-ounce jug of pumpkin spice syrup and put it in just about everything he ate for four days. As he tells NPR's Scott Simon, it did not go well.
NPR

Texas Gubernatorial Candidates Go To The Border To Court Voters

Republicans have won every statewide office in Texas for 20 years, but the growing Hispanic population tends to vote Democrat, and the GOP's survival may depend on recruiting Hispanic supporters.
NPR

In San Diego, A Bootcamp For Data Junkies

Natasha Balac runs a two-day boot camp out of the San Diego Supercomputer Center for people from all types of industries to learn the tools and algorithms to help them analyze data and spot patterns in their work.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.