Kelley Fong

"Following the death of 2-year-old Corneliuz Williams, who fell from a window in his third-floor Hartford apartment building last month, many are rightly asking how this tragedy could have been prevented and how Connecticut can protect children like Corneliuz going forward. Attention has focused on what the Department of Children and Families might have done differently. DCF had received many reports about the family and had an open case at the time of Corneliuz’s fall. Police allegedly found the apartment in poor condition, with moldy food, trash, and cockroaches. The Office of the Child Advocate also is investigating the boy’s death.

But we shouldn’t take the wrong lessons from Corneliuz’s death.

Research finds that following high-profile child fatalities, child welfare agencies respond by removing more children from their homes in a “foster care panic.” There’s no evidence, however, that this makes children safer. Instead, such panics leave more children and their parents traumatized by family separation, and spread child welfare workers even thinner."

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