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“The Impossible Imperative: Navigating the Competing Principles of Child Protection Policy”

Professor Jill Berrick, Co-director of the Center for Child and Youth Policy, UC Berkeley

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Dec 06, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM


1130 K Street, Room LL3

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California policymakers show a longstanding interest in child welfare policy reform, but policymaking in this field is challenging. Common principles centered on protecting children from harm often unify partisan differences, yet competing principles are typically at play in child welfare policy debates. Efforts to bring order to this policy tumult too often result in law-makers’ over-reliance on simplistic notions about children and families. Professor Berrick will offer a new paradigm to shape policymaking in the field of child welfare. Eight fundamental principles will be introduced as a common platform for considering child welfare policy and will be examined against the intricacies of real-world child protection to reveal the competing tensions in devising rational, responsive policy. Participants will be introduced to strategies to balance the competing principles of child welfare in California’s policy environment.


Jill Duerr Berrick serves as the Zellerbach Family Foundation Professor in the School of Berrick PhotoSocial Welfare at U.C. Berkeley.  Berrick’s research focuses on the relationship of the state to vulnerable families, particularly those touched by the child welfare system.  She has written or co-written 11 books on topics relating to family poverty, child maltreatment, and child welfare services and has written extensively for academic journals.  Her interests target the intersect between poverty, child development, parenting, and the service systems designed to address these issues. Her newest book, The Impossible Imperative: Navigating the Competing Principles of Child Protection examines child welfare professionals and the morally contentious and intellectually demanding choices they regularly face in their work with children and families. 

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