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Child Welfare and Poverty Webinar
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Child Welfare and Poverty Webinar

When: Monday, October 22, 2018
1:00 PM EST
Where: United States
Presenter: Diane Redleaf & Ruth White
Contact: Kim Dvorchak, JD
(202) 810-9914

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Click here to register for this free webinar.


The child protection system is supposed to protect children from abuse and neglect and promote their health and well-being.  But that system tends to confuse poverty with genuine neglect, impoverishing the families who are the targets of its intervention in the process and causing deterioration in children’s stability and prospects for self-sufficiency. This discussion, with housing and child welfare advocates and academics working in the child welfare and poverty law arenas in the US, will focus on the many respects in which the child protection system contributes to child and family poverty. Topics will include: how child protection systems misidentify and mistreat poverty; how race, national origin, and class bias intensify the maltreatment of families; how child abuse registers operate as employment blacklists in the low-income work force; economic security issues facing children aging out of foster care; and how policies that criminalize poverty operate unchecked in child protection systems in the US.


Webinar Agenda

1.     Introduction of the Topic and Its Importance to Lawyers for Children

2.     Statistics and What Statistics Don’t Tell Us About the State of Poverty and Child Welfare Interaction 

3.     Housing Programs and the Housing Crisis for Families—What Advocates for Children Need to Know 

4.     What Advocates for Children Can Do to Help Access Housing Resources 

5.     Supporting Foster Youth Aging Out of the Care 

6.     How Poverty Advocacy Ties to Reasonable Efforts 

7.     Child Abuse Registers and Their Negative Impact on Families in Poverty 

8.     H.R. 6233 “Family Poverty is Not Child Neglect”:  What Bill Does and Why It is Important 


Webinar Presenters


Diane Redleaf.  Since she graduated from Stanford Law School in 1979 (where she was an Articles and Book Review Editor of the Stanford Law Review), Diane Redleaf has been a child and family advocate and a national leader at the forefront of child welfare reform and civil rights advocacy. After working as a legal services attorney for 5 years, she started and led the Children's Rights Project of the Legal Assistance Foundation (Chicago) from 1984 until 1996, when restrictions on work by Legal Services Corporation attorneys led her to move into private practice, taking seven class action suits with her and her partner Robert Lehrer from LAF into their public interest law practice. There, they also filed (discussed here) on behalf of 150,000 persons named in the Illinois child abuse register. In 2005 she founded the Family Defense Center and led as its Executive Director (until July 2016) and its Legal Director (until November 2017, when she became the Legal Director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare). Early in 2017, she founded a bipartisan child welfare policy advocacy group, United Family Advocates and co-leads that group, advocating reforms of child protection system.  Ms. Redleaf has been an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Loyola Law School has received many awards for her work including the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women's Founder's Award and the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from her undergraduate alma mater, Carleton College. Ms. Redleaf’s first book, They Took the Kids Last Night: How the Child Protection System Puts Families at Risk is being released on October 31, 2018 (Praeger Books). More information about Diane and her forthcoming book are available at


Ruth White is one of the nation’s leading experts on the nexus between housing policy and child welfare. She is executive director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare and former Director of Housing and Homelessness for the Child Welfare League of America. In that capacity she co-edited the landmark issue of the League’s journal, Child Welfare, documenting the extent to which children are needlessly held in foster care because their parents lack decent housing. She also coordinated conferences site visits and advisory committees, and wrote a newsletter concerning the Family Unification Program, which provides federal housing vouchers to families where lack of housing is keeping children and parents apart. Ms. White has a Master of Science Degree in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Ohio State University. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and a Founding Member of the National Network of Women in Community Development.


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