What circumstances bring parents under Child Protective Services (CPS) supervision? How do parents respond after their children are removed from them? How does CPS intervention change the attitudes, behaviors, and material conditions of birth parents?
Among all the voices debating the complexities of the child protection services (CPS) system, one is conspicuously absent: the voice of parents whose children have been removed from their care. However, understanding how the system influences parents is critically important when it comes to protecting and supporting disadvantaged children and families, especially since the majority of foster children are eventually reunited with their parents. Employing mixed methods that combine ethnographic fieldwork, in-depth interviews, and statistical analyses, this study will investigate how low-income, young parents interact with the CPS system and will document the multiple ways the system affects their lives. Because the majority of foster children are eventually reunited with their birth parents or caretakers, to examine the multidimensional consequences of child removal on parents is to examine the home environment in which most foster children will grow up.