Editorial: More transparency needed to improve child welfare system

From The Denver Post: Colorado operates with a disturbing lack of transparency when it comes to information about child abuse investigations.

That needs to change if there is to be continued progress in improving a system that has seen scores of children diein recent years after they had contact with social services.

State and national disclosure laws should be revised to require the release of basic information about investigations.

Confidentiality laws were enacted with the idea of protecting the privacy of children and families. However, the result is a system that is almost impossible for outsiders to examine and critique.

There have been a few notable improvements on the transparency front in recent years in Colorado. Those include the creation of a child protection ombudsman and a requirement that child fatality reviews be released to the public, complete with the dead child’s name.

But even those efforts could be refined to be more effective. The contract for the ombudsman’s office should not be overseen by an agency it critiques. The office should be housed elsewhere within government. And child fatality reports should be more precise and candid in their assessments of what went wrong.

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