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Cooper Joins State Task Force to Reform Child Welfare Policies

UCLA Luskin Social Welfare faculty member Khush Cooper has been named to a new state task force that will develop recommendations for reforming California’s policies mandating the reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect. Research shows that only a small percentage of these reports are confirmed as maltreatment, and that Black, Latino and Indigenous children and families in California are much more likely to be reported and become involved in the child welfare system. The task force was launched to guide the state as it transitions away from a system focused on reporting families to government agencies, and instead prioritizes child safety and family unity by providing robust, culturally appropriate community supports. Working under the auspices of the California Child Welfare Council, the task force will consider several factors, including narrowing the legal definition of “neglect,” reducing racial and socioeconomic bias in mandated reporting, and determining the best way to provide concrete support to families in need. It will produce a report including actionable steps by June 2024. Cooper earned her master and doctorate of social welfare at UCLA Luskin. In addition to her teaching and research, she serves as a consultant to public and private child welfare organizations in areas that include foster care, LGBTQ+ youth and residential treatment.


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