Panelists: Intervene Early To Curb Child Welfare Woes

Publication: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Author: Anya Sostek

10/22/2005 - One year ago, Jaclyn Stewart was at wit's end. Her 6-year-old son, John, had recently been diagnosed with autism, and was often expressing himself by kicking and hitting other members of the family.In November, an investigator from the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families came to her Turtle Creek home because John had told his teacher that his mother scratched him in the face.

"I was so afraid," said Ms. Stewart. "It's every parent's fear that CYF will take your children away."

Instead, John told the CYF investigator that it was actually his 3-year-old sister who scratched him.

And the CYF investigator hooked the Stewarts up with social services that would turn their family life around -- a weekly social worker, parenting stress classes and food stamps.

"Instead of 'I hate you,' he says 'I love you,' " Ms. Stewart said yesterday about her son. "Now, we can all function as a family."

Go to the full article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's site--Intervene Early to Curb Child Welfare Woes.

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