All children have the right to live with their families or in family-like settings. Removing a child from their parents, even for a short time, can be highly traumatizing, with long-term consequences. Yet systems ostensibly intended to protect children too often separate families. Some child-welfare systems needlessly separate families, placing children at risk of trauma and abuse, and discriminate against Black, Indigenous, and people of color and families living in poverty. Orphans as well as children with families are still being placed in residential institutions, which decades of studies have shown are inherently harmful to children, often due to the child’s disability or the family’s poverty. Instead, states should ensure that all children have the support they need to live with their families or in family-like settings.

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