Child Protective Services (CPS) has been defined as an ineffective system. Common criticisms are that the system is overburdened and that family preservation policy pressures CPS to reunite families that can't be repaired. However, empirical analyses that identify the deficiencies of this organization are limited. This study utilizes case files and in-depth interviews with interventionists within and outside of CPS to explore the issue. Results reveal that the most common criticisms of the system do have merit. However, it reveals additional system limitations. Results suggest that the child protective system is characterized by an individualistic approach and that this focus hinders its ability to protect children. Specific problems associated with this individualistic focus are identified and a communitarian framework is proposed as a way of reconceptualizing CPS deficiencies and needed solutions.

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