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Once a court agrees that it has sufficient cause to assume jurisdiction in order to protect a child, there is a high probability that the child will be separated from his family for months or years, or permanently. Despite the disruptive impact this process obviously can have on children and their families, at present there is little consensus about when a court should find that a particular child is neglected or abused. And just as there is little agreement on when intervention in a particular family is justified, there is little agreement about what forms of intervention are constructive.

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