Reason Podcast

What To Do With Kids Who Are Wards of the State: Podcast

Naomi Schaefer Riley on religious liberty, foster care, privacy, parenting, and how to help kids who need a home


"You go into family court and it's the same experience as at the DMV, only there are children's lives on the line," says Naomi Schaefer Riley in today's Reason Podcast. Riley is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where she studies the foster system, adoption, and religious liberty. In today's podcast, we talk about parenting, policy, and what happens when the state gets entangled in the business of raising children.

"There's a lot of evidence that pouring money into the system is not improving things" is a line you might hear in many Reason Podcasts, but Riley digs into the complex problem of what to do with kids who don't have parents—or have been taken from their parents—and how to deal with the complications that arise around religious freedom, voluntary association, private charity, drug prohibition, and welfare.

Riley is a former columnist for the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal as well as the author of quite a few books, including an attack on university tenure, an investigation into interfaith marriage, and book about the modern federal government's mistreatment of Native Americans. In "Can Big Data Help Save Abused Kids?," a feature for Reason's February issue, Riley applies the insights of data-driven predictive analysis to the child welfare system.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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