(a) The purposes of this part are to safeguard and enhance the welfare of children and to preserve family life, by preventing harm and sexual abuse to children and by strengthening the ability of families to parent their children effectively through a multi-level response system using available community-based public and private services. It is intended that the department perform its function under this part pursuant to the belief that families can change the circumstances associated with the level of risk to a child, when they are provided with intensive and comprehensive services tailored to their strengths and needs. The department's fundamental assumptions shall be that most children are better off with their own families than in substitute care, and that separation has detrimental effects on both parents and children. Whenever possible, preservation of the family should serve as the framework for services, but, in any case, the best interests of the child shall be paramount.
(b) The further purpose of this part is to authorize and require the department to develop a demonstration program to carry out the purposes stated in subsection (a). A specific objective of the demonstration program is to reduce the incidence of children who are subjected to maltreatment. Until the program is in effect statewide, this part shall be in effect only in the areas in which the demonstration program is established.
Acts 2005, ch. 391, § 3.