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Somebody Else's Children: The Courts, the Kids, and the Struggle to Save America's Troubled Families

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With the narrative force of an epic novel and the urgency of first-rate investigative journalism, this important book delves into the daily workings and life-or-death decisions of a typical American family court system. It provides an intimate look at the lives of the parents and children whose fate it decides. A must for social workers and social work students, attorneys, With the narrative force of an epic novel and the urgency of first-rate investigative journalism, this important book delves into the daily workings and life-or-death decisions of a typical American family court system. It provides an intimate look at the lives of the parents and children whose fate it decides. A must for social workers and social work students, attorneys, judges, foster parents, law students, child advocates, teachers, journalists and anyone who cares about our nation's children.


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With the narrative force of an epic novel and the urgency of first-rate investigative journalism, this important book delves into the daily workings and life-or-death decisions of a typical American family court system. It provides an intimate look at the lives of the parents and children whose fate it decides. A must for social workers and social work students, attorneys, With the narrative force of an epic novel and the urgency of first-rate investigative journalism, this important book delves into the daily workings and life-or-death decisions of a typical American family court system. It provides an intimate look at the lives of the parents and children whose fate it decides. A must for social workers and social work students, attorneys, judges, foster parents, law students, child advocates, teachers, journalists and anyone who cares about our nation's children.

30 review for Somebody Else's Children: The Courts, the Kids, and the Struggle to Save America's Troubled Families

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lessie

    If you are interested in: *foster care and foster care children; *juvenile court and "delinquents"; *group homes, shelters, and those who live in and work in them; *what happens when someone makes a report of child abuse; *the inside of youth detention; *the world in which your own children will grow up; then I recommend this book. It was riveting. And at times difficult to continue reading. With my limited experience of the "system," it rings true and real. It provides an up-close peep-hole into the wo If you are interested in: *foster care and foster care children; *juvenile court and "delinquents"; *group homes, shelters, and those who live in and work in them; *what happens when someone makes a report of child abuse; *the inside of youth detention; *the world in which your own children will grow up; then I recommend this book. It was riveting. And at times difficult to continue reading. With my limited experience of the "system," it rings true and real. It provides an up-close peep-hole into the world of juvenile court and family court through actual stories of families and children, and then backing off to provide an insightful history of how things came to be as they are. I need to read it again. This book shows me how important it is to be humble, because "things" are complicated and kids are individuals with histories and feelings, and can't be written off with labels like "monsters" or "welfare moms." I'm grateful this book highlighted the day-to-day reality for specific kids while also including folks who work each day in the system trying to make a difference in the lives of children and families.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    My husband and I were licensed foster parents from 2001-2006. We adopted 2 of the children we fostered. We find ourselves in a situation currently that has necessitated us to be licensed again. (Our granddaughter came to live with us over a year ago. She is 3 1/2 now and doing well.) This book is 20 years old, so there have been many changes in laws and policies since publication, but I would still highly recommend it for anyone who would like to know more about the care of somebody else's child My husband and I were licensed foster parents from 2001-2006. We adopted 2 of the children we fostered. We find ourselves in a situation currently that has necessitated us to be licensed again. (Our granddaughter came to live with us over a year ago. She is 3 1/2 now and doing well.) This book is 20 years old, so there have been many changes in laws and policies since publication, but I would still highly recommend it for anyone who would like to know more about the care of somebody else's children. The behind the scenes access the authors were granted is impressive. The reports we received upon the adoption of our boys had so much redaction the papers resembled something like a geometric Rorschach test. The authors appear to have been granted access to non-redacted files. Interesting read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Graham Polando

    Fully expected it to be snarky and condescending like so many of these books are: instead, it was a sophisticated, nuanced portrait of the system, with all its good and bad elements. It's nearly impossible to pull off an objective look at such politically-charged issues, and to point out that, here as elsewhere, tradeoffs are plentiful but solutions rare. A remarkable achievement, and well-worth reading. Fully expected it to be snarky and condescending like so many of these books are: instead, it was a sophisticated, nuanced portrait of the system, with all its good and bad elements. It's nearly impossible to pull off an objective look at such politically-charged issues, and to point out that, here as elsewhere, tradeoffs are plentiful but solutions rare. A remarkable achievement, and well-worth reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rob Lynch

    It is a bit difficult to find information on foster children that isn't sensationalized in one way or another. This book isn't exactly that but it does seem to live up to it's promise of not picking a case simply be cause it is an outlier. It picks the stories within because they are illustrative of some of the challenges that are faced by the system and the people that are a part of it. That said, while this does provide some background and flavor to the world of foster care it alone will not h It is a bit difficult to find information on foster children that isn't sensationalized in one way or another. This book isn't exactly that but it does seem to live up to it's promise of not picking a case simply be cause it is an outlier. It picks the stories within because they are illustrative of some of the challenges that are faced by the system and the people that are a part of it. That said, while this does provide some background and flavor to the world of foster care it alone will not help me and my wife make a decision about becoming foster parents. I think a deeper dive into the mundane will be required. It is a good book, a little tough to read at times but that is to be expected. It is getting old and very focused on a single area. it would be nice if it could be updated to contain more statistics about the system at large in America today.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    This book takes a look at court cases in Santa Clara County in California in the 90s. It is a thorough examination of what may happen to children who come under the auspices ofThe Department of Children and Families services. Several cases of dependency, or child welfare, are examined and followed, and the reader learns how the state attempts to serve as a parent, with mixed results. The authors have done their research, and the book is well-written.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Meyers

    Im training to become a CASA~ Court appointed special advocate. This book gives inside stories and background information on several children who become involved with the court system in California.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    Reading this upon a coworker's recommendation. I was warned that it's hard to read. I am reading Love in the Time of Cholera concurrently because I do not anticipate reading this book in bed before I go to sleep. As if I need more foster kids and parents to dream about at night... Update: This book was okay at first then it turned AWFUL! It totally paints an unrealistic picture of the child welfare system and the way social workers work. A lot of this info is totally outdated and not made current Reading this upon a coworker's recommendation. I was warned that it's hard to read. I am reading Love in the Time of Cholera concurrently because I do not anticipate reading this book in bed before I go to sleep. As if I need more foster kids and parents to dream about at night... Update: This book was okay at first then it turned AWFUL! It totally paints an unrealistic picture of the child welfare system and the way social workers work. A lot of this info is totally outdated and not made current in the revised prints. This book sucks. It made me mad in a bad way (not in the "I'm so mad because things are so unfair" type of way) NO STARS!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    A fascinating account of how the child welfare system works and doesn't work. It focuses on the Santa Clara County juvenile and dependency courts during the tenure of Judge Leonard Edwards. Excellent book. A fascinating account of how the child welfare system works and doesn't work. It focuses on the Santa Clara County juvenile and dependency courts during the tenure of Judge Leonard Edwards. Excellent book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Case studies

  10. 5 out of 5

    Danica

    a profoundly important book

  11. 5 out of 5

    Genifer Salandy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Walton

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Miller

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lua

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Cornell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jared

  20. 4 out of 5

    simone jones

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Puntasecca

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  25. 5 out of 5

    JoAnn Augustine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kylie Miller

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nhung

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sylke Aerts

  30. 5 out of 5

    MAES

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