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Tags:nonfiction, child abuse, social work, foster care, adoption, family preservation

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Wasted: The Plight of America's Unwanted Children by Patrick T. Murphy

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This is a book about how a system designed to help children is instead helping to destroy them. By trying to preserve families, Patrick Murphy charges, the child welfare system is too often placing children in danger. State agencies and the courts are stuck in hundred-year-old realities and the politics of the 1960s and the 1970s. As the Public Guardian of Cook County, Illinois (an office unique in the United States), Mr. Murphy for almost thirty years has represented abused and neglected children in court cases at every level of the state and federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has labored in the trenches of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems - "looking after the fish, not the fishermen," as he likes to say. In other words, worrying about the children.In Wasted, Mr. Murphy argues that trying to keep families together by lavishing public resources on abusive parents who can't and won't change their behavior is harming their children - who ought to be the system's first concern. In sharply drawn stories of individual children, he shows how too many of them suffer continued abuse, degradation, neglect, injury, even death. Wasted pulls no punches in describing this mess, but Mr. Murphy also offers a prescription for fixing what's broke.… (more)

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