Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: Book Review: "The Shredding of Families"

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Book Review: "The Shredding of Families"

Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny

“The Shredding of Families”, by Dr. Lillian Dunsmore and Dr. Richard Dunsmore (and with a foreward by Rep. Thomas Caltagirone) directly and convincingly causes the reader to stop and ponder current public policy. Personally, I am one who believes there are too many foster care children with parents who will never be able to provide care. It has been my belief that the sooner parental rights can be legally severed and the children legally adopted by caring parents, the better. Yet, “The Shredding of Families” serves a loud alarm: we may be taking too many children away from caring parents too quickly.

“The Shredding of Families” shows how false reports of child abuse (in some cases, even repudiated cases as when someone makes a report in anger or for revenge) can destroy families. Children, Youth, and Families case workers make determinations in matters of just hours whether to remove children from their families. While I know many case workers have excellent reputations and handle much work, this large volume of caseloads alone makes their jobs difficult. Decisions need to be made quickly, both in the event children need to be removed quickly from families and because there are some many cases to consider. It is very possible that case workers can make the wrong decisions.

We have allowed case workers to make important determinations. The Dunsmores argue case workers often lack experience and training. Case workers are neither licensed nor certified and need only possess two years of college credits. These employees, operating sometimes on anonymous tips and reports where tipsters have immunity, can decide to remove children from their homes and place them into foster care facilities. The authors find fault with these foster care facilities for their own dangers. Children there are exposed to verbal and sexual abuse from fellow children as well as some staff.

Several chilling case studies are presented. It is alleged that case workers lie and mislead parents, misinterpret situations and judge parents on factors not related to actual abuse, and make improper assumptions. Families are torn apart and face large legal costs as well as responsibilities for paying for foster facility care. Court appointed attorneys sometimes have just minutes to prepare for legal hearings. From this suspect system, the futures of children and parents are decided.


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