Saturday, August 24, 2013

New book on foster care

There is a new NY Times book review on foster care:
Early in Cris Beam’s remarkable new book, she outlines what she calls the core questions at the heart of America’s foster care system: “Who decides the correct way to raise a child? Who makes the moves on the moral chessboard where a family’s right to privacy opposes a child’s right to protection from harm? And who should get to keep a child: the parents who nurse and tend to him, or the parents who brought him into this world?”

But as Beam discovered in the five years she spent tracking dozens of foster children and their families, those questions apply only to best-case situations. “To the End of June” finds a truth far more complicated and heart-wrenching at the center of America’s broken, maddening foster care system.
There are also a podcast interview, and favorable Amazon reviews.

Beam explains how she became a foster parent without the required licenses, by tricking the authorities, She then raised a boy as a girl, and brags about she thwarted the social workers who wanted the child be in a household with a man. I fail to see how her prejudices are any better than anyone else's.
Though foster parents understand that their parenting responsibilities are usually temporary, some can’t help falling for their foster kid — and believing that they would do a better parenting job than the child’s biological parents. ...

As Beam explains it, the most important philosophical divide in the world of foster care is between those who believe that “kids are better off with their parents and the state’s job is to provide and regulate security,” and those who think that “kids are better off safe and the state’s job is to provide and regulate a new family.” Though Beam is thorough and fair in her reporting on both sides, she makes clear where she stands. “I know the statistics,” Beam writes. “Children do better with their (even marginal) birth parents than with foster parents.”
Yes, there is a huge problem. The system is filled with do-gooders who believe in intervention, in spite of the evidence that intervention usually makes things worse.

Modern liberalism is grounded on judging programs by their intentions, not their results. If you point out that the programs are only exacerbating the problems, they will argue that the programs need more money and better training. Then you have a self-perpetuation program with social workers and foster parents who are in it mainly for the money, and little accountability.

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