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

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

by John Hubner, Jill Wolfson
     
 

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Award-winning journalists Hubner and Wolfson offer a pathbreaking investigation of the family court system where over two and a half million cases are decided every year, through this examination of the day-to-day workings and life-and-death decisions in one typical family court system in Santa Clara County, California. A sunbelt boomtown, urban slum, and rural

Overview

Award-winning journalists Hubner and Wolfson offer a pathbreaking investigation of the family court system where over two and a half million cases are decided every year, through this examination of the day-to-day workings and life-and-death decisions in one typical family court system in Santa Clara County, California. A sunbelt boomtown, urban slum, and rural paradise all combined, Santa Clara mirrors the problems of most American cities, making it the perfect model for this insightful and often harrowing chronicle which provides an intimate look at the lives of the children whose fate the court decides. This powerful book tells the personal stories of a battle between biological and adoptive parents for the right to raise a baby born drug-addicted; an eight-year-old caught in his parents' bitter divorce; and a teenage mother raising her children in a neighborhood ruled by gangs. Throughout there are the hundreds of caseworkers, judges, and social workers struggling in the trenches, trying to make the system work, trying to protect the children forgotten by society. Clearly and engagingly written, Somebody Else's Children offers rare insight into the state of the American family today.

"Powerful...A gut-wrenching book. The portraits are etched in acid. While it may not be the kind of book all of us want to read, it certainly is the kind we should."—Washington Post

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Award-winning California reporters Hubner and Wolfson were given unusual access to the confidential proceedings of family court in their hometown of San Jose, Calif. The raw, unmediated portrait of the machinery of juvenile justice, which includes the voices of the families and children as well as of service providers, reveals how intricate and interconnected the problems are. In the courtroom of a juvenile judge, we view the day-to-day routine of welfare, delinquency and child-placement hearings. Writing with admirable conviction and convincing urgency, the authors make the point that the press usually ignores the system until a crisis erupts. Here their aim is to follow children and their families through shelters, courts and foster homes to see how the system really works. The thrust of this graphic report is a push for more government programs for juveniles and a plea for personal commitment through volunteering "to make somebody else's children all our children." (Jan.)
Library Journal
Hubner, a former probation officer, and Wolfson, news columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, tackle here the complexity of the American juvenile justice system. Granted unusual access to the records of the Santa Clara County (California) Probation Department of Family and Children, they were also allowed to interview the social workers, children, and families involved in confidential court proceedings The result is a gripping narrative of juvenile case stories, "the ordinary drama that...reflects the day-to-day working of the system." It's a story of the often well-intentioned counselors, legal constraints, substance abuse, deprivation, and child and family protection gone awry. More descriptive than prescriptive, the book's overarching theme is the lack of responsible community recognition of the necessity for commitment to the healthy development of "our" kids in our society. Especially appropriate and thoughtful reading for our times; recommended for professionals, academics, politicians, and the general public.-Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780609801703
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/10/1998
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.23(w) x 8.07(h) x 0.87(d)

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