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Turning Stones: My Days And Nights With Children At Riska Caseworker's Story

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Overview

Why does an infant die of malnutrition? Why does an eight-year-old hold a knife to his brother's throat? Or a mother push her cherished daughter twenty-three floors to her death? Marc Parent, a city caseworker, searched the streets--and his heart--for the answers, and shares them in this powerful, vivid, beautifully written book.

WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY THE AUTHOR

For four years, Mark Parent was a respected caseworker in New York ...

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Overview

Why does an infant die of malnutrition? Why does an eight-year-old hold a knife to his brother's throat? Or a mother push her cherished daughter twenty-three floors to her death? Marc Parent, a city caseworker, searched the streets--and his heart--for the answers, and shares them in this powerful, vivid, beautifully written book.

WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY THE AUTHOR

For four years, Mark Parent was a respected caseworker in New York City's Emergency Children's Services, a city agency created to cope with cases of suspected and actual abuse reported during the evening and nighttime hours. In his young charges Parent saw day-to-day bravery as well as some of the strangest twists the human soul can take. Shocking, illuminating, funny, lyrical, and above all searchingly honest, this book takes readers into a world that many would rather not contemplate.

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Editorial Reviews

Newsweek
"A revelatory and affirmative work, a grace note played against the darkest passages of family life."
Kirkus Reviews
At once heart-wrenching and heart-lifting is this record of four years that the author spent riding to the rescue of abused and neglected children.

Parent was an Emergency Children's Service worker in New York City's child welfare system, one of the men and women who on nights and weekends investigate calls about children in danger. Parent (yes, he took a lot of flack about his name) came to public prominence when a baby died after he and another worker had visited a family in a mice- and drug-infested building and missed identifying the child as at "imminent risk," that is, in immediate danger of death or serious injury. Official blame was placed elsewhere, but Parent agonized over the judgment for weeks. This compelling book is the result of his self-scrutiny. It includes what the author considers the most tragic and dramatic of the hundreds of cases he encountered. Here is the story of a mother who, anticipating Armageddon, urged her five children to jump out a 23rd-storey window; two leaped before help arrived. Another woman, convinced that she was hexed and seeing blood on the walls and broken glass in the food, had barricaded herself and her hungry children inside their apartment. In another horror story, a nine-year-old had beaten his five-year- old cousin to death. Amid the sad tales are often humorous sketches of Parent's colleagues and telling vignettes of the primitive working conditions—among other things, no place for children removed from their homes late at night to sleep except a straight chair. In the long anecdote that provides the title for the book, Parent comes to believe that even in cases where child welfare workers can do little, the work provides "an opportunity to touch a life at a critical moment and make it better."

Riveting stories, tuned to the headlines, that also defend the much maligned caseworkers who must make snap judgments under often bizarre circumstances in the field.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449912355
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 369,646
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.21 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 6, 2014

    This book really opens your eyes to the Emergency Child Services

    This book really opens your eyes to the Emergency Child Services. What they go through to try and protect these kids is inspiring. I couldn't do it. The stories that the author tells are amazing and horrible. How can people do those things to kids. I will never understand. Anyway, this is well worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Awesome book for anyone interested in childrens protective services

    I could not put this book down. I read the book in a day and a half. It offers compelling insight into the issues that children and social workers face when dealing with abuse. All of the stories are heartbreaking, but you get a good idea of how hard it would be to work in this field. Protecting children is what CPS is all about and you get a first hand account of what goes on as children and their families are monitored. I only wish the author had told what happened to the children later on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2003

    Opened my eyes ...

    This book opened my eyes to what Social Work is as well as what is going on in our country. I cried, I laughed and I raged throughout the journey I took with Marc Parent in the dark homes of New York. I recommed this book to anybody going into or thinking about going into Social Work as well as anybody who is looking for a good book. This book will move you, I guaratee it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2002

    A must read for all current & future SW's!

    A must read for everyone considering joining the vast field of "social work". This book gives hope that you can make a difference by "turning one stone at a time". A true inspiration.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    Powerful

    Parent really made the reader think about so many conplex issues of child welfare. The lessons Parent learned from the unfortunate death of Baby Doe were excellent. An all around wonderful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2001

    stunning

    after reading this book, it puts one in awe of the demands, physically but more importantly emotionally, that child service workers are expected. it also helps one to take perspective into account when faced with their everyday problems compared to what these children grew up with, not knowing that they were not given normal circumstances. i would recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2000

    Every college student should read this.....

    I just have to say that for a social work major, like myself, this book was exactly what i needed. I have stuggled for months with just what to do when i graduate next spring and now i know. Mr. Parent is an inspiration and his wealth of knowledge should be shared with as many people as possible...i have passed his book on to five people myself.I hope to enter the field of child welfare embracing all the experience he so bravely shared in his book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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