Growing Up in the Care of Strangers: The Experiences, Insights and Recommendations of Eleven Former Foster Kidsby Waln Brown, John Seita
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Growing up in placement takes a toll, not just on the children and adolescents but also on the professionals charged with their care. Judges, policymakers, administrators, probation officers, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, caseworkers, social workers, foster parents, house parents, guardian ad litem, CASA volunteers, child welfare advocates, educators and program staff make critical decisions that can affect a child s life forever. The more attuned they are to what helps or hinders the development of these vulnerable young people, the more likely they are to make the appropriate decisions required to promote positive placement experiences and healthy adult outcomes.
The purpose of this book is to provide child welfare professionals insightful feedback from former clients who grew up in juvenile justice, foster care, orphanage, adoptive and mental health placements. What makes this book particularly instructive derives from the authors credentials. They are college-educated adults who masterfully intertwine their childhood stories with mature perspective and their own professional expertise.
The other audiences this book hopes to reach include youth in placement and students who plan on entering careers in child welfare. Children currently in care need to know that others have experienced childhoods as bad as or worse than their own, that they survived and how they did it. Students preparing to work with troubled or dependent young people should learn about a side of life they probably have not experienced before they make decisions that may adversely affect these at risk youth. Sometimes a wide abyss separates theory and reality.
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- William Gladden Foundation Press
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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- 328 KB
Meet the Author
Dr. Waln Brown, Founder & CEO of the William Gladden Foundation, spent his adolescence in an orphanage, juvenile detention facility, state hospital and reformatory. Waln earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He has authored over 250 publications, including The Other Side of Delinquency (Rutgers University Press), The Abandonment of Delinquent Behavior: Promoting the Turnaround (Praeger Publishers), Why Some Children Succeed Despite the Odds (Praeger Publishers), Growing Up in the Care of Strangers: The Experiences, Insights and Recommendations of Eleven Former Foster Kids (William Gladden Foundation Press) and A Foster Care Manifesto: Defining the Alumni Movement (WGF Publishing). Waln held positions with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the National Center for Juvenile Justice and the Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago.
Dr. John Seita is Assistant Professor of Social Work at Michigan State University. Removed from his mother's home at eight, John spent the remainder of his youth in multiple foster homes, detention facilities and group homes. Because of Dr. Seita's advocacy on behalf of foster kids, his alma mater, Western Michigan University, developed the John Seita Scholarship to help undergraduate students who have aged out of foster care pursue their educational goals. In 2007, John received the Ruth Massing Foster Care Alumni of the Year award through Casey Family Programs. He is the author of In Whose Best Interest?, God is in the Kitchen, Kids Who Outwit Adults, The Experiences, Insights and Recommendations of Eleven Former Foster Kids, A Foster Care Manifesto: Defining the Alumni Movement and dozens of scholarly articles about foster care.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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It is rare to have a book where the authors joined by friends and colleagues share their most personal childhood experiences in the foster care system which than can become a powerful training manual for the "seasoned: child-care professional as well as the beginner. As a retired CEO of a large foster-care system this book is a must read for systemic change. Arlin Ness, President Emeritus, Starr Commonwealth
I grew up in the foster care system and the 11 chapter authors in this book nailed it. I could relate to all of their experiences, and their recommendations for changing the system are spot on. I sure do hope that some of the powers that be find this wonderful book and learn about what must be changed in a system that often treats kids like dirt. Way to go Drs. Brown and Seita!
I have never taken my nurturing, loving home environment for granted. After reading "Growing Up in the Care of Strangers," the phrase "taken for granted" is way too inadequate to describe the gratitude I feel for my good fortune as relates to the stability and nurturing childhood I experienced. This book compiles true stories and accounts of the pain, sadness and cruelty many people lived through "in the care of strangers." As difficult as the subject matter may be, the authors deftly navigated the content with compassion and realism that leaves a reader moved, but also hopeful that bringing light to this dark subject can result in the hope of positive improvements to a very flawed system. It does no one any good to hide from the inequities and imperfections that exist in our society. This extremely well-written, thought-provoking book will motivate others to take action, whatever form that may be. This book makes you stop and think... then think again... and makes you want to somehow, some way, do something, however small, to change a clearly imperfect and defective system. Sue Cassidy, Author of "Cooking With Clyde: Fabulous Food With My Feline Friend"
As a new foster parent, I picked up this book to listen to the voices of former foster children reflect on their experiences. Found their perspectives and experiences enlightening and hope that I can use my new understanding and insights in an effective way as I continue to foster. Highly recommend for any foster parent as each individual author has a unique story.