In a challenging, clearly written work, Lindsey proposes specific programs that, he argues, would do much to ensure adequate support for the largest impoverished age group in the United States today: children in single-parent families. He advocates moving responsibility for child abuse cases to the criminal justice system, leaving social welfare to focus on child neglect. He would establish a Universal Child Support Collection aimed at noncustodial parents, an across-the-board Guaranteed Child Exemption (tax credit) and, to provide "escape velocity" from the poverty/welfare cycle, a Child's Future Security Account (comparable to funding for the elderly or disabled). Like Marion Wright Edelman (Families in Peril, LJ 3/1/87), Lindsey sees neglected children as potentially valuable human resources, if society will commit to investing in them. Strongly recommended for professionals, politicians, academics, and concerned lay readers.-Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
Lindsey surveys U.S. and Canadian child-welfare systems, from the orphanages of the 1800s to recent legislation mandating child-abuse reporting, which resulted in a skyrocketing increase in the number of reports of suspected abuse. Since then, investigations of alleged abuse have consumed virtually all the resources of the child-welfare systems, transforming them into child-protection agencies. Funding cuts have further narrowed the focus of who receives services. However, Lindsey believes that responsibility for protecting criminally assaulted children must shift to the police and courts and that the child-welfare systems must be redirected to developing policies and programs to ameliorate the plight of disadvantaged and impoverished children. The second half of the book proposes practical long-term measures to break the poverty cycle, such as modifying the federal income tax collection systems to ensure child-support payments, and the establishment of the child's future security account.