Synopses & Reviews
"A triumph of narrative reporting and storytelling. . . . Beam gives [foster children] a much-needed voice and does what too many adults in the foster-care system can't, or won't: She advocates for them." -- New York Times Book Review
Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care, looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is To the End of June, an unforgettable portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children at the critical points in their search for a stable, loving family.
The book mirrors the life cycle of a foster child and so begins with the removal of babies and kids from birth families. Theres a teenage birth mother in Texas who signs away her parental rights on a napkin only to later reconsider, crushing the hopes of her babys adoptive parents. Beam then paints an unprecedented portrait of the intricacies of growing up in the system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the shuffling between pre-adoptive homes and group homes, the emotionally charged tug of prospective adoptive parents and the fundamental pull of birth parents. And then what happens as these system-reared kids become adults? Beam closely follows a group of teenagers in New York who are grappling with what aging out will mean for them and meets a woman who has parented eleven kids from the system, almost all over the age of eighteen, and all still in desperate need of a sense of home and belonging.
Focusing intensely on a few foster families who are deeply invested in the systems success, To the End of June is essential for humanizing and challenging a broken system, while at the same time it is a tribute to resiliency and offers hope for real change.
"In beautifully written, fascinating accounts of experiences working with emotionally stunted and traumatized children, child psychiatrist Perry educates readers about how early-life stress and violence affects the developing brain. He offers simple yet vivid illustrations of the stress response and the brain's mechanisms with facts and images that crystallize in the mind without being too detailed or confusing. The stories exhibit compassion, understanding and hope as Perry paints detailed, humane pictures of patients who have experienced violence, sexual abuse or neglect, and Perry invites the reader on his own journey to understanding how the developing child's brain works. He learns that to facilitate recovery, the loss of control and powerlessness felt by a child during a traumatic experience must be counteracted. Recovery requires that the patient be 'in charge of key aspects of the therapeutic interaction.' He emphasizes that the brain of a traumatized child can be remolded with patterned, repetitive experiences in a safe environment. Most importantly, as such trauma involves the shattering of human connections, 'lasting, caring connections to others' are irreplaceable in healing; medications and therapy alone cannot do the job. 'Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love,' Perry concludes." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Readable, informative about the workings of language, memory, trust, and choice, and ultimately optimistic...this book demands and deserves attention from parents, educators, policymakers, courts, and therapists. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Perry doesn't promote what he calls the 'abuse excuse' for antisocial or criminal behavior; rather, he makes a powerful case for early intervention for disruptive children to prevent adult sociopathy." Booklist
A New York Times
Notable Book A Boston Globe Best Book of 2013 A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013 "A triumph of narrative reporting and storytelling, as well as a thorough and nuanced analysis of an American institution deeply in need of reform. . . . Beam writes about social outcasts without stereotyping them. She gives them a much-needed voice and does what too many adults in the foster-care system can't, or won't: She advocates for them." -- New York Times Book Reivew
"Beam invites the reader inside the system for sometimes uncomfortably close but always compassionate visits with parents, children and workers. . . .She takes comfort in the 'countless academics and organizers and families with countless good ideas.' Its this conclusion -- rather than the admission that she doesnt have the answer, even with her many lenses on the system both inside and out -- that makes this a challenging and refreshing read." --Chicago Tribune "In this compassionate, rigorous book, Cris Beam describes the failures of foster care, often by way of the moments of light and hope that are inscribed in its brokenness. It is her largeness of heart, manifest on every page, that makes her arguments impossible to ignore, and that informs the deeply engaging stories she so eloquently narrates." —Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree
"Packed with messy humanity, To the End of June is an urgent and necessary book. It would break your heart were it not for the recurring tales of good people trying to do the right thing, and an undercurrent of rage at what life has served up these kids. Cris Beam brings careful listening, unflinching poise, and her own experience as a foster mother to this account of how the state tries to step up when parents can't." —Ted Conover, author of Pulitzer-finalist Newjack and Coyotes
"To the End of June is a clear-eyed and heartfelt look at foster care in America. It will astound you and appall you. Cris Beam has written an extraordinary book about ordinary people trying to save kids' lives. She has cast a ray of light into a dark and hidden place." —Tim Weiner, National Book Award-winning author of Legacy of Ashes
"Heart-rending and tentatively hopeful" -- Laura Miller, Salon
"Informative, poignant, passionate, and persuasive . . . Almost certain to generate a sense of urgency in readers to fix a broken system that has sometimes managed to fly beneath the radar." -- The Huffington Post
"Beam's intimate immersion into this system, as both a parent and an author, has brought great empathy and insight into a world most people never contemplate. Beam's book will likely change hearts and minds, and hopefully social policy." -- The Bay Area Reporter
What happens when a young brain is traumatized? How does terror, abuse, or disaster affect a child's mind and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has helped children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, murder witnesses, kidnapped teenagers, and victims of family violence.
In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation through the lens of science, revealing the brain's astonishing capacity for healing. Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate, insightful strategies for rehabilitation, Perry explains what exactly happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress and reveals the unexpected measures that can be taken to ease a child's pain and help him grow into a healthy adult. Through the stories of children who recover physically, mentally, and emotionally from the most devastating circumstances, Perry shows how simple things like surroundings, affection, language, and touch can deeply impact the developing brain, for better or for worse.
In this deeply informed and moving book, Bruce Perry dramatically demonstrates that only when we understand the science of the mind can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.
Through real-life examples, a noted child psychiatrist and neuroscientist examines the impact of trauma on children's brains, and reveals the innovative therapeutic techniques used to treat trauma-related psychiatric problems in children.
Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate strategies for rehabilitation, a child psychiatrist explains what exactly happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress and reveals the measures that can be taken to ease a child's pain and help him grow into a healthy adult.
A world-renowned child psychiatrist offers a groundbreaking new perspective on how stress and violence affect children's brains--and how they can be helped to heal
An intimate, authoritative look at the foster care system that examines why it is failing the kids it is supposed to protect and what can be done to change it.
About the Author
Bruce Perry, M.D., PH.D., is the founder of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, and serves as an advisor to the FBI. He lives in Houston, Texas, and Alberta, Canada.
Maia Szalavitz is the coauthor, with Joseph Volpicelli, M.D., of Recovery Options: The Complete Guide and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, New York, O: The Oprah Magazine, Salon, New Scientist, and the Village Voice, among other publications. A former producer for "Charlie Rose" and researcher for Bill Moyers, Szalavitz is a senior fellow at stats.org, a media watchdog group that investigates the coverage of science and statistics.
Table of Contents
Part One: Catch
1. King Solomons Baby 3
2. Eye of the Beholder 18
3. Timing Is Anything 38
4. Drugs in the System 58
5. Catch as Catch Can 73
Part Two: Hold
6. Surge Control 97
7. Chutes and Ladders and Chutes 117
8. Arrested in Development 135
9. Taking Agency 157
10. Homespun 169
Part Three: Release
11. Fantasy Islands 191
12. Theres Something About Mary 205
13. Experiment 222
14. Touching the Elephant 234
15. Last Call 252