Synopses & Reviews
This is a book about how a system designed to help children is instead helping to destroy them. For almost thirty years Patrick Murphy has represented abused and neglected children in court cases at every level of the state and federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has labored in the trenches of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. In Wasted, Mr. Murphy charges that the child welfare bureaucracy is stuck in hundred-year-old realities and the politics of the 1960s and 1970s. The concern of state agencies and the courts for family preservation, he argues, has now gone too far. Keeping families together by lavishing public resources on abusive parents who can t and won t change their behavior is harming their children. Too many of them are suffering continued abuse, degradation, neglect, injury, even death. The system is sending all the wrong messages, Mr. Murphy insists: struggling poor parents are ignored by the government while abusers get help; confidentiality protects state agencies that make mistakes; a resistance to trans-racial placement and adoption ensures that many African-American children will never find a permanent home. Meanwhile America s underclass continues to grow and ossify because we refuse to grapple with its racial implications. Wasted pulls no punches in describing the mess, but Mr. Murphy also offers a prescription for fixing what s broke.
"Murphy explains the facts and failures of the child welfare system and offers solutions better than any expert I've ever read on the subject....A first-rate read poignant and instructive." Edward I. Koch
"[U]nlike many social critics, [Murphy] lists practical ideas for rehabilitating the system....These suggestions alone make the book worth reading." Library Journal
"Short and pungent, designed to be controversial, here's a blow at the child protection system from a knight who's been in the fray a long time and knows the enemy." Kirkus Reviews
The public guardian of Cook County, Illinois, charges that the child welfare bureaucracy, designed to help children, is instead helping to destroy them.