Synopses & Reviews
Shattered Bonds is a stirring account of a worsening American social crisis--the disproportionate representation of black children in the U.S. foster care system and its effects on black communities and the country as a whole. Tying the origins and impact of this disparity to racial injustice, Dorothy Roberts contends that child-welfare policy reflects a political choice to address startling rates of black child poverty by punishing parents instead of tackling poverty's societal roots. Using conversations with mothers battling the Chicago child-welfare system for custody of their children, along with national data, Roberts levels a powerful indictment of racial disparities in foster care and tells a moving story of the women and children who earn our respect in their fight to keep their families intact.
The story of foster care in the United States is the story of the failure of the social safety net to aid poor, largely black, parents in their attempt to make a home for their children. Shattered Bonds tells this story as no other book has before-from the perspective of a prominent black, female legal theoretician. The current state of the child-welfare system in America is a well-known tragedy. Thousands of children every year are removed from their parents' homes, often for little reason other than the endemic poverty that afflicts women and children more than any other group in the U.S. Dorothy Roberts, an acclaimed legal scholar and social critic, reveals the racial politics of child welfare in America through extensive legal research and original interviews with Chicago families in the foster care system. She describes the racial imbalance in foster care, the concentration of state intervention in certain neighborhoods, the alarming percentages of children in substitute care, the difficulty that poor and black families have in meeting state's standards for regaining custody of children placed in foster care, and the relationship between state supervision of families and continuing racial inequality.
"This is the untold story behind the horror stories and the headlines. Everyone who cares about children should read this eye-opening, powerfully argued book."--Katha Pollitt, The Nation
About the Author
Dorothy Roberts is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law and a fellow at the university's Institute for Policy Research. She lives with her family in Evanston, Illinois.