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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2001
I randomly came across this book in the library while looking up something else. I thumbed through it a bit and then ended up checking it out and taking it home, where I have proceeded to read it almost constantly over the last couple of days (with occasional breaks for comparatively less compelling things like eating, sleep, class, and hanging out with friends). I'm always a bookworm and am used to becoming absorbed in what I read. However, this is the first time in quite awhile that I've been so caught up in a book, particularly a non-fiction book.
I like this book so much because the authors worked hard at giving a thorough and unbiased look at the juvenile justice system and the kids stuck in that system. Of course, remaining completely unbiased is impossible; however, they tried to give a variety of points of view. They also tried to keep from vilifying any one group (parents, children, social workers, judges, police, the community, and so on), while still indicating the complexity of the problem. Case-studies were carefully chosen not to be sensational, but rather to exemplify the typical issues dealt with by kids in the justice system. Finally, they interspersed the information from the case studies with general information about the law, the way such cases are usually handled, and so on, then applied this new information that they had given back to the case study. This made it possible to learn a great deal about the system in general, while keeping it interesting because you could see the immediate application to one particular kid that you had learned about. This added to the book's general readability. All in all, this book is an excellent, well-written book that has the possibility of moving us a long way towards an understanding of these complex issues.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 1998
Hubner and Wolfson do an excellent job of presenting the reader with the children's point of view of the juvenile court system. Children who are removed from their homes because of an abusive environment are often subjected to even worse treatment by the state-run system into which they are placed. Some of the problems that are brought to the reader's attention include: 1) Children are removed from the home based on hearsay evidence, 2) Parents must sometimes admit guilt (even if innocent) or they are accused of being in denial - this Catch-22 situation can be used to keep children separated from their parents regardless of the "facts", 3) Foster parents don't always receive adequate training, and are sometimes perpetrators of abuse. Some foster parents are only in it for the money. Yes, the system does benefit many children. But there is also a large number of children for whom the system is more abusive than the environment from which they were removed. Judge Edwards deserves a lot of credit, because he understands these issues and because he cares about the kids. Read this book at least twice.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2001
This is a textbook of the juvenile dependency system that reads like a page-turner novel. I was unable to put it down for 2 days. The authors' treatment of their material is even-handed and true-to-life. I have worked for the past 4 years as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate and Guardian Ad Litem for these children in my local juvenile court and the cases featured in the book closely mirror the actual cases I've seen over and over again in the courts. The book raises problems in the system to which there are no easy answers, and the authors don't attempt to offer any simplistic solutions: What does the system do with severely emotionally disturbed kids who blow through one placement after another? How do you know when to give up on parents and terminate parental rights? Do you wait until the child's crucial childhood years are mostly over, waiting for the parents to get their act together? How do we place children in good homes when there is such a shortage of foster and adoptive families? I urge anyone interested to get involved with the system as a volunteer. There are over 700 advocate programs around the country and the minimum time commitment is only 12 hours a month.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 1999
I have been in the field for over 20 years and this is the most accurate account of the Juvenile Justice system. The stories are real and moving. I could not put this book down. I did not agree with everything in the book, however, if you want to know the real story then this is a must read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 1997
This is a must read for anyone working in the Juvenile Court System, especially in California. I've been a Probation Officer for ten years most of it spent in juvenile matters. I've seen these exact kids and families in Tulare County. I've felt the same frustrations of everyone in the book who cares about these kids, but doesn't know how to fix it.
I do however strongely disagree with Barry Krisberg (page 248.) My union is the weakest in this county, and Probation Officers in this county are among the lowest paid in the state. Probation Officers are also the lowest paid among all "law enforcment" persons. Our job is to protect the community, yet we are expected to also pocessess the skills of a social worker. Further Probation Officers in this county haven't sat around eating doughnuts since the eighties when case loads were small and money was abundant. Now, in the nineties, no one has time to eat lunch, little own buy a doughnut. Case loads are over whelming and the juveniles are more violent. In todays juvenile system Probation Officers must act as the police and social workers. Its an impossible balance to keep and eat doughuts at the same time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2008
I've become an almost compulsive reader about our juvenile justice system and foster care since it seems the vast majority of the students I teach have some contact with at least one. In one school I taught at, at least 70% of the students were either in foster care, group homes or had a juvenile justice caseworker. For many of these kids, their child advocate (CASA is a fantastic organization) was the only person with their best interests at heart.
The more books I read, the more I realize that I'm reading the same thing over and over again, and seeing it in my classroom. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be a whole answer... One answer could be books like this that require the courts, and the system to open up their books so that outsiders can see what is going on. In this book, it seems as if services the children received were better than average, but that may be a perception I have from working in inner city areas where services are going to be less accessible to families in crisis. This book presents a fair, mostly even-handed look at the system, and the issues. It doesn't blame a particular group, but seeks to share the problems with everybody interacting in the system. This is a nice change from the often one-sided books that play the blame game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 1997
This book should be required reading for anyone who works with troubled children in the Juvenile Justice system. Scholarly and objective, the authors do not sensationalize the difficulties of administering justice and compassion in a system that is near to collapse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2014
It was not as good as everyone made it out to be . I just read a book called "I LOVE YOU MOM PLEASE DON'T BREAK MY HEART" By: John Borgstedt and it made me understand child abuse better . so if you are looking for something on child abuse I feel this book dose not give it .
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on August 24, 2012
The book I ordered was shipped prompty and was in great condition as promised, thank you! I would order again. Very economical way to purchase books that have been recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2007
This book kept me up every night for the past week until I finished it. A fascinating and thoughtful look at the juvenile dependency and delinquency systems, the authors get it right. Told mostly through vignettes of families representative of typical child welfare families, the authors deftly illustrated the complexities of "the system," fairly documenting the strengths and failures. Considering that child welfare is what I've been doing for 5 1/2 years, I wasn't bored with the book or angered at any misrepresentations. Rather, I was pleased to see how well-researched and unbiased the piece was. Further, it reminds me that the complexities are what have kept me in the field so far.

The book is a bit dated -- methamphetamines have overtaken crack cocaine as a drug of choice for most child welfare families, and timelines for reunfiication have shrunk. Further, Monterey County (where I work), at least, has greatly improved how it does sexual abuse forensic interviews. I got a bit bogged down in the delinquency section when it became less vignette-based and more pedanctic, finding that the vignettes were better conveyors of information. Overall, though, this was an outstanding book and one which I will give to my boyfriend and parents to read. Anyone interested in child welfare should read this book for an understanding of a system that will never and cannot be black or white.
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