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Wounded Innocents Paperback – February 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 429 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Rev Sub edition (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879759364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879759360
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The war against child abuse has become a war against children," charges Wexler, a reporter for the Albany, N.Y., Times Union , in a well-argued, in-depth study of the "child protection system" in the U.S. and the politics that enmesh it. He maintains that even more alarming than the alleged abuses suffered by children at the hands of their parents are the disruption of home life and the long-lasting trauma of minors assigned to institutions and foster homes that are either as bad as or worse than their own families. He asserts also that "witch-hunts" of foster parents suspected of improper conduct and harried supporting care system administrators, at times involving false accusations of sexual abuse, are all too common. While crediting competent, dedicated caseworkers who struggle in an overloaded welfare system, Wexler deplores what he considers misleading statistics and the presumption of parental guilt that underlie much child protection work. Preventive programs, legal measures and financial incentives meant to preserve original families figure in his detailed recommendations for reform.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The author, a journalist for the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.), charges that Americans have surrendered their most fundamental liberties to a too-powerful child-protective system that turns everyone dealing with children into an informer and encourages the public to do the same. As a result, Wexler reports, each year one out of every 30 children nationwide is reported to Child Protective Services as allegedly abused; most cases are dismissed as unsubstantiated, but not before the accusations have wreaked emotional havoc with a million innocent families. Meanwhile, some abused children are overlooked by a system whose resources are wasted on unfounded cases. Wexler substantiates his charges with numerous print sources and personal interviews; he offers 35 recommendations for the overhaul of the system. This extensively researched volume deserves to be read by anyone concerned with child abuse. Recommended for all academic, public, and institutional libraries.
- Christy Zlatos, Northeastern Univ. Libs., Boston
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Richard Wexler is Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform (www.nccpr.org) a group he helped to found after writing Wounded Innocents.

His interest in the child welfare system grew out of 19 years of work as a reporter for newspapers, public radio and public television.

During that time, he won more than two dozen awards, many of them for stories about child abuse and foster care. Wexler has testified before Congress and State Legislatures and advised the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families in its 1995 rewrite of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. Wexler's writing about the child welfare system has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, and he has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Time, the Associated Press, USA Today, 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, CNN, Good Morning America, Today, CBS This Morning, ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and other media.

Wexler is a graduate of Richmond College of the City University of New York and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he was awarded the school's highest honor, a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship. He was formerly Assistant Professor of Communications at The Pennsylvania State University -- Beaver Campus.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been involved with various aspects of the child protective service system for over 25 years. Based on my own experience, this book does not exaggerate the appalling dangers our families and children face at the hands of these systems. I found the accounts, chilling as they are, to be very accurate reflections of what I know to be everyday occurances in our child welfare system. This author has examined the data and the facts and done the homework that all of us should be doing.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By marquis314@earthlink.net on August 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
wexler's book should be required reading. i wish i could get "dr" laura to read this book. it would certainly give her pause before saying kids are better off in foster care or an institution than with their parents... the situation in our nation with respect to child protection is tragic. the power of these programs to act is beyond the power granted in the constitution to our police. no search warrent is needed. a child can be taken with notifying the parents, without review. the records are sealed. wexler has done a service by writing this book. recommended highly.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 1997
Format: Paperback
Wounded Innocents will enrage any one who really cares about children in general, a particular child, or about the American idea of America.. Richard Wexler well documents the abuses of innocent children and their famlies an the hands of their self-appointed and very often misguided and unqualified saviors. I read this book in small increments because I would often become so angered at what I was reading that I would throw it across the room. I always picked it up again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Richard has nailed it. This system is out of control and speaking as one who has been hit, I am very grateful to him for letting in the light.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dennis L. Blewitt on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book tracks history of child intervention and describes the present situation adequately, but does not assess the reasons for the present situation in a societal context. He does not analyze the role of the press, training, and prosecutorial bias of the courts and the attack generally on the Constitution, although he does describe the result in great detail. He shows the harm that unrestrained child protection does to children, families, and society, although he understates the problem. The book is well researched and footnoted, as well as being well written. Some suggestions for change would be helpful.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Wexler lays out a clear and compelling case for implementing thorough change in the system of child protective services. A system informed by the thinking that state adjencies need to intervene in disfunctonal families; coerce and force families apart; is out of control and whats more shows by their own statistics that they do a far worse job than that of the disfunctional family they claim to be helping. Ultimately child protective services is fueled by the ever increasing need for money to follow up on what are many times false allegations in ever increasing proportion to the erroneous and misinterpreted statistics, that the general public is told are factual. In addition children who are placed are worth approximately thirty thousand dollars, or more (per year),to the 'child savers'.than what they have to pay out. Finally after careful study of the "child savers"' statistics it is glaringly obvious that there are many more children being abused in placements than they would be if kept with their families. If recources were to be used to do more thorough investigations before removing these children from their homes much of this abuse would be averted. Please read his book, for your families freedom depends on being informed and having the tools to effect change. This book is written with a balanced view by a research journalist who is honest and straight foward giving sound advice for changing the system to save children and families. Robert Locatell
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tara Currie-Martinez on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I believe Richard Wexler had his heart in the right place when he wrote this book. The problem is in the execution. The book was first published in 1996, but almost all of the actual research that he cites is from the 1980s. Most of the cases and incidences he cites are from the 1980s as well. Research and knowledge and practices in any field changes over time, so citing old research isn't the best idea. Most of what he cites in NOT even research at all. In numerous occasions throughout the book he cites some person's personal opinions as if they were established facts. He makes sweeping generalizations based on anecdotal evidence.

He rails against "child savers" but he never really defines who that term refers to. It seems to be some amorphous group that sometimes includes politicians, legislators, social workers, case workers, welfare workers, cps workers, the medical field, and any other group whose individual members have made an error in judgment at any one time or another. At the same time he uses quotes from various people in these same fields to prove various particular points of his. Are CPS workers all lazy and incompetent, or are they scapegoats of a broken system? Are social workers to be quoted, or are they all incompetent? Do they hold Master's degrees or are they all minimally trained if trained at all? He can't seem to make up his mind.

I think if Mr. Wexler sat down and edited his book and made the facts and the logic a little tighter it would be a more valuable critique of the field of child welfare and its policies. However, it would also probably make it less entertaining. People love rhetoric. This book is just a long news feature piece. It is not research by any means. Wexler sheds light on some very real issues and problems, but he does so sloppily. This could be a really great book with more work. Good read though.
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