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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Softcover from 1997. Cover has some edge and corner wear and corner creasing but otherwise in good shape. Tight binding. The first page has a bookplate stamp in the top right corner but the pages are clean with no writing, underlining or highlighting. Good copy of this book. Always HONEST and UPFRONT descriptions.
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Wasted: The Plight of America's Unwanted Children Paperback – February 28, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Murphy writes on a topic he knows thoroughly. After 30 years in various capacities as an advocate for abused and neglected children (he is currently the public guardian of Cook County, Illinois), he has seen it all. None of it is very pretty. Murphy has no illusions about our present welfare and children's services systems, offering an earthy inside view of why these systems aren't working and providing anecdotal proof of the failures. He feels our efforts are being misdirected in preserving families. Some families can't and shouldn't be preserved. Murphy states, "In the present system, the parent's victim status becomes more important than the child's neglect." He offers solutions, but will they be enough? For all social science collections. [For another view on family preservation, see Marianne Berry's The Family at Risk: Issues and Trends in Family Preservation Services, LJ 8/97.?Ed.]?Sandra Isaacson, U.S. EPA Region VII Lib., Kansas City, Kan.
-?Sandra Isaacson, U.S. EPA Region VII Lib., Kansas City, Kan.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Blunt and authoritative, another indictment of a child welfare system that jumps abused children from home to foster care to mental institution to jail like pieces in a manic game of checkers. Murphy (Our Kindly Parent, the State, 1974) is the public guardian of Cook County, Ill., a unique office from which he represents both troubled children and the elderly. He has seen generations of children move through the child welfare system, bouncing from foster parents to birth parents until the children too are old enough to have children and mistreat them. Murphy very carefully differentiates between families who are merely poor, struggling but with a future, and the families of the ``underclass . . . a dysfunctional fourth world culture that strangles its young.'' Using the first several chapters of the book to outline his own experience as prosecutor, Peace Corps volunteer, and Legal Aid lawyer--years of confrontation with the many aspects of poverty--Murphy goes on to disdain both the traditional liberal view of the poor as victims and the conservative message to let the poor ``rot at home.'' He has some serious questions about the family preservation policies that still drive most social service agencies. Some parents are irredeemably irresponsible, and children should never be returned to their care, says the author. Some modest proposals are offered that would in essence reduce the power of the courts in determining the fate of abused and neglected children and return those decisions to a reorganized child welfare system, modify confidentiality laws so that they no longer protect an incompetent welfare bureaucracy, and expand and bolster ``residential care'' facilities (orphanages, if you will). 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. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (February 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566633338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566633338
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,332,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Author Patrick Murphy, an experienced 30 year veteran of the advocate for abused and neglected children wars, packs an emotional punch in this real life story of horrors. Tales of children being huddled away from abusive parents, by an anitiquated legal system--only to be delivered right into the hands of foster parents leading to continued abuse, degradation, neglect, injury, and even death.
No, this is not easy reading. It is a needed slap in the face reality of a read. Murphy writes, "In the present system, the parent's victim status becomes more important than the child's neglect." Unlike some other books by social critics, this compelling book offers solutions; such as restructuring child welfare bureaucracies into two agencies, one to provide services and the other to investigate child abuse.
The story of the five children placed in foster care and found to be barely living in a basement, was more than shocking. These children would tell their social worker everything was okay, lying to prevent further abuse. A system that rips everything away from these orphans of the living--their hopes, dreams, hearts, and souls desperately needs revamping.
How can we complain about the children of today, when our legal systems are only serving procreation of our citizens of tomorrow? We can do something, save one child at a time. We must start somewhere. Be a mentor, be a Guardian Ad Litem in your local county, be a saviour.
A rivetingly raw book. I urge you to buy it now.
I appreciate your interest & comments--CDS
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Format: Paperback
Although the legal terminology may turn some readers off, I found Murphy to be painfully honest and accurate with his description of the foster care system. As a teacher who has also been a foster parent, I have been witness to some very disturbing situations, and I am still not sure what is in the best interest of the child, long term. Murphy's use of humor certainly helps deliver this message, and I would recommend this book to anyone who works with children.
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By A Customer on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Patrick Murphy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience into this books discussion of povery and America's developing underclass. I would agree with many this book is not easy reading, but rings true in many respects.
His opinions on the current state of Child Welfare Services is rough but honest. He is generally negative and does not hold a great deal of hope for the future of our "system". While personal and profession beliefs in regards to many of his points differ, one cannot disagree with his reasoning.
The book is well thought out and worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book while looking for something related to foster care. I am a director of a small therapeutic foster care program and have been in the “child welfare” field for some time. This is the best text I have read on the subject. It probably makes much more sense if you are in the field. I not, you will not have a very good understanding of the topics discussed. My immediate thought was to share this book with coworkers. It is amazing how the sequence of events in Illinois in the mid 1990’s almost exactly mirror the last few years here in Connecticut. If you are in the field buy this book.
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