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Shattered Bonds: The Color Of Child Welfare

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  107 Ratings  ·  8 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 t ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 25th 2002 by Basic Civitas Books (first published November 1st 1901)
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Travis
Jan 06, 2011 Travis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
This is an excellent analysis of the US child welfare system and how ridiculously broken it is. While the general view of foster care is that children are only taken from their families when they are abused or grossly neglected, the truth is that many children (especially black children) are taken from their families for no reason other than that they are poor. [return][return]And because regardless of how true it is for individual cases, as a whole, biological parents are coded as black and fos ...more
Gaylynn
Apr 07, 2008 Gaylynn rated it it was amazing
It was like Dorothy Roberts followed me around every day at work. Crazy and haunting and frustrating and outrageous. This book is a must-read.
Sara Cat
Mar 20, 2016 Sara Cat rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, adoption
Nice review of data about institutionalized racism in the foster care system by a law professor. Best chapter was the one on the history of welfare programs. Also important was the point about how many children are taken away directly as a result of poverty - under the rubric of "neglect" - when there isn't any harm done to kids by the parents, but, for example, they live in a home that is not up to code and don't have money to fix it. Somehow the system has come to the conclusion that expensive ...more
Tannya
Apr 20, 2008 Tannya rated it it was ok
Again a required text book for one of my classes, and again a very good book. When you have 4 kids and life seems overwhelming reading books like this make me stop complaining, yelling at my kids, or not appreciating my husband. That might be one of the greatest aspects of reading really tough things like this book, in doing a real look at how great my life is in comparison to the many women in this book. Dorothy Roberts is a very compelling writer, although if you don't want to hear about issue ...more
Quin Rich
Feb 23, 2014 Quin Rich rated it it was amazing
In this gripping account of the racial injustices perpetuated by the child welfare system, Roberts powerfully argues for a transformation of child welfare policy from its current punative, "rescue-based" orientation towards a vision of community empowerment and collective concern for the well-being of all children. Detailing the coercive functions of the child welfare system on Black families, as well as it's links to racist criminal (in)justice and stigmatized welfare systems, Shattered Bonds i ...more
Dena S.
May 23, 2016 Dena S. rated it liked it
Overall the author makes good points about racism and its detrimental affects on black children and black families, as it pertains to child welfare. I agree with her that too many children are being removed, whether black or otherwise. I also agree that in order to address child welfare, we must address racism, poverty, and quit punishing people for being poor (or non-white). I do wonder though, if she's glossing over the number of children in the system who were actually abused in their home, a ...more
Em
May 13, 2007 Em rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Roberts is occasionally a bit too extreme (and i think overreaches her hypotheses) but it's still an interesting read, and a good look at some of the problems within the current child welfare system. (If you're looking for an overview, I'd recommend supplementing the book with other references, like Conlan's discussion of new federalism in the welfare state and Bartholet's evaluation of the child welfare system).
Carol Keefer
Good critical thinking about foster care and poverty
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Dorothy Roberts is a scholar, professor, author and social justice advocate, and currently the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has published a range of groundbreaking articles and books analyzing issues of law, race, gender, health, class and social inequality, including Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Libert ...more
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“Neglect is usually better classified as child maltreatment defined by poverty rather than maltreatment caused by poverty. The main reason child protection services deal primarily with poor families is because of the way child maltreatment is defined. The child welfare system is designed to detect and punish neglect on the part of poor parents and to ignore most middle-class and wealthy parents’ failings. Although the meaning of child maltreatment shifted from a social to a medical model, it retained its focus on poor families. The system continues to concentrate on the effects of childhood poverty, but it treats the damage as a symptom of parental rather than societal deficits.” 0 likes
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