Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shattered Bonds: The Color Of Child Welfare” as Want to Read:
Shattered Bonds: The Color Of Child Welfare
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shattered Bonds, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shattered Bonds

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 407)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
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
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
Nicole Summers
Nicole Summers marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
Kate marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2016
Anna Whittet
Anna Whittet marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
Ehlana Struth
Ehlana Struth marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2016
BookDB marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2016
Sarah added it
Aug 27, 2016
Serenity marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2016
Mark Fitzpatrick
Mark Fitzpatrick marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
Jade Geary
Jade Geary marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
Sarah rated it liked it
Aug 21, 2016
Megan Thompson
Megan Thompson marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2016
Mali marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2016
Morgan marked it as to-read
Aug 10, 2016
Genifer Salandy
Genifer Salandy rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2016
Phoebe marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2016
Jaime marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2016
Sophie Lembeck
Sophie Lembeck marked it as to-read
Aug 03, 2016
Kate Donovan
Kate Donovan marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2016
Alex Forrest
Alex Forrest marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2016
Shannon Fluder
Shannon Fluder marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2016
Allie marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2016
Marlena Smith-millman
Marlena Smith-millman marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States
  • Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement
  • The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
  • The Trouble Between Us: An Uneasy History of White and Black Women in the Feminist Movement
  • Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice
  • Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire
  • Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption
  • The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care
  • On Their Own: What Happens to Kids When They Age Out of the Foster Care System
  • The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption
  • Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform
  • The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism, and White Privilege
  • Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980
  • Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide
  • Orphans of the Living: Stories of America's Children in Foster Care
  • On Being Raped
  • The Road Not Taken: A History of Radical Social Work in the United States
  • Women of Color and Feminism: Seal Studies
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
More about Dorothy Roberts...

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…