Forsaking Our Children: Bureaucracy And Reform In The Child Welfare System
Publish Date: 1995-01-01
Author: John M. M. Hagedorn
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Forsaking Our Children is the story of what happens when an activist sociologistand former welfare rights organizeris hired to reform a child welfare system. Written for social workers and activists as well as for academics and policy makers, this book combines often gut-wrenching personal stories and a compelling narrative of a hard-fought reform struggle with a critical history of child welfare. Despite today's adverse conditions, Hagedorn argues against defeatism, proposing a concrete and attainable blueprint for reform of the U.S. child welfare system. How and why our child welfare system fails children and their families are central questions of this book. Chilling stories of these failures are combined with a new theoretical perspective which shows how welfare bureaucracies adapted to changing political conditions, substituting punitive interventions for the delivery of needed services. Hagedorn critically examines the history of public welfare from the 19th century through the New Deal, the Anti-Poverty Programs of the sixties, and the discover of child abuse in the seventies. The logical conclusion of this history is the current emphasis on removing children from their families and the creation of a new system of orphanages. Applying lessons learned from restructuring modern businesses to the reform of welfare bureaucracies, Hagedorn argues that genuine reform does not involve either massive cutbacks or infusion of new funds.