The Book Of David by Richard J. Gelles
How Preserving Families Can Cost Children's Lives

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Using the true story of a murdered child as a point of departure, a leading expert on family violence argues that society’s first priority must be protecting children rather than preserving families.Richard Gelles was once one of the most widely published and vocal defenders of family preservation: the social policy of keeping troubles families together as a primary goal. He then ran into the true and tragic case of David Edwards, an infant who was murdered by his mother after falling through the chasms in the child welfare system.David’s story convinced Gelles that the system must change. Nearly half the children who are killed by their parents each year are killed after they have come to the attention of child welfare agencies. These children must be protected by getting them out of harm’s way. That means a radically new child welfare system must be developed. The first priority must be to protect children rather than preserve families. This hard-hitting book critically examines family preservation programs and argues that they do not work. Gelles goes beyond mere criticism of the child welfare system to suggest specific ways the system should be changed, such as eliminating mandatory reporting of abuse, giving better training to caseworkers, and separating the investigation of abuse from case management.

About Richard J. Gelles

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Richard Gelles, a leading expert on family violence and author of 11 books on the subject, is the director of the Family Violence Research Program at the University of Rhode Island, where he is also a professor of sociology and psychology.
Published August 1, 1996 by Basic Books. 224 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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A radical reassessment of the current policy of keeping families intact, even when doing so means risking the continuing abuse of children in a family, must be changed.

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Publishers Weekly

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The tragedy of abused children who have been failed by child welfare agencies is made palpable in the case presented here, followed by a specialist in family violence.

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