America's Secret Children's Prisons
by William D. Andrews
Trafford Publishing

"But every time I talk to you, Dad, something tells me not to give up because Daddy won't let anything happen. Daddy won't let them take me away. Daddy will get us back."

William D. Andrews has spent 30 years counseling and working with persons who have been removed from the home by the foster care program. In his new book, America's Secret Children's Prisons, the author summarizes his experience working within the system, providing the personal stories of racism and sexual and physical abuse recounted by some of the foster children he has encountered. These abuses, Andrews alleges, remain hidden behind a wall of silence meant to protect the foster care and home removal system. The most compelling tool Andrews uses to elucidate his case is the inclusion of some "smuggled letters" (such as the one quoted from above) that he has seen over the years to and from foster children and their families. With names and all personal information redacted, the letters starkly personalize the psychological damage that can be done to the children in the name of protection.

Claiming that "over 60% of the children removed from homes in some states are listed as unwarranted removals," the author clearly expresses his zeal to expose the deficiencies in the foster care system, both on the legal side and the sheltering side, in hopes of raising awareness and eventually improving the situation. Unfortunately, the book is written in an unconventional format (boldface, with much capitalization and underlining) that serves to weaken the over all presentation. And since his message is undeniably gripping, one wishes that some source material had been provided to corroborate the author's facts. While necessarily saddening, the letters and the author’s compassionate approach to the subject provide poignant insight into the harsh realities many foster care children face.

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