RELEASED NOVEMBER 2, 2018 ORDER INFORMATION BELOW

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They Took the Kids Last Night:

How the Child Protection System Puts Families at Risk by Diane L. Redleaf


How come the seemingly helpful words "Child Protective Services" cause so many of us to flinch? Because we've all heard of good families torn apart by some officious bureaucrat. Here are the stories in all their outrage, by someone who has done more than anyone to fight the system. Diane Redleaf is a national hero.

-- Lenore Skenazy, Founder of the best-selling book, blog and movements, Free-Range Kids and  LET GROW!

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Today’s “see something, say something” legal culture has led to wrongful prosecution of parents, while many actual cases of child abuse continue to go unreported.

NOVEMBER 2, 2018

Praeger

Pages 275

  • AVAILABLE AND #1 RATED IN CHILD ADVOCACY FAMILY LAW CATEGORY ON AMAZON!

    Hardcover

    978-1-4408-6628-9

    $48.00 (20% OFF DISCOUNT COUPON AVAILABLE FROM AUTHOR--USE CONTACT FORM BELOW)

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This account of six families whose children were wrongly seized by child protection services vividly illustrates the constitutional balancing act where medicine, family interests, and child safety can clash.

They Took the Kids Last Night shows a rarely exposed side of America’s contemporary struggle to address child abuse, telling the stories of loving families who were almost destroyed by false allegations—readily accepted by caseworkers, doctors, the media, and, too often, the courts. 

Each of the six wrongly accused families profiled in this book faced an epic and life-changing battle when child protection caseworkers came to their homes to take their kids. In each case, a child had an injury whose cause was unknown; it could have been due to an accident, a medical condition, or abuse. Each of the families ultimately exonerated itself and restored its family life, but still bears scars from the experience that will never heal. The book tells why and how the child protection system failed these families. It also examines the larger flaws in our country’s child protection safety net that is supposed to sort out the innocent from the guilty in order to protect children.

Features

  • Illustrates how the mantra "best interests of the child" masks errors, assumptions, and stereotypes that hide the real harm child protection policies are doing to children and families

  • Reveals how families are wrongly separated when overworked and underskilled caseworkers jump to conclusions of guilt, ignoring evidence of innocence

  • Focuses on the child protection system from the moment of intervention—starting with the child abuse hotline call that targets a specific child as a victim and his or her parents as suspects

  • Highlights the many decision points, attitudes, policies, and practices that operate to make even innocent parents vulnerable to having their children taken from them

  • Explains why basic due process principles ordered by federal and state courts would go a long way to help families, but cautions that just results depend on effective family defense counsel.

WHAT EXPERTS  ARE SAYING:

******

Pioneering family defender Diane Redleaf tells gripping stories of clients caught up in the nightmare of America’s child welfare system—a system that unjustly tears families apart based on flawed evidence, race, class, and gender biases, and wrongheaded policies. Her spotlight on parents wrongfully accused of harming their children reveals a critical aspect of the trauma caused by an approach to child welfare centered on investigating parents rather than supporting families. They Took the Kids Last Night is a shocking exposé of the inner workings of a damaging system and an urgent call for change.

--Prof. Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Shattered Bonds: the Color of Child Welfare

This is the child welfare system as it really works – not the Disney version presented by the people who run it. These are frontline dispatches from someone who has devoted her professional life to helping vulnerable children and families.

At one point in her gripping, urgently-needed book, Diane Redleaf talks about how, in one case, “We had moved from Kafka’s absurd and inaccessible justice, to Orwell’s oppressive State surveillance and doublespeak, to Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil in quick succession.”  As the book makes clear, that is, in fact, an apt description of the entire child welfare system – a system that often winds up destroying children in the name of saving them.

As you read about the enormous harm done to children and families in these cases, remember, as Redleaf often reminds us, these families actually suffered less than most.  And this book reminds us of something else: Though the system is most likely to attack those who are poor and nonwhite, it can come after anyone. The people who “took the kids last night” could be back for yours tomorrow.

--RICHARD WEXLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COALITION FOR CHILD PROTECTION REFORM AND AUTHOR OF WOUNDED INNOCENTS: THE REAL VICTIMS OF THE WAR AGAINST CHILD ABUSE  

******

The United States practices child welfare like no other country in the world. In the name of child protection, it removes children from their families, temporarily and permanently, more than anywhere else on earth. Diane Redleaf, a pioneer defender of parents and families, reveals the many flaws in our system and makes important suggestions for change. Those who care about families and children should read this important book and heed her sensible proposals for change.

--PROF. MARTIN GUGGENHEIM, FIORELLO LAGUARDIA PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL LAW, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL  

 Author Info

Diane L. Redleaf is legal director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, where she heads the Redleaf Family Advocacy Institute and cochairs United Family Advocates, a national bipartisan child protection policy advocacy network. Redleaf became a partner at Lehrer and Redleaf in 1996, and in 2005 she founded the legal advocacy program at the Family Defense Center in Chicago, of which she was director until 2017. Redleaf has taught at the University of Chicago Law School and Loyola Law School and won several awards, including the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women's Founder's Award and the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Carleton College.



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