IPT Book Reviews

Title: Out of Control: Who's Watching Our Child Protection Agencies?
Author: Brenda Scott
Publisher: Huntington House Publishers, 1994

Huntington House Publishers
PO Box 53788
Lafayette, LA 70505
(800) 749-4009

This 208-page book is an exploration of the agenda of some child protection services and how the system is failing families and children. The author begins with the defects in the system, malpractice issues, and agency conspiracy. She describes the distortion of statistics, differing definitions of abuse and neglect from state to state, problems with foster care, erroneous court decisions, and special difficulties involving sexual abuse allegations, especially in treatment hospitals.

The author provides a frightening account of errors in the system and how agencies are likely to protect the case rather than the child or the family with the result that parents and children are victimized rather than helped. When cases are turned over to prosecuting attorneys, case workers are made into detectives instead of rehabilitators and helpers. A major point is that it is not lack of money nor downsizing that creates the problems, but an anti-family philosophy, and the book includes suggestions of what needs to be changed. The author emphasizes the necessity for accused parents to hire a competent, assertive attorney and she gives suggestions on how parents can defend themselves in court.

This is a powerful book which will be read with outrage and alarm over the state of our child protection system. It is highly recommended to child protection workers, agency administrators, and case supervisors, as well as to parents.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, West Virginia University.

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