Wounded Innocents: The Real Victims of the War Against Child Abuse -
||Prometheus Books, ©1995
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
Richard Wexler, a journalist, is well-known after the 1990 edition of his book which catalogues how the child welfare system is failing both families and children. He includes an update in Chapter 12. Most of his sources of data are based on newspaper accounts, but even so, Wexler makes a convincing argument. He closes his update chapter by discussing the major myths of welfare that guide current policy-making behavior, including the role of poverty in causing child neglect. He notes that child neglect is systematically ignored in both policy and the literature.
Wexler reports that 1,972,740 reports of child abuse are false and he observes that these reports are costly to investigate and highly distressing for the families involved. He criticizes the figures issued by the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse and stresses the need for removing from the records reports of minor neglect and decreasing useless paper work. He is especially critical of the Child Welfare League of America. Each chapter is amply documented with footnotes.
Although I would have liked to see a set of recommendations for reform, this book is highly recommended.
Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, West Virginia University.