No Way to Treat A Child

by Naomi Schaefer Riley

Publisher: Post Hill Press, New York, 2021,
Hard back $39.87,

298 pages.

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute focusing on issues regarding child welfare; a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; and a writer who examines parenting, higher education, religion, philanthropy, and culture.  She appears regularly on Fox News, Fox Business, and CNBC.  She has also appeared on Q&A with Brian Lamb as well as the Today Show.

A writer for the Atlantic said this about the book,” Riley tells the truth about what goes on in the lives of children who have been removed from their parents’ care by the state. Sent from placement to placement – and school to school – they suffer emotional and educational losses that can’t be repaired.”

An increased push for kinship care ticks many boxes (kids are kept with adults of their race, family members are held to a significantly lower standard which is less work for caseworkers, cases can be closed sooner) but the lack of oversight of those family members sometimes means taking a child from one abusive home and putting them in another, because the powers that be have decided that being with family is more important than grandpa’s domestic violence record.

Riley has powerful data and evidence that the current system of child welfare is a national crisis and society’s mission to protect the most vulnerable is failing.

800,000 children have been abused or neglected by their caretakers each year.  440,000 have been removed from their families and placed in foster care as a result.  Children’s lives are being destroyed as the family disintegrates and the drug epidemic escalates.

This book could be helpful to those who are involved in childcare, whether that involvement is as house parents, counselor, or an executive director.

Three chapters (9,10, and 11) deal with issues that Network 1:27 faces. Chapter 9, It’s a Hard-Knock Life in Group Home- but possibly better than the Alternative; Chapter 10, The Power of Faith: How Religious Communities are Making Foster Care Stronger; Chapter 11, The War Against Faith Based Foster Care.

One of the lines from chapter 11 says,” Most foster-care agencies in this country are faith based.  If we shut them down, the half a million children in foster care right now and the hundreds of thousands who will come in over the next few years will have a much harder time finding homes”.