Foster Care in America: A Reference Handbook

ABC-CLIO. (Contemporary World Issues). May 2022. 292p. ed. by Christina G. Villegas. ISBN 9781440874291. $63. REF
Hotly debated topics benefit from discussion in edited reference works that offer both facts and perspectives on the topic from multiple voices and viewpoints. This book edited by Villegas (political science, California State Univ.) is happily no outlier in that regard, though it does stand out for its level of detail, compared to narrative nonfiction works on foster care. An introduction includes an overview of the current U.S. foster care system and its history, structure, and policies. This is followed by probably the most useful—and arguably most controversial—section, “Problems, Controversies, and Solutions,” which addresses issues such as children who run away, racial bias in the foster care system, LGBTQ+ rights and religious exemptions, and the challenges introduced by COVID. The preceding is all by Villegas; in the next section, there are texts by foster parents and adults who grew up in foster care (who discuss their own experiences of the system) and by social workers and other professionals (Terri Galindo of the 4Kids organization, writing about trauma-informed care; Darcy Olsen of Gen Justice, on foster care legislation). Profiles of secular and religious foster organizations follow, as well as a valuable “Data and Documents” section.
VERDICT Worth strong consideration by both public and academic libraries.
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