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Rethinking Orphanages for the 21st Century

Richard B. McKenzie Politics and Society, University of California, Irvine
University of California, Irvine
© 1998   334 pages   SAGE Publications, Inc   
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Paperback ISBN: 9780761914440 $80.00
Hardcover ISBN: 9780761914433 $138.00

With welfare reform at the top of the U.S. Congress agenda, the orphanage debate has resurfaced. The current child welfare system is flawed, operating to the detriment of tens of thousands of children. Foster care, intended to act as a temporary solution, has become inadequate permanent care. While adoption is a solution for some children, many children are difficult to place or legally unavailable for permanent placement. Editor Richard B. McKenzie contends that the resurgence of private orphanages or children’s homes will become an option for those children. Rethinking Orphanages for the 21st Century reviews the policy reforms necessary for these homes to become reliable solutions for many of the nation’s disadvantaged and abused children. This edited volume includes entirely new works and maintains continuity and cohesiveness as it explores a variety of topics ranging from judicial issues, child maltreatment, history of orphanages, regulation and funding, and solutions for reform. McKenzie, who grew up in an orphanage in the 1950s, includes the first and only large-scale survey of orphanage alumni, involving 1,600 respondents. He found that as a group, they outpaced their counterparts in the general population by significant margins on nearly all levels, including education, income, and attitude toward life.

Child welfare professionals, policymakers, sociologists, social workers, and family studies scholars will find this timely volume of great interest.

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