In the ""Issues in Focus"" series, a carefully researched survey of current adoption needs and practice, based on interviews as well as on an extensive, chapter-by-chapter bibliography. After a succinct historical survey, Gay uses b&w photos (not seen) and anecdotal reports to present foster care at its best. She explores the many patterns assumed by foster care and adoption in response to different needs for handicapped or disturbed children, long- or short-term arrangements, continued communication with birth parents, capabilities of foster parents, etc. Later, she discusses knottier issues: the difficulties of caring for severely traumatized children in any setting; the ethics and consequences of interracial placement; the dilemmas of social workers with too few resources. While emphasizing the positive--the perseverance and love of some of the foster parents are especially inspiring--Gay presents an honest, balanced picture, including a chapter on ""Crises in the Child Care System"" and concluding with a plea for a much-needed national commitment to basic care for all children. Good, current information, well organized and clearly presented. Bibliography; further reading; ""Helpful Organizations""; index.