SAVE THE FAMILY, SAVE THE CHILD by Vincent J. Fontana

SAVE THE FAMILY, SAVE THE CHILD

What We Can Do To Help Children At Risk

KIRKUS REVIEW

 As medical director of N.Y.C.'s Foundling Hospital and creator of the crisis nursery there, Fontana (Somewhere a Child is Crying, 1973) has seen it all. Ably assisted by co-author Moolman, he now recounts wrenching stories of damaged and murdered children, and of bureaucratic incompetence and political indifference, with an outrage all the more powerful for its restraint. Fontana has spent approximately three decades in the trenches of a war against child abuse and to his great credit has not been embittered or discouraged by finding himself no farther along than when he began--in fact, given the drug-caused boom in cases of awful neglect and abuse, the problem has grown much larger. We know the programs that work, he asserts: their effectiveness has been proved. Lacking are committed political leadership (the prevailing attitude being, Fontana says, that kids don't vote, so who cares about them?); centralized national registry of incidents of abuse so that a child's case can be tracked from state to state (here Fontana indicts the ACLU for caring more about the abusive adult's right to privacy than the child's right to live without pain or, indeed, at all); more training for physicians in recognizing abuse; a coordinated hospital and social-service network (rather than the horrendously inefficient and wasteful system now barely functioning); better family courts; and enough funds to implement preventative and rehabilitative programs. These programs are not costly, he argues convincingly, compared to the costs of dealing with the deformed characters produced by abusive parents. An impassioned book, a sad and infuriating depiction of America's greatest national disgrace, and a persuasive delineation of humane and sensible solutions.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1991
ISBN: 0-525-24989-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1991