Best Interests of the Children

America’s Dependency System as seen through the Eyes of Guardians
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What should professionals—judges, lawyers, teachers, social workers, and Guardian ad Litem or CASA volunteers –consider in pursuing the Best Interest of Children who have been abandoned, neglected or abused? How can Department of Children and Families improve their systems?

Best Interests of the Children explains that the ethical principles of Beneficence and Non-Maleficence exist in the medical world to maximize benefit and to avoid harm to patients. The duty is to assist persons in need, and its converse, the duty to refrain from causing harm. These same principles should apply to the “Best Interest” standard used in the children and families dependency welfare system, to protect defenseless children from parental abandonment, neglect and abuse.

When parents separate, which of them should have primary responsibility for the child’s care? Who is the actual “psychological” parent? With compassion and actual case experiences, the authors, Miriam and Robert Fertig, help readers understand many of the key issues inherent in childcare decisions. They present a dozen Florida cases, as seen through the “Eyes of Guardians.” They conclude that timely and effective services and continuity of care for the family is essential for the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children.

Case summaries from other states indicate that America’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) has serious “systemic problems.” The authors propose realistic solutions to improve this nationwide system. Best Interests of the Children will also enlighten the public and their legislators.

“Best Interests” is an eye-opening, heart-wrenching, information-packed guide to the world of families in crisis and the crucial role of Guardian ad Litem. Written in a conversational style, it can be blunt and feisty at times, but is always enlightening. I found myself shocked on one page, and then extremely edified and encouraged on the page that followed. Any book that is so provocative and stimulating will occasionally ignite a mental mini-debate between reader and author, but this is part of the “fun and education,” that comes from any book this stimulating, that penetrates mind and heart at the same time. Highly recommended.
— Reader Review by: Thomas Woodward (Ph.D. USF), Professor of Trinity College, Founder and Director of the C. S. Lewis Society, in Florida

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