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Child Welfare Library

Welcome to the William Gladden Foundation child welfare library of
books and short-reads about foster care, juvenile delinquency & juvenile justice,
children’s mental health, and child abuse & neglect. Please click on the title or cover image to read more about or purchase these publications. Scroll through each section, or narrow your search by clicking on the headings listed under the appendix.

foster care

Books on Foster Care

    These foster care alumni have chosen to reflect on their childhood experiences through the lens of adult professionals so that their unique knowledge might reach receptive minds looking to improve services to youth growing up in foster care. Their pre-placement memories may shock you. Their in-placement experiences may alarm you. Their post-placement accomplishments may inspire you. Their insights and recommendations may enlighten you. Most of all, what they have to say will make you think!


    These true stories provide the unique client perspective required for child welfare professionals and foster parents to grasp the significance of the crucial roles they play in preparing foster youth for life on their own. Furthermore, youth getting ready for life after foster care, as well as recently emancipated alumni who crave guidance from role-models, now have access to a detailed road map that illuminates the path to their self-actualization.

    If you are presently in foster or residential care or a recent graduate of the child welfare system looking for guidance, this book was written for you. If you want to know how to turn your foster or residential care placement into a positive experience, this book shows you how to make it happen. If you want to know how to get ready for life after foster or residential care, this book points your mind in the right direction. If you want to know how to beat the odds after you leave the child welfare system, this book puts the odds in your favor and sets you up for success.


    Nine alumni contributed to this manifesto. Our placements include orphanages, children’s homes, group homes, foster parents, adoptive parents, kinship care, detention centers, juvenile reformatories and mental health facilities. Our mission is to ensure that youth in foster and
residential care enjoy a safe, stable and nurturing placement as well as a successful transition to independent living. Please read this book and learn how you can improve the placement experiences and adult outcomes of foster youth.


    The government-run foster care system that was supposed to make life better for at-risk youth has failed to adequately nurture, protect and prepare them to mature into healthy, independent adults. Instead, this dangerous and destructive social experiment is ineffective, inefficient, inept, corrupt and self-serving. This is not a fictionalized history of American foster care; rather, it is a factual account of how seemingly good intentions are not always wise or sincere.


    So, you’re considering adoption. Good for you! There are thousands of foster youths hoping that you’ll choose them. What they want is for someone to love them – someone just like you. This concise adoption handbook is easy-to-read and to understand and carefully explains what you need to know to get started in your search for a child to adopt.

juvenile delinquency & justice

Books on Juvenile Delinquency & Juvenile Justice


    This true story is written for troubled teens and ex-delinquents seeking to make sense of their life, mothers and fathers parenting trouble youth, professors, researchers and students studying delinquency in society and juvenile justice professionals seeking to reclaim youth at risk. Official
records include juvenile court transcripts, juvenile probation officer reports and records and psychiatric assessments, clinical and staff notes.


    Understanding juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice can be confusing for parents. This concise e-book answers 20 need-to-know questions parents ask about the causes of delinquency and how the juvenile justice system seeks to control delinquent behavior. It also explains how the
juvenile justice system operates and the different directions a youth can travel within the system. Four checklists offer parents a better understanding of what may be influencing their child’s delinquent behavior and what they can do to prevent or stop it.


    The juvenile court process can be hard to understand and downright scary. This easy-to-read e-book explains what happens every step of the juvenile court process. It answers 21 important questions about juvenile corrections, juvenile detention, the adjudication process and placement
in a juvenile justice facility. It also provides an explanation of the different directions you can travel within the juvenile justice system and a list of the dozens of words and their meanings you may hear in juvey and need to know, so that you understand what is going on.


    The author of this true story uses his personal experience as a special education student who failed the 9th grade and spent much of his troubled teens in residential care, juvenile justice and mental health treatment programs to highlight the pivotal role played by educators and the
educational system in his abandonment of delinquent and antisocial behavior.


    Some mental health, child welfare and social work professionals believed that I was doomed to a
life of continued pathology and failure. According to the doubters, my prognosis was, at best, somewhere between “guarded” and “unfavorable.” Fortunately, there were professionals whose approach was far more positive. They saw potential where the doubters saw limitations. They
provided alternatives, while the doubters sought absolutes. They invested their efforts, so that I might have an opportunity to prevail. They are the true heroes in my life; without their altruism and dedication I would have proved the doubters correct.


     The rise of aggressive and violent behaviors involves more than the family. Physical assaults have become prevalent in America’s cities and neighborhoods. Bullying at school and youth gang violence abounds. Television, video games, movies and cartoons assail viewers with physical and verbal conflict. Hostile and violent themes fill rock music with negative messages. Aggression and violence bombard American children, both within the home and throughout society. Given these facts, is it any wonder that hostile and disruptive behaviors are increasing among America’s at-risk youth?


    Written for delinquent and other at-risk youth, this is a tale of a troubled youth caught up in the child welfare, mental health and juvenile justice system. More so, however, it is about reclaiming at-risk youth. It goes beyond most juvenile delinquency memoirs by including questions and exercises designed to help other traumatized children and rebellious teens develop their own plan
to turn their life around.


    Young people need mentors and role models, especially traumatized youth and children of divorce. Had not wise father-figures involved themselves in my rebellious teens, I most certainly would have graduated from juvenile delinquency to a life of violence, crime, insanity and
institutionalization; if not died long ago. This is a belated thank you to the professionals who guided my turnaround. Each of them made an indelible mark on my soul in their own special way, and it is what each of them did for me that I want to share with you.


    I got into a lot of trouble as a wannabe gangster. I failed the sixth grade once and the eighth grade twice. I ran with a gang. I broke into houses, cars and stores and raided trucks. I dropped out of school. I shot dope. I shot a friend in the chest with a .38. He almost died. That’s when I knew I had to change my life. I’m a college professor now. I worked very hard to change my life. My story will tell you how to change your life, too.


    Theft is often the first delinquent act juveniles commit. Children tend to begin stealing at or near home by taking objects or money from family, friends, neighbors or local stores. Stealing is usually an early indicator of other problems. Juvenile offenders who continue a pattern of theft
tend to become involved in other, more serious forms of crime. The longer their delinquent behaviors persist, the more difficult they are to resolve.


    Most kids who kill are involved with gangs. Some of their acts seem to be violence for the sake of violence; others are associated with turf, the drug trade, exaggerated macho exploits and initiation rites. Kids kill for other reasons, too. Teen homicide is often committed along with
other crimes, like theft and arson. Kids that kill other kids and kids who kill parents are involved in interpersonal conflicts, many of which result in the murder of a friend, acquaintance or family member. Other patterns of the juvenile murderer include psychotic, sex-related and senseless.


    Experts believe that juvenile delinquents are responsible for 55% of America’s arson problem. Nearly half of these troubled youth are age 15 or younger, and around seven percent are under age ten. Arson has the highest rate of juvenile crime involvement. Juvenile arson can start with
the seemingly innocent acts of naturally curious children playing with matches or lighters or the apparently vicious acts of the emotionally disturbed pyromaniac.


    Juvenile gangs are not confined to big cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or Detroit. The number of youth gangs in cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas throughout America continues to grow. The National School Safety Center, a division of the U.S. Department of
Justice stated: “Communities and schools not experienced with youth gang behavior are now forced to deal with it.” With the continued spread of juvenile gangs in America’s communities and schools, and the crime and violence that accompanies them, police, educators, students and
citizens must be prepared.

mental health

Books on Mental Health


   Growing up ain't easy! If your parents are at each other’s throat, it’s less easy. And if your dad blames you for having to get married and your mom drowns you in her crazy clean solution of Lysol and ammonia, it’s much less easy. And if these mind-boggles persisted every day since your addled brain remembers, you’re a definite candidate to rebel, give up on school, run away from home, succumb to depression and suicidal thoughts or in some other way symbolically scream at the top of your lungs: HEY! I’M LOSING IT! SOMEBODY HELP ME!


    I cannot remember the exact age at which I first began to experience depression. I was less than 10-years-old the first time I tried to kill myself. A handful of sleeping pills seemed like the best approach. Mother somehow found out and had my stomach pumped. A scar on my right wrist
serves as a reminder of the second attempt. Numerous other death threats and suicidal gestures occurred over the following several years. My failed attempts at suicide were loud cries for help, the ultimate means of communicating that life made no sense and was beyond my control.


    Today, perhaps more than ever, America is a nation of racial and ethnic diversity, and indications suggest that the trend will continue. Racism and prejudice are based on exaggerated myths and stereotypes. Myths and stereotypes cannot be ignored. They form the very basis of racism and
prejudice and affect how children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds relate to one another. In essence, the effect of racism on children shapes both individual and societal potential, thus limiting us all!


    There are various reasons why children wet the bed. Heredity is a major cause. Many children with a bedwetting habit have one or more close relatives who also have wet the bed. Some children suffer from physical or psychological problems that contribute to bedwetting. Many of these causes are beyond the control of the bed wetter. There are, however, ways to help children reduce or overcome their bedwetting habits. Much depends upon how parents or other caregivers handle the child’s bedwetting problem.


    Adapted from the author’s book, The Other Side of Delinquency, and written at a middle school reading level for children of divorce and rebellious teens, the author reveals how his father’s rejection, mother’s crazy behaviors, years of mind-boggling parent fighting and their emotional
divorce slowly ate away at his brain like battery acid. Read this brief, easy to read and understand e-book to learn what this former juvenile delinquent learned about turning his life around through a series of questions that at risk youth can use to personalize their answers and put their own life in perspective.


    Divorce can be a very painful and disruptive experience for children, with long-term effects! Some children manage to survive the psychological effect of divorce and grow past it; others suffer from the effects for years. How children are affected by divorce largely depends on the child’s personality, the circumstance surrounding the divorce and the parents’ sensitivity to their children. When parents put the needs of their children first, and are aware of how their own behavior can either harm or help their offspring during this time of turmoil, it is possible to reduce the negative effect of divorce on children.


    OCD is a major psychiatric disorder affecting more than four million Americans. There may be more than one million Americans younger than 18 years of age with this disorder. OCD is also an adult illness. Between one-third and one-half of adult cases of OCD have their onset in childhood. Researchers of OCD believe this disorder is a genetic problem, and effective treatment options are rapidly emerging. Early recognition and treatment of this disorder may prevent suffering, disruption of life and, perhaps, even deaths.


    Beginning in puberty, kids become more outspoken in their views, more critical of parents’ values and more demanding of control over their lives. Parents may regard their teens’ assertiveness as disobedience, insolence or disrespect. Teens may take their parents’ criticisms as a refusal to grant them the freedom they seek. The potential for severely damaged parent-child relationships is strong during adolescence. This concise guide to teenagers provides important information about teens and suggestions on how to adjust to and manage the changes that teens
go through.


    ADHD is a collection of symptoms that continue throughout childhood and sometimes into adulthood. Children with ADHD have ongoing excessive symptoms of movement, distractibility, impulsivity and excitability that cause difficulties for continued school, social and emotional
problems. Some experts believe that ADHD is merely a mixture of symptoms used to describe bratty children. Other experts contend that it is a medical syndrome. Some research studies claim that as high as 10% of all American children show signs of ADHD. ADHD has become one of
the most discussed childhood behavioral disorders.


    Mental health professionals generally agree that frequent lying is a cause for serious concern and that the psychological, social and moral development of the child may be at risk. As children mature, they may tell stories about things they wish were true. Rebellious teens may tell lies as a means to get what they want, to gain peer group acceptance, to stimulate conflict or for no apparent reason. This type of falsification is called “delinquent lying”. Parents should be concerned when delinquent lying occurs frequently or accompanies other forms of delinquent behavior.

child abuse & neglect

Books on Child Abuse & Neglect


    How can we save our children from abuse and neglect? One answer is citizen involvement. Law enforcement and government agencies cannot do the job alone. They, and the children they protect, need your help. This concise e-book answers 20 questions about various forms of child
maltreatment. There is also a description of How a Case of Child Abuse or Neglect is Handled. Five detailed lists explain the causes, consequences and possible cures for child abuse and neglect. What you learn can make all the difference in the lives of abused and neglected children.


    Emotional or psychological abuse is the least understood and hardest to prove form of child abuse, and may be the most common and damaging. Because of the many stresses suffered in modern society and the family, childcare experts believe that children are at high risk for emotional abuse and neglect by parents. These abused children often suffer psychological problems that may last a lifetime. If you’re concerned about a child whose emotional needs may
be suffering because of an abusive parent, read this concise e-book! What you learn may make a difference in the life of a child.


    Child sexual abuse is a social problem that requires our full attention. Although the long-term effects are not yet fully understood, indications are that sexually abused children develop problems that may take years to work through. If you suspect child sexual abuse, it is your duty to report it. Your concerned involvement CAN make an important difference in the life of an at- risk youth. If you’re researching sexual abuse prevention books for need-to-know information about how to identify child molesters, protect child sexual abuse victims and report this heinous
crime, read this e-book!


    The attitude of America's citizens and government toward child pornography has grown increasingly restrictive. Child advocates agree that the production and use of such materials puts children at risk. In spite of serious restrictive efforts, however, the production and use of child
pornography springs from at least two of humankind’s strongest urges – desire for sex and wealth – and is unlikely to wither away. If you’re searching for insightful information about how to prevent and report child pornography and child sexual abuse, read this concise and easy to
understand e-book!


    Over three million cases of family violence involving children are reported each year. Another few million cases go unreported. And another couple thousand more of our nation’s children die each year because of domestic abuse and domestic violence. Millions of other young people
endure the indirect results of domestic violence, including anxiety, depression, guilt and fear. Problems coping with the abuse can follow the child throughout life and the effects can be devastating. Many of these young people mistakenly feel responsible for the violence. Abused
boys are twice as likely to become abusive parents when they become adults.


    Although our knowledge about child incest is growing, there is still much that remains unclear. What we can state with near certainty is that 1) no social class or ethnic group is exempt, 2) more is known about father/daughter incest (including stepfathers) than that of other relationships, 3)
where fathers are the perpetrators, there are generally other serious family problems including marital discord and social isolation and 4) the parents themselves often suffered abuse as children. The fact is that no one has the right to “use” children for sexual purposes.


    There is a near epidemic of student prostitutes, both girls and boys. High school prostitutes can be found in many American towns and gang prostitution is common in most large cities. A main cause of teenage prostitution is the number of young people who take to the streets as runaways or throwaways. Up to one million American children run away from home each year, and parents
throw out another 150,000 or so from their homes. Finding themselves unprepared to get and keep jobs, some of these at-risk youth turn to prostitution as a way to survive.


Biographies of At-Risk Youth for At-Risk Youth


    This short biography about Maya Angelou tells how she grew past her troubled childhood. Being raped at age 8 and pregnant by 16, Maya turned to prostitution to support her baby, and drugs to hide her shame. She also began writing stories, poems and essays. But when she became
involved in the Civil Rights Movement with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., her life changed forever. This true story includes a vocabulary builder and 10 questions about Maya’s amazing life. Read this fun e-book about Maya Angelou to learn how she rose above her humble and
troubled beginning to become America's Poet Laureate.


    This short biography informs the reader about Dr. King's family background, his childhood influences, educational experiences and the life events that molded his character to become the most important civil rights leader in the history of America. The story begins with the full transcript of Dr. King's famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, and goes on to focus attention on Reverend King's 1) ministry, 2) involvement in bus boycotts, 3) sit-ins, 4) freedom rides, 5)
children’s crusade, 6) Civil Rights Act of 1964, 7) Nobel Peace Prize and 8) Voting Rights Act of 1965.


    This short biography about Zora Neale Hurston examines how she grew past her tough childhood
of abandonment, poverty and racial discrimination to become one of America’s greatest African-American writers and folklorists. It includes a vocabulary builder and 10 questions about Zora’s amazing life. This uplifting story about how Zora beat the odds is an ideal resource for book
reports and home schooling. Students, teachers and parents will also find the subject matter and easy-to-read and understand style appropriate for literacy programs and reading comprehension.


    This short biography tells the tale of a Native-American who grew past his childhood problems to become a United States Senator from Colorado. Raised by a sickly mother who was often in the hospital and an alcoholic father, young Ben soon found himself in a Catholic orphanage. Ben dropped out of school his senior year and joined the military. Learn how Ben pulled his life together and earned a fourth-degree Judo blackbelt, went on to college and graduate school, became an Olympian and a Senator.


    This inspirational short biography about Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong tells how he spent his early childhood in a run-down area restricted for African-Americans called “Back O’Town.” The house had no running water, electricity or gas. His father soon abandoned young Louis and his
teenage mother. Louis grew up on the mean streets of New Orleans. Learn how Louis Armstrong managed to overcome dropping out of school, firing a gun in public and spending 18 months in a detention center called the Colored Waifs’ Home for Boys to gain worldwide fame for singing
and playing jazz music.


    This short biography tells the moving story of a Mexican-American who grew up facing racism from his teachers and other white people saw him as a “dumb Chicano,” dropped out of school, joined the U.S. Navy and lived as a migrant worker before organizing The National Farm Workers Union. It includes a vocabulary builder and 10 review questions to answer about how Cesar Chavez grew past his humble beginning to become a national hero who made life better for America’s migrant farm workers.


    This true story starts with the childhood of Babe Ruth and tells how he grew up above a bar on the docks of Baltimore, Maryland. He began truanting school, stealing money from the bar cash register and hanging with a gang of boys. At the age of seven, his father put him in St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a school for boys in trouble with the law. That’s where he learned the
game of baseball. This true story includes a vocabulary builder and 10 review questions about “Babe's” amazing life.


    George Patton did not go to school until he was 12. His parents thought he was “slow.” He had dyslexia. George had trouble reading and writing. The other students laughed at him. They would make fun of him when he tried to read out loud or slowly write his letters at the blackboard. George believed that if he couldn’t read or spell, he must be stupid. Lots of people have dyslexia and do well in life. Learn how he overcame his learning problem to guide the largest army in history to victory over the Nazis in World War II.

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