I would have to take in an abused or neglected child for 18 months. Lamont was sent back to the city to a group home where he was derided as a country boy groomed by white people.
And how is he doing now? How did he feel about his childhood? They have been waiting in foster care since they were 3 or 4, typically shuttled from one caregiver to another, just like Lamont.
Wilder was the first federal class action lawsuit to try to overhaul a foster care system.
There are thousands and thousands of Lamonts and Shirleys out there right now. Inwhen Ms. Within a year Shirley would give birth to a son and relinquish him to the same failing system. This fear was realized when Shirley was eleven and she was sent to live with her father and stepmother, who clearly wanted nothing to do with her.
Lamont's story of growing up in foster care is a story that could easily happen today. I wanted to dig deeper for the reasons. I can't thank Shirley Wilder and Lamont enough for sharing their stories and Nina Bernstein for writing this book that had such as impact on me. Its legal analysis is rich…the drama is human.
Wilder's short, unhappy life, Ms. Partly because reformers were pushing for more adoptions in the late s—as they are now—five-year-old Lamont was abruptly removed from his first foster mother, a loving Hispanic woman who was going through a divorce, and was sent to Minnesota to be adopted by a white couple.
Although guilty of nothing more than running away from an abusive situation, Shirley was finally sent to the punitive and oppressive Training School for Girls at Hudson, New York, because it was the only place to accept her.
Reynolds and her child were facing a to day waiting period for food stamps. So she, too, is still fighting for children like Shirley Wilder. The lawsuit dragged on for 26 years until it was settled without significant legal resolution inits critics alleging that since by this time virtually all the children in foster care were black, discrimination among them could no longer be proved.
The infant was placed with a loving family, but just before the adoption was to have become final, the couple separated. I wanted to know what had happened to that baby. And as group homes, residential treatment centers and shelters, modern-day orphanages are already part of what we call foster care—the most expensive part.
But no, the judge said it in and was talking about the previous 50 years. The Wilder case had obvious repercussions in the New York child welfare system; can you explain the national impact of the case? On average these kids are between 7 and 8 now, and almost two-thirds are black or Hispanic.
Having no resources, she put her newborn son, named Lamont, into the same foster care system that had so disserved her, with official reassurance that he would be adopted soon.
Later, like many young adults leaving foster care, he suffered bouts of homelessness. Where do things stand now? Considering that the worst places for children were being operated directly by the city or the state, and that Lowry herself said that Jewish and Catholic programs were better, many people felt her lawsuit was hypocritical.
Wilder was 13, Ms. Today the barbershop where he works is more like home than any of the rented rooms he has occupied. I could go on all day about the things this book describes about child welfare in the 70's and 80's that are still happening, that continue to happen day in and day out in But the court battles for enforcement dragged on for years.
And the demographics of need kept shifting. I think this is an example of the historical amnesia that leads us to reinvent failed solutions.
But it does still mandate efforts to protect children from maltreatment, and it guarantees financial support for poor children placed in out-of-home care.
As a reporter I had written about foster care on and off in different states for about as long as the Wilder case had been in court, and had been frustrated that overall, the problems these children faced just seemed to be redefined by reform movements, rather than solved."The Lost Children of Wilder" is a wrenching account of that foster care system's disasters, oversights and tragedies.
Nina Bernstein, a reporter for The New York Times, has compiled a brilliant, moving chronicle of a bright little girl named Shirley Wilder and the dogged lawyer, Marcia Lowry, who tried to find her a home. “The Lost Children of Wilder” is a book about how the foster care system failed to give children of color the facilities that would help them lead a somewhat normal and protected life.
The story of Shirley Wilder is a sad one once you find out what kind of life she had to live when she was a young girl. In The Lost Children of “Wilder,” journalist Nina Bernstein has organized a decade’s worth of research on New York City’s foster care system into an exhaustive, fascinating account of both a landmark class-action suit and a mother.
About The Lost Children of Wilder. In Marcia Lowry, a young civil liberties attorney, filed a controversial class-action suit that would come to be known as Wilder, which challenged New York City’s operation of its foster-care system.
In The Lost Children of “Wilder,” journalist Nina Bernstein has organized a decade’s worth of research on New York City’s foster care system into an exhaustive, fascinating account of both.
The story of a landmark legal case in foster care, "The Lost Children of Wilder" is a grueling read, both in its subject matter and its content. The laborious and involved court case is not exactly explained with the greatest clarity and characters are sometimes indistinctly drawn/5.Download