This book has been hard to criticize for one who, like this reviewer, agrees with its basic premises: (1) that the weakness of child protective capability requires a policy of minimum state intervention into family life, and (2) that when intervention occurs,it should be much more decisive. Yet, application of the rules that the authors suggest would be at great cost, not only to the endangered children whom they exclude from protection, but also to our own view of ourselves. Society cannot turn its back on the real and present suffering of children and still retain its sense of humanity,and society cannot deny workers and judges the discretion to make intervention fit the needs of the children and families involved without losing its sense of justice.Many people will brush aside this book's excesses because of their deep concern about the need to curtail governmental intervention into family life. Certainly, it helps to have this message reiterated by three such prominent persons. Unfortunately, the authors' simplistic approach and the criticism that it has already begun to generate" will obscure the child protection system's true deficiencies and the urgent need to remedy them.
Douglas J. Besharov,
Before the Best Interests of the Child,
34 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol34/iss2/8