Children at Risk
The Precarious State of Children's Well-Being in America
The desire for our children to be free from want and danger and to be able to enjoy their youth in innocence would seem to be universal. Conventional wisdom says that parents in every socio-economic level of society share the dream of preserving their children's innocence. All want to provide a childhood and adolescence that shelters and protects children from the harshness of life and nurtures them until they are able to withstand the onslaught of reality.
One need only look at troubled areas of the world, such as Northern Ireland, parts of the Middle East, or any number of other points on the globe, to see how weak is any communion forged out of these universal desires for the welfare of children. Even in the United States, the competition of ideas and values about what represents the "good" society in which to raise our children is fierce-as are differing views about the value of innocence and even life itself. These differing ideas and values affect people's actions even when they have never reflected on them, or have never cared enough to formulate those values into a coherent worldview.
Crouse contends that without morals, children are at risk. Moral boundaries, not moral relativism, provide a safe haven for children by preserving their innocence and protecting them from predators and pedophiles. When authentic religious faith has been quashed, children are no longer safe. When the underlying values are wrong, when there are no common values unifying a people, even the best programs and most honorable of intentions are doomed to failure. Well-intentioned programs and policies inevitably fail miserably without an undergirding moral foundation, as is documented by an abundance of data and the social trends in America today.
"Janice Shaw Crouse's Children at Risk mobilizes a mass of research to show that public policy efforts to sustain families without fatherhood and marriage have failed, with children left as the victims. Highly readable and compelling, this book pays particular attention to children's need for a moral dimension in their lives. Children at Risk should be required reading for child development specialists, children's advocates, and policymakers at the state and federal levels."
–Allan Carlson, The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society
"In Washington, D.C., Dr. Janice Crouse has long been considered an expert on family preservation. She knows the fierce challenges facing our children today and what must be done to protect not only their present but to guide their future. From the need to defend and promote marriage to the mandate for a solid and well-grounded education, Dr. Crouse truly does know what is in the best interest of the child.' Moving children from a place where they are at risk to a place where they can thrive is not just a good idea it is THE mandate for the 21st century! "
–Janet Parshall, Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host
"Janice Crouse has captured in a compelling way the urgent need in our culture to more effectively protect and nurture our children. Having spent the past twenty-five years counseling pregnant women who bear the wounds of a society often deaf to the dignity of human life, Ms. Course offers hope for parents seeking a safe haven for their children. Having 'broken through the glass ceiling' in the eighties and left Wall Street behind to raise a family and home school two children, I am reminded from a personal perspective that the message of Children at Risk could not be more timely or important."
–Mary Cunningham Agee, President and Founder, The Nurturing Network
"Everyone claims to care deeply about the well-being of children. But what would we, as a nation and as a society, do if we really cared? ...In Children at Risk, her passionate and scholarly new book, Janice Shaw Crouse does our nation's children a great service by grabbing the rest of us by the lapels and forcing us to confront those questions."
–Robert P. George, Princeton University
"Children are the future.' I can't tell you how many times I've heard that statement. Yes, it is true but very few of us believe it enough to really get serious and be proactive with our time and money to make a real difference. Children at Risk accurately makes the case for getting involved. This book will cause you to see children in a different light . . . a great opportunity to act and save a kid; or if we do not act, we all will suffer, especially a very precious child..."
–Stuart W. Epperson, Christian Association of Youth Mentoring
"Dr. Crouse reveals numerous risks that children face, but unlike most researchers, believes that the solution comes from informed moms and dads—not the government."
–Michael P. Farris, Chairman, Home School Legal Defense Association, and President, ParentalRights.org
“Crouse presents an argument that children are at risk in various areas due to what she views as a moral breakdown in society.” [She] compiles data from statistical sources and media outlets to make the argument that children's well-being is linked to changes in family composition…She perceives factors in family breakdown to be the decline of marriage, rising divorce rates, and the poverty of female-headed households, and she links these social trends to the erosion of the quality of community life for children. Recommended.”
–D.S. Pierson, Choice
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Children’s Well-Being and the Nation’s Agenda
Part I: The Centrality of Marriage
1. The Decline of Marriage and the Rise of Divorce
2. Single Mothers and Poverty
Part II: Dangers Facing Children
5. Childhood Sexual Exploitation
6. Child Abuse
Part III: Outside Influences on Children
7. Foster Care
9. Child Care
10. Childhood Obesity
11. Health, Safety, and Behavior
Conclusion: The Moral Dimension of Children’s Well-Being