Lance Hillsinger spent much of his career as a caseworker for foster children, working with foster parents and family courts to help provide the best possible outcomes for kids. He's written two books on the child welfare system and is our Lean to the Left podcast guest.
Hillsinger worked in social services for 34 years and has written two books based on those experiences. He has a master's degree in psychology from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor's degree in psychology and political science from UCLA.
Hillsinger’s first, “In Place of the Parent: Inside Child Protective Services,’ examines the child welfare/juvenile court system.
His second book, “Build a Better Bridge: Social Policy for the 21st Century,” the author goes beyond child welfare and examines social welfare programs (cash aid, food stamps, etc.) in general.
However, he points out that social welfare programs do not generate welfare. Intergenerational wealth is created, for most families, by homeownership. Thus, in “Build A Better Bridge”, he offers various low-cost/no-cost ideas to increase homeownership as well as reduce truancy, crime, and other social ills that so often accompany poverty.
While both books are written in an easy-to-read style. They seek to inform and persuade for common-sense change.
Here are some questions that guide the discussion:
Q. I’m told that every year more than 250,000 children enter foster care, placed there by child protective services and the juvenile court. Is this a problem that is worsening? Are these numbers increasing?
Q. What can cause a child to be placed in foster care?
Q. Is foster care simply a way for some couples to bring in extra money?
Q. In your experience, are most caseworkers competent and compassionate professionals, or are they simply paper-pushing uncaring bureaucrats?
Q. Are juvenile court judges usually fair to the child and parent?
Q. What factors determine what happens to these kids?
Q. Talk about gender disparity in education…Are boys more likely to drop out of high school than girls? What factors are involved and what can be the outcomes?
Q. Why did you write “in Place of the Parent?”
Q. Tell us about Build a Better Bridge…what’s its focus and how does it expand beyond “in Place of the Parent?”
Q. What are some of the factors that affect kids today…gender and racial inequality in education, for example?
Q. You write that home ownership is an important factor in reducing crime…how so?
Q. Talk about today’s social welfare programs and how they affect kids.
Q. What are some ways that graduation rates can be improved and crime rates reduced?
Q. What changes should be made in government policies that affect foster kids?
Q. I understand you have a third book in the works. Can you tell us about that?
Q. Where can people find your books?
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