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Review: Fancy Prison: Calling BS on the Child Welfare Industry by Tina Fumo

Canada is a beautiful country to live in, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its horrible secrets. This book recounts the tale of a grandmother and her daughter fighting to maintain their family. The child welfare system (also known as child protection services, CPS) used a red flag upon the baby’s birth which started a heartbreaking ordeal. They never gave up and continue to speak up about the horrors they faced at the hands of the child welfare system.

I particularly liked this book’s inclusion of others’ stories, which shows a consistent (and horrible) pattern from the system that needs to be changed. One story alone will not change anything but one story can start that ball rolling. Having multiple stories presented gives courage to others who have been through a similar situation to use their voices for change.

I live in Canada (a different province from the author) and have dealt with CPS as many parents of children with special needs have. It is shocking the many times I have heard other parents of children with autism talk about their CPS involvement simply because they do not understand what it takes to parent a child with violent meltdowns. I was lucky enough not to go through the pain that Tina’s family had to endure (though my yelling, screaming 8-year old would not have made for a great foster child), but I know other’s that have.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that doesn’t always protect their children when they should be, and CPS is a valuable concept (though again, changes need to occur to function the way it should). Some children need protection from their families, and yet those are the ones that often fall through the cracks or manage to hide the truth. I think we have all heard stories of children who have died of a lack of parental protection, and it is heartbreaking each time wondering ‘where was CPS.’ According to this book, they looked into a family that didn’t need it while ignoring a child that did.

Get your copy here.

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