A harrowing exploration of one of the country’s most troubling hidden shames: the widespread neglect of disabled children by the institutions that have sworn to protect them
Four-fifths of American children with serious mental health problems receive no professional treatment whatsoever. They are the product of an overextended and often neglectful system that, as Lee Gutkind writes, has reached the level of insanity. Following the stories of three children—Daniel, Meggan, and Terri—Stuck in Time chronicles the tragedies and injustices wrought not only by the deficiencies of the mental healthcare system, but by government policymakers who have failed to address the problem. Through these children and their families, Gutkind explores mental illness as both a scientific and social issue, from the harsh economic realities of supporting a disabled child to the immense difficulty of finding a suitable counselor.
Written with passion and piercing detail, Stuck in Time is a poignant examination of three families fighting against impossible circumstances, and of a system too inflexible to accommodate the helpless victims it is meant to support.
Speaking on behalf of mentally ill children and teenagers, many of whom are also learning-disabled, and only one-fifth of whom receive treatment or service, Gutkind ( Children's One Place ) accuses goverment, social service professionals and media of ignoring this ``national disgrace.'' The author spent several years following three mentally handicapped adolescents from financially and emotionally ravaged families as they were shuttled among temporary shelters, group homes and a dozen psychiatric institutions where, he claims, they were ``systematically tantalized or tortured with promises of reward or punishment''--$2 million having been spent to no avail on one of his ``proteges.'' Instead, the author of this sympathetic, eye-opening study, urges a radical change from permanent institution-based care to a flexible system of higly individualized child and family therapy, detailed here.