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One Book One College 2015: Etched in Sand: Study & Discussion Ideas

Discussion Questions


Child Welfare Policies

- After Cookie moves from New York to Idaho with Rosie and Norman, Regina tries desperately to get the authorities to remove her younger siblings from their abusive mother and her abusive boyfriend. Regina's social worker tells her, "Your siblings are in the hands of another state now, Regina. For the last time, I'll tell you: There is nothing we can do" (pg. 174). Should regulations be changed to allow social workers to work with each other across state lines? What are the ethical implications, positive or negative, of leaving a case unattended because it is out of jurisdiction?


Siblings and the Foster Care System

- Regina and her siblings endure Cookie's abuse and neglect because they fear the sibling seperation that is often a part of foster care. In fact, during one period of seperate foster care, Regina's youngest sibling, Rosie, becomes so distressed that she is hospitalized and diagnosed with Failure to Thrive ("a condition that makes it difficult for her to absorb nutrition because, emotionally, she's too upset about being seperated from her family") (pg. 96). The social workers place Rosie with two of her older sisters in hopes that being with her siblings will make her better. Should the state be able to separate siblings who are being moved into the foster care system? How is this practice either justified or not justified?


Child Hunger and Poverty

- On pgs. 20-21, Regina recounts the method her and her older sister, Camille, used to shoplift food to feed themselves and their younger siblings. Is stealing justified if it is the only means of survival?


Role of Public Servants

- Is it the responsibility of public servants (school teachers, social workers, police, etc.) to report suspected child abuse?

- If public servants are responsible for reporting/taking action in instances of physical abuse, should they be required to do the same in emotional/mental abuse cases?


Foster Children and Primary/Secondary Education

- On page 95, Regina recounts her first day at a new school in the second grade. Her teacher introduces her as a foster child "who may not be here for very long." The teacher also (wrongly) assumes Regina belongs in the lowest reading and math groups. Regina realized the teacher has "ruined any chance [she] might have had of getting invited to [her] classmates' birthday parties." What might this teacher have done differently to make Regina feel welcomed instead of alienating her?

 - How are the primary and secondary educational experiences of foster children affected?

- How might teachers positively impact children in foster care?


Foster Children and Higher Education

- On page 175, two of Regina's high shcool teachers begin encouraging her to attend college. What challenges do young adults aging out of foster care face if the wish to pursue higher education?

- What is being done to promote higher education to children in the foster care system?

- What can officials (in the foster care system, in public schools, in higher education) and politicians do to encourage foster children to pursue higher education?


Research Help

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  • Resilience
  • Optimism
  • Self-Determination
  • Impoverished children
  • Child hunger
  • Child poverty
  • Child abuse
  • Childhood homelessness
  • Transient children
  • Socioeconomic
  • Goal setting
  • Positive thinking
  • Coping skills
  • Sibling bonds
  • Acts of kindness
  • Aging out
  • Foster care
  • Child protection services
  • Interjurisdictional
  • Federal child protection
  • Social workers
  • Public education
  • Public libraries
  • Paternity
  • Adult children