Jane Hall Fitz-Gibbon and Andrew Fitz-Gibbon have cared for more than 100 children in a foster care career spanning more than three decades. They developed a method, "loving nonviolent re-parenting," to best care for foster children. "Re-parenting" represents the complex task of caring for children who have been parented already, often inadequately, and mostly involving physical, emotional, and/or systemic violence.
Welcoming Strangers analyses the violence foster children suffer and raises ethical questions—why violence is morally problematic, what philosophers have said about human nature and violence, and what moral good should be pursued in childcare. Drawing on an ancient form of ethics, sometimes known as "virtue ethics," this book focuses on the traits required to become a loving, nonviolent re-parent.
The Fitz-Gibbons tell of their journey in the foster care system with candour, humour, and grace. Covering subjects as diverse as teens, sex, discipline, and the carer's own well-being, they describe the difficulties of foster care and the sometimes impossible task of restoring dignity and joy to young lives deeply damaged by violence. This book will be of immense help to foster carers, adopters, caseworkers, case managers, policymakers, and any parent who wants to integrate nonviolent practices into the way they care for children.
A Note about Language
Introduction: Welcoming Strangers
1 Responding to a Major Need
2 The Multiple Violences Suffered by Children in Care
3 Larger Houses, More Children
4 Thinking Further about Violence
5 Why Re-parenting?
6 Teens, Tantrums, Sex, and Substance Abuse
7 A Question of Ethics: How Shall We Live?
8 The Long Term: Permanence, Adoption, Returning Home, and Keeping in Touch
9 Spanking, Discipline, and Nonviolence
10 Loving Nonviolent Habits and Virtues
11 Second-Hand Shock Syndrome and Caring for Yourself
12 Praxis: Creating a Nonviolent Home with the Ordinariness of Love
Addendum: Money Can’t Buy Me Love
Appendix: Definitions of Child Abuse, Maltreatment, and Neglect in New York