Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Child Betrayed: An Expert's Shocking True Story

Mary Jane Bovo, M.D.

Dr. Bovo does more than just produce a work of non-fiction in A Child Betrayed; she tells the true story - her story - of the abuse her grandson endured right under her nose. She opens her narrative with a glimpse into the history of a strained relationship between herself and her daughter. The reader is soon introduced to the author's young grandson, who falls victim to her daughter and her troubled relationships, psychological problems, and, as we soon discover, serious abuses.

Her inability to recognize the signs of abuse is replaced by her inability to do anything as she is literally brushed aside by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), the one agency that is supposed to protect the rights of her grandchild. Armed with taped conversations, documentation, and witnesses willing to stand behind her, Bovo describes her struggle against the organization that basically does all it can to close the case, however illegal. DYFS effectively places her grandson back in a potentially dangerous family situation and alienates the one person who is willing to serve as his advocate

She fights back unrelentingly, refusing to give up on her grandchild. After her closed case is reopened, the author endures accusations of stalking, a near-arrest, and more mentally and financially exhausting time in court until a sympathetic and wise judge finally hears her. Dr. Bovo is granted visitation rights and is allowed meetings with her grandson in the presence of a child psychologist, during which she attempts to ascertain that he is, in fact, okay. The visits become too difficult for her grandchild, due to heavy pressure from home, and they are ultimately ended at his request.

Dr. Bovo, to this day, refuses to give up her fight, however, and writes this book in an attempt to bring this story, and others like it, into the public consciousness in an attempt to bring about the necessary societal changes for all children and families.

"Expect to shed tears. Expect waves of frustration to roil inside you. Expect to stay up late because you can't put this disturbing true story down. MJ Bovo's memoir of her battle to rescue her grandson from her mentally ill and abusive daughter is not only a heart-rending, harrowing personal narrative, it's a searing, compelling indictment of the failures and negligence of Child Protective Services. A Child Betrayed tells us truths we all need to hear, since we all have a stake in providing a safe, secure future for our nation's children."

--Janis Graham, columnist for Redbook Magazine

.:: A Child Betrayed ::. Bowker's Recommended List

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