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June 14, 1995

Licensing Parents: Can We Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect?

Author Affiliations

Children's Hospital Center for Child Protection San Diego, Calif

JAMA. 1995;273(22):1798-1799. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520460082045

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As Judge Charles D. Gill of Connecticut points out in the foreword to this work, the subject of licensing parents is often discussed in a facetious manner. We may think about our state department of motor vehicles and conclude that governmental agencies cannot be capable of managing such a complicated task. Or we may simply think that licensing parents is politically impossible in a democracy where having babies is the one validating achievement still possible for just about anyone in the reproductive age group. But Dr Westman's book takes this subject out of the comic context and forces its serious consideration.

Westman develops his arguments through 12 tightly written chapters. He first examines the deteriorating quality of life in the United States and the social problems that are causing the deterioration. He points out the benefits and calculates the financial value of competent parenting and then thoroughly and carefully describes

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