Behind from the Start
How America's War on the Poor is Harming Our Most Vulnerable Children
Reviews and Awards
From the Foreword by Lisbeth Schorr, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy: "Lenette Azzi- Lessing's book stands alone among important social policy books in synthesizing the critical knowledge from all of the domains that must be connected if ambitious social change is to succeed. She draws on the most current findings from research and from experience. She documents the unmet needs of vulnerable young children, adolescents, and their families, and puts it all together to identify the unparalleled opportunities now at hand to address those needs."
"Behind From the Start is a searing exposé that traces the responsibility of politicians, the media, academics, and policymakers for the unnecessary tragedy of American childhood poverty. We can do better, its author argues, with adequately funded 'extra-strength' programs and locally driven systemic interventions powered by systematic learning methods, science-enlightened policy targeting the structural roots of poverty, and a national movement to make 'ending child poverty the defining cause of our time." --Joshua Sparrow, MD, Harvard Medical School
"Professor Azzi-Lessing has written a very accessible account of the plight of young children in the United States born into poverty. . . . She provides a thorough overview of an array of programs aimed at improving child outcomes for vulnerable young children, including Early Head Start, maternal child home visiting, universal pre-Kindergarten, and quality early care and education, as well as some newer promising programs. . . . The policy strategies and reforms that she proposes are comprehensive but within our reach. This text is a must-read for advocates hoping to build a brighter future for American children." --Pamela C. High, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, W. Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University
"First, Azzi-Lessing combines engaging personal storytelling, keen historical analysis, and careful scientific reasoning to refute the 'blame and shame the poor' rhetoric that pervades our public discourse and public policies. Then, she brings innovative thinking and an animating moral fervor to propose 'extra-strength' programs and policies that really could work to combat poverty and to lift the burden our society currently places on the backs of children and families living in poverty. A tour de force!" --J. Lawrence Aber, PhD, Willner Family Professor in Psychology and Public Policy, New York University
"In this timely and masterful synthesis of current research and personal experience as a social worker, Azzi-Lessing (Wheelock College) brings together knowledge from across a variety of disciplines to explain the disastrous effects of poverty on the poorest children in the US. The author spends much of the book dismantling racist and classist misperceptions that influence public policy against the poor...this book is well researched, readable, and exceptionally well timed, explaining how and why extreme poverty destroys the lives of poor children in the US while offering hope for a solution." --CHOICE