This is a work of non-fiction.
In order to respect the confidential nature of the subject matter and to protect the privacy of the principal characters, their names have been changed, and any identifying locations, circumstances, and events have been altered.
I have written this with great respect for all the children and families that are presented or referred to here, and for all of the others that I have worked with that are in many ways represented here.
I do not presume, intend, nor wish to rebuke, blame, or judge any of the actual people involved. I do hope to help unravel the gnarled and confusing issues of responsibility and action in dealing with children of difficulty and uniqueness, perhaps to cast another angle of light upon the purposes and effects of categorizing, theorizing about, and perceiving them.
I came to know a deep empathy with each of the children and family members and it is from that knowing, of the sheer and utter pain and helplessness and anger and loneliness of their experience, that I came to write this.
David Cipolloni November 1992 Flagler Beach, Florida