Another Place at the Table: Synopsis Essay

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Book synopsis
Kathy Harrison starts her personal story happily married to her childhood sweet heart Bruce. Kathy was living a simple life in her rural Massachusetts community home as the loving mother of three smart, kind, well-adjusted boys Bruce Jr., Nathan, and Ben. With the natural transitions of family life and the changes that come with career and moving, she went back to work as a Head Start teacher. Her life up until the acceptance of that job had been sheltered an idyllic. Interacting in a world of potluck suppers, cocktail parties, and traditional families had nothing in common with the life she would choose after she became a Head Start teacher.
Working as a teacher serving at-risk four-year-old children, approximately six of her eighteen students lived in foster care. The environment introduced Kathy to the impact of domestic violence, drugs, and family instability on a developing child. Her family lineage had a history of social service and she found herself concerned with the wellbeing of one little girl. Angelica, a foster child in Kathy’s class soon to be displaced again was born the daughter of a drug addict. She had been labeled a troublemaker, yet the Harrisons took the thirty-hour training for foster and adoptive care and brought her home to adopt. Within six months, the family would also adopted Angie’s sister Neddy. This is when the Harrison family dynamic drastically changes and Kathy begins a journey with over a hundred foster children passing through her home seeking refuge.
The foster care system, then as now was desperate for qualified homes. Kathy and her husband had become certified foster parents, she was a certified teacher, and they had empty beds in their home. Their phone soon bega...

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...ices, the medical field, teachers, and administrators could all benefit from reading about Kathy and her family. People who are considering taking part in fostering certification should definitely read Another Place at the Table. The events she walks the reader through are not common events taking place in the traditional family. It would help any professional who may be exposed to the Social Service System to understand the systematic process that a child in foster care experience, the good, and bad. So many professionals are mandatory reports and they know nothing about the system as it relates to the child’s experience. Hearing how these children and the foster homes they occupy could benefit from quality assistance and support would provide improvement to the system.


Harrison, K. (2003). Another Place at the Table. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc.

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