Speaking Engagements


"All of us can do something to help children in need, and this perceptive book explains exactly how. We all own, legally and ethically, the parenting of children who have been abused or neglected, and we are all responsible for how our systems try to cope in our name. This is a community problem that demands a community response. The crisis of babies in Foster Care impacts every one of us, because their untreated problems grow up right alongside the children, and become more costly and harder to treat as they grow older. We should all care about these children because they are human beings. We should also care greatly because done badly, our government interventions create lifetimes of vastly expensive broken grownups."

- Peter Samuelson, President and Co-Founder, First Star, Inc., www.firststar.org

"I typically have a difficult time reading stories about children who have been abused and neglected, especially ones who have died; however, I found that once I started reading Invisible Kids, I couldn’t put it down. Ms. Schlaack’s honesty about the shortcomings of the foster care system was powerful and made me look at my own practice to see what areas that I could improve.

"Although the primary storyline revolved around the death of a young boy, the author expertly weaved in other stories that inspired hope for children. It can be frustrating to read a book only to be left with – “I hear you, but what can I do about it?” Invisible Kids  gives us practical solutions that anyone could do to help make a difference in the life of a child.

"I would wholeheartedly recommend Invisible Kids to anyone who has a heart for protecting children!"

- Adam Robe, MSW, former foster child and author, www.robbietherabbit.com 

"Your book makes a real contribution to the whole area of protective services.  I expect it to be helpful and influential as we continue to advocate for programs that address human needs."  

- Frances Strickland, Former First Lady of Ohio 

“Holly Schlaack's book reads like a novel, yet her 12 action steps give professionals and concerned community members the tools to help these children who have suffered at the hands of their parents and sometimes the system itself.”

- Thomas R. Lipps, Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court, Hamilton County, Ohio.

“Read this book and you will understand how tragic it is when the needs of abused and neglected children are forgotten.  Fortunately, Holly also offers practical ways you can help assure they get what all children deserve--safe, permanent homes, with people who love them, secure in the knowledge that their futures are important.”

- Michael S. Piraino, CEO, National CASA Association

“Those of us who work in the child welfare system quickly become experts in human suffering. We live and work in a world that is foreign to most.  But in order for our society to accept responsibility for helping and healing these children, their courageous stories must be told. Holly Schlaack has so eloquently shared the heartbreak, misery and sometimes joy that is the daily life of those who live and work in the system.  She has used her case-by-case experience and her passion for these children to attempt to influence public policy by capturing our hearts.  This extremely moving book brings the reader into the real world of child welfare, a world we all need to learn more about if we are to save these wonderful children.”

- Cindy S. Lederman Presiding Judge of the Miami-Dade Juvenile Court

"Foster parents, like birth parents, can be both good and bad, no matter what their own background or place in society.  Holly Schlaack does a fantastic job in revealing foster parents who look at foster children and see dollar signs, while many others are dedicated people who see foster children as missing something only they can provide: love.  Her book gives concrete steps we can all take to insure there are no more kids like Marcus Feisel who is remembered more for the horrible way in which he died rather than an uplifting story about how he lived.  I highly recommend her book."

- Mark E. Piepmeier, Prosecuting Attorney in the murder trial against the foster parents of Marcus Fiesel

“The best thing about this book is the hope it presents.  While it’s the real story on the foster care program in America-no punches pulled-it’s also a roadmap to making things better.  It’s engaging, it tugs at the heartstrings, and it’s a hopeful look at how every child can have an actual childhood.  If you care about children at all, you must read what Holly Schlaack has written.”

- Laren Bright, Award-Winning Writer of Children’s Animation 

"In a wash of helplessness, it is easy to look the other way," writes Holly Schlaack, of the abused and neglected children in our fragmented culture.

"The least we can do is look at the stories, statistics and solutions Holly has artfully woven into her book Invisible Kids: Marcus Fiesel's Legacy.

"An experienced case worker, child advocate, and mother of three children of her own, Holly is determined that little Marcus Fiesel's legacy will amount to more than the horror stories which comprised his short biography.

"Stunned by the failures of the dozens or more adults who touched the life of Marcus to save his life, to give him the love and attention he deserved, many people in Cincinnati and surrounding communities demanded justice, demanded answers, and solutions.

"Some demanded nothing, rather stepped forward to give something. Some became volunteers with ProKids, and the innovative Casa Program which gives children the only thing that will save them: one person who cares about them and puts their well-being fiercely first.

"Others slowed down and tried to understand the incredible burdens placed on caseworkers in a system overwhelmed by need and the chaos of lives played out at the intersection of poverty, addiction, and violence.

"Holly Schlaack did all of this and more: she wrote about it. And she wrote about it with knowledge, skill, care and love.

"I heartily recommend you read this book. It's full of ways we can all stop demanding and start caring."

- Mary Pierce Brosmer, Founder
- Women Writing for (a) Change
- Author, Women Writing for (a) Change: A Guide for Creative Transformation, due fall, 2009, Sorin Press, - Notre Dame, IN
- www.womenwriting.org


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