My complIcated past paved the way for me to become a chIld advocate. I dId Not waNt the trauma to defINe me aNymore
After foster care, Joan is returned home and subjected to more abuse. How can she be saved?
Misplaced Childhood chronicles one woman’s powerful journey to overcome a tragic past and use her “lived experiences” to inspire others. Wounded by poverty, child abuse, and foster care, Joan Ulsher discovers a purpose-filled life through military service and faith in God. This transformational journey of survival and triumph ultimately leads Joan to become a fierce volunteer advocate for children in foster care, despite not having a dedicated advocate as a child herself. Misplaced Childhood introduces readers to the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) model, where Joan continues exploring childhood memories while highlighting her exceptional advocacy journey shaped by the children whose lives are impacted along the way.
With its candid look at child welfare and advocacy alongside a personal narrative of healing, Misplaced Childhood opens up new levels of compassion for children suffering from abuse and neglect. Impeccably researched and told with great transparency, empathy, and vulnerability, Misplaced Childhood will inspire readers to embrace the vulnerable inner child in us all and take action for America’s forgotten children.
“It is rare to read a book so vulnerable and courageous. Joan shares her life story in this utterly compelling read. Joan describes her devastating childhood and connected events as an adult in a raw, gripping way. I guarantee you will not be able to put Misplaced Childhood down. If you ever wanted to truly understand the impact on children that experience such events, this is the book to educate you.
Despite this childhood, Joan has had an incredible military career and a wonderful family. Joan now serves children in the foster system via her CASA advocacy with Child Advocates San Antonio. These children are blessed to have Joan. Her lived experience, which is shared so openly in the book, allows a lens into the innermost feelings of the young people she serves. Joan is passionate about protecting children, currently leading a team advocating for legislative change in a broken system.
Joan did not write this book for her healing or gratification. Joan wrote it to support her local CASA agency and, more importantly, to let others who have suffered know they can be amazing humans!
Joan has my personal thanks as a child from the foster system, for facing her own past with deep courage to write a book that will be influential and healing for others, for years to come. All for the good of others... ”
-Angela White, President & Chief Executive Officer, Child Advocates San Antonio
“‘ …kids are the future of our community, and they are in crisis now.’ The urgency of this statement from Misplaced Childhood is a call to action. The book also speaks to the impact of childhood trauma; how it became a filter for all of Joan’s experiences and relationships until she was able to turn that trauma into a roadmap for action. In addition to trauma, Joan also discusses resiliency, the power of love, faith, and purpose in a way that is insightful, educational, and inspirational. After reading this book, I hope many feel called to become a CASA volunteer—Joan didn’t have one, but became one later in life, and sees how CASA advocacy can help create a more positive future for a child. Joan unabashedly invites readers to consider child advocacy for their purpose-filled life while highlighting the challenges and successes of children on her caseload as a CASA.”
-Vicki Spriggs, Chief Executive Officer, Texas CASA
-Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite
“Misplaced Childhood: A True Story of Resiliency and Child Advocacy by Joan Ulsher is an empowering memoir that takes us through her life up to the present day. Starting with a childhood filled with unspeakable abuse, neglect, and part of her teenage years spent in foster care, to struggles as a young adult trying to make her way in the world, we watch her evolution. Within these pages, she goes from victim to becoming a beacon in the dark and a soft place to land for those who might have been left helpless with no true guide, or protector, as she was. The strength of Ulsher's words and purpose, and her plea to join the cause and share the work that advocates of CASA embody, will feel like a call to arms against the broken system that is the world.
Joan Ulsher’s Misplaced Childhood may make you weep. It may also be the smelling salts that jumpstart your mind and body to take a look outside your small world. One of the stories that struck me in a way that I can’t explain is...“They often traveled placement to placement with their sole belongings in a black trash bag. It was a humiliating journey. I was that kid too.” There are stories that will crack you out of your comfortable life; they will make you want more for the world around you, for the people that aren’t so easily seen unless you go looking for them. Look for them. This is a great fit for all places and programs that extend help, as well as high school libraries. I think it is important for young people to be aware of the need that is out there, and for them to know that they are not alone.”