'Orange Is The New Black's' Trailblazing Portrayal Of Foster Care

06/20/2014 02:36pm ET | Updated June 20, 2014

Michael Place was a teenager on foster care living among roaches with his foster mother (a librarian by day, alcoholic by night) in their Astoria, Queens, public housing apartment. Place was put on a heavy dose of psychotropic drugs, which has become a commonplace solution to dealing with “problematic” foster kids. He was institutionalized soon after. “The psychiatric hospital was my escape from the madness,” he writes. “The nurses were more consoling than my foster mom. They frequently checked my vitals and made sure I had enough supplies for arts and crafts. Simply put, they cared.”