In time, however, he finds a sense of home and family in foster care that he never had while he was living with his abusive mother.
When David is twelve years old, his teachers notify the police that he is being abused at home.
While at Hillcrest, David learns from Lilian that his mother is trying to prove that David was so “incorrigible” as a child that she was forced to use “unconventional” methods to discipline him.
Lilian assures David that she and Rudy are fighting as hard as they can to keep David and prevent his mother from finding a way to justify her treatment of him.
At the trial, the judge sentences David to 100 days of juvenile probation, since they cannot prove or disprove the charge of arson, and rules that David should be returned to foster care after serving his time.
After he returns from Hillcrest, David struggles to readjust to life at the Catanzes’ house and is soon removed to another foster home.As he is leaving for his training and saying goodbye to the Turnboughs, he realizes that Alice and Harold have become his true family.In the Epilogue, David reveals that he had a successful career in the Air Force and now has the home and family that he so desperately longed for as a child.He also attempts to reestablish a bond with his father; when he finally connects with him, however, he realizes that his father’s alcoholism has escalated to the point that he is no longer capable to rebuilding his relationship with his son.Since he is still struggling to put aside his desire for answers about his past, David decides that he needs to get away from the area in which he grew up and resolves to join the Air Force.The traumatic memories of his mother’s abuse continue to haunt him, and he is upset by his father’s failure to visit him at his new home.In sixth grade, he befriends a kid named John, who encourages David’s stealing and manipulates him into serving as the “lookout” while John sets a school classroom on fire.Although he is only supposed to remain with Alice and Harold temporarily, they end up becoming his permanent foster parents, and he develops a close bond with them.Eventually, however, two new foster boys come to live with the Turnboughs, with whom David does not get along.The police inform his parents that he will not be coming home and place him in a temporary foster home with a woman whom all the children call “Aunt Mary.” David is soon assigned a social worker, Ms.Gold, who visits David at Aunt Mary’s house and interviews him about his mother’s abusive behavior. Gold, he panics when he learns that she is gathering evidence to build a case against his mother so that she cannot regain custody of him.