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KARA (Kids At Risk Action) tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. KARA’s reporting is only sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse is never known.
American states are struggling to find answers for ending adverse childhood experiences and saving at risk children by reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect. Today, many state ward children are the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and with serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues
37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)
12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines
ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN
AZ: Lifetime foster license idea fails at Capitol
Arizona Republic – March 14, 2018
A bill that would have created a perpetual license for foster homes has failed after winning unanimous approval from the state Senate. Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, dropped his efforts to create forever license in the face of opposition from the private agencies that license Arizona foster homes. The bill was scheduled for a hearing Thursday before the House Health Committee.
CA: Social Workers Concerned With Increase in Babies Exposed to Meth
Santa Barbara Independent – March 15, 2018
An increasing number of infants exposed to methamphetamine have raised concern among Santa Barbara social workers. In the last three months, about 30 babies were in need of a court-appointed special advocate, better known as a CASA. Most had been exposed to meth.
CA: County official seeks to expand support for foster youth
Antelope Valley Times – March 14, 2018
Children in the county foster system often have a history of trauma and more intervention is needed to break a cycle that leads to the juvenile justice system, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley- Thomas said Tuesday. “Many of these youth have been victims of serious trauma, and getting caught up in the justice system only traumatizes them further,” Ridley- Thomas said as he previewed a motion calling for more programs and funding to keep foster kids out of juvenile halls and probation camps and help those already in the system.
FL: In rare Republican rebuke, Grassley blasts Scott’s DCF
Politico – March 14, 2018
The Senate’s Judiciary Committee chairman issued a rare public criticism of fellow Republican Rick Scott’s child-welfare agency on Wednesday, saying the governor’s proposal “dropped the ball” and “let the American people down” along with law enforcement in the run-up to the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
KS: Kansas Increases Social Worker Recruitment Efforts
Chronicle of Social Change – March 14, 2018
With more than 80 social workers positions currently open at the Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF), the state is ramping up recruitment efforts.
KS: Kansas Senate unanimously confirms new child welfare chief
Associated Press – March 14, 2018
The Kansas Senate has unanimously confirmed Gina Meier-Hummel as the state’s secretary for children and families. The action Wednesday showed that legislators upset with problems at the Department for Children and Families have confidence in Meier-Hummel. Several senators told her during a confirmation hearing last week that she already has made improvements since becoming acting secretary in December.
Also: DCF ‘failed thousands of families,’ says Carl Brewer. He’s not ready to praise new agency chief: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article205135869.html
LA: House committee advances child welfare bills
Advocate – March 14, 2018
The Louisiana House Health and Welfare committee was in a hospitable mood Wednesday, advancing 16 bills to the House floor, including seven handling child welfare and two involving veterans and their families.
MA: 25 Investigates: State pays millions to foster care company with history of problems (Includes video)
Boston 25 News – March 14, 2018
Millions in taxpayer dollars are still flowing to a for-profit company caring for hundreds of Massachusetts foster kids – despite more than a decade of past evidence the state contractor is not doing enough to protect children under its watch, 25 Investigates uncovered.
ME: Oversight group head stepping down amid child welfare probe
Associated Press – March 14, 2018
The founding director of the Maine Legislature’s government watchdog agency says she is leaving the position this summer. The Bangor Daily News reports Beth Ashcroft is leaving the job in August. The agency, Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, is in the midst of an investigation into Maine’s child welfare system.
Also: Maine’s top government watchdog is leaving: https://thecounty.me/2018/03/14/crown-politics/maines-top-government-watchdog-is-leaving/
Also: Leader of Maine’s top government watchdog is leaving: https://bangordailynews.com/2018/03/14/politics/leader-of-maines-top-government-watchdog-is-leaving/
MI: After Nassar, Michigan Looks to Improve Required Reporting
Dayton Daily News – March 12, 2018
Michigan is looking to shore up its law that requires certain people to report suspected child sexual abuse to authorities to address gaps that were exposed after disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar admitted to sexually assaulting female athletes.
Also: Michigan Senate passes legislation backed by Nassar victims: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article205093549.html
NC: Much-needed Social Services Reforms Underway
North Carolina Health News – March 14, 2018
A multidisciplinary group has been working since October on changes to be made to the social services system. The activity comes in the wake of some high-profile deaths of children in the system.
NH: NH Senate OKs 5.5m for child protection, mental health
New Hampshire Union Leader – March 14, 2018
With the specter of recent child fatalities hanging over them, state senators on Wednesday unanimously approved three bills allocating more than $5.5 million toward strengthening New Hampshire’s struggling child protective system.
Also: N.H. Senate passes bills to bolster DCYF services: http://www.concordmonitor.com/Senate-passes-bills-to-bolster-DCYF-services-16085613
OH: Funding decreases as foster care costs increase
Herald-Dispatch – March 15, 2018
“This is not just happening in Lawrence County, it’s statewide,” Blankenship said Tuesday. “It’s hard to work with. It puts more on our caseworkers. We’re dealing with decreasing funding at a time when the need for services is definitely there. We have to live within our means.” The county agency has seen its staffing levels decrease in the past dozen years or so from more than 100 to less than 70 at present. One thing that has been increasing, Blankenship said, is the costs for foster care. The drug problems in the area have led to the need to place the children of drug-addicted county residents with other relatives or foster care.
OH: 5-year-old at center of custody dispute between Native American tribe, local guardian
Columbus Dispatch – March 14, 2018
Legal advocates trying to stop a 5-year-old boy from being taken from his Ohio foster family and placed with a Native American tribe in Arizona won a step in the custody case this week when an appeals court reversed earlier juvenile court rulings.
Also: Court rules against GRIC in Ohio child custody case: http://www.pinalcentral.com/coolidge_examiner/news/court-rules-against-gric-in-ohio-child-custody-case/article_356b2305-7747-51da-b3a6-ecf675f047b8.html
OK: Opioid manufacturers and distributors sued by Ponca Tribe
Oklahoman – March 14, 2018
Virtually every tribal member has been adversely impacted by the opioid epidemic,” the tribe said. “This epidemic has been growing for years and the effects of this crisis have only been exacerbated by defendants’ efforts to conceal and minimize the risks of opioid addiction. The Ponca Tribe has seen its health care services overwhelmed and its costs to provide a wide range of social services, from child welfare to behavioral health, skyrocket.”
OK: Union demands go beyond school, teacher funding
Oklahoman – March 14, 2018
Also included in the union demands is $213 million to fund pay raises for state employees, which includes social service workers, correctional officers and child support specialists.
OR: Former Oregon Child Welfare Director: DHS Must Reprioritize Prevention
Oregon Public Broadcasting – March 14, 2018
The Oregon Secretary of State’s office released an audit of the state’s child welfare system in January that found that overwork and systemic mismanagement are endangering some of Oregon’s most vulnerable children. Our coverage included a conversation with DHS leadership and a child welfare advocate, and an in-depth interview with two current caseworkers.
Audit: Foster Care in Oregon: http://res.cloudinary.com/bdy4ger4/image/upload/v1517364674/2018-05_FosterCare-embargo_agr9dy.pdf
VA: Virginia foster care teens soon can ask to reunite with birthparents
Washington Informer – March 14, 2018
Teenagers in foster care in Virginia will be able to express their preference on restoring their birthparents’ parental rights under a law that will take effect July 1. The General Assembly passed and Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation allowing foster care children ages 14 and older to tell a judge whether they want their birthparents to regain custody of them.
International: 150 million girls face the risk of early and forced marriage- Wina
Lusaka Times – March 15, 2018
Zambian Vice-President Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina has cautioned United Nations (UN) Member States that unless efforts to end the scourge of child early and forced marriages are accelerated in the next 12 years, more than 150 million girls across the globe face the risk of being married off before their 18th birth day.
AZ: Arizona Bill Seeks to Shield Oldest Juveniles from Adult Charges
Chronicle of Social Change – March 13, 2018
A bill in Arizona aims to reduce the number of juveniles who are charged as adults while also allowing youth offenders to remain in rehabilitative and other programs until they turn 19.
AZ: Arizona bill that would end some foster parent renewals draws criticism
KTAR – March 13, 2018
A bill introduced in the Arizona Senate would not require renewals for some foster parents, but the leader of a Phoenix non-profit said that could lead to some unintended consequences, like putting children’s lives at risk.
CA: My Father’s Arrows opens first wing of children’s home (Includes video)
Santa Rosa Press Gazette – March 13, 2018
Four years after the team at My Father’s Arrows set out to provide licensed community homes for local children in need, the plan is becoming a reality. The first wing of Mama’s House is officially open, and the second wing is nearly done, according to MFA founder Sarah Ellis.
CO: Recovering Opioid Addict Testifies For Coloradans ‘Left Behind’ (Includes video)
CBS4 – March 13, 2018
A Colorado state lawmaker’s mother gives powerful testimony about the cost of opioid addiction as her daughter introduces legislation aimed at saving the lives of those addicted.
CO: Technology making more face-to-face time for caseworkers (Includes video)
KKCO/KJCT – March 13, 2018
The Health and Human Services Department is buying a new Traverse– or filing– system. It lets caseworkers access thousands of files from an iPad. Normally, caseworkers have to file paperwork at the office. The system also uses artificial intelligence to find patterns and themes in kids and families CPS is working with.
GA: Gov. Deal signs HB 159 adoption bill
WSAB – March 05, 2018
Gov. Nathan Deal held a bill signing ceremony on Monday for HB 159, legislation that provides comprehensive revisions to Georgia’s adoption code. House Bill 159 no longer includes the controversial ‘religious exemption’ that would have allowed for faith-based adoption agencies to legally refuse to work with same-sex couples as well as single mothers and unwed couples.
Also: Deal signs adoption reforms into law (Press release): https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2018-03-05/deal-signs-adoption-reforms-law
Also: Deal signs Georgia adoption overhaul: https://politics.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/deal-signs-georgia-adoption-overhaul/vgh5t6EHffogGPkAjWDlRM/
IN: Our Opinion: More reasons for concern at Indiana’s Department of Child Services
South Bend Tribune – March 13, 2018
The consultant reviewing Indiana’s Department of Child Services isn’t set to deliver a final report for a few months yet. But it’s already crystal clear that there are serious issues and systemic troubles that urgently demand fixing for the sake of the state’s youngest and most vulnerable residents.
KY: ‘People are going bankrupt.’ Caregivers say Kentucky unfairly denying foster payments.
Lexington Herald-Leader – March 13, 2018
Richard Dawahare, the Lexington lawyer who successfully sued the cabinet on behalf of relative caregivers, said he has heard from at least a dozen family caregivers who have been denied payments he believes they are entitled to receive under the court’s decision. Dawahare said he’s tried to work with the cabinet since October to expedite payments to family caregivers, but a second lawsuit is possible if they continue to deny payments to people he thinks are clearly eligible for them.
Information Gateway resource: Kinship Care: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/kinship/
LA: Foster parents needed (Includes video)
KNOE – March 13, 2018
The Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home says there’s a shortage of foster parents. They say there are about 600 children in foster care in northeast Louisiana, but less than 300 homes.
ME: Maine Lawmakers OK New Probe of Child Deaths, Abuse Response System
Lincoln County News – March 13, 2018
The probe, authorized unanimously by the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee, will produce a report likely to be released in May on the February death of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in Stockton Springs and the December death of 4-year-old Kendall Chick, of Wiscasset. A more time-consuming report on Maine’s child welfare system will come next year.
MI: Sex assault bill stalls in Michigan Senate amid intense lobbying (Includes video)
Detroit Free Press – March 13, 2018
The state Senate came under intense lobbying Tuesday from a wide cross-section of groups concerned about the extension of the statute of limitations included in a package of bills aimed at preventing another sexual abuse scandal like the one caused by former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar. Under the bills, the statute of limitations for civil and criminal lawsuits would be extended to 30 years past a victim’s 18th birthday. For civil cases, the statute of limitations would be retroactive dating to 1993.
MS: Child Protection Services, once lauded, now in contempt of court
Mississippi Today – March 14, 2018
Last week, Marcia Lowry of the New York-based firm A Better Childhood sent a letter of non-compliance to Child Protection Services. According to the letter, the agency has been in contempt of court since Dec. 31 for not employing enough caseworkers to properly monitor children in the system, a major violation of a settlement agreement signed just 15 months ago.
MT: Head of Child and Family Services resigns after 16 months
Associated Press – March 13, 2018
The head of Montana’s Division of Child and Family Services has resigned after 16 months on the job as the state has a record number of kids in foster care and the agency is dealing with internal budget cuts and a loss of funding for outside groups that offer support services.
NH: State Sen. Dan Feltes: Invest in protecting New Hampshire children (Commentary)
Concord Monitor – March 14, 2018
In order to move New Hampshire forward, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind, especially our children. On child protection, we can no longer manage at a constant crisis level. We must invest in cost-effective child protection measures that prevent the mistreatment of children from happening in the first place.
NY: Assembly SFY 2018-19 Budget Includes Funding for Critical Human Services (Press release)
Office of Assembley Speaker Carl E. Heastie – March 13, 2018
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced today that the Assembly’s SFY 2018-19 Budget includes funding to prevent and reduce homelessness as well as funding restorations for critical programs that support children, families and veterans. The spending plan also includes a new surcharge on opioids to fund the expansion of opioid treatment, prevention and recovery programs.
OK: Oklahoma Senate Passes Faith-Based Protection Bill
Chronicle of Social Change – March 13, 2018
The Oklahoma State Senate has passed a bill to enable faith-based child welfare providers to discriminate against LGBTQ couples, and perhaps even children in the system. Senate Bill 1140 is authored by State Sen. Greg Treat (R), who is the majority floor leader. Advocates heard rumblings last week that it would soon be up for a vote, and it now heads to the Oklahoma House for a vote there.
Also: Oklahoma Senate Passes Anti-LGBTQ Bill; HRC Calls on House to Reject It: http://www.hrc.org/blog/oklahoma-senate-passes-anti-lgbtq-sb1140-hrc-calls-on-house-to-reject-it
OR: Oregon Child Welfare Workers Say They Can’t Keep Up, Can’t Do Prevention Work (Commentary)
KUOW – March 13, 2018
The year-long audit by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office into Oregon’s Child Welfare system provided painful documentation of how the department is failing many of the state’s most vulnerable children. The report, released in late January, found a lack of centralized reporting for child abuse, a severe shortage of foster parents, bad morale and terrible turnover rates among caseworkers.
OR: State offices in Corvallis to relocate on Monday
Corvallis Gazette-Times – March 12, 2018
A number of state social services offices in Corvallis will be moving into new digs at the beginning of next week. The offices, which house programs of the Department of Human Services and Oregon Employment Department, will relocate over the weekend to a newly constructed building at 4170 SW Research Way in the Sunset Research Park.
PA: Engaging families is key to success (Commentary)
Gettysburg Times – March 14, 2018
Family Engagement has presented itself as the key to the success of children and their families that are involved in the Child Welfare System. Engaging families and their supports provides them with the opportunity to have a voice and an impact on the experience and success with their interaction with the Child Welfare System. In my experience, the most successful families, with or without a connection with child dependency systems, have been ones which have strong family and community connections. One key component of keeping children out of the foster care system is through engaging families and family supports.
PA: Two foster agencies in Philly won’t place kids with LGBT people (Commentary)
Philadelphia Inquirer – March 13, 2018
“The trainer approached us, and she was really nice, but she told us, ‘I just want to be upfront. This organization has never placed a child with a same-sex couple,'” Paszko said. “She told us she didn’t want to waste two hours of our time.” In a follow-up call with administrators, the couple were told that Bethany Christian Services does not work with LGBTQ people because of the church’s views on homosexuality. They were offered names of other agencies to try.
SC: SC Governor Issues Order to Project Group’s ‘Religious Freedom’
WLTX – March 13, 2018
DSS had expressed it wanted Miracle Hill to begin accepting non-Christian foster families or lose state support. McMaster says DSS needs to protect religious freedoms and he is ordering them to allow Miracle Hill and other faith based organizations to continue taking part in foster care programs.
WI: Columbia County seeks foster parents for struggling families
Portage Daily Register – March 13, 2018
“We only have 10 licensed foster homes in Columbia County right now – general homes,” said social worker Kelsi Bauer with the Columbia County Department of Children and Families. “We have a few more homes that are licensed as kinship homes who have relative-children placed with them.” Interest in volunteering has been low, with no foster homes available in Columbus or Lodi, according to Bauer.
WV: Prestera expanding with crisis residential unit
Herald-Dispatch – March 14, 2018
Prestera Center has been leading the way in community-based comprehensive behavioral healthcare services since 1967 – for the past 51 years! Prestera Center is opening a new 16-bed crisis residential unit in the historic Guyandotte section of Huntington in the next few weeks.
US: Graham Lee Brewer: Attacks on Indian Child Welfare Act are real (Opinion)
High Country News – March 13, 2018
The Goldwater Institute, a right-wing advocacy group with ties to the Koch brothers, argues the law, which only allows Native children to live with non-Native foster parents if a tribal family is not available, is a form of racial segregation. That position runs counter to the common understanding of the law, as espoused by the Native American Journalists Association (of which I am a board member).
US: Psychiatrists Often Needed to Ensure Success of International Adoptions
Psychiatric News – March 13, 2018
When San Francisco psychologist Juli Fraga, Ph.D., counsels international (also referred to as intercountry) adoptees and their families, she brings with her a personal understanding of the mental health issues that can arise or persist even years after the initial adoption. Fraga was born in Korea, adopted by a white family in Nebraska, and grew up in an environment where there was little diversity.
US: Some Intercountry Adoption Agencies Face Massive Hikes in Regulatory Costs
Chronicle of Social Change – March 13, 2018
The fees required by the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME), a recently formed nonprofit that now serves as the sole accreditor for international adoption agencies, are pegged to the number of children placed instead of a fixed structure. That is expected to cost significantly more for the largest placing agencies.
US: Trump Taps Elizabeth Darling to Lead Administration on Children, Youth, and Families
Chronicle of Social Change – March 13, 2018
President Trump has announced that Elizabeth Darling is his choice to serve as the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF), one of the top child welfare jobs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The job would mark a return to the agency for Darling, who spent three years with ACYF under George W. Bush helping establish the HHS Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
US: VUMC professor Dr. Stephen Patrick testifies at U.S. Senate hearing on impacts of opioid epidemic on children and families
Vanderbilt Hustler – March 13, 2018
Dr. Stephen Patrick is a Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a Neonatologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. In February, Dr. Patrick was asked by the U.S. Senate Health Education Labor Help Committee to speak at a hearing they held to discuss the impact of the opioid epidemic on children and families. One of the main topics that Dr. Patrick discussed was Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which occurs when infants experience drug withdrawal following their mother’s chronic use of opioids during pregnancy.
US: We Child Welfare Professionals Must Expand Our Objectives to Education (Opinion)
Youth Today – March 13, 2018
I believe the time has now come for us to think more expansively about our missions – for us to recognize that, although health, safety and permanency are crucial first steps, they are not enough and probably never should have been. We are allowing too many children to reach adulthood without providing them the tools they need to thrive.
US: Why “Toxic Stress” in Children Is More Common Than You’d Think (Commentary)
Babble – March 13, 2018
Babble is partnering with PACER Center to help readers better understand and navigate the needs of young children. This month, we’re talking about the warning signs of emotional trauma.
US: Child Welfare Myths: Foster Care Is Worse than Remaining Home (Commentary)
Child Welfare Monitor – March 12, 2018
As a field, child welfare seems to be particularly vulnerable to myths and misconceptions, which are often backed up by inaccurate interpretations of research. Unfortunately, these myths and misconceptions, when promoted by powerful and wealthy advocates, can be perpetuated and enshrined into policy.
AL: Alabama child welfare reforms hold lessons for everyone – but especially, at the moment, Oregon, Iowa and Indiana (Commentary)
NCCPR Child Welfare Blog – March 12, 2018
The reforms began with a lawsuit brought by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program. (The Bazelon Center’s Legal Director, Ira Burnim, also is a member of NCCPR’s volunteer Board of Directors.) The Star stories show that, even though the system is no longer under court supervision, and though there has been some backsliding, the reforms remain in place. And, precisely because Alabama is a leader in family preservation, it’s also a leader in keeping children safe.
AZ: Should foster-home licenses be good ‘forever’? Bill splits child advocates (Includes video)
Arizona Republic – March 10, 2018
Arizona foster homes could get “forever” licenses if the home has no complaints against it under a bill that has opened an unexpected rift among child-welfare advocates at the state Capitol.
CA: New UCLA center aims to build paths to success for foster youth, families
UCLA News – March 13, 2018
A new center at UCLA will address the needs of children who are disconnected from traditional paths to success, with a particular focus on youth in foster care. The UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families, which opened in March, is a collaborative hub for research, prevention and intervention efforts that will work to strengthen families and help children avoid entering the child welfare system.
CA: County expected to build new wellness center in southeastern San Diego
San Diego Union Tribune – March 12, 2018
San Diego Supervisors have announced a plan to build new Live Well Center in southeastern San Diego in an effort to expand social services in the region. The building, which will break ground in spring 2020 and be completed a little over a year later, will host a new family resource center to help eligible people sign up for social services, child welfare services, public and behavioral health programs, probation-related programs and community meeting space.
CA: New transitional housing facility for LGBT foster youth opens in Palm Springs (Includes video)
Palm Springs Desert Sun – March 12, 2018
Sanctuary Palm Springs, a transitional housing facility for LGBT youth leaving the foster care system, opened a new location in Palm Springs Monday. Founders say the home is the only one of its kind in the nation. The facility, which caters to people between the ages of 18 and 21, aims to help at-risk youth develop independent living skills, like money management and job training. Sanctuary residents must be working toward their GED, in college, in a vocational school or working at least 80 hours per month to stay at the home.
Also: Information Gateway resource: Transition to Adulthood and Independent Living: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/independent/
CO: County updates service for kids
Daily Sentinel – March 12, 2018
Child-welfare workers in Mesa County later this year will have artificial intelligence on call when they’re summoned to emergencies or other issues. The Mesa County Commission on Monday approved buying a $448,000 system that will provide workers in child-protective services with real-time information about the history of a child, family or case – an advantage they have never had because many of the details they need are buried in thick paper files.
KS: Editorial: Alarming reports involving DCF require action
Topeka Capital-Journal – March 10, 2018
Measures clearly must be taken to prevent the Kansas Department for Children and Families from obscuring evidence related to deaths of children in foster care, as well as reports that 70 children on average were missing from their foster care placements.
MD: Abuse reporting bills would criminalize teachers (Commentary) (Includes video)
Baltimore Sun – March 12, 2018
Further, while most involved in this debate have focused on the issue of abuse, in Maryland, as in most of the country, the majority of cases that are referred to child welfare authorities deal with neglect, not abuse. Neglect is a failure to provide for the needs of a child that causes substantial harm. Under that definition, inadequate shelter, food or clothing qualifies as neglect. Thus, mandatory reporters will be forced to report families for being homeless or being food insecure. That is, they would feel compelled to report families for being poor or risk going to jail for not doing so.
ME: Our View: Drug treatment needed for addicted parents
Central Maine – March 13, 2018
Six years into the opioid epidemic, the problem of drug-affected babies is often misunderstood as primarily an issue of the baby’s health. That’s part of it, but the bigger problem by far is the environment of the family that the new baby joins. Parents who are driven by a compulsive need for drugs live disordered lives, and are often unable to put their child’s welfare ahead of their own.
ME: Child abuse prevention program funding threatened (Includes video)
WFVX – March 12, 2018
The LePage Administration wants to eliminate a child abuse prevention program, saying it duplicates services provided by the state.
MI: Bill to get CPS records for Native American tribal children signed into law
Morning Sun News – March 12, 2018
Native American tribes across Michigan will soon have access to certain state child protection records for children in tribes. Specifically, the legislation amends the Child Protection Law to require that certain confidential records related to a child who is a member of a tribe be made available to a tribal representative or agency acting on behalf of that child or his or her parent or custodian.
MI: Michigan seeks changes to abuse reporting law after Nassar
Springfield News-Sun – March 10, 2018
Michigan is looking to shore up its law that requires certain people to report suspected child sexual abuse to authorities to address gaps that were exposed after disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar admitted to sexually assaulting female athletes.
Also: Michigan universities want to postpone Nassar-inspired legislation: https://www.michigandaily.com/section/government/michigan-universities-want-postpone-nassar-inspired-legislation
NH: DCYF leaders say caseloads still high, turnover still a problem
New Hampshire Union Leader – March 11, 2018
The department still has nearly 2,000 open assessments of child abuse reports that are overdue for resolution; turnover among social workers went from 25 percent of staff per year in 2016 to 30 percent of staff in 2017. The number of child abuse reports coming into the office continues to rise – from a little over 10,000 in 2016 to 12,000 in 2017 (compared to 8,000 10 years ago).
NY: State: Brand New Beginnings lacked ‘fundamental understanding’ of how to run a group home
Post-Star – March 10, 2018
When Brand New Beginnings was denied a state license to run a home for severely troubled teenagers, local officials breathed a sigh of relief. They believed that organizer Jesse Brand was rejected by the state because of his lack of education and experience working with troubled youth.
NY: Kids caught in the de Blasio-Cuomo crossfire (Commentary)
New York Post – March 08, 2018
Administration for Children’s Services chief David Hansell warns that Cuomo’s budget caps state aid to his agency at $320 million. That’s a steep drop from this year’s $454 million in state funding – a slash he says would leave ACS $129 million short of what it needs to keep kids safe.
OK: Critics say legislation discriminates against would-be foster parents
CNHI News – March 12, 2018
Legislators plan to push forward with a new law that critics say amounts to outright discrimination against would-be parents seeking to shelter or adopt foster children. Under the proposed law, the Department of Human Services would have to contract with private child-placing agencies even if they refuse to proceed with adoptions or foster care placements based on religious or moral grounds, said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma.
TX: AG Paxton Defends Texas Legislature’s Foster Care System Reform at the 5th Circuit (Press release)
Office of the Attorney General of Texas – March 12, 2018
Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit defending the Texas foster care system from judicially imposed directives that could harm more children than it would help.
Also: Brief: http://bit.ly/2tGaSv9
Also: Ken Paxton files brief to address Texas foster care system plan (Includes video): https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/2018/03/12/attorney-general-ken-paxton-files-brief-protesting-texas-foster-care-system-plan/418709002/
US: Trump Nominates OneStar CEO To Head HHS Agency
Nonprofit Times – March 10, 2018
Elizabeth Darling, president and chief executive of the OneStar Foundation, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
US: By word and by deed, Ben Carson is abdicating HUD’s historic responsibilities (Commentary)
Brookings Institution – March 08, 2018
One particular irony of the proposed language change is that persistent racial and economic segregation undermines Carson’s pet goal for HUD: helping families move out of poverty and into full-time, well-paid work. HUD’s very own Moving to Opportunity program, which helped low-income families move into low-poverty neighborhoods, improved educational, health, and employment outcomes. Inclusion is seemingly linked to affordable housing and a better quality of life for all. And as long as public schools draw students from segregated neighborhoods, low-income and minority children will have unequal access to high-quality public schools, another important means to extend opportunity.
Tanzania: Editors in Tanzania form a frontline group on Child Rights Protection
ETurboNews – March 10, 2018
Recognizing the plight of children in Tanzania and Africa, group of senior editors have formed media platform to campaign for Child Rights Protection through positive editorial coverage. The senior editors had established the Editors Champion Group for Child Rights (ECGCR) as a platform through which they will develop an annual plan of action that will guide their work to promote and advocate for key child rights issues.
CA: What Los Angeles Child Welfare Leader Bobby Cagle Could Learn from Mick Jagger (Commentary)
Youth Today – March 09, 2018
One of the problems with the whole child welfare debate is that we all say pretty much the same things – but we attach very different meanings to very similar words. No one ever says, “Foster care should be the first resort” when there’s a family problem. Everybody says it should be the last resort. But clearly “last resort” means something different in, say, Los Angeles than it does in Chicago – since Los Angeles tears apart families at well over triple the rate of Chicago.
CA: Survivors of human trafficking in California can now sign up for confidential mailing addresses
Los Angeles Times – February 13, 2018
Human trafficking survivors can now sign up for a confidential mailing address program that enables some California crime victims to privately receive mail, open bank accounts and register to vote.
FL: Woman Who Was Forced Into Marriage At 11 Successfully Lobbies To Change Florida Marriage Law
Inquisitr – March 11, 2018
The woman’s parents and church forced her into the marriage in order to avoid a ‘messy criminal case.’ She hopes the new law will protect children from a similar fate.
FL: Is it ‘child neglect’ if you don’t buckle your kids up? Doctors, government don’t agree
Miami Herald – March 09, 2018
Florida child welfare administrators are deeply at odds with doctors’ groups about one of the most basic aspects of their job: the definition of child neglect.
GA: Parents are feeding their kids cannabis oil to calm them down (Commentary)
WJCL – March 09, 2018
Could CBD (cannabidiol) oil – which is extracted from pot plants – be the new go-to for calming kids down? With states green-lighting the green stuff one after another, marijuana-using millennials are more curious than ever before about giving it to their kids and babies.
HI: The Conversation: State of Social Work (Audio)
Hawai’i Public Radio – March 09, 2018
March is national social work month. It’s one of the toughest jobs out there: high stress, low pay, and long hours. Here in Hawaii, the Child Welfare Services program just received failing grades across the board for the second time. Today’s panel examines the state of social work in Hawaii.
KS: New Boss Promising Kansas Child Protection Agency Will Change For The Better
KCUR – March 09, 2018
The new head of Kansas’ troubled child welfare agency got a unanimous vote of confidence from a legislative committee Friday. Even the agency’s staunchest critics think Gina Meier-Hummel will sail through a confirmation vote from the full Senate to head the Department for Children and Families.
Also: Kansas lawmakers confident new child welfare chief can fix agency: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2018/mar/09/kansas-lawmakers-confident-new-child-welfare-chief/
Also: Department for Children and Families must remain accountable (Commentary): http://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article204314729.html
ME: CPS workers leaving DHHS at ’80 percent attrition rate,’ legislator says (Includes video)
News Center Maine – March 09, 2018
After a Government Oversight Committee hearing Friday to vote on whether the state should investigate DHHS’ handling of the Marissa Kennedy case, a state representative said CPS workers are turning over at an “80 percent attrition rate.”
Information Gateway resource: Secondary Trauma (Also called secondary traumatic stress or vicarious trauma, secondary trauma): https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/trauma/secondary/
ME: Government Oversight Committee okays investigation of Child Protective Services (Includes video)
WFVX – March 09, 2018
The vote was unanimous to direct the office of program evaluation and government accountability to begin an investigation into the circumstances that led to the deaths of Marissa Kennedy in February and 4-year-old Kendall Chick in Wiscasset last year.
MI: The ACLU Fights a Michigan Law Protecting Faith-Based Adoption Agencies (Commentary)
National Review – March 10, 2018
Adoptive parents and former foster children in Michigan came forth this week to defend their interest in the protection of faith-based foster care and adoption services in the state of Michigan. After faith-based foster-care and adoption agencies were forced to close in several states, Michigan (and several other states, including Virginia, Texas, and South Dakota) passed laws granting protection to such agencies so they could continue to serve families and children – as they always have done – in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs.
MN: Minnesota officials seek end to homelessness by 2020
St. Paul Pioneer Press – March 11, 2018
Homelessness in Minnesota has decreased 8 percent since 2014, when the state initially launched the plan Heading Home, according to the Minnesota Housing Agency. The most recent plan, Heading Home Together, aims to further that effort.
NH: Child protection bills expected to advance Wednesday in Senate (Video)
WMUR – March 11, 2018
A series of bills to reform the state’s child protective service system are expected to get the go-ahead from the state Senate on Wednesday.
Also: DCYF leaders say caseloads are high, morale is low and turnover a problem: http://www.unionleader.com/public-safety/dcyf-leaders-say-caseloads-are-high-morale-is-low-and-turnover-a-problem-20180311&source=RSS
NY: Adoption Across Racial and Ethnic Lines: ‘These Relationships Are Always Going to Be in Flux’ (Includes video)
New York Times – March 10, 2018
Margaret Pendergast, who was born in Honduras, and Nicole Eigbrett, who was born in China, shared their stories with the hosts of our Race/NYT weekly chat, John Eligon and Rachel Swarns. The adoptees talked about the implications of transracial and transethnic adoption and their struggle to find themselves in the faces of their white families.
NY: DiNapoli slams ACS for weak oversight of foster kids
New York Post – March 09, 2018
The city’s child welfare agency isn’t providing enough oversight of foster children, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in an audit released Friday.
OH: Wanted: Lucas County foster families (Includes video)
Toledo Blade – March 09, 2018
More than 140 more children need foster care than at this time last year, and those already in foster care are staying there longer. It has become all the more common to find caseworkers at the office late, scrambling to find a safe place for yet another child to sleep that night.
OK: Oklahoma Department of Human Services Work Through Budget Cuts (Includes video)
KOAM – March 09, 2018
The Oklahoma state budget cuts won’t have anybody getting laid off from their jobs at the Human Services center in Miami. The state agency as a whole is facing a 4.6 million dollar budget cut for this fiscal year.
Also: In endless state budget crisis, Todd Lamb sticks to no-tax increase stance: https://www.readfrontier.org/stories/in-endless-state-budget-crisis-todd-lamb-sticks-to-no-tax-increase-stance/
OK: Oklahoma Did Not Always Comply With Requirements for Providing Health Care Services to Children in Foster Care (Press release)
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General – February 13, 2018
Oklahoma did not follow its policies and procedures to ensure there was evidence in Title IV-E case files to support that all required health care services were provided to Title IV-E children in foster care. Nor were there Medicaid claims in the State’s Medicaid Management Information System to support that all of the children whose case files lacked documentation received the required services.
Complete Report: https://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region6/61607006.pdf
OR: DHS visitation room makeovers
Corvallis Gazette-Times – March 11, 2018
The visitation rooms at the new Oregon Department of Human Services building on Research Way in Corvallis were set up Saturday by volunteers with seven local groups, each in charge of a room. Event organizers with Every Child, a nonprofit that supports DHS, said the groups collectively raised about $10,000 to buy furnishings for the spaces and about 50 to 60 people helped out with setting them up. “This DHS building was just built, but there was no funding for new furnishings,” said Christina Nelson, an Every Child volunteer. Rather than move old items in from the former location, she said, Every Child stepped in.
PA: Lawsuit faults Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services for child’s sex abuse
Times-Tribune – March 12, 2018
Two children molested by a Wilkes-Barre man might not have been victimized had Lackawanna County child welfare officials warned the man’s adoptive parents he had a history of sexual abuse, according to a federal lawsuit.
WI: Many On GPS Monitoring Are Homeless
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism – March 10, 2018
Michael walked out of the Oshkosh Correctional Institution in April 2017 at age 60 with $140 to his name, a record as a sex offender and a GPS monitoring bracelet strapped to his ankle. The housing search ended in failure. Michael, who is disabled and relies on Social Security, was unable to navigate the process with residency restrictions and landlords leery of renting to sex offenders.
WI: Why child abuse investigations don’t always result in criminal charges (Includes video)
WBAY – March 09, 2018
There are many levels to an investigation, and it’s not always easy to prove abuse or neglect, especially when there is no physical evidence.
US: ACLU Sues ICE For Allegedly Separating ‘Hundreds’ Of Migrant Families
WBUR – March 09, 2018
The American Civil Liberties Union says that U.S. immigration authorities have forcibly separated hundreds of migrant parents, most of them asylum seekers, from their minor children for no legitimate reason. The ACLU requested class-action status on Friday, expanding an existing lawsuit against the Trump administration filed on behalf of an anonymous asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who was allegedly detained for months – more than 2,000 miles away from her 7-year-old daughter.
Also: ACLU challenges Trump administration practice of separating migrant parents and children: https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/ACLU-Trump-administration-illegally-separates-12741795.php
US: Indian Child Welfare Act attacks are a threat to tribes (Commentary)
High Country News – March 09, 2018
The 1978 act was created to prevent the separation of Native children from their families and communities through adoptions, to “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.” However, the Goldwater Institute, a right-wing advocacy group with ties to the Koch brothers, argues the law, which only allows Native children to live with non-Native foster parents if a tribal family is not available, is a form of racial segregation.
US: New data shows opioid crisis is just getting worse (Commentary)
Hill – March 08, 2018
Data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017.
Australia: Child protection demand grows
Katherine Times – March 10, 2018
The number of children receiving child protection services continues to grow, with Indigenous children notably overrepresented, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows.
Also: Australia’s welfare 2017: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/australias-welfare-2017/contents/table-of-contents
Ireland: ISPCC concerned over deficiencies in child protection services
RTE – March 11, 2018
Serious concerns have been raised with the Minister for Children about deficiencies in child protection services – highlighted in two reports published in the past fortnight.
Nigeria: Oyo Reiterates Protection Of The Vulnerable As 10,514 Benefits From Child Welfare
Lagos Post – March 09, 2018
The Oyo State Government has assured that adequate security and welfare measures are being put in place to protect the vulnerable segment of the society, saying that about 10,514 children have been cared for under its child welfare programme.
Norway: Child Brides Sometimes Tolerated in Nordic Asylum Centers Despite Bans
Reuters – March 11, 2018
Some child brides are living with older husbands in asylum centers in Scandinavia, triggering a furor about lapses in protection for girls in nations that ban child marriage. Authorities have in some cases let girls stay with their partners, believing it is less traumatic for them than forced separation after fleeing wars in nations such as Afghanistan or Syria.
Sweden: 12 unaccompanied refugee minors committed suicide in Sweden in 2017, report says
Daily Sabah – March 10, 2018
A report commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare has revealed that 12 unaccompanied refugee children committed suicide in Sweden last year while waiting for their asylum requests to be processed. The report said the 12 were boys and men under the age of 21, almost all of them had come from Afghanistan and had applied for a residence permit in 2015.