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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: Arizona Daily Star investigation: Fixing our foster care crisis (Includes video)

Arizona Daily Star – March 02, 2018

After peaking with nearly 19,000 children in foster care in 2016, Arizona set out to keep more families together and pull fewer kids from their homes. Some changes are taking hold, and the number of kids in out-of-home care is trending downward. But the state still hasn’t tackled the bigger question: How can we solve the problems that spurred the foster care crisis?

http://tucson.com/special-section/fostercare/

FL: OUR VIEW: Florida struggles to protect kids

Daytona Beach News-Journal – March 05, 2018

The state has too often fallen short in protecting abused and neglected children. It’s happening again: The local lead child-welfare agency is pleading for potential foster parents to step up, citing a shortage of good homes for children who have already been through hell.

http://www.news-journalonline.com/opinion/20180305/our-view-florida-struggles-to-protect-kids

HI: Review finds Hawaii child welfare agency unimproved

Associated Press – March 04, 2018

Hawaii’s agency that oversees the welfare of abused and neglected children throughout the state failed to make some necessary improvements in its operations, according to a federal review.

Also: Child and Family Services Reviews: Hawaii: https://humanservices.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/HI_CFSR_Final-Report_2017.pdf

Information Gateway resource: Child and Family Services Reviews: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/management/reform/child-and-family-services-reviews/

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/health-and-medicine/article203432184.html

HI: Girl who was severely beaten after state returned her to mom gets $450K payout (Includes video)

Hawaii News Now – March 02, 2018

Twelve years ago, Shari Rodrigues suffered permanent brain and internal injuries after she was beaten by her biological mother’s boyfriend. The state initially took the girl, who was 2 at the time, away from her mother. The girl was then returned.

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/37636849/girl-who-was-severely-beaten-after-state-returned-her-to-mom-gets-450k-payout

IN: Parents, judge say they’re seeing shortage of DCS attorneys (Includes video)

Fox 59 – March 04, 2018

A thorough review of Indiana’s Department of Child Services is currently underway and the group conducting the assessment say there are concerns about the number of attorneys employed by the troubled agency.

http://fox59.com/2018/03/04/509040/

KS: Kansas child protection agency made a mistake. Then Evan Brewer was killed.

Wichita Eagle – March 04, 2018

For more than a year, people reported to the state that 3-year-old Evan Brewer was suffering in a home of chronic methamphetamine users – that the mother’s boyfriend choked the child until he became unconscious.

http://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article203349254.html

KS: Former Kansas DCF official: Agency intentionally underreported child deaths

Topeka Capital-Journal – March 03, 2018

A former deputy director of the Kansas Department for Children and Families alleges the agency has a record of systematically underreporting child fatalities and of providing inaccurate information to the state’s Child Death Review Board.

http://www.cjonline.com/news/20180303/former-kansas-dcf-official-agency-intentionally-underreported-child-deaths

KS: Wichita child tragedies were a factor in official’s removal

Columbus Republic – March 02, 2018

Recent tragedies involving children who reportedly had been abused was one of several factors in the decision to oust the agency’s top official in Wichita, the department’s new leader said. Gina Meier-Hummel, director of the Department of Children and Families, told agency workers in Wichita that she shared their concern “about recent tragedies involving children in your community, and understand on a very personal level the scrutiny the agency is under.”

http://www.therepublic.com/2018/03/02/ks-state-official-ousted-2/

KY: Adoption and foster care reform bill passed by House (Press release)

Advocate-Messenger – March 02, 2018

“We owe it to all these children, the parents, and the families across the state to start reforming a system in desperate need,” said Meade of the bipartisan bill that grew out of the work of last year’s House Working Group on Adoption. “This is an opportunity to do something truly remarkable for the children and the families of this state and start changing lives for some of the most vulnerable.”

Also: Bill to reform adoption, foster care passes house nearly unanimously: http://www.westernrecorder.org/2202.article

Also: Legislation looks out for unwanted children, speeds up adoption process: http://www.bgdailynews.com/opinion/our_opinion/legislation-looks-out-for-unwanted-children-speeds-up-adoption-process/article_f0504653-1b6f-57f3-8528-840d04cf8f31.html

https://www.amnews.com/2018/03/02/adoption-and-foster-care-reform-bill-passed-by-house/

LA: Fostering Louisiana: Louisiana sees record year for foster care adoption

BR Proud – March 04, 2018

For the second year in a row, Louisiana broke a record for foster care adoptions. That’s something the state’s Department of Children and Family Services Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare Rhenda Hodnett said she would like to see continue.

http://www.brproud.com/news/local-news/fostering-louisiana-louisiana-sees-record-year-for-foster-care-adoption/1007574366

ME: Confirmed cases of physical abuse of children jumped 52% in Maine over 8 years

Press Herald – March 02, 2018

Reports of possible abuse and neglect also rose, to 8,279 in 2016, with increased awareness of a growing problem that could be tied to the opioid epidemic.

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/03/02/substantiated-cases-of-physical-abuse-of-children-jump-52-in-maine-over-eight-years/

ME: Lawmakers press LePage administration for answers about abuse case that led to girl’s death (Includes video)

Portland Press Herald – March 02, 2018

The administration says the Department of Health and Human Services has already begun an inquiry into its handling of the case of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy.

Also: DHHS Report: Confirmed Cases of Child Abuse Increased in Maine Since 2008: http://www.wabi.tv/content/news/DHHS-Report-Confirmed-Cases-of-Child-Abuse-Increased-in-Maine-Since-2008–475703043.html

Also: LePage: State investigating response before girl’s death: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article203199319.html

Also: Lawmakers ratchet up pressure on LePage administration to do something in child abuse death: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/03/02/lawmakers-ratchet-up-pressure-on-lepage-administration-to-do-something-in-child-abuse-death/

Also: Report: Maine didn’t follow protocol in child welfare cases: http://www.tribtown.com/2018/03/05/me-child-abuse-report/

Also: Report Finds DHHS Missed ‘Red Flags’ in Multiple Child Abuse Cases (Includes audio): http://mainepublic.org/post/report-finds-dhhs-missed-red-flags-multiple-child-abuse-cases

Also: Child Welfare Services Ombudsman Annual Report 2017: http://cwombudsman.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2017-Annual-Report-Maine-Child-Welfare-Ombudsman.pdf

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/03/02/lawmakers-ratchet-up-pressure-on-lepage-administration-to-do-something-in-child-abuse-death/

MI: State contracts with Flint group to train prospective foster parents

MLive – March 02, 2018

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has contracted with Ennis Center for Children to recruit and train prospective foster and adoptive parents in Mid-Michigan. Ennis Center Founder and President Bob Ennis said he is thrilled about the agency’s opportunity to provide additional services to help fill the need for foster parents in Michigan.

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2018/03/state_of_michigan_expands_fost.html

MI: State, police investigating YMCA child care center

Port Huron Times Herald – March 02, 2018

“At the YMCA of the Blue Water Area, the safety and well-being of children in our care always has been and always will be our top priority,” Brooks told the Times Herald Friday. “We are fully supporting the investigations by the Michigan Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing, Child Protective Services and the Port Huron Police Department.

https://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/local/port-huron/2018/03/02/state-police-investigating-ymca-child-care-center/388267002/

MN: Native Legislators in Minnesota Call For Task Force to Stop Violence Against Indigenous Women

Indian Country Today Media Network – March 02, 2018

Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein called for a Governor’s task force to exclusively address the endemic crisis of missing and murdered Native women in Minnesota.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/mn-violence-indigenous-women/

NJ: Imagine: Imagine organization helps children, young adults and families cope with grief (Includes video)

Home News Tribune – March 04, 2018

“Kids who have a loss need support no matter what type of loss it is. It’s nice to know that schools like Madison High are bringing us in so that the staff is prepared to support kids and has greater insight when a child’s behavior changes,” Mary Robinson said.

https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/how-we-live/2018/03/04/imagine-imagine-monthly-column-exploring-people-and-initiatives-shaping-our-lives-imagine-organizati/389248002/

NY: Program Keeping Convicted Youths Closer to Home Enjoys Success, Faces Cuts

City Limits – March 02, 2018

“If you’re going to be technical, NSP,” for non-secure placement is not so bad,” he says, speaking with City Limits in the same room where residents and their families gather once a month for painting, yoga and other group activities. Two staff people chatted quietly on the other side of the room while Jim spoke.

https://citylimits.org/2018/03/02/program-keeping-convicted-youths-closer-to-home-enjoys-success-faces-cuts/

OH: Parenting in prison: Ohio nursery offers inmate moms, children a chance to bond

Cleveland Plain Dealer – March 04, 2018

Javon and four other children, who were born while their mothers were incarcerated, are being raised by their moms in Ohio’s prison nursery, a facility that sits less than 30 feet from the razor wire that circles the Ohio Reformatory for Women.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/03/parenting_behind_bars_ohios_pr.html

OR: Let’s address Oregon’s obsession with taking kids from their parents: Guest opinion

Oregonian – March 02, 2018

The earliest report I know of that attempted to compare the rate at which states take children from their parents and the rate at which those children are held in foster care dates back to 1985. At that time, the rate of removal in Oregon was 35 percent above the national average. Further, the rate at which children were trapped in foster care was 70 percent above the national average.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/03/lets_address_oregons_obsession.html

RI: The Jewish Orphanage of R.I.: ‘A cherished institution’

Jewish Voice and Herald – March 04, 2018

From the outset, in small ways and large, the children were not shut away from the wider community. Their house looked like other houses in the neighborhood. They had a large yard in which to play, and there is evidence that there was some interaction with the neighborhood children. They attended public school and Temple Emanuel. They participated in activities designed to promote a feeling of family.

http://www.jvhri.org/stories/the-jewish-orphanage-of-ri-a-cherished-institution,8179?

TX: Texas CPS privatization pilot moving ahead despite concerns (Includes video)

Abilene Reporter-News – March 02, 2018

At least four Texas lawmakers have asked the state to delay plans to privatize a program in which caseworkers monitor homes where a risk of child abuse or neglect has been identified.

http://www.reporternews.com/story/news/local/big-country/2018/03/02/texas-cps-privatization-pilot-moving-ahead-despite-concerns/387032002/

VA: Garrett: Miller Home There For Girls Into Adulthood (Commentary)

Lynchburg News and Advance – March 04, 2018

Over the years, Miller Home of Lynchburg found girls aging out of the foster care system (at the age of 18) to be true not only for foster care but also girls living in residential care programs. The age of 18 allows these children to make decisions as adults, when they are still learning basic life skills. Miller Home was watching girls sign out of the program on their 18th birthday to enter the wonderful world of adult life.

http://www.newsadvance.com/opinion/community_viewpoint/garrett-miller-home-there-for-girls-into-adulthood/article_39405dc4-1e66-11e8-8948-3b0c74854812.html

US: Early Care and Education: A Missing Piece of the Child Welfare Puzzle (Commentary)

Child Welfare Monitor – March 05, 2018

The use of federal waivers to use Title IV-E foster care funds to prevent foster care placement has now entered permanent law through the Family First and Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), which became law as part of the Continuing Resolution signed by Donald Trump on February 9, 2018. FFPSA allows states to use Title IV-E funds to pay for mental health services, drug treatment, and parenting training for parents whose children would otherwise be placed in foster care. But there is something missing in this list of allowed services, and that is services to the children themselves. Most notably, quality early care and education (ECE) holds great promise as a way both to keep at-risk children safe at home and to compensate for the developmental effects of past and ongoing neglect.

https://childwelfaremonitor.org/2018/03/05/early-childhood-education-a-missing-piece-of-the-child-welfare-puzzle/

US: The Foster Care System Was Unprepared for The Last Drug Epidemic. Let’s Not Repeat History (Commentary)

Chronicle of Social Change – March 02, 2018

Foster care is an imperfect system, often criticized for its failures, bureaucratic inefficiencies, and poverty and racial bias, leading to the harmful and unnecessary removal of children from their homes, disproportionately from homes of poor families of color.

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/child-welfare-2/foster-care-system-unprepared-last-drug-epidemic-lets-not-repeat-history/30035

US: Violence Against Girls in Conflict-affected Populations Reinforces Gender Norms (Press release)

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health – March 02, 2018

In some areas affected by conflict, adolescent girls and young women are perceived as responsible for their own safety and considered as burdens and threats to family honor should they become victims of violence or pregnant prior to marriage, according to a study just released by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. This latest research on gender based violence (GBV) also indicates that girls need to take responsibility for managing their interactions with boys and men. The findings are published online in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect.

http://www.sciencenewsline.com/news/2018030217470010.html

US: Sen. Hirono Introduces Bill to Help Minors Appearing in Immigration Court

Big Island Now – March 01, 2018

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai’i) led 12 Senators in introducing the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act to provide unaccompanied children with access to legal representation when they appear in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

https://bigislandnow.com/2018/03/01/sen-hirono-introduces-bill-to-help-minors-appearing-in-immigration-court/

INTERNATIONAL

Australia: Child sex abuse is like a ‘tsunami’ in Australia as children with STIs double in a decade – and only a martial law will stop the abuse of minors’

Daily Mail – March 05, 2018

The sheer scale of neglect and under-reported sexual activity involving children in the Northern Territory is ‘like a tsunami’, child protection authorities have said. Rates of sexually transmitted infections amongst children have soared over the past decade, a Royal Commission report into the protection and detention of children in the Northern Territory has revealed.

Royal Commission Report: https://childdetentionnt.royalcommission.gov.au/Documents/Royal-Commission-NT-Final-Report-Volume-3B.pdf

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5462371/Northern-Territory-child-STI-rates-sky-rocket.html

Australia: Cardinal Pell facing Australian court on sex abuse charges

Associated Press – March 04, 2018

Pope Francis’ former finance minister was charged in June of last year with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical” sexual assault offenses – meaning the crimes that are alleged to have occurred decades ago

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/cardinal-pell-facing-australian-court-on-sex-abuse-charges/2018/03/04/112b816e-2010-11e8-946c-9420060cb7bd_story.html

Canada: Motherisk reforms show struggling families don’t need to be split up, they need our help (Opinion)

Toronto Star – March 02, 2018

Among the many dozens of pages of terrible stories and horrifying details contained in the Motherisk Commission report released this week, one case referred to in passing jumped out at me as exemplifying the problem. “In one case, the society’s materials described a parent as having excellent parenting skills and reported that she consistently attended for access. Notwithstanding this encouraging evidence, when a positive Motherisk test appeared to show low levels of cocaine and marijuana, the court made the child a Crown ward, without access, after a summary judgment hearing.” We now know that Motherisk testing was unreliable. A summary judgment means that the decision was made by a judge without a trial.

Also: Motherisk Commission calls for sweeping changes to child protection system: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/02/26/motherisk-tests-unfair-and-harmful-to-families-in-child-protection-cases.html

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/03/02/motherrisk-reforms-show-struggling-families-dont-need-to-be-split-up-they-need-our-help.html

Ethiopia: Spreading foster care in Ethiopia (Includes audio)

Mission News Network – March 05, 2018

“Our focus is to help struggling families keep their children and serve them through various services so that the family stays together and that kids continue to get care in loving families,” Bethany’s Director of Africa Operations, Sebilu Bodja shares. “While we’re doing that, we’re trying to prevent orphanhood. We’re trying to make sure that through our efforts, families out there… have an opportunity to stay together.”

https://www.mnnonline.org/news/spreading-foster-care-ethiopia/

Turkey: Child sex abuse in Turkey sparks debate on best prevention

Associated Press – March 04, 2018

The attack reignited a national discourse about child abuse, with some public figures taking to social media to say “Children keep quiet, you shouldn’t” and others petitioning parliament to install the death penalty. But Turkey’s already hefty punishments have not put a dent in sex abuse and experts are urging more preventive measures.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/child-sex-abuse-turkey-sparks-debate-best-prevention-132411177.html

 

CO: Colorado could get its first 24/7 child care facility for families in crisis

Education News Colorado – March 01, 2018

The center, to be called the Grand Valley Crisis Nursery and set to open in late 2018, would provide free care for children 0 to 5 years old for periods ranging from a few days to 30 days. The idea is to give parents a safe place to leave their youngest children when they’re facing a crisis – a period of homelessness, an emergency medical procedure, domestic violence, or the threat of job loss. It’s meant to prevent child abuse and neglect and keep kids out of the foster care system.

https://co.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2018/03/01/colorado-could-get-its-first-24-7-child-care-facility-for-families-in-crisis/

IL: Task force offers help to keep youths with mental conditions out of jail

Pantagraph  – March 02, 2018

The report by the Illinois Mental Health Opportunities for Youth Diversion Task Force laid out 14 recommendations to divert youths from the justice system. About 70 percent of the nearly 30,000 youth arrests and 11,000 youth admissions to Illinois jails each year involve a child who meets the diagnostic criteria for a mental health condition, according to the report.

Also: STEMMING THE TIDE: Diverting Youth with Mental Health Conditions from the Illinois Juvenile Justice System: http://namichicago.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/NAMI-4478-TaskForceDiversionReport_L3.pdf

http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/task-force-offers-help-to-keep-youths-with-mental-conditions/article_f048669b-64c3-51be-b3a7-cd8ba5b21781.html

IN: Bill could change perception of foster child education

Indianapolis Recorder – March 01, 2018

The bill, authored by Granger Republican Rep. Dale DeVon, would set up data sharing between the state’s education and child services departments. It would also require that the Indiana State Board of Education release an annual report about foster youth education.

http://www.indianapolisrecorder.com/education/article_f241ae10-1d6a-11e8-9c75-9bff98006f50.html

IN: DCS update: After nearly 100 interviews, consultant identifies more potential problems

Indianapolis Star – March 01, 2018

The consultant reviewing Indiana’s troubled child welfare agency provided an update Thursday based on nearly 100 interviews it has conducted so far. Those initial interviews have raised concerns about a shortage of attorneys at the Department of Child Services, the adequacy of education and training requirements for case managers, a lack of mental health and substance abuse services, and the over-centralization of decision making at the agency’s central office.

Also: Second Progress Report of the Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services Child Welfare System: http://www.journalgazette.net/assets/pdf/JG35180831.PDF

Also: Indiana Child Services battles staff turnover, shortages, outside agency finds: http://wane.com/2018/03/01/indiana-child-services-battles-staff-turnover-shortages-outside-agency-finds/

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/01/dcs-update-after-nearly-100-interviews-consultant-identifies-more-potential-problems/384659002/

KS: Wichita child tragedies helped lead to DCF official’s removal

Wichita Eagle – March 01, 2018

Recent child tragedies in Wichita helped push the Kansas Department for Children and Families to oust its top official in the city and promise new procedures. Meier-Hummel sent a letter to employees on Tuesday announcing the departure of Wichita regional director Bill Gale. She did not name specific Wichita incidents.

http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article202973354.html

LA: Louisiana sees 77 percent rise in juvenile human trafficking (Includes video)

Fox 44 – March 01, 2018

New numbers recently released by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services showed an overall 50 percent increase in human trafficking in the state from 2016 to 2017. For victims under 18, there was a 77 percent reported jump.

Also: Report: http://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/searchable/Child%20Welfare/PlansReports/Human%20Trafficking%20Report%202018.pdf

Information Gateway resource: Human Trafficking: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/trafficking/

http://www.brproud.com/news/local-news/louisiana-sees-77-percent-rise-in-juvenile-human-trafficking/1001474666

MD: Sexual abuse allegations against rabbi divide Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community (Includes video)

Baltimore Sun – March 02, 2018

The Baltimore Child Abuse Center is launching what it says in an unprecedented effort to help local Jewish organizations adopt new policies and procedures for preventing and responding to abuse. Funded by a $300,000 grant from The Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation, the center plans to help at least 30 synagogues, schools, camps and other institutions establish model child protection policies.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-co-abuse-jewish-institutions-20180206-story.html

ME: Confirmed cases of children being physically abused jumped 52% in Maine over 8 years

Portland Press Herald – March 02, 2018

Confirmed cases of physical abuse of children in Maine increased by 52 percent from 2008 to 2016 even though the overall number of abuse and neglect cases declined slightly during that time, state statistics show.

Also: Maine Ends Child Abuse Prevention Program: http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/tns-maine-lepage-child-abuse-prevention.html

Also: DHHS commissioner ‘impressed’ with child welfare staff, can’t disclose details of abuse deaths (Includes video): http://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/dhhs-commissioner-impressed-with-child-welfare-staff-cant-disclose-details-of-abuse-deaths/97-524619687

Also: Gov. LePage releases statement after pulling funding from child abuse prevention program new (Includes video): http://wgme.com/news/local/gov-lepage-releases-statement-after-pulling-funding-from-child-abuse-prevention-program

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/03/02/substantiated-cases-of-physical-abuse-of-children-jump-52-in-maine-over-eight-years/

NY: ACS, Peralta call on Cuomo to switch trajectory on agency’s budget funds

Times Ledger – March 02, 2018

“The current reimbursement system has contributed to lower child protective case loads and a decrease in juvenile justice detection and placements,” Peralta said. ‘The proposed $320 million cap runs counter to our shared goal of keeping children out of the foster care and the juvenile justice system. When the state has implemented caps in the past, New York City foster care placements spiked. In 2017, there were 157 more placements than there were in 2016. This is not the time to cut off the very funding that can prevent more children from being institutio­nalized.”

https://www.timesledger.com/stories/2018/9/acsletter_2018_03_02_q.html

OR: Mandatory reporting clarification for teen sex dropped from Oregon bill (Includes video)

Statesman Journal – March 01, 2018

A first of the bill’s four major sections sought to clarify a strict interpretation of state mandatory reporting laws issued by the Marion County District Attorney and Salem-Keizer Public Schools. Their interpretation requires all mandatory reporters – including school staff, legislators and physicians – to file a report anytime they know of sexual activity involving someone under the age of 18.

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/education/2018/03/01/mandatory-reporting-clarification-teen-sex-dropped-oregon-legislature-bill/381678002/

PA: Early numbers paint picture of opioid crisis’ impact on newborns

Intelligencer – March 01, 2018

More than half of the Pennsylvania hospitals and birthing centers have yet to submit data on newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome during the first half of the state disaster declaration in response to the growing opiate and opioid epidemic.

http://www.theintell.com/news/20180301/early-numbers-paint-picture-of-opioid-crisis-impact-on-newborns?rssfeed=true

RI: R.I. child advocate calls home ‘criminal enterprise’

Providence Journal – March 01, 2018

A group of lawmakers is wondering why Rhode Island’s child welfare agency is still doing business with a Pawtucket group home company that one state representative described Thursday as “a criminal enterprise.” The Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative, which runs two group homes in Pawtucket, became ensnared in a federal sex-trafficking case last spring when one group home manager was charged with trafficking a 17-year-old girl for prostitution.

http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20180301/ri-lawmaker-calls-pawtucket-group-home-criminal-enterprise?rssfeed=true

TX: Texas CPS pilot moving full steam ahead, despite concerns from El Paso leaders (Includes video)

El Paso Times – February 27, 2018

Lawmakers say the pilot program, which will be a model for privatizing services statewide, should be put on hold because of concerns over the perceived lack of preparation by the nonprofit tasked with leading the effort and the state’s oversight abilities.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/local/2018/02/28/cps-texas-pilot-program-advances-el-paso-leaders-concern/323298002/

WA: State agency pays $3.1M after placing girl with rapist

Associated Press – March 01, 2018

The former foster parents of a girl who was taken from them by the state Department of Social and Health Services and placed with her biological father – a convicted child rapist – have settled a lawsuit for $3.1 million.

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/state/washington/article202986399.html

WV: ‘Year of the Child’ aims to focus on effect of opioid crisis

Associated Press – March 01, 2018

Child welfare activists have launched a yearlong campaign to highlight the effect of West Virginia’s opioid crisis on the youth.

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/business/health-care/article202914359.html

US: How children get caught in the clash over LGBT and religious rights (Commentary)

Deseret News – March 01, 2018

The opioid epidemic, funding challenges and a tangle of regulations all complicate efforts to connect children with interested families, according to child welfare experts. Increasingly, so do clashes between faith-based adoption agencies and LGBT couples.

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900011653/how-children-get-caught-in-the-clash-over-lgbt-and-religious-rights.html

US: Top youth volleyball coach was accused of raping players in the 1980s, yet still trained kids, lawsuit charges

NBC – March 01, 2018

A top youth volleyball coach accused of having inappropriate sexual relations with at least six underage players received a lifetime ban from the sport but then was let back in five years later – and allowed to stay for another 18 years.

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/sexual-misconduct/top-youth-volleyball-coach-was-accused-raping-players-1980s-yet-n852311

INTERNATIONAL

Ethiopia: UNHCR Ethiopia: Child Protection Factsheet

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – December 31, 2017

The Ethiopia National Child Protection Strategy (2017-2019) outlines six goals and intervention areas for Child Protection which UNHCR and partners are working towards.

Also: Ethiopia: Child Protection Factsheet: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Fact%20Sheet%20-%20CP%20December%202017.pdf

https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/unhcr-ethiopia-child-protection-factsheet-december-2017

AZ: Arizona Daily Star special investigation: Fixing our foster care crisis

Arizona Daily Star – February 28, 2018

After peaking with nearly 19,000 children in foster care in 2016, Arizona set out to keep more families together and pull fewer kids from their homes. Some changes are taking hold, and the number of kids in out-of-home care is trending downward. But the state still hasn’t tackled the bigger question: How can we solve the problems that spurred the foster care crisis?

http://tucson.com/arizona-daily-star-special-investigation-fixing-our-foster-care-crisis/article_e4b295a4-1ca0-11e8-b3b5-df70072e9f64.html

GA: OPINION: Why Georgia Senate is dead wrong for denying kids access to loving parents

Grio – February 28, 2018

There are literally hundreds of thousands of worthy children who could use a loving household. On Monday, the attempt to lessen that number became that much harder as the Georgia Senate passed a measure that gives adoption agencies the right NOT to work with LGBTQ couples.

https://thegrio.com/2018/02/28/opinion-georgia-senate-is-dead-wrong-for-denying-kids-access-to-loving-parents/

IN: Indiana Department of Child Services State must ensure kids’ safety (Commentary)

South Bend Tribune – February 27, 2018

Hoosiers concerned about the warning signs at the Department of Child Services won’t be reassured by the first report from the consultant charged with assessing the agency. Recently, the Child Welfare Policy Practice Group announced two primary findings in its DCS review: That Indiana removes children from homes and places them in state care at more than twice the national average; and the state uses an inadequate computer system to track child welfare cases.

http://www.tribtown.com/2018/02/28/looking_for_some_answers_at_indiana_department_of_child_services/

KS: Adoption bills would let agencies refuse LGBT couples based on religious beliefs

Wichita Eagle – February 28, 2018

Kansas adoption and foster agencies could refuse placements that go against their religious beliefs – including placements with gay and lesbian couples – under bills in two legislative committees.

http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article202735379.html

KY: Bill To Overhaul Ky. Child Welfare System Advances

Associated Press – February 28, 2018

House Bill 1 would impose timelines on the state and the court system in an effort to shorten the length of time children in state custody are in limbo. It would also direct state officials to automatically begin the process of terminating parental rights for any mother who gives birth to a drug-dependent baby and refuses to enter a drug rehabilitation program.

http://www.lex18.com/story/37616102/bill-to-overhaul-ky-child-welfare-system-advances

ME: Criticism raised over ending child abuse prevention program

Portland Press Herald – February 28, 2018

State officials say the $2.2 million Community Partnerships for Protecting Children program duplicates other Maine prevention programs and is not evidence-based. Maine Department of Health and Human Services officials surprised nonprofit leaders in a meeting a few weeks ago by saying the program that launched more than a decade ago would not be renewed, and did not give clear reasons why, said officials with Opportunity Alliance, the South Portland-based nonprofit that started the program.

http://www.sunjournal.com/criticism-raised-over-ending-child-abuse-prevention-program/

MI: Our Editorial: In fight for victims, don’t stretch law

Detroit News – February 28, 2018

The rush to “do something” in the wake of the Dr. Larry Nassar abuse scandal at Michigan State University is in full swing. Multiple investigations are underway, and now the Legislature has stepped in with its proposed fixes. And while some of the measures are important, lawmakers should ensure they don’t unintentionally go too far in stretching the law to prevent abuse and punish those responsible.

Also: Knollenberg introduces bills addressing sexual assaults; legislation inspired by Nassar case: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20180228/knollenberg-introduces-bills-addressing-sexual-assaults-legislation-inspired-by-nassar-case

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/editorials/2018/02/28/fight-victims-stretch-law/110956518/

MS: County needs more foster parents (Press release)

Simpson County, Mississippi – February 28, 2018

There is much more of a need to offer foster care for children in Simpson County than many people realize. Simpson County is a part of a seven county area that offers care to approximately 200 children at any given time. There are approximately 20 to 25 families in Simpson County who are willing to open their doors to children who may fall into this category. In September of 2017, 14 children from Simpson County were in placement from the state.

http://simpsoncounty.ms/county-needs-more-foster-parents#sthash.RgfGKR4B.dpbs

NE: Filibuster stalls bill that would require attorneys for all Nebraska juveniles

Lincoln Journal Star – February 28, 2018

Pansing Brooks was successful in 2016 in passing a law that provides attorneys for all juvenile offenders in Lancaster, Douglas and Sarpy counties. The law provides youths consultation with an attorney even if they are considering waiving the right to an attorney. At the time, she said that statewide, attorneys represent juveniles in only about 66 percent of juvenile delinquency, status offense and traffic cases.

Information Gateway resource: Youth Involved With Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/youth/collaboration/dualsystem/

http://journalstar.com/legislature/filibuster-stalls-bill-that-would-require-attorneys-for-all-nebraska/article_1fe5ca0e-ad4f-5484-961b-0bf14e09c7df.html

NY: Opioid epidemic forcing grandparents to raise grandkids (Includes video)

WHAM – February 28, 2018

As the number of opioid and heroin-related deaths continue to balloon across the nation, more and more grandparents are finding themselves as caregivers to their grandchildren.

http://13wham.com/news/local/opioid-epidemic-forcing-grandparents-to-raise-grandkids

RI: Scarcity Pits Education Against Foster Care in Rhode Island

Chronicle of Social Change – February 28, 2018

Earlier this month, a Rhode Island state senator introduced a bill that would compel the state’s foster care agency to split the cost of transporting foster youth to school with the education system. This is the latest development to stem from the Ocean State’s struggles to live up to a set of foster care requirements written into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed by President Barack Obama in December 2015.

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/featured/scarcity-pits-education-foster-care-rhode-islan/30084

TX: Lawsuit: Lesbian Couple Who Did Not ‘Mirror the Holy Family’ Denied Chance to Foster Refugee Kids (Commentary)

Chronicle of Social Change – February 28, 2018

Catholic Charities of Fort Worth (CCFW), a Texas faith-based organization that helps find foster care placements for refugee children, recently sought out the help of Fatma Marouf, a 41-year-old law professor who heads up the Immigrant Rights Clinic at Texas A&M University. While her professional assistance was desired, Catholic Charities later refused to license her as a foster parent because she is married to a woman. That decision has landed the group in court as a defendant alongside another faith-based organization and the U.S. government.

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/news-2/lawsuit-federal-refugee-foster-care-program-turns-lesbian-couple-not-mirror-holy-family/30032

WV: Campaign kicks off to highlight children affected by opioid epidemic

Register-Herald – March 01, 2018

As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage West Virginia, a group of child welfare advocates gathered Wednesday to kickoff a campaign to ensure children impacted by the crisis aren’t forgotten. “We talk a lot about the drug epidemic in terms of overdoses and first responders, but we rarely talk about the kids,” said Kelli Caseman, Director of Child Health with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. “They’re kind of the second line of casualties.”

http://www.register-herald.com/health/campaign-kicks-off-to-highlight-children-affected-by-opioid-epidemic/article_868c6155-25b9-508a-bda2-8e08d657d528.html

US: Pain and Policy: Why Reparative Justice Is Needed to End the War on Drugs (Commentary)

Root – February 28, 2018

The necessity of Racial and Ethnic Impact Statements, which “(require) policymakers proposing new legislation or changes to existing legislation to assess the potential impact on racial disparities,” is outlined. The drug war’s destructive path is mapped through all the systems that black people are forced to navigate without the recognition of their humanity: education, social services, mental health, criminal justice system and the child-welfare system.

https://www.theroot.com/pain-and-policy-why-reparative-justice-is-needed-to-en-1823400171

US: Victims of Sexual Abuse: Do They Ever Get Over It? (Commentary)

Healthy Place – March 01, 2018

Every year, there are tens-of-thousands of new child victims of sexual abuse and while some say that these people grow up and never fully recover from the sexual abuse, many professionals believe that abuse survivors do “get over” their abuse. Adult survivors of child abuse do not necessarily show any dysfunction due to the abuse they experienced. The earlier an abuse survivor deals with their abuse, the better their chance of a full recovery.

https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/child-sexual-abuse/victims-of-sexual-abuse-do-they-ever-get-over-it/

US: How We Found More Black Foster Parents and Confronted the Racial Disparity in Foster Care (Commentary)

Youth Today – February 28, 2018

African-American children in the United States are more likely to experience unequal treatment throughout the child welfare system. More than 37 percent of children in the United States experience a child protective services investigation by the time they are 18. But for black children, that number skyrockets to 53 percent.

http://youthtoday.org/2018/02/found-black-foster-parents-confronted-racial-disparity-foster-care/

US: International adoptions have dropped 72 percent since 2005 – here’s why

Associated Press – February 28, 2018

After Guatemala imposed a moratorium on foreign adoptions – which dropped from 4,100 in 2008 to 58 in 2010 – a former member of the country’s National Adoption Council expressed pride. “Our image as being the number one exporter of children has changed,” he said. “Guatemala has dignity” again, he added. Adoption scandals can also lead countries to rethink international adoptions. Every major sending country has seen accusations of “child trafficking” because some birth parents were paid to give up their children.

http://newsok.com/international-adoptions-have-dropped-72-percent-since-2005-heres-why/article/feed/1821233?custom_click=rss

US: Resignation of USOC Chief comes following pressure over sex abuse scandals

KOAA – February 28, 2018

When it announced Wednesday that CEO Scott Blackmun will resign, the United State Olympic Committee also declared that it will launch new initiatives to better protect athletes from abuse and respond more quickly and effectively when allegations surface.

http://www.koaa.com/story/37618780/resignation-of-usoc-chief-comes-following-pressure-over-sex-abuse-scandals

US: Social stigma stops families to procure outside help

ANI – February 28, 2018

More than 1,000 families – roughly 15 percent – of the families involved reported food insecurity (meaning that they did not have enough money for consistent access to food). Of that group, more than half were referred to Benefits Data Trust for further services and resources.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/social-stigma-stops-families-to-procure-outside-help-118022800667_1.html

US: The Cruel Ploy of Taking Immigrant Kids From Their Parents (Opinion)

New York Times – February 28, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security may soon formalize the abhorrent practice of detaining the children of asylum-seekers separately from their parents. Immigrant families apprehended at the southwest border already endure a deeply flawed system in which they can be detained indefinitely. In this immigration system, detainees too often lack adequate access to counsel. But to unnecessarily tear apart families who cross the border to start a better life is immoral.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/opinion/immigrant-children-deportation-parents.html

US: The number of kids in foster care is growing and parents’ drug abuse is mainly to blame (Includes video)

Circa – February 28, 2018

“The opioid crisis has been a big part in the influx of a huge number of children coming in to the system,” said Cynthia Booth, CEO of Indiana’s Child Advocates, an organization that helps train volunteers appointed by a judge to be advocates for children in the foster care system. In 2015, there were about 427,000 children in foster care, but that number jumped up by 10,000 kids in 2016 to about 437,000, according to the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services.

https://www.circa.com/story/2018/02/28/nation/opioid-crisis-contributing-to-foster-care-system-growth-in-united-states

INTERNATIONAL

Australia: Reforms will ensure children don’t spend their whole childhoods in care (Commentary)

WA Today – March 01, 2018

Liberal MLC Mathew Mason-Cox’s stinging criticisms of the Berejiklian government’s handling of the troubled – and supposedly under-funded – Family and Community Services portfolio contains blind spots about the real problems in the $2 billion child protection system and the changes under way to fix them. The claim FACS spends too much on removing children and not enough on helping families stay together is misleading.

http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/reforms-will-ensure-children-don-t-spend-their-whole-childhoods-in-care-20180301-p4z2a4

Uganda: Children face new perils in Ugandan refugee settlements (Commentary)

UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) – February 27, 2018

Dozens of unaccompanied or separated children fleeing the war in South Sudan have arrived in Uganda every day.

http://www.unhcr.org/5a8d99994.html

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