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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. This is only a sampling of what should be reported. Most child trauma & abuse never gets reported. 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
Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of David Vang, Mike Toronto, Jamar Weston, Adolf Nchanj and Blaz Zlate, Callie Benscoter,
(student volunteers at Century College) Katie Frake, Boston College, Julie O, and KARA.
KARA’s FREE Traveling College/University/Museum Exhibits (share this and let’s speak for children in your community)
KARA needs news gatherers; does your college journalism department need a worthwhile project? Contact KARA; INFO@invisiblechildren.org with reporting in the subject
CA: Despite Increased Funding for Recruitment, Three California Counties Struggle to Find New Foster Homes
Chronicle of Social Change – December 27, 2017
In 2017, California began implementing statewide reforms of its foster care system, a sprawling initiative designed to reduce the role of group homes and rely more heavily on relatives and foster homes. To find more local families, counties across California are looking to leverage a new $104 million pot of state money designed to encourage new and innovative approaches to foster parent recruitment and retention. The Chronicle of Social Change examined how three counties in the San Francisco Bay Area – Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Alameda – are spending these funds.
CA: Opinion: Schools need county support to stem homeless youth crisis
Mercury News – December 27, 2017
In California, just over 3 percent of the K-12 public school population was homeless last year, according to data submitted by schools to the State Department of Education. In San Jose Unified School District, that translates to approximately 900 students. The bottom line is that too many children and teenagers are not stably housed and, as a result, are far less likely than their peers to succeed in school. This severely curtails their later options for economic stability as adults.
FL: Annual homeless count just a snapshot, experts say
Fort Myers Florida Weekly – December 27, 2017
HUD’s 2017 report on Florida noted a 4 percent drop in homeless individuals from 2016, counting 32,190. On that single date, 17,111 people were either overnighting in emergency rooms or transitional shelters, while 15,079 were unsheltered. The number of homeless veterans was down 3 percent, the chronic homeless declined about 9 percent, and unaccompanied children – such children are a different story.
IA: Program aims at getting truant Mason City kids back in school
Globe Gazette – December 27, 2017
“Truancy is more than a school problem,” said Nichole Benes, an assistant county attorney who has worked on many juvenile cases. “Many truants are in juvenile court for other issues,” she said. “For some kids, free time means trouble. Delinquency means truancy.” The concept of the anti-truancy program is to find a way to get students, parents and school officials to work together to get the students back in school, said Jadie Meyer, director of special education and student services.
IL: New Laws to Ensure Well-Being of Illinois Children
Now Decatur – December 27, 2017
There are several Illinois laws that will go into effect in 2018 that pertain to the health and well-being of children. Here is a list of what they entail.
LA: ‘The Dream Team’ reinstates hope, lives at juvenile services (Includes video)
Shreveport Times – December 26, 2017
Miracles don’t always happen overnight. It’s often a drawn-out process of keeping the faith, staying focused and “creating a plan from smoke,” according to LaMarcus Williams, a probation officer for the Caddo Parish Juvenile Services Probation Department. Daily, juvenile probation officers create miracles when situations are in despair and disrepair. The workers provide guidance and make the seemingly impossible happen for the youth who come into their care.
MI: Scholarship fund helps students who have been in foster care
Iron Mountain Daily News – December 27, 2017
Donations made to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund provide scholarships to young adults who have experienced foster care and are enrolled at a Michigan degree-granting college or university. Awards are paid to the students’ college or university to assist with tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies.
MO: R-III BOARD: Multiple policies for students reinstated
Salem News – December 26, 2017
Re-adoption of policies was the main order of business for the regular meeting of the Dent-Phelps R-III Board of Education. Multiple policies were moved to be re-instated, including the Parent/Family Involvement in Instructional and Other Programs policy, Programs for Homeless Students policy, Programs for Migrant Students policy, Student in Foster Care policy and Programs from English Language Learners policy. All programs were passed 4-0.
MT: Addicted and expecting: How Montana’s lack of resources impacts mothers and their children
Missoulian – December 26, 2017
The Missoulian partnered with the University of Montana School of Journalism to identify best practices for treating pregnant women who use drugs and to analyze why Montana has largely fallen short. Over three months, the team interviewed more than a dozen women, numerous experts, and leaders at Montana hospitals, treatment centers and state government. A series of eight articles outlines the scope of their studies and findings.
ND: Emergency foster care needed (Includes video)
KFYR – December 27, 2017
On any given month, more than 1,500 children are in the North Dakota foster system, and helping out could take less than you think. While more foster families are always needed, one area in particular needing more help is with Emergency Foster Families. These families take a child on short notice for up to four days. They take in children that may need to leave in the middle of the night and need a place to go.
NE: At least 50 state wards – some as young as 4 – have suffered sex abuse, new report says
KPVI – December 27, 2017
At least 50 Nebraska children, some as young as 4 years old, have suffered sexual abuse while in the state’s care or after being placed in an adoptive or guardianship home. That’s according to an investigative report released Wednesday by Julie Rogers, the inspector general of Nebraska child welfare.
Also: Office of the Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare Annual Report 2016-2017: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/105/PDF/Agencies/Inspector_General_of_Nebraska_Child_Welfare/285_20170913-145750.pdf
Also: Report: Sexual abuse of youth in state care: http://northplattebulletin.com/report-sexual-abuse-youth-state-care/
Also: Inspector general: 50 victims of sex abuse verified in 3 years in Nebraska child welfare, juvenile justice systems: http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/inspector-general-victims-of-sex-abuse-verified-in-years-in/article_9c5cc0dc-9d4c-56ba-a31f-8ab0c1fe88da.html
Also: Report: Nebraska foster homes and residential facilities not equipped for sexual abuse: http://nebraska.tv/news/local/report-nebraska-foster-homes-and-residential-facilities-not-equipped-for-sexual-abuse
Also: Office of the Inspector General Child Sexual Abuse Report Summary: https://www.scribd.com/document/367971984/Oct-2017-OIG-Child-Sexual-Abuse-Report-Summary#from_embed
OH: Foster care numbers rise
Register-Herald – December 27, 2017
A tsunami of opioid-affected children is flooding Ohio’s children services agencies, exploding county budgets and overwhelming available foster care resources. According to a report released by Public Children Services Association of Ohio, a thousand more Ohio kids will be spending the holidays in foster care this year, compared to 2016, instead of at home with their family.
OR: Childcare unaware: Oregon website omits key safety info for parents (Commentary)
Oregon Live – December 27, 2017
Paz represents the thousands of Oregon parents who do not have easy access to state records that could help them decide whom to trust with their kids’ care and safety. That’s because regulators provide scant information on a state website intended to help parents research and make educated decisions about childcare.
PA: Luzerne County Children and Youth seeks lawsuit dismissal
Standard-Speaker – December 28, 2017
Luzerne County Children and Youth Services is seeking dismissal of a federal lawsuit filed by a mother who alleged caseworkers put her two children into a home where they were physically and sexually abused. The lawsuit filed in August alleges the children, ages 3 and 17 months, began getting injured and making disturbing allegations about a teenage boy after moving into a mobile home in Ashley and that county officials did nothing to intervene despite knowing about his troubled past.
PA: Commissioners hold line on taxes despite $390K shortfall
Progress News – December 27, 2017
The commissioners reported again Tuesday a large part of the deficit can be attributed to the opioid addition problem in Clearfield County. “(Children and Youth Services) is unpredictable. The opioid crisis is impacting families and placing children in foster care. We have had expenses we didn’t expect,” Scotto explained.
WA: Why Foster Care Students In Seattle Are Beating The Odds (Includes audio)
KNBA – KBC – December 27, 2017
The NPR series, “Take A Number,” is exploring problems around the world – and the people who are trying to solve them – each through the lens of a single number. Thirty-six percent. That was the high school graduation rate for youth in foster care in Seattle and King County, Washington, in 2010.
US: W.T. Grant Foundation Awards $3.1 Million in Research Grants
Philanthropy News Digest – December 28, 2017
The William T. Grant Foundation in New York City has announced six grants totaling more than $3.1 million in support of research on ways to reduce inequality in youth outcomes and efforts to improve the use of research evidence in decisions that affect young people.
Also: Six New Research Grants to Build Theory and Evidence in Our Focus Areas (Press release): http://wtgrantfoundation.org/six-new-research-grants-build-theory-evidence-focus-areas
US: Loosened foster care restrictions encourage normalcy
Chattanooga Times Free Press – December 27, 2017
In Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, and across the nation, states are loosening restrictions on foster parents in order to encourage normalcy for the growing share of children in foster care. The new guidelines, known nationally as “prudent parenting,” remove legal liability and allow foster parents to make decisions on the fly as long as they consider the safety risk and the appropriateness of the activity for the child’s developmental age. They also have to ask themselves this question: Would they allow their own biological child to be supervised by the person who will be overseeing the foster child in their care?
US: Report: Behavioral Issues, and Treatments, Plummet As Foster Youth Age Out
Chronicle of Social Change – December 27, 2017
The number of teens in foster care who report behavioral problems and treatment for them plummets as they age out of care, according to a recent study based on a survey of California foster youth. Nearly half (48 percent) of 611 youth surveyed reported behavioral health problems at age 17, with 27 percent reporting use of psychotropic medication and 54 percent receiving some counseling, according to the report by Chapin Hall.
Also: Chapin Hall Issue Brief: The Use of Psychotropic Medications over Time among Foster Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/CY_PM_IB1117.pdf
Also: Information Gateway resource: Support Services for Youth in Transition: Mental Health: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/independent/support/support-services-for-youth-in-transition-mental-health/
US: The Economic Well-Being of Youth Transitioning From Foster Care
Youth Today – December 27, 2017
This research brief examines employment data from Opportunity Passport participants who were at least 16 years old and completed at least three Opportunity Passport Participant Surveys (OPPS) since 2008. Employment characteristics include rates, full-time status, average hours worked per week, hourly wages and training experiences. The brief concludes with specific recommendations for how policymakers and service providers should use this information to more effectively support young people.
Also: Annie E. Casey Foundation Report: The Economic Well-Being of Youth Transitioning from Foster Care: http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-theeconomicwellbeingofyouth-2017.pdf
Armenia: Protection of child’s rights at special institutions should be improved: a legal analysis on the main guidelines has been published
Armenian News Network – December 27, 2017
The Human Rights Defender’s Office drafted a legal analysis on the guidelines of RA Human Rights Defender’s activities in the protection of child’s rights. Progress in the field of child’s rights protection in Armenia entails provision of all the necessary conditions for a child to live in a family, to be loved and receive cared while growing up, be heard in respect of matters concerning them, and have necessary preconditions for easy resolution of their rights in cases of violations.
Also: Legal Analysis (English): Guidelines for the Activities of the RA Human Rights Defender in the Field of Protection of the Rights of the Child: http://www.ombuds.am/images/eng_final.pdf
Canada: Why Does Canada Spy on Its Own Indigenous Communities? Level of State Surveillance is Disproportionate, and Speaks to the Broad Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples (Opinion)
openDemocracy – December 27, 2017
Government agencies have engaged in surveillance and information-gathering activities focused on Indigenous leaders and activists. Take for example the case of Dr. Cindy Blackstock, who is a Gitksan activist for child welfare, the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, and a Professor of Social Work at McGill University. Dr. Blackstock’s organization (along with the Assembly of First Nations) had sought justice at Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal regarding the federal government’s failure to provide equal funding for services for First Nations children, youth and families living on First Nations reserves.
Canada: Evaluations of childhood trauma now used in Calgary to gauge health of adults, expectant mothers
CBC News – December 26, 2017
Intuition would tell you that bad experiences in childhood could lead to more bad things down the road, but doctors in Alberta are now finding new ways of integrating the research on childhood adversity into their day-to-day care. The medical term is adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, and they include everything from childhood abuse to moving often, or having a family member with mental illness.
AR: Arkansas Plan Would Cut Thousands from Medicaid Program (Includes audio)
Public News Service – December 26, 2017
Arkansas health officials are proposing significant cuts to the state’s Medicaid program by rolling back the income requirements for eligibility. But some experts say that’s against the rules. The state currently is awaiting an answer from the federal Health and Human Services Administration on its request to drop the qualifying income level down to the poverty line. That would mean as many as 60,000 current enrollees could lose coverage.
CA: L.A. Advocates Eye Two Paths to Fund Youth Development: Pot Tax, Police Cutbacks
Chronicle of Social Change – December 26, 2017
Los Angeles has long lagged behind other major U.S. cities when it comes to youth development spending, especially when it comes to comparing city budgets. But now, between juvenile justice reform efforts at the county level and the planned legalization of recreational marijuana in the city, the floodgates to funding may be starting to open.
IA: In wake of Sabrina Ray and Natalie Finn deaths, Iowa vows to fix its broken adoption and foster care system (Includes video)
Des Moines Register – December 26, 2017
How Iowa can better screen would-be parents and keep watch on children whose parents want to avoid detection promises to be a major issue for state legislators and Iowa’s Department of Human Services in coming months. “This is not a time for tweaks,” said state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, a Wilton Republican who chairs the House Government Oversight Committee. “This is a time for significant reforms.”
IN: Opioid crisis brings a ‘haunting’ year to Gov. Holcomb (Commentary)
Daily News – December 26, 2017
By sheer force of his personality, Gov. Eric Holcomb has personified in his first year in office the upbeat optimism of a happy warrior. That was the expected impression when I sat down with him earlier this month. But within minutes, Holcomb revealed the complexities of leadership after he experienced a year of extreme emotion, mostly due to the crushing and far-flung opioid pandemic that is hitting good Hoosier families across the socio-economic spectrum. He used the word “haunting,” in tandem with the adjective “fulfilling,” but still in the context of his personality, an unexpected pull of the human spirit.
KS: Police: Video captured abuse of boy found dead in concrete
Associated Press – December 26, 2017
Amid a custody battle, Evan’s father, Carlo Brewer, contacted the Kansas Department for Children and Families and police with concerns. Although some police and one judge did everything they could to help Evan, the rest of the child protection system failed the boy, said Shayla Johnston, a Brewer family spokeswoman. The new leader of DCF, Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel, is calling for a thorough review of the agency, including how to better prevent the deaths of children in contact with the agency.
MN: Quality Parenting Initiative Expands to Minnesota
Chronicle of Social Change – December 26, 2017
Minnesota is launching an initiative to strengthen foster care experiences for children by focusing on improving parenting skills. Thirteen organizations in the state, including Aspire MN and St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development, are working together to bring the Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) to the state. QPI is an approach designed to rebrand foster care “by changing the expectations of and support for foster parents and other caregivers,” according to the QPI website.
NJ: Infant bed-sharing deaths in N.J. are at a record high. Now lawmakers may take action.
NJ Advance Media – December 26, 2017
A key state Senate committee will hold hearings in early 2018 to explore preventable causes of infant deaths, in part a response to an NJ Advance Media investigation into deaths that occur when parents share their beds with infants. The announcement by the state Senate Health Committee Chairman Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, comes as latest statistics show 41 infants suffocated while sharing a bed in 2015 — the largest percentage of bed-sharing deaths reported in the state a single year.
NY: Update: New York Paid Family Leave Law Becomes Effective on January 1, 2018
National Law Review – November 21, 2017
Effective January 1, 2018, New York’s Paid Family Leave Law will permit eligible employees to take up to eight weeks of paid family leave (“PFL”) at a portion of their salary to care for an ill family member, to bond with a newborn child within the first year of the child’s life or, in the case of adoption or a foster parent, within the first 12 months of placement, or for reasons relating to the military duty of a close family member. The program is employee-funded, and to cover the benefit, employers can either obtain PFL insurance or self-insure. All employers with employees who work in New York should familiarize themselves with the new law.
Also: New York State Government Overview: Paid Family Leave: Information for Employers: https://www.ny.gov/new-york-state-paid-family-leave/paid-family-leave-information-employers
Also: New York State Paid Family Leave: Employer Facts: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/PaidFamilyLeave_BusinessOwnerFactSheet.pdf
OH: Opioid fallout (Commentary)
Courier – December 27, 2017
The response to Ohio’s opioid problems can’t be just about helping adults face their addictions. Communities must also make sure the innocent victims of the epidemic aren’t forgotten. Children of addicts are often left behind, either temporarily or permanently, and as a result, demands on foster care are straining an already overburdened and underfunded system.
OH: Montgomery County foster home shortage means costlier placements of kids
Dayton Daily News – December 26, 2017
Over the past four years, the county has seen a nearly 25-percent decline in the number of people opening their homes to kids who have been neglected by their parents or are living in unsafe conditions, Good said. While the number of children in custody at any given time – now about 670 – is down from a high in 2010, the number in agency-licensed foster homes has dropped faster, agency statistics show.
VA: Retired CPS investigator now working to recruit foster parents (Includes video)
WDBJ – December 26, 2017
A retired child protective services investigator is now working to make sure children in the foster care system have a loving home. Mark Reed worked for the Department of Health and Human Services for nearly 15 years. He is now highlighting the need for foster parents.
US: The Caregivers of the Opioid Epidemic Are Going it Alone
Pacific Standard – December 26, 2017
Across the country, people are becoming unexpected caregivers of children whose parents have become addicted to opioids. In most states, they’re doing it with little to no help at all.
Also: Report: The State of Grandfamilies 2017: https://dl2.pushbulletusercontent.com/uhDY7UgdGYnOod6G7VFkdKnuzE3yALmr/17-InLovingArms-Grandfamilies.pdf
Also: Information Gateway resource: Resources for Relative and Kinship Caregivers: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/kinship/resourcesforcaregivers/
US: US Territories – and Emergency Agency – Struggle to Recover from Disasters
Voice of America – December 24, 2017
The year has been a tough one for Puerto Ricans, Floridians, Texans and Californians, and recovery efforts continue for those three areas hit by hurricanes and one, California, struggling to contain wildfires. In a year of disasters, even the Federal Emergency Management Agency is struggling to cope. FEMA has reported that more than 450 people are still living in shelters in Puerto Rico, and it is still distributing tarps, food and water to some communities. More troubling, Florida officials say more than 269,000 people have arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico since the storm, and some 10,000 Puerto Rican children have enrolled in Florida schools.
Afghanistan: Protection Cluster Factsheet – Southern Region Update (November 2017)
Relief Web – December 27, 2017
In October 2017, a Child Protection Unit (CPU) was established in the Afghan National Police (ANP) recruitment center in Kandahar to avoid child recruitment while in November-2017, CPU’s were also established in ANP recruitment centers in Helmand, Zabul and Nimroz Provinces. A CPU in Urozgan is in the process of being established.
United Nations Fact Sheet: Afghanistan: South region Protection Cluster Factsheet – November 2017: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/61434
Iraq: UNHCR welcomes additional contribution from Germany to help protect and assist displaced Iraqis
Relief Web – December 27, 2017
The generous funding from Germany will also enable UNHCR to carry out its protection activities for internally displaced Iraqis including prevention and response to gender-based violence and child protection, support to the government to issue/renew civil status and identity documents to displaced Iraqis, protection monitoring and psychosocial support. These services are provided through both community based approaches and individual interventions.
UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) Federal Republic of Germany Press Release (English): https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UNHCR%20Federal%20Republic%20of%20Germany%20Press%20Release%20ENG.pdf
CA: Amid state’s foster care reforms, relatives can face obstacles
Chronicle of Social Change – December 24, 2017
Difficulties implementing California’s new foster care reforms have left hundreds of foster families in Los Angeles County waiting for foster care payments after they have already taken in a child.
CA: California Employment Law: New Developments for 2018
CA Lawyer – December 20, 2017
Any employee with more than twelve months of service is now entitled to take up to twelve weeks of protected, unpaid parental leave within one year of a child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. In addition, the new law also implements a pilot mediation program to deal with Department of Fair Employment and Housing charges based on alleged leave violations. Thus, as of January 1, 2018, all but the smallest employers in California will need to learn to manage parental leave and become familiar with the particularities, and pitfalls, of the law.
CO: Moffat County Locals: Rapid responses earns Moffat County DHS accolades
Craig Daily Press – December 23, 2017
The newly renamed Moffat County Department of Human Services is using C-Stat – a performance-based analysis strategy – to move the agency to an outcomes-oriented and collaborative approach that has garnered accolades from the state and brought about a reduction in cases.
FL: OUR VIEW: Justice for betrayed children
Daytona Beach News Journal – December 23, 2017
All these cases are rife with “if onlys,” particularly when the pattern of molestation extends over decades. Both the Boland and Devlin convictions involved victims that hadn’t even been born when their predators first came under suspicion. But translating that into action is tricky. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who heads a statewide commission on human trafficking, should push the Legislature for better resources and training for law enforcement, but it’s difficult in an area where many of the victims are foster children and runaways, seduced into collaborating with their abusers.
FL: Children’s Foundation Selects Builder for Foster Homes
941 CEO – December 20, 2017
Sarasota’s Nutter Custom Construction was recently picked to build foster homes for the All Star Children’s Foundation, an organization that aims to provide treatment for childhood trauma on its Campus of Caring. Nutter will build six single-family homes for the foundation. The homes will accommodate individual children and siblings and include a community recreation area, playground, picnic areas, a community garden and an outdoor theater. The 5-acre campus in Sarasota will provide a place for children, from infants to age 18, who have entered the foster care system due to abuse or neglect. Nutter hopes to start construction in the first quarter of 2018.
IA: Results of Investigation Into Iowa DHS Show Overworked, Undertrained Employees (Includes video)
WHO TV – December 23, 2017
The deaths of two teenage girls sparked an investigation of Iowa’s Department of Human Services–one the DHS asked for. On Friday, the 106 pages of documented results released by the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group paint a picture of overworked, under-trained employees in a department with low morale.
Also: Child abuse reports up, morale poor among Iowa social workers, consultant reports: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/readers-watchdog/2017/12/22/child-abuse-reports-up-morale-poor-among-iowa-social-workers-consultant-reports/977095001/
IN: Our Opinion: A crisis in Indiana? Claims by child welfare chief demand attention
South Bend Tribune – December 24, 2017
Bonaventura, first appointed to the position in 2013 by Gov. Mike Pence, said she was “walking on cloud nine” after her reappointment. To say that things have changed since then is beyond an understatement: Earlier this month, Bonaventura submitted her resignation. And in a strongly worded letter dated Dec. 12, she says that cuts to DCS’ funding and services are putting children at risk in the midst of the state’s opioid crisis.
IN: Indiana’s struggling child welfare system to test Gov. Holcomb (Commentary)
Fox 59 – December 23, 2017
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has remained largely silent as children’s advocates, including a member of his own cabinet, say bean counting by his administration has starved Indiana’s child welfare agency amid a soaring number of cases fueled by the opioid epidemic. Now, what advocates describe as a growing crisis faced by the Department of Child Services will test not only the rookie governor, but also whether a state government re-engineered over a decade to comport with conservative ideals can address a systemic problem with no easy solution.
KS: New Kansas child welfare secretary says agency must be transparent (Includes video)
Kansas City Star – December 22, 2017
Gina Meier-Hummel, the new secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, says the embattled agency must be transparent and rebuild trust by responding to the needs of the people they serve.
Also: Kansas Hires New Child Welfare Chief Amid Concerns About Oversight of Kids in Foster Care: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/stateline/kansas-hires-new-child-welfare-chief-amid-concerns-oversight-kids-foster-care/29077
Also: Steve Coffman: Children are dying. It’s time for the state to end its secrecy (Commentary): http://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article191324974.html
KY: Kentucky judge who refused to hear gay adoption cases found guilty of misconduct (Includes video)
Christian Post – December 22, 2017
A Kentucky Family Court judge who refused to hear adoption cases involving gays and lesbians has been found guilty of misconduct by the state’s Judicial Conduct Commission.
MI: Michigan shelter helps human trafficking survivors
Tri-City Herald – December 23, 2017
Sanctum House, the first human trafficking shelter of its kind in southeastern Michigan. “Somebody is going to say to them – whether it’s at the jail or the ER or the judge – somebody is going to say: ‘Well, you can go to a three-night shelter or you can go to jail or you can go to a detox for three weeks. You can go back to your pimp; you can go to the streets or to your abusive family or you can go to Sanctum House if you would like to change your life. If you would like to live a transformed life, you can go to Sanctum House for two years.'”
MI: Charity calls on people to open their homes to foster children (Video)
WILX – December 21, 2017
A plea from an organization that helps Michigan children who have been removed from their home — Please consider being a foster parent.
MN: Parental drug use now number one reason for children in foster care
KTTC – December 20, 2017
Last year, 1,330 children were exposed to alcohol and other drugs while in the womb. The state says that’s up 113 percent over 2012. The state hopes this information will be a warning sign for lawmakers and others to step up efforts against substance abuse.
MO: More than 1,500 Missouri children adopted this year
Missourinet – December 22, 2017
Missouri will end the year with more than 1,500 children getting adopted – a similar figure from last year. Amy Martin with the state Children’s Division tells Missourinet certain times of year typically result in increased adoptions.
MT: Monday’s Montanan: First and only Youth Homes director retiring
Missoulian – December 24, 2017
After 42 years at work, Youth Homes Executive Director Geoff Birnbaum hasn’t made any plans for his first days of retirement. “People keep asking me what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m going to wake up on Jan. 1 and get something done.”
NY: ‘What If This Were Your Kid?’
Atlantic – December 24, 2017
At the Onondaga County Justice Center in Syracuse, New York, between 2015 and 2016 more than 80 teenage offenders were regularly locked in solitary confinement. They’d spend 23 hours a day, seven days a week, in dimly lit cells measuring roughly half the size of an average parking space.
Also: U.S. Department of Education Report: You Got This! Educational Pathways for Youth Transitioning from Juvenile Justice Facilities: https://www2.ed.gov/students/prep/juvenile-justice-transition/pathways-transitioning-justice-facilities.pdf
NY: ACS launches new protocal for child abuse cases
Staten Island Advance – December 24, 2017
ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell announced the new Heightened Oversight Protocol (HOP), which is a two-step process combining the expertise of ACS’ investigative consultant supervisors — who are retired NYPD detective supervisors and ACS’ child protective specialists.
Also: Child welfare agency beefs up probes of cases involving toddlers: https://nypost.com/2017/12/22/child-welfare-agency-beefs-up-probes-of-cases-involving-toddlers/
Also: New investigative reforms to protect abused children, says ACS commissioner (Includes video): http://abc7ny.com/new-investigative-reforms-to-protect-abused-children-says-acs-commissioner/2812971/
NY: Group helping kids in crisis during the holidays (Includes video)
News 10 – December 24, 2017
For many, Christmas is about families coming together to celebrate the season. One local non-profit is giving families the essentials to make sure kids in crisis situations have a merry Christmas. Rayn Bonci opened Things of My Very Own 10 years ago. “We provide crisis intervention services for children who have been impacted by extensive abuse or neglect,” she said.
OH: Crisis in Ohio’s Foster Care System Worsens (Includes audio)
Public News Service – December 25, 2017
One thousand more Ohio children will be spending their holidays in foster care this year compared with 2016 as the opioid crisis continues to take an unprecedented toll in breaking families apart. Ohio’s foster-care system is bursting at the seams with an alarming trend, showing abused and neglected children left hoping to be placed in forever homes throughout the holidays.
Also: Beacon Journal/Ohio.com editorial board: Children in the opioid epidemic: https://www.ohio.com/akron/editorial/editorials/beacon-journal-ohio-com-editorial-board-children-in-the-opioid-epidemic
OH: Angela Sausser: Ohio children as casualties of the opioid epidemic (Commentary)
Akron Beacon Journal – December 22, 2017
A tsunami of opioid-affected children is flooding Ohio’s children services agencies, exploding county budgets and overwhelming available foster care resources. Compared to 2016, a thousand more Ohio kids will be spending the holidays in foster care this year, instead of at home with their family.
OK: Pharm companies seek to thwart CN opioid suit
Tahlequah Daily Press – December 22, 2017
The Cherokee Nation and six pharmaceutical companies have been battling in the courtroom since the tribe filed a petition in April, claiming the corporations haven’t taken appropriate measures to stop the illegal flow of prescription drugs on tribal land.
OR: Judge rules Oregon parents with low IQs can take youngest son home
Oregonian – December 23, 2017
Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler’s 10-month-old son Hunter will spend his first Christmas at home after a judge found the couple’s limited cognitive abilities did not make them unfit to parent.
OR: Programs seek to help pregnant women with addictions
Bend Bulletin – December 23, 2017
“I didn’t want to be one of those parents where you’re in your 30s, you don’t see your kids, your kids hate you, your kids resent you,” Winter recalls thinking. “You don’t have any memories of your kids because everything is taken over by drugs.”
OR: 1 In 4 Pregnancies In Central Oregon Is ‘Drug Affected’: https://www.opb.org/news/article/central-oregon-drug-affected-pregnancy-statistics/
OR: Report: Youth in poverty will likely live so as adults
Argus Observer – December 22, 2017
In Malheur County, children ages 0 to 17 make up 9,852 of the 30,439 population. This figure is published in an annual county data book by Children First for Oregon, a nonprofit organization which advocates for kids so all children in the state can thrive.
PA: Heroin crisis makes grandparents into struggling parents again
Penn Live – December 22, 2017
Clough is among thousands of grandparents in Pennsylvania caring for a grandchild because one or both of the child’s parents is incapacitated by opioid addiction or dead of an overdose. It’s one more bleak consequence of the crisis which killed more than 4,600 people in Pennsylvania last year and has become the second leading cause of death for Americans younger than 50.
Also: Information Gateway resource: Kinship Care: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/kinship/
TX: Making a home for children who age out of foster care (Includes video)
KSAT – December 20, 2017
Home for the holidays. It is a phrase we hear a lot this time of year. For some children who age out of the foster care system, however, there’s not a place to call home to during the holidays. That is where Boysville inc. steps in. It has a supervised independent living program to help these young adults and gives them the support they need to get through college.
VA: Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office draws attention to foster care age outs (Includes video)
WSET – December 21, 2017
Reports show Virginia has one of the lowest percentages of young men and women in foster care in the nation. However, Virginia has one of the largest percentages of those aging out of the system with no place to go. “People who fall need to speak up and say, ‘Hey, I’ve fallen, but I’m willing to look for help,'” said Anthony Neal, 21, who aged out of foster care.
WA: Pregnant and addicted to drugs, she needed a miracle. She found it in the Tri-Cities (Includes video)
Tri-City Herald – December 23, 2017
Warner is the ministries director at the mission, and Biondolillo the director of the women’s and children’s shelter. The two along with Brown’s case worker helped her when she came to the shelter. The staff worked with her to get her through rehabilitation and helped her get the apartment, Warner said.
US: Only 3% of former foster children graduate college. Here’s how universities are working to change that
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin – December 23, 2017
A former foster youth who had aged out of the system, Luisjuan beat the odds and earned a college degree with the help of CSUSB’s Renaissance Scholars program. Cal State and University of California campuses offer such programs across the state. They provide former foster youths with educational support, peer support, counseling, housing assistance, financial support and even food.
US: The Foster Care System Is Flooded With Children Of The Opioid Epidemic (Includes audio)
KUCB – December 23, 2017
Indiana is among the states that have seen the largest one-year increase in the number of children who need foster care. Judge Marilyn Moores, who heads the juvenile court in Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, says the health crisis is straining resources in Indiana.
US: Upholding the Dignity of Incarcerated Women (Commentary)
American Progress – December 22, 2017
Half of all women in prison are incarcerated more than 100 miles from their families. Children of incarcerated mothers are more likely to be placed in foster care than the children of incarcerated fathers. This disparity is due to the fact that of the 59 percent of incarcerated women who have children under the age of 18, approximately 77 percent were the primary caretakers of their children prior to incarceration.
US: Congress provides short-term funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program (Includes video)
CNN Money – December 21, 2017
Congress is injecting nearly $3 billion into the Children’s Health Insurance Program to keep it funded through March. The money is included in a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government open.
US: Maternity wards are disappearing from rural America
Governing – December 21, 2017
As rural hospitals struggle to keep their doors open, the high cost of ob-gyn wards makes them one of the first things cut.
US: To curb illegal border crossings, Trump administration weighs new measures targeting families
Washington Post – December 21, 2017
The Trump administration is considering measures to halt a surge of Central American families and unaccompanied minors coming across the Mexican border, including a proposal to separate parents from their children, according to officials with knowledge of the plans. These measures, described on the condition of anonymity because they have not been publicly disclosed, would also crack down on migrants living in the United States illegally who send for their children. That aspect of the effort would use data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to target parents for deportation after they attempt to regain custody of their children from government shelters.
Europe: Refugees left in limbo as Europe’s commitment to rehoming them grinds to a halt (Includes video)
ITV News – December 20, 2017
Thousands of refugees remain stranded in Greece and Italy, often living in squalid conditions in camps some describe as a “prison”. For the small fraction of refugees who are eventually given passage to the mainland, their future remains equally as uncertain as Europe’s commitment to rehoming them grinds to a halt.
CA: Horizons Foundation Announces Grants to 42 Bay Area LGBTQ Organizations
San Francisco Bay Times – December 21, 2017
The slate of grantees represents a diverse group of organizations and individuals. Grants were awarded in the arts, advocacy and civil rights, as well as in health and human services, community building and leadership. They encompass programs that focus on youth, the elderly, immigration, trans rights, LGBTQ history, and capacity-building.
CA: Report: A Quarter of California’s Foster Students are Chronically Absent from School
Chronicle of Social Change – December 21, 2017
Statewide, the rate of chronic absenteeism – or when a student is absent from school for any reason for more than 10 percent of the days they were enrolled in a school – is just under 11 percent. When it comes to foster children in California schools, 25 percent are considered chronically absent.
Also: State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Statewide Chronic Absenteeism Data Available for the First Time: https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr17/yr17rel88.asp
CO: Denver’s Annual Adoption Day Gave 44 Children New Homes This Year, Including Henry
303 Magazine – December 20, 2017
Luke and Kayleen Woodcock gave and got back this year. The young couple is one of 31 families who finalized an adoption on Denver’s annual National Adoption Day- an event that raises awareness for the 110,00 children in foster care awaiting adoption across the United States. Their new son Henry is one of 44 children that were adopted on November 16, representing the collective effort of policymakers, practitioners and advocates to remove more children from foster care within the Denver county.
IN: Man accused of threatening judge, DCS workers
RTV 6 – December 21, 2017
An Indianapolis man faces new charges of intimidation and harassment for allegedly sending threatening messages to Department of Child Services (DCS) workers and a Marion County judge.
NY: New York Struggles to Meet Federal Mandates on School Transportation for Foster Youth
Chronicle of Social Change – December 21, 2017
Out of the recognition that educational stability is critically important in the often tumultuous lives of foster youth, federal law mandates that school systems ensure students like DeMaison’s foster daughter are afforded transportation to school. In particular, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which overhauled federal education policy, and was signed into law in 2015, included a set of mandates designed to improve educational outcomes for foster youth.
OH: New report shows 1,000 more Ohio kids are in foster care in 2017 because of opioid crisis (Includes video)
WCPO – December 22, 2017
More than 15,500 children are in the custody of Ohio’s children service agencies, a 23 percent increase over 2016, according to the latest data from the Public Children Protective Services Association of Ohio, a Columbus-based nonprofit.
Report: The Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Children’s Services in Ohio: http://www.pcsao.org/pdf/advocacy/OpioidBriefingSlidesUpdated12-17.pdf
Also: Opioid crisis overwhelming Ohio’s foster care system, according to report (Includes video): http://abc22now.com/news/local/opioid-crisis-overwhelming-ohios-foster-care-system-according-to-report
Also: Foster care report: ‘Many of these kids watched their parents overdose or die’: http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/foster-care-report-many-these-kids-watched-their-parents-overdose-die/X4ytHHs6IlO5D8GseUQclK/
OR: 1 In 4 Pregnancies In Central Oregon Are ‘Drug Affected’
Oregon Public Broadcasting – December 21, 2017
Jay Wurscher, the alcohol and drug coordinator with Oregon Child Welfare, said his office gets 80,000 calls about safety every year, so when it comes to drugs and pregnancy, they’re letting the health system take the first steps.
VT: Substance abuse fuels rise in child abuse
Stowe Reporter – December 21, 2017
Vermont’s Department for Children & Families fielded a record number of calls about child abuse last year, and 27 percent of them were related to substance abuse. For nearly 50 percent of the children age 5 and under who entered state custody, drug or alcohol use was a factor.
US: TFAH Analysis: New Data Shows Drug Overdoses Increased in 40 States and Washington, D.C. (Press release)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – December 21, 2017
In 2016, 63,632 Americans died from drug overdoses, an increase of 21 percent over 2015, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today. This represents a 50 percent increase over five years and 225 percent increase since 1999.
Data Brief: Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2016: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db294.pdf
Information Gateway resource: Heroin/Other Opioids and Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/bhw/casework/families-sud/drug/heroin/
Also: Trust for America’s Health’s and and Well Being Trust (WBT)’s report: Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Epidemics and the Need for a National Resilience Strategy: http://www.paininthenation.org/
Australia: SA Child Protection gets $160 million funding boost to provide commercial care
News Grio – December 22, 2017
Department figures show 3,509 South Australian children were living in out-of-home care as of November this year. Most were in foster or kinship care, but 502 were in residential and commercial care
Zanzibar: When good laws change lives: Securing Child Rights in Zanzibar
Huffington Post – December 22, 2017
Zanzibar’s Children’s Act was born in 2011 addressing all aspects of children’s rights with respect to family, parentage, custody, maintenance, adoption, and protection from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Efforts to bring this law to life in a way that can be felt by every child in Zanzibar have continued ever since with the creation of a new integrated child protection system and the adoption of National Plan of Action on Violence Against Women and Children. Crucially, the different elements of this new system support and complement each other in a strategic and coherent way.
AL: Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force Report is Progress, but More is Needed (Commentary)
Southern Poverty Law Center – December 20, 2017
The Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force, with technical assistance from the Pew Charitable Trust, surveyed Alabama law and considered data-driven and evidence-based reforms to the juvenile justice system. Its final report contains a number of recommendations that, if enacted, would represent progress for Alabama and its most vulnerable children. For instance, the Task Force recommends ending fines and fees in the juvenile justice system, restricting out-of-home placement, and preventing unnecessary or inappropriate arrests of children from K-12 public schools.
Also: Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force Final Report: http://lsa.state.al.us/PDF/Other/JJTF/JJTF-Final-Report.pdf
AR: Maggie House, Young Children’s Home continue to serve foster care children
Southwest Times Record – December 21, 2017
The Maggie House in Charleston and the Young Children’s Home at Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith continue to serve one of the area’s biggest social needs: Children in foster care. As reported by the Times Record in a series of articles last year, the Fort Smith area has the state’s highest number of children in foster care and the two homes together serve as a safe environment for 64 children. Keeping siblings together is a major concern with housing foster care children. As of Dec. 12, there are 19 sibling groups among the 64 children at the two facilities.
CA: Amid State Foster Care Reforms, Relatives in L.A. Still Face Obstacles
Chronicle of Social Change – December 20, 2017
New reforms were designed to bring more relatives into California’s foster care system. Instead, they’ve actually made it much harder to keep a child in a home with family members as foster care providers.
CO: Colorado Gets New Director at the Office of Children, Youth and Families
Chronicle of Social Change – December 20, 2017
Late last month, Minna Castillo Cohen took the helm as director of Colorado’s Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF), an agency that oversees child welfare, youth services and domestic violence for the state.
FL: 67 layoffs at social services provider in Sarasota
Herald-Tribune – December 20, 2017
Child welfare services provider Family Preservation Services of Florida is folding its statewide operation, leading to 67 layoffs in Sarasota. Pathways by Molina, which owns Family Preservation Services, recently notified state officials that it would shut down its 11 Florida offices by Feb. 9. A total of 249 employees will lose their jobs.
FL: Florida lawmakers urge Puerto Rico to extend housing aid for evacuees
Orlando Sentinel – December 20, 2017
Florida lawmakers are urging the Puerto Rican government to expand housing aid for evacuees fleeing the island, as the federal housing program is set to expire in less than a month.
FL: Report: 1 in 20 Escambia juveniles charged as adults
Pensacola News Journal – December 20, 2017
Though Escambia County still outpaces the majority of the state, fewer local youthful offenders were prosecuted as adults over the past fiscal year, according to a new report. In Florida, approximately one in every 50 juvenile offenders is tried as an adult, according to statistics available in the Department of Juvenile Justice’s 2017 Delinquency Profile report.
Also: Report: Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Profile 2017: http://www.djj.state.fl.us/research/reports/reports-and-data/interactive-data-reports/delinquency-profile/delinquency-profile-dashboard
IA: Knoxville Schools Awarded $8,000 DCAT Grant
KNIA/KRLS – December 20, 2017
The Knoxville Community School District was recently awarded a mini-grant for $8,000 from Decategorization or DCAT. DCAT was designed to be a process that combines the individual state appropriations for child welfare services into a single fund to encourage the development of services that better meet the needs of youth and families by allowing the local county flexibility in how these funds are used. Knoxville School District will use the funds to improve site-based mental health services, a growing need for Iowa students and families.
IL: 25 years ago, St. Charles parents left their kids alone to vacation in Mexico. Their case changed state law.
Chicago Tribune – December 21, 2017
While a comedic “Home Alone” sequel played in movie theaters across America, David and Sharon Schoo took a nine-day vacation in Mexico, leaving their 9- and 4-year-old daughters alone for Christmas in their St. Charles-area home. In 1992, the situation drew international attention. And, 25 years later, it continues to resonate in legal and child welfare circles where experts debate the effectiveness of a state law inspired by the case that attempts to define when children are old enough to be left alone without adult supervision.
IN: ‘This is our natural disaster’: Advocates say Indiana’s child welfare system is drowning (Includes video)
Indianapolis Star – December 20, 2017
Several people in Indiana’s child welfare system – including Marion Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn Moores – told IndyStar the state is in the middle of a crisis, and “this system is drowning.” The comments came amid virtual silence from Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration on several issues raised in a strongly worded letter of resignation from the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
KY: House adoption group presents sweeping recommendations for foster care, adoption system
Kentucky Today – December 21, 2017
Lawmakers on the House Working Group on Adoption panel approved sweeping recommendations Tuesday on improving Kentucky’s foster care and adoption system. ?The eight-member bi-partisan panel met seven times since its appointment by former House Speaker Jeff Hoover on the last day of the 2017 General Assembly.
MA: Head of Globe’s Spotlight team: Positive changes made in wake of abuse scandal
WHDH – December 20, 2017
The head of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team said while their coverage of the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal changed the church, Cardinal Bernard Law leaves behind a dark legacy. The Spotlight team won a Pulitzer in 2003 for their work in exposing the sex abuse scandal. Law became the symbol of the scandal when it was revealed that he was covering and protecting pedophile priests.
NJ: Camden schools handle influx of children from Puerto Rico
Cherry Hill Courier Post – December 20, 2017
Rodriguez, a special adviser for bilingual education for the Camden School District and a Camden County Freeholder, has been helping the district cope with an influx of at least 65 students from 28 families who’ve left the devastation on the island.
OH: Clark, Montgomery counties picked for foster family recruiting program
Dayton Daily News – December 20, 2017
Clark and Montgomery counties will participate in a new pilot program to recruit foster families, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office. Eight counties particularly hard-hit by the opioid addiction crisis were selected for the program, which will be funded by a $1-million grant. The money will cover a full-time staff member in each county who will be responsible for family search and recruitment.
OH: Cleveland case workers say mom of 9 on their radar before human remains found
WKBN – December 20, 2017
Cuyahoga County social workers are responding to claims they let a family fall through the cracks before police arrested a mother for the suspected death of her 5-year-old son. According to WJW Fox in Cleveland, the Cleveland Division of Police arrested Larissa Rodriguez, but she has not been charged. On Tuesday, investigators found human remains in the backyard of her West 80th Street house believed to be those of a child.
OH: Summit, Stark counties to participate in new program to recruit foster families
Akron Beacon Journal – December 20, 2017
Summit and Stark counties will participate in a new state program designed to recruit more foster families. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that eight counties that have been hard hit by the opioid epidemic will take part in the Foster Care Recruitment Program.
OK: Cherokee Nation donates $47K to area CASA groups
Tahlequah Daily Press – December 21, 2017
The Cherokee Nation donated a total of $47,000 to two area court-appointed special advocate organizations this week as part of the tribe’s annual contributions. Together, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cherokee Country and Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma advocated in court cases for more than 300 Cherokee and non-Cherokee children during the last year.
PA: Lawsuit alleges inadequate treatment for mentally ill children in state care
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – December 20, 2017
A disability rights organization has filed a lawsuit alleging Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services is failing to provide adequate child welfare services to children with mental health disabilities. The lawsuit alleges such children who have mental health disabilities are not treated equally to those without such disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
RI: Report says DCYF needs to make immediate changes
Providence Journal – December 20, 2017
For the second time this year the state’s Office of the Child Advocate has released a critical review of the way the state child-welfare system handled cases of children in its care who either died or were seriously injured, noting that many “vital” recommendations first made more than a year ago remain unmet.
Also: Report of the Child Fatality Review Panel: A Review Of Two Child Fatalities And Four Near Fatalities December, 2017: http://www.child-advocate.ri.gov/documents/child-fatality-review-panel-december-2017.pdf
Also: Report of the Child Fatality Review Panel: A Review Of Four Child Fatalities And Two Near Fatalities March, 2017: http://www.child-advocate.ri.gov/documents/final-oca-child-fatality-review-panel-report03232017.pdf
SC: 48 children find forever homes on SC Adoption Day (Includes video)
WIS – December 20, 2017
Nearly 50 children now have forever homes! With Wednesday declared Adoption Day here in South Carolina, dozens of final adoption hearings took place throughout the state.
TN: Brentwood police close investigation into sexual assault allegations at Brentwood Academy
Tennessean – December 20, 2017
After nearly three years, Brentwood police announced Wednesday they have closed a criminal investigation into whether a boy was repeatedly sexually assaulted at Brentwood Academy during the 2014-15 school year.
Also: BREAKING NEWS: No charges will be filed in Brentwood Academy case: https://franklinhomepage.com/breaking-news-no-charges-will-be-filed-in-brentwood-academy-case/
ALso; Police: No criminal charges to be filed in alleged sexual assault at Brentwood Academy: http://www.wsmv.com/story/37109853/police-no-criminal-charges-to-be-filed-in-alleged-sexual-assault-at-brentwood-academy
TX: With accused ‘Munchausen mom’ facing charges, dad finally gains custody of son (Includes video)
Star-Telegram – December 20, 2017
An 8-year-old boy who officials allege had been exposed all his life to countless invasive procedures and 13 surgeries due to his mother’s lies will soon be living with his father, a judge ruled Wednesday. Ryan Crawford was granted temporary managing conservatorship of his son, Christopher Bowen, in an agreement reached by all parties involved.
VA: Increased need for foster families in our area (Includes video)
WHSV – December 20, 2017
There is in an increased need for foster families in our area. There are currently 5,000 children in foster care and 900 who are up for adoption in the commonwealth of Virginia.
WI: Foster Parents Remain An Important Asset to Waushara County
Waushara Argus – December 20, 2017
Waushara County Human Services team members work hard to keep children who are removed from their homes in the area; however, at times, when there isn’t a foster home available, children can be placed in larger cities outside of the county. Waushara County Child Protective Services Supervisor Carolann Yeska and Foster Care Coordinator Whitney Golding report that keeping children in their communities is important if they have to be temporarily removed from their home setting.
US: Correction to Notice Published 12/13/2017: Title: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System for title IV-B and title IV-E (AFCARS).
Federal Register – December 21, 2017
Description: The notice, vol. 82, page 58615, published 12/13/2017 was an erroneous re-publication of a notice published on 10/20/2017 at vol. 82, page 48821. No additional comments are being solicited at this time. We regret the confusion it may have caused. Robert Sargis,Reports Clearance Officer.
US: At Year’s End, Many Youth-Related Programs and Policies On The Line
Chronicle of Social Change – December 20, 2017
As the calendar year ends, Congress is poised to head home after the likely passage of a massive tax reform package today. But with less than two full weeks left in 2017, a lot of programs and policies important to youth and families are in limbo. Here’s a quick rundown.
Also: Child Welfare Information Gateway resource: Service Array: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/service-array/
International: Sesame Workshop to Address Refugee Children’s Trauma With Help From Elmo and $100 Million (Includes video)
Education Week – December 20, 2017
The Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee, a refugee aid group, won a first-of-its kind $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Wednesday for an ambitious education and outreach program designed to address the needs of displaced Syrian children.
CA: San Jose: Presentation High failed to report alleged abuse, victims claim (Includes video)
Mercury News – December 19, 2017
Over thee decades, Presentation High School administrators repeatedly violated state law and failed to report sexual abuse claims to police and the county’s child protection agency, according to allegations in two cases made public Tuesday.
CO: Children’s Health Insurance Funding Nears End in Colorado (Includes audio)
Public News Service (PNS) – December 20, 2017
Children’s advocates are urging Congress to restore funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage for 9 million kids nationally. On Tuesday, Governor John Hickenlooper sent an emergency request to the Joint Budget Committee to extend funding for an additional month. Comments from Erin Miller, vice president for health initiatives, Colorado Children’s Campaign.
CT: Lawmaker: DCF ‘Gave Up’ In Teen’s Starvation Death (Includes video)
Hartford Courant – December 19, 2017
Sorting through the “shocking” and “shameful” signs leading to the starvation death of Matthew Tirado while on the radar of child-protection and school officials, and court-appointed lawyers, state Sen. Len Suzio said one element struck him almost as deeply as the manner in which the autistic, nonverbal teenager died. Katz testified that DCF is legally constrained from making contact with a child over a parent’s objections in the absence of proof of imminent physical danger.
FL: Foster Hope-Foster or Adopt a Child: SRQ Story Project Partner Spotlight
SRQ Magazine – December 20, 2017
Did you know there are children right here in our community who need a place to call home? The Sarasota YMCA Safe Children Coalition (SCC) is looking for foster parents. When a child is temporarily unable to live at home due to abuse or neglect, a foster parent welcomes them into their home. Children of all ages, from birth through young adulthood need foster homes until they can safely reunite with their family or transition to adulthood. SCC provides training, licensing and financial assistance.
FL: Opioid Crisis Impacting Foster Caseloads (Includes audio)
WUSF – December 18, 2017
As the opioid epidemic swells the tide of abused and neglected children coming into the state foster-care system, a Florida judge is trying to find them a “forever” home, in time for the holidays.
Also: Information Gateway resource: Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/bhw/treatment/
GA: The foster system failed him, so he took matters in his own hands (Commentary)
Connect Statesboro – December 19, 2017
I love this story, but whenever I hear stories about adoption, I always ask myself what I can do to help. Here are three ways you can help the children in your area.
IA: Limits on guns in childcare centers are blocked by governor’s staff
Iowa City Press-Citizen – December 19, 2017
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ staff recently blocked proposed state rules that would have regulated the storage of any guns present in child-care centers, including those run in private homes. The Department of Human Services rules would have required that guns kept in child-care operations be locked away and kept separate from ammunition. The proposal also would have required that parents be notified if a gun is kept on the premises of a childcare center, and it would have barred loaded guns from being carried in vehicles used to transport a childcare center’s young clients.
IL: Editorial: The toughest job in state government (Includes video)
Chicago Tribune – December 19, 2017
Nearly six months into the job overseeing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Beverly “B.J.” Walker doesn’t hesitate when asked about her most difficult moments. She describes two cases: a troubled teen whose life DCFS could not straighten out, and a toddler who died after being left alone for days.
IN: Guest column: The impact of opioid use on children and families
Chicago Tribune – December 19, 2017
Collaborations among local, state and federal agencies are developing new cross-cutting partnerships and interventions. At the Indiana Youth Institute, we are concentrating on identifying and addressing the short- and long-term consequences of the opioid crisis on Hoosier children.
KS: & MO: Children in foster care in Kansas and Missouri deserve better (Opinion)(Includes video)
Kansas City Star – December 19, 2017
In Kansas, the new secretary of the Department for Children and Families is pledging a more transparent operation. The agency also must more effectively track children who leave their assigned foster homes without permission.
KS: Other Views: DCF ready for better leaderhship
Garden City Telegram – December 19, 2017
Lawrence’s Gina Meier-Hummel has no small task ahead as she takes the helm of the embattled Kansas Department for Children and Families. Meier-Hummel, who replaced Phyllis Gilmore as DCF secretary on Dec. 1, got off on the right foot last week during a meeting with a legislative task force reviewing the Kansas foster care system. Meier-Hummel certainly said the right things, pledging improved public transparency at DCF and committing to reviewing all of the agency’s operations.
KY: Panel takes early step to improve Kentucky adoption system
Associated Press – December 19, 2017
A panel of state representatives took an early step forward Tuesday in efforts to improve Kentucky’s struggling adoption and foster care system, but a key lawmaker acknowledged that the state’s bleak budget outlook will overshadow any proposed overhaul next year.
Also: Lawmakers back big changes to Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system, but do they have the money? (Commentary): https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/19/kentucky-adoption-foster-care-overhaul-funding-2018/962550001/
NC: What Happens to Charlotte’s ‘Drug Babies’ (Commentary)
Charlotte Magazine – December 18, 2017
MUCH OF THE ATTENTION given to this nation’s opioid crisis-the deadliest drug epidemic in American history-is placed on the users: how to keep drugs out of their hands, what the courts should do with them, whether we should revive them when they overdose. But the numbers and reports often overlook opioids’ collateral damage, a generation of kids whose lives have been altered, irrevocably, by their parents’ drug use.
NY: Study suggests social workers lack tools to identify potential chronic child neglect
UB Now (University at Buffalo: The State University of New York) – December 19, 2017
Logan-Greene, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, is the author of a newly published study with Annette Semanchin Jones, also a UB assistant professor of social work, which suggests that the ineffective assessments are often the result of using instruments that are not specifically designed to include elements predicting chronic neglect.
NY: Urgent need to find homes for kids in New York State foster care system (Includes video)
WROC-TV – December 19, 2017
There’s an urgent need to find permanent, loving homes for thousands of kids in New York State. They’re in foster care, where the average stay is more than two years. Children Awaiting Parents, or CAP, is a non-profit organization located right here in Rochester helping to bring families and children looking for homes. They’ve been doing this for over 45 years.”
OR: Guest column: Oregon Youth Authority seeks second-chance families in Clatsop County
Daily Astorian – December 19, 2017
OYA has many youth who could benefit from foster parents like Charlene, but we don’t have nearly enough homes to send them to. Clatsop County currently has zero OYA foster homes. Statewide, OYA only has 36. What is OYA? We’re the state’s juvenile justice agency. We provide safe environments and opportunities for rehabilitation for youth ages 12 through 24 who are committed to our custody by the courts.
TX: Child welfare, health insurance and abortion dominate Texas news in 2017 (Commentary)
Texas Tribune – December 20, 2017
Texas tackled a child welfare crisis, sought to address the opioid epidemic and looked at how to help more people in the state access mental health care. Here’s a look at this year’s top Texas health and human services stories.
TX: Munchausen mom’s bond reduced despite detailed history of child abuse allegations (Includes video)
KIIITV – December 18, 2017
Police and Child Protective Services say she lied to doctors, and those lies led to 13 major surgeries and 323 hospital visits. Investigators think the case is one of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caregiver makes up an illness or injury to get medical care. Judge Ernest White agreed to reduce her bond to $25,000. Acting on the concerns of police and prosecutors, he ordered that she have no contact with any children, including Christopher and her two other children.
WA: Final day on the bench near for Superior Court Judge McCauley
Daily World – December 19, 2017
Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge Mark McCauley will hang up his robe for good and will be officially retired after nearly 25 years on the bench. When asked if seeing a steady stream of violent offenders, serious drug addiction, domestic violence victims, sex offenses and child welfare cases come through his courtroom for 25 years had impacted his overall view of the world, McCauley responded, “My wife tells me that some times!” He continued, “When you do this for years you do see a good number of cases, criminal and domestic, where people are really struggling. You have to understand you’re dealing with struggling people, people with drug problems, family problems, mental health problems – sometimes it can get overwhelming.”
US: How Racism May Cause Black Mothers To Suffer The Death Of Their Infants (Includes audio)
National Public Radio (NPR) – December 20, 2017
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every 1,000 live births, 4.8 white infants die in the first year of life. For black babies, that number is 11.7. Scientists and doctors have spent decades trying to understand what makes African-American women so vulnerable to losing their babies. Now, there is growing consensus that racial discrimination experienced by black mothers during their lifetime makes them less likely to carry their babies to full term.
US: Expand Your Family and Vocabulary as a Foster Parent (Commentary)
Newsmax – December 19, 2017
Here’s a way you can build your vocabulary and make a decision to do some positive good this year and for many years in the future. Romper.com recently ran a column titled “10 Words Only a Foster Parent Would Know.” Some words were Latinate legal terms and others were acronyms for government bureaucracies. But there were a few that carried incalculable emotional baggage and only serve to emphasize what a crucial service for good and humanity foster parents provide.
International: Global effort to get kids out of orphanages gains momentum (Commentary)
Associated Press – December 19, 2017
Across the globe, intensive efforts are underway to get children out of orphanages. Bulgaria and the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova have made strides. China says it is now able to provide care for three-quarters of its orphans and abandoned children via foster homes or adoption. Rwanda is set to soon become the first African country to eliminate orphanages. But it’s a goal that remains elusive in many other countries – in India, where privately run, poorly regulated orphanages abound, and in Nepal and Haiti, where unscrupulous orphanage operators sometimes pay parents to relinquish their children and then profit from donations from sympathetic foreigners.
Kenya: Officials raid Likoni madrasa over child trafficking suspicions
Daily Nation – December 19, 2017
Detectives from the anti-human trafficking and child protection units on Tuesday whisked away 95 children from a madrasa in Likoni over child trafficking and abuse suspicions. Directorate of Criminal Investigation official Grace Ndirangu said some of the children found at at the institution were foreigners from United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Tanzania.
Sudan: UNMISS “children not soldiers” campaign encourages South Sudan army to protect children in Pibor
United Nations Mission in South Sudan – December 20, 2017
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army brigade based in the troubled town of Pibor has committed to protecting children caught up in the armed conflict that has raged across the country for four years. Brigade 23 has pledged to protect children against six specific grave violations including recruitment and use of children in the armed forces, killing and maiming of children, sexual violence against children, attacks against schools and hospital, abduction of children and denial of humanitarian access.
FL: Mental Health Watchdog Calling for Investigation into Psychiatric Drugging of Millions of Children (Press release)
Citizens Commission on Human Rights – December 18, 2017
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to protection of children, is calling for an investigation into the heavy psychiatric drugging of children; especially foster children, in Florida.
Information Gateway resource: Understanding Psychotropic Medications: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/bhw/casework/medications/
IL: New Laws for Illinois that take effect January 1, 2018
MyRadioLink – December 15, 2017
DCFS Daycare Database (HB 2388/PA 100-0052): Requires DCFS to establish and maintain a searchable database, freely accessible to the public … Parental Rights for the Blind Act (HB 2626/PA 100-0075): Creates the Parental Rights for the Blind Act. Youth in Care Reports (SB 973/PA 100-0087): Requires DCFS to submit annual reports to the General Assembly regarding youth in care waiting for placement. Youth Transitional Housing (HB 3212/PA 100-0162): Amends the emancipation process allowing a youth to be placed in youth transitional housing without a court order.
IN: Holcomb says millions put into DCS budget
Herald Bulletin – December 18, 2017
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday that the state had committed millions of dollars to support the Department of Child Services despite criticism by outgoing Director Mary Beth Bonaventura that funding was one of the issues leading her to resign her post.
Also: DCS Chief, Holcomb Disagree On Agency Funding Levels: http://wboi.org/post/dcs-chief-holcomb-disagree-agency-funding-levels
IN: Indiana Democrats demand investigation into DCS director’s claims
IndyStar – December 18, 2017
Indiana Democrats are demanding an investigation into the concerns raised by the state’s outgoing director of the Department of Child Services.
Also: A dire warning (Opinion): http://www.journalgazette.net/opinion/20171219/a-dire-warning
Also: Outgoing child protection agency director claims Holcomb policies ‘all but ensure children will die’: https://www.kpvi.com/news/national_news/outgoing-child-protection-agency-director-claims-holcomb-policies-all-but/article_22e212e6-f018-5ff5-9d4a-62a701765b46.html
KY: Activists scramble to aid families struggling after ICE raids
Cincinnati Citybeat – December 15, 2017
The bulk of those immigration enforcement efforts, carried out over a two-day sweep, were ostensibly aimed at 22 individuals – 20 men and two women – with serious criminal records, according to ICE. Six are charged with re-entering the country after being deported previously. Activists, immigration advocates and legal aid groups met the evening of Dec. 14 in a cavernous Newport church to spread the word about the apprehensions and get community support for the families like Rose’s.
MA: Audit finds unsafe conditions at group homes for foster children
Boston Globe – December 19, 2017
The audit, by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, concluded that 27 of the 30 homes inspected failed to follow health and safety standards designed to protect children taken into state custody due to abuse or neglect.
Also: Audit: https://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region1/11602500.asp
Also: MA: Report: Some foster kids live in filth; workers not vetted: http://bit.ly/2D0vpel
MA: Two years later, foster home tragedy resonates for two families (Includes video)
WCVB – December 15, 2017
More than two years after one foster child died and another was left permanently injured, the families of both children are still without answers as to what really happened and are still hoping for justice.
MI: It’s not hard for foster kids to just disappear. One Traverse City author is trying to change that. (Audio)
Michigan Public Radio – December 18, 2017
#4600AndCounting, a petition on Change.org launched by Chefalo, refers to the 1.1% of the child welfare system who go missing each year. The petition, for Chefalo, is about changing the response process. She wants to put together a safety kit for children entering foster care that would include an up-to-date photograph of the child, a DNA swab, and medical and dental records.
PA: End the cycles of trauma and poverty for Philly families (Commentary)
Inquirer – December 19, 2017
As a clinician who works primarily with children being raised by single mothers, the finding that the traumatic exposures of previous generations are likely affecting the physical and emotional health of mothers and children is disheartening. If mothers bear the molecular scars of trauma on their DNA, and I can’t undo that history, will carefully planned interventions have any degree of positive impact?
RI: Planned cuts would ‘cripple’ Child & Family
Newport Daily News – December 19, 2017
Child & Family is warning that a proposed cut to the amount the state reimburses group-home operators could “cripple” its “ability to continue to provide the highest quality, safe care.”
SC: Teenage boy files suit against S.C. Youth Advocate Program and DSS caseworker, alleging sex assault
Post and Courier – December 18, 2017
A teenage boy who alleges he was sexually assaulted by a driver with the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program filed a federal lawsuit this month against the organization, two of its employees and a S.C. Department of Social Services caseworker.
Also: Lawsuit alleges teen was sexually assaulted by a DSS contractor while in foster care: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article190367429.html
US: As Federal Home Visiting Remains In Limbo, Stress Sets In For Programs (Commentary)
Chronicle of Social Change – December 18, 2017
It certainly feels like a long time ago that child welfare advocates were brimming with confidence that a bipartisan reauthorization for Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV) – the $400 million-per-year federal home visiting program that supports programs pairing professionals with young moms – would sail through Congress.
US: In the fight against the opioid epidemic, lawsuits could be a useful tool
Michigan Public Radio – December 18, 2017
The number of government lawsuits against prescription opioid makers and distributors is rising rapidly. “There are over a hundred that have been filed by state governments, federal governments, local governments, and then Native American tribes,” said Rebecca Haffajee, assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.
US: Woman convicted for false Facebook post
Hutchinson News – December 18, 2017
A South Hutchinson woman who posted comments on Facebook falsely suggesting a Nickerson teacher was a child predator — while the educator was actually providing foster care for the woman’s son — was convicted Monday in an online harassment case that may be one of the first of its kind in the nation.
US: Fighting Off the Wolves: ED and HHS Host Landmark Human Trafficking Prevention Event
US Department of Education – December 15, 2017
In late October, ED hosted a powerful event in tandem with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), during which a panel of parents, survivors, and subject matter experts, along with representatives from ED, HHS, and the community, discussed ways in which we all need to be working to keep our children out of harm’s way.
Also: U.S. Department of Education’s Guide: Human Trafficking in America’s School: http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/human-trafficking-americas-schools
Australia: Society pays a heavy price for jailing children (Commentary)
Eureka Street – December 12, 2017
We may feel momentary relief that a dangerous little villain is being dealt with. But the cost of imprisonment is lasting and heavy: a still malleable child whose path might have changed is stunted in their development and sent to a preparatory school likely to graduate to a lifetime in adult prisons. This is a heavy price to pay in terms of human happiness and the public purse.
United Kingdom: Action urged on funding gap as child protection investigations reach 500 a day
Public Law Today – December 12, 2017
Adding that some 90 children were now entering the care system every day, the Association urged the Government to use the upcoming Local Government Finance Settlement to resolve what it claimed is a 2-billion pound funding gap facing children’s services by 2020.
AR: DCFS: High caseloads hinder face-to-face visits with foster kids
Baxter Bulletin – December 15, 2017
One consequence of high caseloads is that some foster children have little direct contact with the child welfare agency ultimately responsible for their care. In the 2017 fiscal year, 28 percent of foster children did not receive a face-to-face monthly visit from their family service caseworker.
AR: Arkansas adopts limits on opioid prescribing
Pew Charitable Trust: Stateline – December 11, 2017
Arkansas has joined at least 24 other states in adopting rules limiting the number and strength of opioid painkillers doctors can prescribe. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who urged the state medical board to adopt the regulations, called the move an important step in curtailing the “escalating danger” of opioid abuse in the state.
CA: Family Therapy Is a Low-Cost and Effective Substitute for Juvenile Offenders, Advocates Say
California Lawyer – December 15, 2017
Programs are a fraction of the cost of incarceration but smaller jurisdictions have been slow to adopt them.
CO: Colorado families who adopt high-needs foster kids aren’t getting enough help, ombudsman says
Denver Post – December 15, 2017
Adoption subsidies for kids with similar needs can vary by $500 across counties, investigation finds.
FL: Pinellas child protection supervisor fired for not reporting child abuse (Includes video)
WTSP – December 15, 2017
A child protection supervisor with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was fired Friday and is under criminal investigation for failing to report suspected child abuse. Jayne Johnson, 56, is also being investigated for conducting unauthorized family evaluations and making improper recommendations to family court, the sheriff’s office said.
Also: Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/Pinellas-sheriff-s-investigator-fired-could-face-criminal-charges-for-involvement-in-child-custody-battle_163638667
IN: DCS director resigns over Indiana kids being placed at risk
Indianapolis Star – December 18, 2017
Mary Beth Bonaventura, who has worked in child welfare for 36 years, said she could no longer in good conscience stand by and watch Hoosier children “being systemically placed at risk, without the ability to help them.”
IN: Report: DCS failing to meet caseload standards (Includes video)
The Indy Channel – November 26, 2017
The Indiana Department of Child Services is failing to meet state standards when it comes to caseloads for family case managers, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney has learned.
Information Gateway resource: Child Protection Casework Practice: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/child-protection/
KS: Mother says her toddler’s death in foster care was neglect. The state disagrees.
Wichita Eagle – December 18, 2017
Experts say that information in child deaths can reveal gaps in the safety net and help child-protection workers and care-givers learn from tragedies so that other deaths can be prevented.
KS: Acting DCF secretary concerned about discrimination claims
Columbus Republic – December 15, 2017
The acting secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families says allegations that the agency discriminates against gay and lesbian couples are concerning, and she pledged a “zero tolerance” policy.
Also: New DCF chief: Zero tolerance for LGBTQ discrimination in adoption, foster care cases: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article189979314.html
KS: KU Study Indicates Link Between Kansas Welfare Restrictions, Foster Care Case Increase
KCUR – December 15, 2017
A University of Kansas study supports the suspicions of lawmakers and advocates who believe there’s a link between additional restrictions on welfare benefits and an increase in foster care cases.
KY: The children of a deported Owensboro man must immigrate to Mexico or enter foster care
Courier & Press – December 15, 2017
After their father was deported in late November, four Owensboro children will enter foster care unless their family finds a way to send them to Mexico.
MI: Proposed custody bill will harm Michigan children (Commentary)
Hometown Life – December 17, 2017
HB 4691 threatens to throw out 47 years of precedent, replacing our state’s child-centered custody law with one that focuses on “fairness” to parents – by a rigid count of overnights – instead of considering the best interests of the child.
NE: Editorial: Nebraska’s child welfare system makes gains but challenges still loom
Omaha World-Herald – December 18, 2017
Nebraska’s child welfare system in recent years has made considerable progress in moving toward greater stability. But major challenges in helping abused and neglected children remain, as reflected in a new report from the state Foster Care Review Office.
Also: Nebraska Foster Care Review Office 2017 annual report: http://www.fcro.nebraska.gov/pdf/FCRO-Reports/2017-annual-report.pdf
NE: Department of Health and Human Services seeks additional $30 million from state
World-Herald Bureau – December 15, 2017
An updated budget request from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services added gloom to the state’s fiscal picture on Friday. HHS officials now are seeking some $50 million in state funds for the current two-year budget period, which began July 1.
TX: Advocate changes lives for children in foster care system
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal – December 15, 2017
It wasn’t until the children’s fifth time through the system were the children assigned a court-appointed special advocate, which is a guardian ad litem appointed by the court to look after the best interest of the child.
US: Restrictions on foster parents loosened to allow more normal experiences for children
Times Free Press – December 17, 2017
In Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, and across the nation, states are loosening restrictions on foster parents in order to encourage normalcy for the growing share of children in foster care.
US: Border Arrests Surge, Erasing Much of Trump’s Early Gains
Associated Press – December 15, 2017
The U.S. government posted a seventh straight monthly increase in people being arrested or denied entry along the Mexican border, erasing much of the early gains of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Also: There’s been a staggering increase in child, family apprehensions at the border: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/theres-been-a-staggering-increase-in-child-family-apprehensions-at-the-border/article/2643695
US: Federal Investigation Finds ‘Significant Issues’ At Immigrant Detention Centers
National Public Radio – December 14, 2017
Immigrants detained at four large centers used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are subject to inhumane treatment, given insufficient hygiene supplies and medical care, and provided potentially unsafe food, according to a federal report.
US: Overburdened Mental Health Providers Thwart Police Push for Drug Treatment
Pew Charitable Trust: Stateline – December 14, 2017
Police officers in the drug unit here have ended their routine of arresting every drug user who shoplifts and steals weed whackers off porches to pay for their drug habit. Instead, they’re referring some of them to treatment, leaving more time to pursue major drug arrests. The approach seems to be working. In the last three years, more than 170 low-level drug offenders have decided to sign up for addiction treatment instead of being taken into custody, and more than 70 percent of them have turned their lives around. But in a worsening opioid epidemic, West Virginia’s effort to replicate Charleston’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program has run into a daunting obstacle: wariness among overburdened mental health providers.
US: Social services grants, bedrock for many counties (Commentary)
National Association of Counties (NACo) – December 14, 2017
The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 (P.L. 97-35) and is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. The flexibility of SSBG is crucial to its recipients as it helps fill the gaps in and between other human services programs receiving insufficient federal funding.
US: Spending deal offers short-term CHIP relief
Governing – December 11, 2017
The bill signed by President Trump helps states keep the Children’s Health Insurance Program afloat, but it doesn’t offer any reassurance that kids won’t lose their health care in 2018.
Australia: Australia reckons with the national tragedy of child sexual abuse
Public Radio International – December 15, 2017
“A national tragedy.” That’s how the Australian prime minister characterized the findings, released Friday, of a five-year investigation into child sexual abuse.
Also: Australia’s royal commission calls for mandatory child sex abuse reports: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/12/15/Australias-royal-commission-calls-for-mandatory-child-sex-abuse-reports/1951513310427/?spt=rrs&or=11
CA: Crossover Youth: Los Angeles County Probation Youth With Previous Referrals to Child Protective Services (Press release)
Philanthropy News Digest – December 15, 2017
Youth who are intensely involved with the juvenile justice probation system are likely to have been previously involved in the child protection system, a report from the Children’s Data Network finds.
Information Gateway resource: Court-Child Welfare Agency Collaboration: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/courts/ccwa/
CO: Colorado families who adopt high-needs foster kids aren’t getting enough help, ombudsman says
Denver Post – December 14, 2017
Families that adopt troubled or high-needs foster kids in Colorado receive inconsistent and often meager financial support from a state program that lacks sufficient oversight, the state’s child protection ombudsman said in an investigative report Wednesday.
CT: Adolescents in Foster Care Need Opportunities to Thrive
Public News Service (PNS) – December 15, 2017
A recent report documents the importance of taking brain development into account when dealing with adolescents in the child-welfare system. Comments by Dr. Lauren Ruth, advocacy director at Connecticut Voices for Children; and Alexandra Lohrbach (LORE-bock), program associate with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Also: Report: The Road to Adulthood: Aligning Child Welfare Practice With Adolescent Brain Development: http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-theroadtoadulthood-2017.pdf
KY: Agencies working to help families affected by immigrant roundup raids (Includes video)
WKRC – December 14, 2017
The people in a local church call themselves “Allies of the Latino Community.” They’re there to support the families of immigrants taken by federal officers with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or “ICE”.
MT: Montana Kids in Need of Foster Care At All Time High, Homes for Less Than 40 Percent
NewsTalk 95.5 – December 14, 2017
“It has been a rough year, we have seen a large increase in children and families that need services,” Gerten said. “I think the amount of kids we served went up by about 700 from previous years. Annually we serve about 1,200 kids, but in 2017 we served close to 2,000.” The number of children in need of foster care specifically has skyrocketed, nearly doubling in less than two years to an all-time high.
NC: Opioid Crisis Straining Foster Care Resources In Rockingham County (Includes video)
WFMY – December 14, 2017
Rockingham County has seen a steady increase in kids entering the foster care system in recent years and county leaders say the opioid epidemic is, in large part, to blame. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 129 new kids went into foster care in the county. Half of them went into the system because their parents were using drugs.
NY: Crime Victims Assistance Center receives grant to assist child exposed to domestic violence (Includes video)
Binghamton Homepage – December 14, 2017
The Crime Victims Assistance Center has received special funding to better care for children who witness violence in the home.
TX: District Judge implements new technology to improve CPS process
Van Horn Advocate – December 14, 2017
In collaboration with the Texas Office of Court Administration and Frontier CASA, attorneys appointed in CPS cases in the Big Bend region may now confer with children, parties and foster parents through confidential video conferencing from CASA’s Alpine office. Additionally, children can participate in court hearings via video-conferencing, without missing school or traveling across the state. And best of all, the system is free.
US: Children Awaiting Parents: Expediting the Adoption Process for Older Foster Kids
Minority Reporter – December 14, 2017
Children Awaiting Parents is a national non-profit that recruits adoptive families for children in foster care, and the organization has recently created the Donald J. Corbett Adoption Agency, in an effort to expedite the adoption process for older foster kids.
US: HRCF Report Details Harms of Writing Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination in Child Welfare Services into Law (Press release)
Human Rights Campaign – December 14, 2017
Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: License to Discriminate In Child Welfare Services, a report detailing the harms of efforts to write anti-LGBTQ discrimination by child welfare agencies into law. The publication of the comprehensive resource comes as legislatures across the country prepare to reconvene in January, with many states poised to consider anti-LGBTQ bills.
US: Social workers lack tools to identify potential chronic child neglect, study suggests
Science Daily – December 14, 2017
Neglect accounts for more than 75 percent of all child protection cases in the United States, yet, despite this alarming frequency, child welfare workers lack effective assessment tools for identifying the associated risk and protective factors of chronic neglect, according to Patricia Logan-Greene, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.
US: Trump, Congress Have Yet to Fill Top Jobs at Youth Serving Federal Agencies
Chronicle of Social Change – December 14, 2017
Following are a few of the still-vacant top jobs relevant to youth and family services.
Australia: Vatican should consider voluntary celibacy for priests says Aussie child abuse commission
Australian Associated Press – December 15, 2017
It wants widespread reforms including extending mandatory reporting laws to include people in religious ministry, even if the information was revealed in confession. The inquiry controversially suggests the Catholic Church consider voluntary celibacy for its priests, despite acknowledging it has been a major strand of the Catholic tradition from the earliest centuries.
Also: Child abuse inquiry wants lasting changes: https://www.949powerfm.com.au/news/news/87076-child-abuse-inquiry-wants-lasting-changes
Also: Australian Catholic leaders reject key calls by child abuse inquiry (Includes video): http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/14/asia/australia-child-abuse-commission-recommendations/index.html
AZ: Another Child’s Death Shows Ame Deal’s Murder Hasn’t Changed the System Enough
Phoenix New Times – December 13, 2017
Child welfare investigators in Midland, Texas, and Ogden, Utah, knew Ame had been brutalized before her big extended family relocated to south Phoenix. Child welfare agents here had no clue. No repository exists for states to share child abuse information. Child abuse investigators only learn of out-of-state cases after the fact. After it’s too late. After, as in Ame’s case, the children are dead. “There is no national database or repository of information that tracks children who have been abused in other states,” McKay said. “So when they come into our communities, there is no way of knowing where they were and what was their experience.”
CA: Foster Care: How a California Politician Bent an Entire Child Welfare System to His Will (Opinion)
Youth Today – December 13, 2017
No one has suggested that the Rexroads don’t really love Bonus Baby. No one has suggested that they didn’t sincerely believe they were doing what was best for him. And no one has questioned that the goal of the crusade Rexroad launched after losing his case was to make children safer. But the results suggest that the crusade has failed.
CA: Foster Youth Get Free Computers from County (Press release)
County of San Diego Communications Office – December 13, 2017
About 300 foster families and children got an early holiday present: a computer. The gifts came from the County of San Diego and the San Diego County Futures Foundation, which join forces every year to refurbish used computers and give them to foster families in need. The families and children received the computers over two days at the San Diego State University Foundation Building in City Heights.
CA: Pasadena’s Journey House Celebrates Education Policy Win for Former Foster Youth
Pasadena / San Gabriel Valley Journal – December 13, 2017
Pasadena’s Journey House celebrated their legislative victory of 2017, passage of Assemblymember Holden’s Assembly Bill 1567, with local stakeholders, advocates, and former foster youth. Journey House sponsored the legislation that automatically noti?es foster youth and former foster youth of the services they qualify for upon acceptance at a California Community College or California State University. The new law is anticipated to improve higher education outcomes for former foster youth.
CT: Judge simplifies path for DCF to end court oversight
CT Mirror – December 13, 2017
A federal judge Wednesday ordered Connecticut to commit to certain staffing and caseload levels for social workers at the Department of Children and Families as a step toward ending the court’s quarter-century oversight of the agency under a consent decree.
IL: Torture death of 8-year-old Chicago girl leads to $48M jury award over doctor missteps
Chicago Tribune – December 13, 2017
For five days, jurors heard how Illinois’ child protection system had repeatedly failed Gizzell Ford, an 8-year-old girl found strangled, starved and brutally beaten inside her grandmother’s Chicago apartment. After deliberating about two hours, jurors awarded $48 million to the girl’s family, finding that respected Chicago child-abuse pediatrician Dr. Norell Rosado had been medically negligent in his treatment of Gizzell just weeks before her 2013 murder. Rosado was part of a multidisciplinary team, including a Department of Children and Family Services investigator, that was evaluating the girl after an abuse report.
IN: Children forgotten as opioid victims
Associated Press – December 14, 2017
Among the states with the biggest one-year increases in their foster care population were Georgia, West Virginia and Indiana. “This isn’t a trickle. This isn’t a wave. It’s a tsunami,” says Judge Marilyn Moores, who leads the juvenile court in Indianapolis and faces a crush of drug-related cases. When Stephanie Shene started as a case manager at the state Department of Child Services in 2003, use of opioids was a virtual non-issue. Now it’s a constant. She’s increasingly vigilant looking for shaking, fidgety parents or needle marks on their arms, behind ears and between fingers.
Also: Opioid crisis straining foster system as kids pried from homes (Includes video): http://www.kvoa.com/story/37058491/opioid-crisis-straining-foster-system-as-kids-pried-from-homes
IN: Saving lives: Fighting opioid epidemic top priority (Commentary, by State Representative Steve Davisson)
Seymour Tribune – December 14, 2017
In our state alone, opioid overdose deaths rose 52 percent between 2015 and 2016, and have more than doubled over the last three years. As your representative, I’m committed to improving the quality of life and overall health of all Hoosiers, and I look forward to working with fellow lawmakers to tackle this serious issue.
KS: Kansas Task Force Hears That Some Issues With Foster Care System Aren’t New
KCUR – December 13, 2017
Descriptions of an underfunded, under-resourced foster care system short on child placement options sounded familiar to Kansas lawmakers and child welfare advocates at a task force meeting this week. But the events described Tuesday actually played out 30 years earlier, when a 1989 class-action lawsuit – alleging that the state’s foster care system violated the rights of Kansas children – raised issues that eventually led to the current privatized system.
Also: Kansas Foster Care Task Force Resumes Discussions: http://kmuw.org/post/kansas-foster-care-task-force-resumes-discussions
ME: Maine families deserve better than Congress’ flawed tax bills (Opinion)
Bangor Daily News – December 13, 2017
With responsible planning and smart investing today, our state can prosper now and into the future. This is especially true when it comes to our children and families – the very pulse of our communities and state. If Maine children get what they need today, they will grow up to be active and vibrant participants in our community, economy and even our government.
MN: New rule would bolster tribal court orders
Minnesota Lawyer – December 13, 2017
For about 20 years, the Minnesota Tribal Court/State Court Forum has been working to foster a productive relationship between tribal and state courts. he forum is back before the Supreme Court seeking changes to Rule 10 that would say that district courts “shall” enforce tribal court orders unless the opponent of enforcement meets a burden delineated in the rule. It’s not called a presumption, but it’s close. Rule 10.01 states that the courts must follow all applicable statutes, regulations and rules that mandate or allow recognition of tribal court orders, including but not limited to the Violence Against Women Act and the Indian Child Welfare Act.
MO: Our view: Focus on foster care needed
Joplin Globe – December 13, 2017
This week, we learned from Sheena Greitens that Missouri is now enrolled in a new study on foster parent recruitment and retention. The study is aimed at finding out why people become foster parents in the first place, why some continue and why others stop. She said she wants to address problems that drive foster parents out of the program.
MO: TARGET 8 investigates why child sex abuse charges took two years (Includes video)
KOMU – December 13, 2017
Missouri law enforcement is impeded by a number of issues in cases involving child sexual abuse. Alleged pedophiles can continue to prey on children until the prosecuting attorney files charges and obtains an arrest warrant from the district judge. That can take years.
MT: Panel questions DPHHS on lag in changes (Includes video)
Great Falls Tribune – December 13, 2017
The head of the Department of Public Health and Human Services told a state panel Wednesday she would tell them soon when her department would complete compliance with most recommendations made in an October 2015 audit on Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations. “I believe we are almost there,” DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan told Rep. Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, after he was critical that all five recommendations had not been corrected.
NY: Monroe County 2018 budget boosts spending on job creation, child protection
Democrat & Chronicle – December 13, 2017
If a budget document is a statement of priorities, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo’s for 2018 are clear: job creation, economic development and protecting the interests of children.
OK: Oklahoma’s IT Unification Nets Hundreds of Millions in Savings
Government Technology – December 13, 2017
Roughly five years after Oklahoma began to unify information technology (IT), that process is largely finished and has saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars, officials told Government Technology. “Innovate Oklahoma” participants have provided solutions to three challenges focused in health and human services and child welfare. These solutions are about to be available for leadership approval, Singleton said, describing officials as “really excited about where this is headed.” Simultaneously, officials have held discussions about technology with citizen groups around the state, and Innovate Oklahoma has been a central topic.
OK: Prosperity Policy: Do it again (Opinion)
Journal Record – December 13, 2017
The eight-week special session earlier this fall produced plenty of disappointment and acrimony, but didn’t produce an agreement on how to fix the budget. So why do it again? Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Department of Human Services ere left a combined $110 million below their initial funding levels before the Supreme Court struck down the cigarette fee. Waiting until the start of regular session to address the remaining shortfall will bring back the threat of severe cuts to child welfare services, seniors, and individuals with disabilities and mental illness.
PA: Child abuse: This is what Philadelphia is doing to fight it
AL DÍA News – December 13, 2017
The Commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services , Cynthia Figueroa, talked with AL DÍA News about the city’s challenges and achievements of battling child abuse and neglect.
Also: Pennsylvania’s most recent Annual Child Protective Services Report: http://www.dhs.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/report/c_260865.pdf
Also: Child Abuse in Pennsylvania slide show: http://aldianews.com/sites/default/files/field/imageslideshow/20171213%20Grafico%20web_ENG.jpg
TX: Texas mother arrested after healthy son had 323 doctor visits, 13 surgeries, officials say (Includes video)
Arizona Republic – December 13, 2017
A Texas woman has been arrested after her 8-year-old son had hundreds of unnecessary hospital visits and 13 surgeries, officials say. The tipping point came last month, when 34-year-old Kaylene Bowen-Wright brought her son Christopher Bowen to a Dallas hospital, claiming he had a seizure, according to documents obtained by the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth. “I am very concerned that mother has moved from exaggerating symptoms to inducing symptoms,” Dr. Suzanne Dakil wrote in the CPS petition, the newspaper reported.
WV: Drug epidemic puts more West Virginia kids into foster care; ‘It is getting worse,’ agency official says (Includes audio)
Metro News – December 13, 2017
West Virginia was among three states with the greatest increases in foster care kids during a one year period, according to the report. “The epidemic is really affecting all our communities – our children, our youth and our families in West Virginia – and it is getting worse,” said Angie Hamilton, executive director of Pressley Ridge West Virginia and Virginia.
US: ‘Will They Take Me, Too?’
New York Times – December 14, 2017
More than a thousand children are counting on Nora Sándigo to become their guardian if their undocumented parents are deported. How many of those promises will she now have to keep?
US: Advancing Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health – One Relationship at a Time (Commentary)
Georgetown University Health Policy Institute – December 13, 2017
Given all the competing issues, policymakers need a compelling reason to take action on emotional health, or, infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). They need information about the potential benefits of early identification, the expected “pay off” or return on investment, and they need to hear directly from families (their constituents) about the value of services and supports. Policymakers also need to see how investments in IECMH can affect their other priorities.
Also: ZERO TO THREE and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s joint National survey to better understand awareness of and attitudes toward emotional development in young children and infants: https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/2124-public-perceptions-of-baby-brain-development-a-national-survey-of-voters
US: Connecting Talent with Purpose: Why Cities Must Collaborate with Academia on Gov Tech Innovation
Government Technology – December 13, 2017
Goldsmith emphasized the importance of taking a broader view of relationships between cities and institutions, one that supersedes arbitrary obstacles such as geography. He noted that during his time as deputy mayor of New York City, there was a problem with child welfare in his jurisdiction, but a foremost researcher on the subject was doing his work in Chicago and the issues there. Coincidence presents another challenge. “Too often these relationships have been dominated by the coincidence of whether the research agenda of the university professor matches the priorities of the mayor,” Goldsmith said. Moving forward, Goldsmith suggested that better organization of urban challenges and the academic research related to them would benefit both cities and researchers.
US: Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Awards More Than $29 Million in Grants in the Fourth Quarter of 2017 (Press release)
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation – December 13, 2017
The board of directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced today that 23 grants and one program related investment totaling more than $29 million were approved in the fourth quarter of 2017, bringing the total amount of grants awarded in 2017 to more than $121 million. This surpasses the dollar amount of grants awarded in 2016 by more than $10 million. Grants were awarded to organizations addressing homelessness, foster youth, young children affected by HIV and AIDS, safe water, and serving underserved communities and schools.
US: Report Finds Youth Homelessness on the Rise, Asks Congress for Help
Chronicle of Social Change – December 13, 2017
A national study conducted by researchers at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago found that one in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 experienced some kind of homelessness over the past year. For youth between the ages of 13 and 17, that number is one in 30. That’s 3.5 million young adults and 700,000 adolescents who are homeless, according to the new report Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America.
Report: Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America: http://voicesofyouthcount.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ChapinHall_VoYC_NationalReport_Final.pdf
US: The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Elects Don Gimbel to Board of Directors (Press release)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) – December 13, 2017
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has elected Don Gimbel, portfolio manager for Geneva Advisors, LLC to their Board of Directors. “I am honored to serve on the board of a thriving national nonprofit,” said Gimbel. “I have been involved and interested in child welfare for many years, and am dedicated to the time and commitment to improve the lives of families and children who seek justice. The NCJFCJ continues to make tremendous progress because of the diversity of our membership.”
US: Trump Wants Dramatic Cuts to Children’s Programs to Pay for Corporate Tax Breaks (Includes video)(Commentary)
Newsweek – December 13, 2017
As Democrats and Republicans work to keep the federal government open, attempting to pass a comprehensive budget plan before December 22, a new study shows that President Donald Trump wants to significantly reduce spending on children’s education and health care. “When you cut spending on children you’re putting our country’s future economic growth at risk,” said Julia B. Isaacs, author of the study. “You’re undercutting our commitment to helping every child succeed no matter what their background-this is a refutation of the American Dream.”
Report: How Would Spending on Children be Affected by the Proposed 2018 Budget? A Kids’ Share Analysis of the President’s 2018 Budget: https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/95306/spending_under_administration_budget_final3.pdf
Information Gateway resource: Health Insurance: Medicaid, CHIP, and the Affordable Care Act: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/service-array/health/insurance/#chip
Australia: & Ireland: What Australia can learn from Ireland 8 years after its own royal commission (Commentary)
News Grio – December 13, 2017
Ireland is still debating the scandal of child abuse in the Catholic Church, eight years after a royal commission into the matter delivered its groundbreaking report. The Ryan Commission published its report in 2009, 10 years after it began, and found that “beyond a doubt the entire system treated children like prison inmates and slaves”. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia is due to hand down its final report on December 15.
AZ: Death of 10-year-old locked in box prompted changes to AZ child welfare system (Includes video)
3TV/CBS 5 – December 12, 2017
The death of a 10-year-old girl who had been locked in a box not only put two people on Arizona’s death row and three more in prison, it changed the way child abuse cases are handled, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Tuesday morning. It’s not often when we can look at a specific criminal prosecution and be able to tie it back to the genesis of changes in public policy and to see how it was a catalyst for change,” Montgomery said during a news conference.
Also: RAW VIDEO: Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery talks about impact of Ame Deal case: http://www.azfamily.com/clip/13975668/raw-video-maricopa-county-attorney-bill-montgomery-talks-about-impact-of-ame-deal-case
Also: RAW VIDEO: DCS Director Gregory McKay recalls investigating Ame Deal’s death: http://www.azfamily.com/clip/13975612/raw-video-dcs-director-gregory-mckay-recalls-investigating-ame-deals-death
CA: Learn more about the man charged with helping LA’s foster youths (Includes audio)
KPCC – December 12, 2017
There are more than 30,000 children in the Los Angeles foster care system, and the county’s Department of Children and Family Services had been without a permanent leader. That changed on December 1. Bobby Cagle now leads the agency, taking over for his predecessor Phillip Browning, who retired earlier this year.
Also: Rebuilding after a fire, the Department of Children and Family Services gets new director, what is Bitcoin? (Audio): https://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2017/12/12/17428/
CA: Local homeless services still fall short of helping those in need
Ventura County Reporter – December 12, 2017
“However, when a person ages out of foster care or gets out of jail or loses everything because of a mental illness or an addiction to drugs or alcohol and ends up on the street with no place to sleep and no way to get back into housing, we turn a blind eye,” Brinkmeyer said. “We see them as a nuisance that should live in someone else’s neighborhood, as someone else’s problem.” Instead, we need to see each case of homelessness as an emergency that calls for quick action to stabilize the individual who is in crisis, Brinkmeyer advised.
CT: Report says teenager’s death was preventable
Record Journal – December 12, 2017
An investigation has found that the death of an autistic Connecticut teenager from malnutrition was preventable and there were problems with the state child welfare agency. The state Child Advocate’s Office released a report Tuesday on the February death of 17-year-old Matthew Tirado, of Hartford. When he died, the 5-foot-9-inch-tall Tirabo weighed only 84 pounds, according to report.
Also: State child advocate seeks to increase safety for disabled kids: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/State-child-advocate-seeks-to-increase-safety-for-12424935.php
Also: Morning Record (Commentary): Area lawmakers respond after report says DCF could have prevented teen’s death (podcast): https://soundcloud.com/recordjournal/morning-record-dcf-report
Also: Autistic teen’s malnutrition death was preventable (Includes video): http://wtnh.com/2017/12/12/investigation-underway-into-malnutrition-death-of-autistic-teen/
GA: Blue-ribbon panel urges stronger mental health services for Georgia kids
Georgia Health News – December 12, 2017
The landmark 2010 settlement agreement between Georgia and the Justice Department to improve mental health services in the state had one glaring gap. It didn’t address services for children. Despite some successful funding and programs since then, the need for more and better funded mental health care has presented problems for communities and families across the state.
IN: Child Advocates hope more adults will become foster families this holiday season (Includes video)
FOX 59 – December 12, 2017
Indiana is bursting at every corner an with the amount of children in the foster care system. Advocates say the opioid epidemic has caused a domino effect with children suffering the most. This time of year many people are more inclined to donate to charities, their church, or local community groups. But Child Advocates want you to consider more long term giving the gift of a stable home.
Also: Opioid crisis strains foster system as kids pried from homes: http://www.tribtown.com/2017/12/12/us-children-of-opioids/
Also: Opioid crisis strains foster system in Indiana as cases mount: https://www.ibj.com/articles/66652-opioid-crisis-strains-foster-system-in-indiana-as-cases-mount
KS: New DCF secretary dives into review of Kansas foster care programs
Topeka Capital-Journal – December 12, 2017
On Tuesday, the new secretary at the Kansas Department for Children and Families promised a legislative task force studying weakness in the state’s foster care system a thorough top-to-bottom review of internal and contracting operations with an emphasis on improving public transparency. “Peeling back the layers, if you will. What’s working. What’s not working,” said Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel. “We will be an agency of compassion and experts, and we will be gracious.”
KY: ‘We’re actually dealing with human beings.’ Panel urges more money for child protection (Includes video)
Louisville Courier Journal – December 12, 2017
An oversight panel that reviews child abuse deaths and serious injuries is urging that Kentucky put more money into child protection services, saying its social service agency remains “grossly underfunded, under-resourced and understaffed.” “Huge,” is how Dr. Melissa Currie, a member of the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel described the funding recommendation in the panel’s annual report released Monday. “I don’t know what else to say.”
MA: As You Were Saying…: DCF must up care for LGBTQ kids (Opinion)
Boston Herald – December 13, 2017
In the Department of Children and Families’ 2017 Annual Progress and Services Report, DCF identified LGBTQ youth in Massachusetts as the population at greatest risk of maltreatment. LGBTQ youth are about 7 percent of the youth population in the United States, but they are estimated to comprise 25 percent of young people in the foster care system. And yet DCF has no agencywide policy on LGBTQ youth.
MA: Letter: Auditor’s report shows need for more DCF oversight (Opinion from Friends of Children)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette – December 13, 2017
Friends of Children applauds the work of State Auditor Suzanne Bump as outlined in her office’s report released December 8. This investigation shines a clear light on the failure of Massachusetts’ Department of Children and Families (DCF) to properly monitor, investigate, and report fatalities and “critical incidents” of rape, sexual abuse, and physical assault of children in DCF care.
Also: Columnists Susan Karas and Jane Lyons praise auditor’s report on children’s agency: http://www.gazettenet.com/Columnists-Susan-Karas-and-Jane-Lyons-describe-state-auditor-s-report-on-Massachusetts-Department-of-Children-and-Families-a-call-to-action-14298788
NY: Pedophile Barred From Leaving Australia as Sex Tourism Law Takes Effect
New York Times – December 13, 2017
In Australian law barring registered child sex offenders from international travel had an immediate impact when it took effect on Wednesday, stopping a convicted pedophile and turning him away from Sydney Airport. The law – which government officials have called a “world first” – prevents convicted pedophiles from leaving Australia without permission from law enforcement agencies. The law is meant to keep Australian pedophiles out of Southeast Asian sex tourism markets.
NY: ACS is improving, but must still fix flaws in monitoring child safety, report shows
New York Daily News – December 12, 2017
The city’s troubled child welfare agency has improved following a series of child abuse tragedies but still must confront built-in flaws in the way it monitors children’s safety, a new report released Tuesday found. The report by the independent monitor Kroll Associates found that the city Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) still had issues handling abuse investigations months after vowing to implement reforms.
Also: OCFS Statement on Kroll Associates’ Report Following New York City Administration for Children’s Services Review: http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/view_article.asp?ID=1603
Also: Report: http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/Professionals_data_reports.asp
PA: Protecting our children: Transitioning from foster care
New Castle News – December 13, 2017
There is good news and bad news about child abuse in Lawrence County. The good news is that increased reporting requirements have resulted in the removal of more children than ever from situations of abuse and neglect. The bad news is that it has created an increased demand for foster homes, and these are in short supply.
RI: District to review claims before putting teachers on leave
Associated Press – December 13, 2017
The superintendent of Providence schools says he will review allegations against staff before placing them on leave after union complaints that too many teachers were being taken out of the classroom based on flimsy claims. Superintendent Christopher Maher says the district had been advised by the state to immediately forward all reports of abuse to the child welfare department instead of first conducting its own investigation.
TN: UPDATE: Foster parents to receive Christmas assistance (Includes video)
WRCB – December 12, 2017
UPDATE: Channel 3 now knows why a local charity was not able to provide the Christmas assistance it has for three decades. Today we’re learning more about the 35-year-old charity and its organizers who say this is all a misunderstanding.
TX: Commissioners approve more vague, less political Adoption Day proclamation
Courier of Montgomery County – December 12, 2017
Montgomery County commissioners agreed Tuesday to an amended version of a month-old Adoption Day proclamation that sparked local opposition and debate because the language was all-inclusive of adoptive families, including gender identity. Commissioners unanimously passed the initial proclamation marking Nov. 15, 2017, as Montgomery County Adoption Day in early November. That proclamation states, “there are no restrictions on who can adopt based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or marital status …” Local right-wing bloggers and members of the Texas Pastors Council were quick to condemn the commissioners for passing the proclamation, calling its passage conceding to a “radical anti-family agenda.”
TX: Felon Becomes Foster Parent
Crossroads Today – December 12, 2017
On paper, Gregory McQueen must have seemed like a great candidate to become a foster-care parent in Texas. But some important information didn’t show up in a state background check before a foster-care agency hired McQueen and his wife last March to care for abused and neglected children. The Army acknowledges that it failed to submit information about McQueen’s criminal record to an FBI database widely used for background checks.
Also: Army’s Failure Allowed Convicted Military Pimp to be a Foster Parent: http://www.newsweek.com/armys-failure-allowed-military-pimp-foster-parent-745599
VT: Lund, Leahy announce $3 million federal grant to improve wellbeing and safety for children (Press release)
Vermont Family Recovery Project (VTFRP) – December 07, 2017
Lund is pleased to announce that the agency has been awarded a $3 million Regional Partnership Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children and Families. Over the next five years, Lund will use this funding to develop and implement the Vermont Family Recovery Project (VTFRP), to provide intensive home based services for at-risk families in Burlington and Newport.
US: The Policy Labs We Urgently Need (Commentary)
Governing – December 13, 2017
Following a bipartisan call to “improve the evidence available for making decisions about government programs and policies,” Congress is poised to pass legislation to establish secure infrastructure to accelerate statistical uses of federal administrative data while also ensuring stringent privacy protections for that data. But some states are already out ahead, establishing offices known as data labs or policy labs to enable them to partner with academia and make use of their administrative data to evaluate and improve programs and policies. In Chicago, for example, the Center for State Child Welfare Data helps multiple state governments create secure, longitudinal databases to make better use of their own data to help children.
Information Gateway resource: Evidence-Based Practice: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/evidence/
US: How is the opioid crisis affecting children? (Commentary)
Associated Press – December 12, 2017
Public attention to the historic wave of opioid addiction gripping the U.S. has focused mostly on its effect on adults and the thousands who have died of overdoses. Missed by much of the spotlight, though, is a hidden epidemic: children who have fallen victim to opioids’ wrath because a parent’s drug use has left them in danger and thrust them into the foster care system. A look at the issues surrounding children caught up in the opioid epidemic.
US: Indian Child Welfare Act under attack again as conservative group submits appeal to Supreme Court (Commentary)
Indianz – December 12, 2017
The conservative Goldwater Institute is attacking the Indian Child Welfare Act again. The group has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an ICWA case from California. The petition in Renteria v. Superior Court of California, Tulare County claims the 1978 law is based on “race” and should be deemed unconstitutional. The case comes in a custody dispute over three girls whose parents were killed in a December 2015 crash. The girls’ father, Matthew Cuellar, was a citizen of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, The Fresno Bee reported.
Australia: Pedophile Barred From Leaving Australia as Sex Tourism Law Takes Effect
New York Times – December 13, 2017
An Australian law barring registered child sex offenders from international travel had an immediate impact when it took effect on Wednesday, stopping a convicted pedophile and turning him away from Sydney Airport. The law – which government officials have called a “world first” – prevents convicted pedophiles from leaving Australia without permission from law enforcement agencies. The law is meant to keep Australian pedophiles out of Southeast Asian sex tourism markets.
Also: Pedophile stopped at Sydney Airport by anti-sex tourism law: https://nypost.com/2017/12/13/pedophile-stopped-at-sydney-airport-by-anti-sex-tourism-law/
CT: Domestic violence trauma endures for youngest victims
Darrien News – December 09, 2017
Often the individuals most affected by domestic violence are the youngest. Children can suffer significant emotional, behavioral and developmental consequences as a result of exposure to violence in the home.
Also: A child silenced by domestic abuse: http://www.dariennewsonline.com/local/article/A-child-silenced-by-domestic-abuse-12417117.php
IL: & MO: Starved, beaten and forgotten: Child deaths in Missouri and Illinois expose how predators exploit home school system
KPVI – December 11, 2017
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit founded by home-schooled alumni, says basic requirements, such as reviewing any child protective service inquiries before families can educate their children behind closed doors, could make a difference.
Information Gateway resource: Responding to Child Fatalities and Near Fatalities: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/fatalities/
MA: State Auditor Bump: DCF not utilizing important data (Includes audio)
Boston Herald – December 10, 2017
State Auditor Suzanne Bump made an in-studio appearance on Boston Herald Radio’s “Morning Meeting” program this week to talk about a recently released audit of the Department of Children and Families.
Also: In Letter, Baker Calls Bump’s DCF Audit ‘Irresponsible’: http://www.wbur.org/news/2017/12/11/baker-rebukes-dcf-audit
Baker blasts Bump over DCF audit: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/breakingnews/ci_31516879/baker-blasts-bump-over-dcf-audit
‘The Governor is denying a reality that DCF itself does not dispute,’ Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump says (Includes video): http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/the_governor_is_denying_a_real.html
MA: Where is the hashtag and protest against child abusers? (Opinion)
Sun Chronicle – December 10, 2017
The brand-new “me too” movement has attracted millions of contributors, women and men in more than 85 countries, protesting sexual abuse by the powerful against the not-so-powerful. It seemed that no story of mass predation could be more beastly – until Thursday when horrors of equal or greater enormity emerged. They were the outcome of an audit of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families that alleged crimes against children in state care.
MO: Missouri enrolls in new study on foster parents
Seymour Tribune – December 11, 2017
Greitens said Monday that the study is focused on finding out why people decide to become foster parents, what makes them continue and what influences their decision to stop. Greitens says national statistics show most foster parents quit within a year. She says she wants to address problems that drive foster parents out of the program.
MO: Rising rate of child neglect and abuse strains juvenile programs
St. Joseph News-Press – December 09, 2017
The incidents of child neglect and child abuse are a growing epidemic in the community. “Since 2014, we’ve seen the number of cases climb upward and it could be 10 years before it could turn around,” said Linda Meyer, Buchanan County’s chief juvenile officer. This is because there is a higher likelihood youth may continue to have problems as they grow older.
NE: Report: Nebraska juvenile facilities confined youths alone 2,400 times during last year
Omaha World-Herald – December 12, 2017
Nebraska juvenile facilities confined youths alone in their rooms nearly 2,400 times during the past year, according to a report released Monday.
Report: Juvenile Room Confinement in Nebraska: http://bit.ly/2kpuPyw
NE: Nebraska renews UNL agreement for child welfare training
Associated Press – December 11, 2017
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will continue to train state child welfare workers under a renewed agreement with a state agency. The university announced Monday that it has won a $12 million award from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to prepare newly hired child welfare workers.
NY: City offering Bronx food pantry for child welfare families
New York Daily News – December 12, 2017
The city is launching a first-of-its-kind Bronx food pantry for families embroiled in the child welfare system. The pantry, stocked by the Food Bank For New York City, is giving out food supplies at the Administration for Children’s Services division of child protection office.
NY: Number of NYC foster kids plummeting despite rising nationwide
New York Daily News – December 12, 2017
Fewer than 9,000 children were in foster care in New York City last year – a staggering drop from a high of 50,000 25 years ago.
PA: New specialized dockets, intervention programs aim to help children
Star Beacon – December 10, 2017
In fall, the county Juvenile Court opened its newly certified family drug court, the second state-approved specialized docket program in the county – among more than 200 others across Ohio – to help drug-offending parents keep or regain custody of their children.
PA: Auditor General: PA Child Welfare System Beset By ‘Breathtaking’ Turnover’ (Includes video)
CBS Philadelphia – December 09, 2017
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale appeared before the state House Children and Youth Committee to discuss his “State of the Child” report issued in September. DePasquale painted a bleak picture: at-risk children ill-served by a system plagued by what he termed the ‘breathtaking’ turnover of overworked, underpaid, stressed employees.
RI: 2 children in state care spent hours in DCYF office because shelter wasn’t available
Providence Journal – December 11, 2017
Two young children in state care spent the early morning hours of Saturday at the headquarters of Rhode Island’s child welfare office because there was no immediate place to put them. The children would likely have normally been taken to a Pawtucket shelter that the state has used for 38 years, often for emergency placements. But the Department of Children Youth and Families ended its contract with the Children’s Shelter of Blackstone Valley on Nov. 30. The contract termination reflected the agency’s desire to reduce the number of children in group-care settings, said DCYF Director Trista Piccola.
TX: Court Says The State Must Ramp Up Foster Parent Recruiting (Includes audio)
Texas Standard – December 11, 2017
A six year-old class action lawsuit over the system of foster care in Texas may be reaching a climax. It’s the case in which a federal judge found Texas’ foster care system to be so dangerous to foster kids as to be unconstitutional.
TX: Texas, U.S. Families Still Waiting for Children’s Health Funding (Includes audio)
Public News Service – December 11, 2017
Parents, program administrators and health-care providers are anxiously waiting to see if Congress will reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Texas officials say if lawmakers fail to act, as many as 400,000 children could lose coverage shortly after the first of the year.
WV: Group aims to help W.Va. foster children
Inter-Mountain – December 12, 2017
Short said the number of foster children in West Virginia has reached a crisis level, with many kids in need of safe, permanent homes because of drugs, substance abuse or other family problems. This program is just one way to try to help foster children know that people in communities throughout the state are thinking about them.
US: Building a Pathway to Resilience for Foster Youth Through Social Capital (Commentary)
Chronicle of Social Change – December 11, 2017
Most young people look forward to the day they will turn 18. It marks the beginning of a time for exploration, growth, and new beginnings. But for young people who grow up in the U.S. foster care system, turning 18 can often be a troubling and startling experience.
US: Reforms to U.S. Child Welfare System Could Reduce Costs and Improve Outcomes (Press release)
RAND – December 11, 2017
Expanding prevention and treatment services in the U.S. child welfare system could improve the lives of children and reduce total lifetime expenses of such services by 3 to 7 percent, according to a revised RAND Corporation report.
Report: Improving Child Outcomes: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1775-1.html
Europe: Europe’s Plan to End Its Migrant Crisis Is Failing
New Yorker – December 08, 2017
On the Greek island of Lesvos, the number of refugees is rising again and camps are overflowing.
AR: AR Foster Kids Face-to-Face Visits Hindered by High Caseloads
Arkansas Nonprofit News Network – December 08, 2017
Despite recent improvements in Arkansas’s overloaded foster care system, the state Department of Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services is struggling to reduce the average caseload of its field staff, DCFS monthly data indicates.
CA: Tribe fighting for custody of orphaned children might be Hawaiian, court papers say
Fresno Bee – December 08, 2017
Two years ago, three Visalia girls were orphaned when their parents were killed on a rural road by a suspected drunken driver. Since the deadly collision, a bitter custody battle has ensued among their relatives, pitting a Visalia couple against members of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in Placerville.
GA: Columbus churches consider disbanding coalition formed to address foster care crisis
Ledger-Enquirer – December 09, 2017
In 2016, a group of Columbus churches formed a coalition in response to the shortage of foster care beds in the community. Now, more than a year later, the coalition is still in the same spot that it was 12 months ago, trying to identify its purpose and decide how thousands of dollars raised for the initiative should be spent.
KS: New Kansas DCF leader discusses agency’s past mistakes, future after investigation reveals systemic failures (Includes video)
WDAF – December 08, 2017
Meier-Hummel is lifting the veil on the once secretive agency that has a history of hiding behind confidentiality to protect itself from scrutiny and exposing missteps within the DCF that put children in danger.
Also: New head of DCF wants to focus on the future (Includes video): http://ksn.com/2017/12/08/new-head-of-dcf-wants-to-focus-on-the-future/
MA: Bill Continues Reforms To Massachusetts Foster Care System (Includes audio)
WAMC – December 08, 2017
Children can have a range of experiences in foster care. Legislation proposed this week in the Massachusetts House would require the state to search for every possible family member with whom a child could be placed before entering the foster care system.
MA: Should Massachusetts raise the maximum age for Juvenile Court jurisdiction? (Commentary)
Boston Globe – December 08, 2017
Today the law in Massachusetts ends access to the state juvenile system at age 18. That is failed policy. Young adults have the highest recidivism rate of any age group in our criminal justice system, though we spend more money on them than on older people. Any legislative action that directly reduces young adult incarceration will, if applied fairly, reduce the numbers of young black and brown people whose adult lives are scarred by a criminal record.
MO: Audit: Missouri owes $19M for child care subsidies
Hannibal Courier-Post – December 10, 2017
An audit has found that the Missouri Department of Social Services mistakenly paid more than $19 million to child care facilities to subsidize low-income families and should refund the federal government.
MO: Missouri adoptions on the rise (Includes video)
KYTV – December 08, 2017
Adoptions are at an all time high in the show me state but so is the number of kids in the foster care and adoption system. “The rate here in Southwest Missouri is higher than the states rate and I believe that it is higher than the national rate,” said Danielle Conti, executive director of Foster, Adopt, Connect. The local not-for-profit helps children find foster and adoptive families. But, there is also a big issue across the country.
PA: Heroin crisis turns back clock on grandparents, making them struggling parents again
Penn Live – December 11, 2017
In Pennsylvania, about 88,000 grandparents are raising 195,000 grandchildren. In about 40 percent of those cases, drug or alcohol addiction is the main reason for the children being placed with the grandparents. But these figures don’t tell the full story.
PA: PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN: Despite scrutiny, counties still struggling to relieve overworked caseworkers
Tribune-Democrat – December 11, 2017
There is broad consensus that the state needs to fix the child protection system as it strains under the weight of increased challenges by the state’s drug crisis, aggravated by crippling turnover rates in agencies across the state.
PA: PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN: Safety worries spawn variety of bills against child abuse
Tribune-Democrat – December 11, 2017
The struggle to help the state’s child protection safety net cope with the increased demands placed on it by the opioid crisis has spawned at least seven bills in the General Assembly, but the process of moving them forward has so far been slow.
US: Immigration-rights advocates say Homeland Security is using minors as ‘bait’ (Commentary)
Global Sisters Report – December 11, 2017
The complaint is on behalf of the approximately 400 people arrested this summer in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement effort that the groups allege used unaccompanied minors as bait: When parents and other relatives came forward to sponsor children who would otherwise be kept in detention centers, they were arrested and detained.
Information Gateway resource: Ethical Practice & Client Rights: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/management/ethical/
US: Connie Hickman Tanner, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Northern Nevada Business Weekly – December 08, 2017
Connie Hickman Tanner has been appointed chief program officer, Child Welfare and Juvenile Law at the Reno-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
US: Immigration From Mexico Drops, but Increases From Central America
Courthouse News Service – December 08, 2017
Immigration to the United States from the so-called Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras rose by 25 percent in eight years, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday. Citing better work and economic opportunities but also fear of widespread crime and violence in their home countries, immigrants both legal and illegal have been entering the United States from the Northern Triangle in sharply rising numbers.
US: National Academy of Medicine should revisit issue of fetal alcohol exposure (Commentary)
Ob. Gyn. News – December 08, 2017
More than 20 years ago the Institute of Medicine (recently renamed the National Academy of Medicine, or NAM) issued its landmark report on fetal alcohol syndrome. Since then, there has been an explosion of research on the issue of fetal alcohol exposure – and NAM needs to revisit the issue and release another report.
Australia: Integrated approach
Shepparton News – December 11, 2017
Victoria Police has launched its five-year vision and strategic plan to address family violence, sexual offences and child abuse. The strategy is the next stage of Victoria Police’s reform agenda, building on previous work to combat violence against women and children, who are the predominant victims.
Ireland: Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse becomes law
RTE – December 11, 2017
The Children’s Ombudsman said the introduction of mandatory reporting of suspected abuse required a Government commitment to make sure no child falls through the cracks.
United Kingdom: Scheme to share responsibility unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is extended
LocalGov (UK) – December 08, 2017
A scheme to make sure local authorities share responsibilities for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is to be extended to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
United Kingdom: Survivors of one of Britain’s worst child abuse scandals promised groundbreaking 100m pounds compensation
Mirror – December 08, 2017
Survivors of one of Britain’s worst child abuse scandals have been promised a groundbreaking £100million compensation scheme. It means that an estimated 3,000 of people who grew up in its care at Shirley Oaks and other homes could be entitled to up 125,000 pounds each.
AZ: Our View: Why is DCS repeating the mistakes it was created to prevent? (Includes video)
Arizona Republic – December 07, 2017
DCS was created because of its predecessor’s problems, and it must continually remember the secrecy-laden legacy it inherited. Along with that legacy, DCS also carries the responsibility for the lives and safety of Arizona’s most vulnerable children.
CA: Yolo County and Woodland Community College partner to create safe space for youth
Woodland Daily Democrat – December 07, 2017
The center, the third of its kind in Yolo County, is funded in part through the county Mental Health Services Act. Larsen noted the other two centers are located within clinics, but housing one at a college campus comes with advantages.
CO: Colorado Gives: Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Compassionately Transforms the Lives of Abused and Neglected Children
Legal Connection (Colorado Bar Association CLE) – December 07, 2017
For over thirty-five years, the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center has provided compassionate legal advocacy and clinical services to children who have been abused or neglected. Through a team of legal professionals and social workers, the Children’s Law Center serves at-risk children and considers the whole child with each recommendation regarding the child’s best interest.
IL: Data mining program designed to predict child abuse proves unreliable, DCFS says
Chicago Tribune – December 07, 2017
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is ending a high-profile program that used computer data mining to identify children at risk for serious injury or death after the agency’s top official called the technology unreliable.
Also: Illinois Scraps Child Abuse Prediction Software for Not ‘Predicting Much’: https://gizmodo.com/illinois-scraps-child-abuse-prediction-software-for-not-1821080730
Information Gateway resource: Identification of Child Abuse & Neglect: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/identifying/
IN: 526 Area Children In Out-Of-Home Care, But Not Nearly Enough Foster Families
Eagle Country – December 07, 2017
DCS data shows there were 526 local children in out-of-home care this past October. Of those, more than 230 kids had to be placed in a foster home outside of their home county.
IN: Beyond Last Week’s News About Increasing Foster Care Rates: More Adoption, Indiana in Crisis, Long Term Foster Care and More
Chronicle of Social Change – December 07, 2017
Exits Going Up … But Not Because More Kids Are Going Back Home. That is good news, in the absolute. It means fewer kids are living in the limbo that is foster care. But other AFCARS data suggest that more reunification with birth families is not driving the boost in exits.
MA: Audit: DCF Missing Serious Injuries Suffered By Kids In Its Care (Includes video)
CBS – December 07, 2017
The Department of Children and Families did not know about 260 serious injuries to kids under the agency’s care, including gunshot wounds, burns, broken bones and head contusions.
Also: Audit: DCF failed to report rape, violence against children: http://bit.ly/2yPlOXT
Also: Audit of Massachusetts Department of Children and Families says agency failed to report 118 incidents of sexual abuse of a child: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/audit_of_massachusetts_departm.html
MA: Massachusetts justice system wrestles with how to define ‘adult’
Christian Science Monitor – December 07, 2017
Massachusetts could be the first state to view 18-year-olds as juveniles in the criminal justice system. A sweeping criminal justice reform package that would, among other things, raise the age of criminal majority to 19 – meaning that 18-year-olds would be treated as juveniles for most crimes – recently passed in the state Senate.
MI: Police recommended CPS remove kids from Detroit home where 3-year-old shot self in face (Includes video)
WDIV – December 07, 2017
Police who responded to a Detroit apartment on a November domestic violence call recommended that Child Protective Services remove children who lived at the home, a month before a 3-year-old boy shot himself in the face while playing with a loaded gun.
NY: New York Catholic Church pays $40M to clergy sex abuse victims
CBS News – December 07, 2017
Just over $40 million in compensation has been paid to 189 people who identified themselves as victims of clergy sex abuse, the Archdiocese of New York said in a report released Thursday. The archdiocese noted that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program ended Nov. 30, but some additional claims are still being processed.
TN: Local Christmas fund closes launching state investigation (Includes video)
WRCB – December 07, 2017
An organization that helped foster parents pay for Christmas gifts abruptly shut down, leaving foster families in our area scrambling.
TX: Pivotal foster child advocate retires from Montgomery County CASA
Courier of Montgomery County – December 07, 2017
Longtime foster child advocate Pat Creighton is hanging up her hat as the program director of Montgomery County’s CASA organization. According to a resolution passed by Montgomery County commissioners Nov. 28, Creighton impacted the lives of more than 2,900 children over her 15-year career with CASA and oversaw more than 600 advocates.
TX: Texas could be forced to recruit thousands of foster parents as CPS crisis continues
Dallas News – December 07, 2017
Texas should be forced to dramatically increase its supply of loving homes and treatment facility beds for foster children and vastly improve its oversight of their safety and well-being, two appointed advisers in a class-action lawsuit have recommended.
US: When Immigration Detention Means Losing Your Kids (Includes audio)
NPR – December 08, 2017
Immigration attorneys are warning that without preventative measures, more children will end up in foster care, and their parents will struggle to regain custody from outside the United States.
US: At State Department, Lawrence Inherits Turbulent Time for Intercountry Adoption (Commentary)
Chronicle of Social Change – December 07, 2017
Among the issues that have led to fewer intercountry adoptions are increased domestic adoptions in other countries (especially China and Korea), political discord between the United States and Russia, concerns about unethical practices (Guatemala, Romania, Cambodia) and lack of post-adoption reporting by adoptive families (Kazakhstan).
US: Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor sentenced to 60 years on child porn charges (Includes video)
Cable News Network (CNN) – December 07, 2017
Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor who admitted to sexually abusing underage girls, has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges, a court official said Thursday.
US: For foster care kids, college degrees are elusive
Pew Charitable Trust: Stateline – December 07, 2017
At a time when many parents help their children navigate every twist and turn of their academic lives, former and current foster youth have a particularly difficult path. If they don’t have a parental figure to guide them, they’re often left on their own to maneuver through the maze of college applications and financial aid paperwork.
US: Making the Grade: A Progress Report and Next Steps for Integrated Student Supports
Child Trends – December 07, 2017
In recent years, the education field has come to recognize the role of schools in supporting student health, safety, and well-being by developing integrated student support initiatives. These offer specific services and supports to students and their families to build a foundation for academic success.
US: Predictive Analytics And Child Protective Services (Commentary)
CIO Review – December 07, 2017
While this form of predictive analytics has life-saving potential, it also comes with the risk of removing children from loving, safe households if not used thoughtfully and correctly. Proper training on how to interpret and act on the insights and results these advanced analytics services and solutions produce is essential for the welfare of children and families.
US: Some states aim to get more foster youth graduating from college
Christian Science Monitor – December 07, 2017
Foster children don’t always have the support system they need to navigate adult decisions for a successful college experience. Some states are hoping to change that by providing counseling and funds for individuals transitioning from foster care to college life.
US: How the Federal Government Helps Families Meet Child Care Needs
Pew Charitable Trusts – December 06, 2017
Child care is essential for many American families, but most parents say they have difficulty finding affordable, high-quality care in their community, with the sentiment cutting across race, income, and educational background. The federal government helps families afford child care through a combination of tax credits and spending programs.
US: Crucial disparities exist in the economic well-being of youth transitioning out of foster care
Annie E. Casey Foundation – December 04, 2017
Opportunity Passport Participant Survey Results Show Employment Helps Many Thrive. A new report completed for the Annie E. Casey Foundation examines the economic well-being of youth transitioning out of foster care, with assistance from the Jim Casey Initiative’s Opportunity Passport program.
Canada: Canada signs MOU with Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to drive change in child and families services (Press release)
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada – December 07, 2017
Today the Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Jane Philpott, along with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett and Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at achieving concrete outcomes in child welfare, and supporting the needs and aspirations of First Nations in Manitoba.
CA: Schools’ Sexual Assault Reporting Policies Scrutinized
NBC San Diego – December 06, 2017
The San Diego County district attorney is sitting down with superintendents and school officials across the county, following an NBC 7 investigation into how campus assaults get reported to police. District Attorney Summer Stephan told NBC 7 school officials must be quick to report on-campus sexual assaults.
Information Gateway resource: Role of the Educator in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/educator.pdf
CO: Ombudsman opens investigation into children’s facilities (Includes video)
Associated Press – December 06, 2017
Colorado’s child protection ombudsman has launched an investigation into residential centers for children after a treatment facility in Pueblo was shutdown in September following abuse reports. The Denver Post reports ombudsman Stephanie Villafuerte on Tuesday announced the probe that will focus on state oversight of the facilities as well as the handling of abuse and neglect reports to caseworkers.
FL: DCF faces high turnover of investigators, leaving new employees with caseload (Includes video)
WEAR-TV – December 07, 2017
The Florida agency in charge of child welfare has a big problem with employee turnover. Channel 3 News has learned most Child Protective Investigators (CPI) with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in the northwest district have not been in their positions more than a year.
FL: Stopping Human Trafficking
For Myers Florida Weekly – December 06, 2017
A form of modern-day slavery, human trafficking is legally defined as a person who is exploited for sex or labor by force, fraud, or coercion – or as a minor under age 18. Now, awareness is growing through recent busts of trafficking rings and a growing number of outreach campaigns including presentations in local schools.
GA: County joins lawsuit against opioid industry
North Fulton Herald – December 06, 2017
At its Nov. 28 meeting, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved Napoli Shkolnik PLLC as its attorneys as they pursue a lawsuit on behalf of local governments seeking damages to cover the costs associated with the drug epidemic. If the suit is successful, the award would help cover expenses associated with substance abuse programs, healthcare, environmental, medical examiner, lost productivity, foster care, Narcan and increased law enforcement.
GA: School system reaches settlement in molestation case
Augusta Chronicle – December 05, 2017
The Richmond County School System has settled lawsuits filed by two molestation victims of a former janitor. According to previous Augusta Chronicle reports, the suit was filed in September 2016 naming the school system and members of its leadership of negligence in hiring and retaining Reginald Price, failing to report the victims’ statements that Price molested them, as required by law, and violation of the victims’ constitutional rights.
IL: Data mining program designed to predict child abuse proves unreliable, DCFS says
Sunshine State News – December 07, 2017
The last of the legacy George Sheldon hoped for at the Illinois Department of Children and Families (DCFS) crumbled this week when Sheldon’s successor ended a Florida company’s high-profile program meant to identify children at risk for serious injury or death.
Also: Child welfare technology proved unreliable, DCFS chief tells Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-dcfs-eckerd-met-20171206-story.html
MT: Audit: Montana’s child protection agency has improved but changes still needed
Ravalli Republic – December 06, 2017
Many of the problems the child protection service in Montana has struggled with recently, from an increasing number of children in foster care to documenting decisions to remove children from homes, can be traced to the agency’s failure to follow its own safety-based model, according to a recent audit.
Also: Child and Family Services audit: http://ravallirepublic.com/news/state-and-regional/pdf_1205ee1c-d324-52ea-b94d-bd29d57ae6a2.html
NC: Tool helps DSS assess children in foster care
Richmond County Daily Journal – December 06, 2017
The Richmond County Department of Social Services is leading a five-county coalition in the implementation of a new tool to measure the well-being of children in its custody with the hope that it can greatly improve the quality of care that foster children receive in the region.
NE: Rise in Nebraska’s foster care numbers is ‘striking’ and ‘concerning,’ official says
KPVI – December 06, 2017
Foster care numbers in Nebraska have climbed for a second straight year, according to a new state report. Some areas of the state saw much steeper increases – 22.5 percent in the west, 12 percent in the southeast – while numbers held steady in the Omaha area.
NM: New Brain Research Can Help NM Foster Kids Become Successful Adults (Includes audio)
Public News Service – December 07, 2017
Improved science on adolescent brain development shows there are new ways to help the more-than 2,300 children in New Mexico’s foster care system become successful adults. The Annie E. Casey Foundation report, “The Road to Adulthood,” offers recommendations on how to treat kids in foster care based on their developing brains. Ezra Spitzer, executive director at New Mexico CAN, said science now shows the developing adolescent brain can heal from trauma more than previously thought.
Report: The Road to Adulthood: http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-theroadtoadulthood-2017.pdf
NY: Tax overhaul poses major threat to New York nonprofits
Crains NY Business – December 07, 2017
The Republican tax bills being considered in Washington threaten to significantly raise taxes for many New Yorkers. They also could deliver a hammer blow to nonprofits across the city.
NY: How Do You Care for Sex-Trafficking Victims if You Can’t Hold On to Them?
New York Times – December 06, 2017
Home to many young people who have been trafficked for sex, Hawthorne is supposed to help heal them and head off their return to prostitution and exploitation. But the center, run by a nonprofit group and intended to be a relatively open facility, has seen girl after girl, most of them from New York City, go missing.
NY: New York Expands Funding Access for Close Kin Who Become a Child’s Legal Guardian
Chronicle of Social Change – December 06, 2017
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation late last month making it easier for close relatives and family friends to receive financial support for kinship guardianship agreements (KinGAP). Godparents, step-parents, the adoptive parents of half-siblings, neighbors and other kinds of kin will be eligible for the subsidy until the child turns 21.
OH: ‘Dreamland’ traces causes of opioid crisis
Times Reporter – December 06, 2017
Quinones tells of two drug trades, one legal, and one illegal. The first is pharmaceutical companies’ marketing of pain-relief pills with a molecular structure similar to heroin. The second is a group of traffickers from a small Mexican town who developed a plan to make buying heroin as easy as getting pizza delivered. Added to the mix are demands for pain to be treated as a fifth vital sign in medical settings, and the rise and subsequent crackdown on “pill mills” that made opioids readily available. When the legal drug was no longer available or affordable to users, they turned to heroin. “It was a perfect storm,” said Jodi Salvo, coordinator of the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition.
RI: DCYF lawsuit reaches potential $1 million settlement
Associated Press – December 07, 2017
Officials are predicting a settlement of more than $1 million in the near future in a decade-old civil rights lawsuit against Rhode Island’s child welfare agency. House Fiscal Advisor Sharon Reynolds Ferland told the House committee Tuesday to expect a legal settlement of $1.2 million. But she says the settlement might be “much larger.”
Also: Settlement nears in decade-long lawsuit alleging sweeping DCYF failures: http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20171206/settlement-nears-in-decade-long-lawsuit-alleging-sweeping-dcyf-failures?rssfeed=true
TX: Study Finds Long Road to Recovery for Hurricane Harvey Victims (Includes audio)
Public News Service – December 07, 2017
“Particularly with lower income and vulnerable populations who can often be invisible in times like this,” Elena Marks, president of the Episcopal Health Foundation, said. “We’ve got immigrant populations who are afraid in the current climate to come out and seek help” The report also found that the storm has taken a toll on people’s mental and physical health, with six out of ten storm victims reporting they have skipped or postponed a doctor’s appointment or had difficulty obtaining mental health care.
WI: ‘There are people for sale here’: Madison authorities struggle to support victims of sex trafficking
Cap Times – December 06, 2017
While awareness and identification of sex trafficking has improved in the past two decades, Wisconsin law enforcement agencies, legal representatives, medical professionals and service providers are often left wondering how to best support victims who face a unique and daunting set of challenges.
WV: Department of Health and Human Resources awards Optum Integrated Eligibility System contract
Exponent Telegram – December 06, 2017
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has awarded a contract to Optum for an Integrated Eligibility System to consolidate and replace three current systems in the Department. This integrated system will improve how the state determines eligibility and delivery of social service programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, child welfare, child care and child support.
WY: After police and administrators press student journalists for sources, UW may change sexual assault reporting policy
Casper Star Tribune – December 06, 2017
The University of Wyoming and its police department pressured student journalists to name its source for a story alleging sexual assaults by an unnamed resident assistant, prompting a lawyer to get involved and the school to consider changing its reporting policies.
US: Safe Cities And Legal Representation For Immigrants (Includes audio)
WYPR – December 06, 2017
As the Trump Administration bears down on immigration enforcement, what is the recourse of immigrants facing deportation, who are often without funds to enlist a lawyer’s help, or even the basic understanding of what that would mean? We hear from Annie Chen a program director from the Vera Institute of Justice about the SAFE Cities Network initiative. It’s a nationwide effort to bolster access to legal representation for immigrants and also provide education regarding legal rights.
Also: DHS announces progress in enforcing immigration laws, protecting Americans (Press release): https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/dhs-announces-progress-enforcing-immigration-laws-protecting-americans
Also: Border arrests plunge, deportation arrests soar: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/border-arrests-plunge-deportation-arrests-soar/article_648ef590-d9d7-11e7-bee0-4ba1d1f22e6b.html
Also: Deportations soar while border arrests plunge: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2017/1205/Deportations-soar-while-border-arrests-plunge
Also: Trump Administration Touts Border Arrests as Proof of Crackdown on Illegal Immigration: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/us/politics/border-arrests-immigration-homeland-security.html
Also: Amnesty International Calls Upon ICE to Reunite Young Children with Fathers Separated in Immigration Detention: https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/amnesty-international-calls-upon-ice-to-reunite-young-children-with-fathers-separated-in-immigration-detention/
US: The CHIP Program Is Beloved. Why Is Its Funding in Danger?
New York Times – December 05, 2017
CHIP, a program that has had unusually strong bipartisan support since it was created in 1997, is now in limbo – an unexpected victim of the partisan rancor that has stymied legislative action in Washington this year. Its federal funds ran out on Sept. 30, and Congress has not agreed on a plan to renew the roughly $14 billion a year it spends on the program.
US: Research Says Juveniles Need Their Own Miranda Rights
Governing – December 01, 2017
Studies suggest they’re “too complex” for kids to understand, spurring some police departments to simplify the words they use when arresting them.
Canada: Feds to address First Nations child welfare funding gap, but no dollar details
National Post – December 06, 2017
The next federal budget will include more money for First Nations child welfare services on reserves, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said Wednesday – but she stopped short of saying how much.
Europe: EU Syria Trust Fund: new assistance package worth 150 million adopted to support Syrian refugees and host communities (Press release)
European Commission – December 06, 2017
Projects will support the most affected municipalities in the region, agricultural livelihoods and food security, school construction, the upgrading of waste-water systems in areas with high refugee concentration, as well as refugee protection, research and advocacy. The newly adopted assistance package brings the overall amount of projects committed under the Trust Fund to 1.2 billion Euros.
Greece: Situation Update: Unaccompanied Children (UAC) in Greece
EKKA National Center for Social Solidarity – November 30, 2017
3,300 Estimated number of Unacocompanied Chilodren (UAC) currently in Greece based on analysis of data available to EKKA. 2,201 Total number of UAC on waiting list for shelter.
India: Time to respect child rights (Commentary)
Morung Express – December 03, 2017
“Juvenile justice fractures as child ‘falls from height'” goes the headline of The Morung Express after a contentious episode involving a child in Wokha Town in October. Despite varying versions, it was established that laid down procedure were not followed by different stakeholders and juvenile justice was violated.
CA: Systems That Oppress Women Create Dangerous Circumstances for Girls of Color (Opinion)
East Bay Express – December 06, 2017
After a decade in the anti-trafficking movement, I am always surprised by the shocked reactions of others when they first learn about the prevalence of child sex trafficking locally. Disgust, anger, and a strong pull toward action I understand. The shock catches me off guard. When I find myself in discussions with the shocked, I often wonder if we are living in and experiencing the same country. As a woman of color from Oakland, I understand sex trafficking as a horrific byproduct of a society that over sexualizes, marginalizes, and oppresses entire populations of people.
CA: State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Statewide Chronic Absenteeism Data Available for the First Time (Press release)
California Department of Education – December 05, 2017
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the availability of statewide chronic absenteeism data for the first time in California, providing a new understanding of absenteeism rates and enabling schools to see at a comprehensive level which students are missing school and in danger of falling behind.
CO: Abuse, neglect reports at children’s center trigger investigation across Colorado
Denver Post – December 05, 2017
Colorado’s child protection ombudsman has opened a broad investigation into residential centers for troubled and high-needs kids after alarming reports of abuse at a Pueblo institution.
GA: DFCS Director Bobby Cagle says farewell to Georgia: ‘We’re a very different agency today.’ (Includes video)
Ledger-Enquirer – December 05, 2017
The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services is in transition again. This time the change is because of the departure of Bobby Cagle, the division’s most recent director, who has been hired by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
IA: Natalie Finn’s school tried to warn the state she was in dire jeopardy, but it wasn’t enough to save her (Includes video)
Des Moines Register – December 04, 2017
West Des Moines school officials watched over Natalie Finn, gave her food, contacted child-protective workers by phone and in writing, and exchanged hundreds of emails with her adoptive mother, Nicole Finn. But those efforts at the Walnut Creek Campus, an alternative high school, failed to save the malnourished 16-year-old. Instead, Natalie stopped coming to school in May 2016, not long after she was suspected of stealing $60 from a teacher.
IN: Children hidden victims of opioid abuse
KPC News – December 05, 2017
Governor Eric Holcomb made attacking the drug epidemic a pillar of his inaugural policy agenda. Indiana University has announced its Grand Challenge to respond to the addictions crisis, committing $50 million to finding solutions. Indiana’s social service, emergency service, criminal justice, health care and public health providers are working to respond to the relentless array of ongoing, interconnected needs arising from the crisis. Collaborations among local, state and federal agencies are developing new cross-cutting partnerships and interventions.
MN: Couple Seeking to Adopt Native American Child Balks at Indian Child Welfare Law (Includes video)
KSTP – December 05, 2017
Whether the Indian Child Welfare Act applies to a young girl is at the center of a legal custody fight playing out in Hennepin County. The Cliffords said the county had given them reason to believe their adoption of the child would be approved. But 11 months ago, the White Earth Ojibwe tribe intervened, invoking the spirit of the ICWA that attempts to prevent Native American children from being separated from family or extended family. The Cliffords said they couldn’t understand why, because the county had said the child is not eligible for membership in any Indian tribe and the Indian Child Welfare Act doesn’t apply.
Also: Information Gateway resources: Permanency for American Indian children and youth: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/permanency/specific/minority/#Americanindian
Permanency and American Indian Children: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/diverse-populations/americanindian/care/aipermanency/
Working With American Indian Children and Families in Adoption: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/cultural/adoption/american-indian-families/
NC: Review finds mistakes made before 5-year-old girl was killed
Republic – December 05, 2017
North Carolina’s review of the case of a 5-year-old girl who was sold by her mother for $200 shows law enforcement and school authorities had concerns about Shaniya Davis’ family but didn’t alert child welfare officials.
NY: Kings County Family Court celebrates more than 300 adoptions on National Adoption Day
Brooklyn Daily Eagle – December 05, 2017
The Kings County Family Court hosted its own Adoption Day ceremony on Nov. 16 in Downtown Brooklyn where it celebrated the more than 300 adoptions that have been processed in the borough this year. The program is in conjunction with National Adoption Day which takes place every year in November. It started with nine events in the year 2000 and has grown to more than 400 cities in the country and was responsible for finalizing nearly 65,000 adoptions in 2016.
OK: Chamber forum focuses on Tulsa Boys’ Home
Sand Springs Leader – December 05, 2017
Tulsa Boys’ Home Executive Director Gregg Conway, who’s served in his role since 1997, said the home serves 64 boys between 11 and 15-40 of which are placed by the child welfare division of the Department of Human Services and 24 are privately placed by parents or legal guardians. “The primary thing we’re treating the kids for is PTSD,” Conway said. “The human brain is not designed to be exposed to violence.”
OR: City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason
Skanner – December 05, 2017
Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office announced the hiring of new tribal liason Laura John, a descendent of the Blackfeet and Seneca Nations. John, who has worked in American Indian communities for the past 20 years, was previously a researcher and program evaluator for the National Indian Child Welfare Association. In keeping with her broad history of community engagement, she was also an early career scientist for the Native American Research Center of Health, and coordinated a child abuse prevention program for the Native American Rehabilitation Association in Portland.
Also: Portland’s Got a New Tribal Liaison-After Losing the Last One in a Muddle (Commentary): https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2017/12/05/19521809/portlands-got-a-new-tribal-liaison-after-losing-the-last-one-in-a-muddle
PA: State AG on child welfare: Opioid crisis has made things worse (Includes video)
WOLF-TV – December 05, 2017
The House Children and Youth Committee is looking to improve child welfare across Pennsylvania and they want the auditor general’s help. Eugene DePasquale briefed the committee Monday on his recent State of the Child report. He says the system is struggling across the commonwealth with 58-thousand unanswered calls on the hotline last year.
RI: First Educator Charged With Failure To Report Sexual Abuse Nears Trial
Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR) – December 05, 2017
George Blessing, a staff psychologist at Cranston High School West, is accused of failing to report allegations to child welfare authorities of, “sexual abuse of a child in an educational program.” Blessing is the first person to face charges under Rhode Island’s newly amended child abuse reporting law, and his trial could begin in Warwick. State lawmakers approved new language added to the duty to report statute in 2016, clarifying the responsibility of school employees to report abuse alleged to have taken place in a public or private school.
RI: Group decries proposed cuts at DCYF
Providence Journal – December 05, 2017
A coalition of child-welfare organizations that works with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families is raising concerns about plans to slash millions of dollars from group homes and community-based programs that serve at-risk youth. The cuts would affect group homes, high-end residential treatment facilities, assessment centers, home visitation programs, foster parent support and counseling services among other programs, according to Kerri White, a spokeswoman for the DCYF.
Also: Coalition of child welfare groups condemn RI spending cuts: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/business/national-business/article188121409.html
TN: Lawsuit filed in shooting death of 14-year-old boy who ran from DCS custody (Includes video)
Tennessean – December 05, 2017
The family of a 14-year-old boy killed after he ran away from a foster home has filed a lawsuit against the head of the Department of Children’s Services and three of its employees. Tirell Hill was shot to death in June, a month after he went missing from an Antioch foster home. Police continue to investigate, but no arrests have been made. A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday claims that child welfare officials failed to find a safe, stable and appropriate place for Tirell to stay during his eight months in state custody.
TX: Judge Rules For CPS In Deceased Toddler’s Parents Fight For Custody Of Other Child (Includes video)
CBSDFW – December 05, 2017
During a hearing last week, a doctor gave disturbing details concerning Sherin’s health before she died. That same doctor was back on the stand Tuesday, under cross-examination by the defense. A detective with the Richardson Police Department and a Texas Child Protective Services worker also testified at the hearing.
TX: Texas lawmakers to hear how $12,000 caseworker pay raises helped CPS
Austin American-Statesman – December 05, 2017
The state Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday will hear from state child welfare officials about how a $12,000 salary boost for caseworkers as well as a multimillion-dollar hiring effort has helped the troubled state agency.
VT: Opioid Abuse Continues To Strain Vermont’s Child Welfare System
Vermont Public Radio (VPR) – December 05, 2017
The state’s child protection line received a record number of calls last year, and officials say the opioid crisis continues to have an impact on families throughout Vermont.
WI: UW social work program aims to increase retention of qualified social workers through field work training
Badger Herald – December 05, 2017
In an effort to better equip students studying social work at the University of Wisconsin, the School of Social Work is training and providing hands-on experience to students through a training program. The Public Welfare Training Program uses Title IV-E funds to train both undergraduate and graduate students who wish to work in public child welfare by placing them to work in Dane County and surrounding counties. After earning their degrees, students join the public child welfare workforce in Wisconsin.
US: Evaluating Smoking Bans (Audio)
National Public Radio – December 06, 2017
A new study indicates that smoking bans, which were designed to affect adults’ behavior, in fact improve children’s health.
US: Alliance for children
Salina Journal – December 05, 2017
Responsibility for the welfare of children in need does not end at a country’s border. That’s why Saint Francis Community Services announced Tuesday the formation of an alliance with International Social Service-USA, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization that specializes in a broad range of child welfare issues that cross international borders.
US: Opioid Epidemic Burdening Grandparents, Foster Homes
Healthline – December 05, 2017
As the opioid epidemic forces more children out of their parents’ custody, grandparents like Hudson are stepping in to fill the gap. But as they become the primary caregiver for their grandchild – or grandchildren, in some cases – older adults are seeing their lives turned upside down.
US: Study: Children who are spanked more likely to become violent toward future partners
KDVR – December 05, 2017
“Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence.” This result, he said, held up even when contributing factors such as sex, age, parental education, ethnicity and childhood abuse were controlled.
US: In Sex Abuse Cases, an Expiration Date Is Often Attached
New York Times – December 04, 2017
As prep schools increasingly confront past sexual misconduct, they often use laws limiting when a lawsuit can be filed to avoid paying victims.
Afganistan: 11-Year-Old Girl Has Spent Her Whole Life in a Prison with a Prolific Serial Killer
PJ Media – December 05, 2017
From time to time you hear a story about someone in prison who tugs at your heartstrings. Maybe. After all, most of us assume that if you’re in prison, you probably deserve to be there, as a general rule. But 11-year-old Meena doesn’t deserve to be there. Meena was born in a prison in Afghanistan and has lived there her whole life. While Meena’s situation sounds unique, it’s really not. The only unusual thing is the timeframe involved.
AZ: ‘Thank you for your service’: DCS disbands citizen panels, brings oversight in-house (Video)
Arizona Republic – December 04, 2017
The state’s child-welfare agency is disbanding citizen panels intended to bring an outside view on its work and is moving the effort in-house. Critics, surprised by the Nov. 21 notification from Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay, say they fear the move will further insulate DCS from outside oversight on its operations.
Information Gateway resource: Building Agency/Community Partnerships: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/management/administration/partnerships/
CA: Asylum-seeking fathers separated from children by ICE
San Diego Union Tribune – December 04, 2017
Asylum seekers are generally held in detention after they arrive at the border. Only a few detention centers around the U.S. are equipped to hold families together, and because of court cases, there are rules about how long children can be held.
KY: Spotlight on adoption in Kentucky
News-Graphic – December 02, 2017
November was National Adoption Month, and though the monthlong observance is an important conversation starter, it can’t fully convey the ongoing and unmet needs of children searching for their forever homes. During this season of giving and gratitude, the truth is that more than 7,000 kids in Kentucky will spend the holidays in the care of someone other than their family of origin.
LA: Report: Louisiana children of immigrants up against stacked odds (Includes video)
Shreveport Times – December 04, 2017
Among the challenges these children face are higher levels of poverty, more limited educational opportunities and increased chances of family separation.
MI: Auditors review Michigan DHHS caseloads, lawmakers still investigating (Includes video)
Lansing State Journal – December 04, 2017
State auditors said last week they are reviewing child welfare caseloads as lawmakers continue to investigate allegations that government supervisors manipulated data to make the state appear in compliance with a federal judge’s order.
Also: Video: Auditors reviewing caseloads after DHHS accused of faking child welfare records: http://www.wnem.com/clip/13955542/video-auditors-reviewing-caseloads-after-dhhs-accused-of-faking-child-welfare-records
MN: Child neglect and mistreatment rises in SW MN
KLGR – December 04, 2017
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has released its annual report on child maltreatment in the state and it shows that there were 459 alleged victims in Blue Earth County last year.
Report: Minnesota’s Child Maltreatment Report, 2016: https://edocs.dhs.state.mn.us/lfserver/Public/DHS-5408I-ENG
NC: Child abuse cases in Buncombe County are on the rise, advocates create prevention plan
Asheville Citizen-Times – December 04, 2017
The number of cases involving allegations of child abuse in Buncombe County so far this year already has topped the total from 2016 and is continuing on an upward trend.
NE: Federal report assesses Nebraska’s Child Welfare System
KHGI – December 04, 2017
Nebraska released a federal report on Thursday assessing the state’s child welfare system showing that of 36 areas of measurement, eight areas were determined as strengths, which places the system solidly in the middle of the results that 22 other states received.
Also: CFSR Nebraska 2017 Report: http://dhhs.ne.gov/children_family_services/Documents/NE_CFSR_FinalReport_2017.pdf
NH: NH making progress in protection of children
Seacoast Online – December 03, 2017
With a myriad of political disruptions and global uncertainty portrayed in the media it can be difficult to see what is going right. I want to report that there is a lot going right to help New Hampshire children be safe.
NV: Children fleeing violence have protectors in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Sun – December 04, 2017
Threatened with closure by the expiration of federal funding, the UNLV’s Immigration Clinic recently received a $250,000 donation from attorney Edward M. Bernstein to continue its work. “Right now in our clinic, we have 108 open cases of children who arrived to the United States alone,” Kagan said. “Some of them know what a dead body looks like after a person has been shot or stabbed. Some of the girls have been raped. Some have been told that they had to date a gang member or die.”
OH: Opioids, High-Priced Bail Combine to Flood Ohio’s County Jails (Includes audio)
Kent State-Ohio News Connection and Public News Service – December 05, 2017
“We have to look at and see the misuse of the criminal justice system,” JohnsonGrove said. “We have to see if we are misusing a hammer to drive a screw or a sledgehammer where we need a scalpel. So many social problems have been defined as criminal justice problems instead of being treated as a health problem or a community-social wellness problem.”
OH: Amid addiction crisis, Fifth Third offers paid time for foster parents
Cincinnati.com – December 02, 2017
An often-unseen side of the opioid crisis is its impact on children. Since 2010, the state has seen an 11 percent increase in children under the age of 12 needing foster care placement, according to the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. As the state’s child welfare system struggles with the increase, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine made a plea in August for more Ohioans to become foster parents
PA: DePasquale: Paperwork adds to caseworker woes
Tribune-Democrat – December 04, 2017
DePasquale said that he spoke to one child protection caseworker who reported spending as much as five hours a day filling out paperwork instead of working with families and children.
WA: Hotels and offices aren’t the best place for foster children. Group homes aren’t either (Commentary)(Includes audio)
KUOW – December 04, 2017
Next year, DCYF will take control of the state’s foster care system and the roughly 8,800 foster youth in care. While the state does not have enough places for foster children, Hunter doesn’t want to rely on more group homes. Instead, he wants to prevent kids from needing foster care in the first place.
US: Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign Launched to Promote Best Interests of All Children in Foster and Adoption Systems (Press release)
Family Equality Council – December 04, 2017
The Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign brings together a broad coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum, including child welfare organizations, child welfare professionals, advocacy and civil rights organizations, and current and former foster youth with lived experience in the child welfare system. Campaign members are united in the belief that no otherwise qualified foster or adoptive parent should be turned away due to their marital status, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
US: COMMENTARY: We must start believing victims of child abuse
Observer-Reporter – December 03, 2017
“Who did you tell?” “What did they do after you told them?” These are questions I ask almost every child that I interview. The answers are important; they tell me not just who the child trusts, but also about that child’s history, including what their life as a survivor of childhood sex abuse has been like. I am a child abuse pediatrician, specializing in the care of children with concerns for neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. The majority of my work is in sexual abuse, and I am often called to court to explain not only physical exam findings, but the process of disclosure. Most commonly, I explain why children wait to tell.
AZ: Arizona Says Some Medical Marijuana Products OK for Foster Parents
Chronicle of Social Change – December 01, 2017
Arizona’s Department of Child Safety will now allow foster parents in the state to possess certain kinds of medical marijuana extracts without it interfering with their foster parent license.
GA: Keeping Our Children In Our County (Press release)
Pickens County Family Connection – December 01, 2017
In 2015, Governor Nathan Deal, through the Department of Children and Family Services (“DFACS”), launched the Kinship Navigator Program which is designed to be a “One-Stop Shop” for information and referral services for grandparents and other relatives raising other relative’s children. Pickens County DFACS, a fully staffed agency, currently has 81 children in foster care that reside in 18 foster homes throughout the county.
ID: Advocates Say Cyntoia Brown’s Case Is Part Of The ‘Sexual Abuse-To-Prison’ Pipeline (Includes audio)
Boise State Public Radio – December 03, 2017
Along with broader issues about the justice system, advocates are also highlighting this case as an example of what they call the “sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline.” Yasmin Vafa, the executive director of the human rights organization Rights4Girls, tells NPR’s Michel Martin about her research into the “pipeline” and why the way the criminal justice system treats victims of human trafficking needs to change.
Information Gateway resource: Human Trafficking: Protecting Our Youth: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/trafficking_ts.pdf
IL: Guest Commentary: Drug court has track record of success
News-Gazette – December 03, 2017
Champaign County Drug Court started in 1999. As of Nov. 29, 2017, we have 277 graduates. To graduate, a participant needs at least one year of continuous sobriety, complete all recommended treatment and be involved in a recovery program.
IN: Need for foster parents at crisis level
Batesville Herald Tribune – December 03, 2017
“In both Franklin and Ripley counties, over 60 percent of the kids are placed outside of the counties because we don’t have any local homes that are available to them.”
Also: Op-ed: We need to care for the kids of addicts: http://www.wcpo.com/news/opinion/op-ed-we-need-to-care-for-the-kids-of-addicts
IN: Children and families impacted by opioid use (Commentary)
Indiana Youth Institute – December 02, 2017
Gov. Eric Holcomb made attacking the drug epidemic a pillar of his inaugural policy agenda. Indiana University has announced its Grand Challenge to respond to the addictions crisis, committing $50 million to finding solutions. Indiana’s social service, emergency service, criminal justice, health care and public health providers are working to respond to the relentless array of ongoing, interconnected needs arising from the crisis.
KS: Opinion: Protect our most vulnerable children
Lawrence Journal-World – December 02, 2017
Governor-in-waiting Jeff Colyer and Gina Meier-Hummel, his selection to head the Kansas Department for Children and Families, have an immediate opportunity to address glaring shortcomings in protecting the state’s most vulnerable children and in doing so distinguish themselves from the discredited administration of Gov. Sam Brownback.
KS: New DCF Secretary Signals Change Of Direction, Child Welfare Advocates Say
KMUW – December 01, 2017
The well-being of children in her care is Gina Meier-Hummel’s highest priority. That is the consensus on the new secretary for the Kansas Department for Children and Families among people who have worked with her. And it’s why stakeholders in the state’s child welfare system are hopeful that her appointment by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer signals a change of direction for the embattled agency.
Also: A difficult process of reform at DCF: http://www.hutchnews.com/news/20171202/difficult-process-of-reform-at-dcf?rssfeed=true
KY: Kentucky will pay $43K to a social worker who refused to shift blame after a girl was tortured
Louisville Courier-Journal – December 01, 2017
A state social worker who said she suffered retaliation by supervisors after she refused to change her findings in a report on a horrific child abuse case has received a $43,000 settlement from the state.
MA: A Haven in the Opioid Crisis (Commentary)
Dorchester Banner – December 03, 2017
Our nation is experiencing an opioid crisis. Currently more than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to either opioid pain relievers or heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid-related deaths have more than quadrupled since 1999. All drug overdose deaths, many caused by opioids, increased by 17 percent from 2015 to 2016 (about 64,000 people died).
MD: Support Growing for Immigrants with Temporary Protective Status (Includes audio)
Public News Service – December 04, 2017
A growing number of states and municipalities, including several in Maryland, are calling on the Trump administration to halt plans to end the Temporary Protective Status of refugees living and working legally in the United States. Advocates are pointing to current and pending local government resolutions showing support for immigrant and refugee communities.
MD: Thousands of Md. youth are homeless; African-American, LGBT youth represented disproportionately (Includes video)
Baltimore Sun – December 04, 2017
Some of the young people at the crowded drop-in center pulled pizza slices from boxes and gathered around a community dining room table. Others filtered in and out of a lounge where state workers would help them get ID cards. As many as 50 young people each day visit the Youth Empowered Society, which runs the YES Drop-In Center near Charles Village for teens and young adults living on the streets, to meet with case managers and lawyers, sign up for services, take workshops on mediation or money management or just relax in a safe space.
MI: Report: Michigan’s Child Welfare Problem Has Solutions (Includes audio)
Public News Service – December 04, 2017
“It really is our single largest expression of our priorities,” Guevara Warren said. “And if we’re going to prioritize making Michigan a place where kids and families thrive, we really need to make families and communities and kids a priority in where we put our money and our investments.”
Report: Enhancing Child Well-Being in Michigan: http://www.mlpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Improving-child-well-being-in-michigan.pdf
ND: At Grand Forks child protective services, drug use seen on the rise
Grand Forks Herald – December 03, 2017
Tammy Knudson says the numbers have stayed the same, but that hard drugs have increasingly crept into her daily experience helping children for Grand Forks County. “I think there’s always been a strong component of drugs and alcohol on our cases, but we’re seeing more,” she said. “And we’re seeing more severity-with heroin, with methamphetamine, and the significant impact it’s having in the people that use it.”
NE: Review: Nebraska child welfare needs improvement in most areas
Lincoln Journal Star – December 01, 2017
A federal report shows Nebraska child welfare did not conform to any of seven outcomes, or expected improvements, for a high percentage of children. The Department of Health and Human Services did conform to four of seven system factors that were evaluated, including its statewide information and case-review systems.
NH: My Turn: Child protection today and tomorrow (Opinion)
Concord Monitor – December 04, 2017
The work undertaken by the staff at DCYF is complex, intense and emotionally laden. Despite all of the good intentions of staff and leadership, disturbing incidents and setbacks are inevitable. Hopefully these will become the opportunity for us all to learn how we make New Hampshire an even safer place for children.
NV: UMC: Child abuse-related deaths more than doubled in 2017 (Includes video)
KSNV – December 01, 2017
The hospital says that in the first 11 months of 2017, child abuse-related deaths more than doubled among patients at the hospital when compared to all of 2016. They say drug abuse is a leading contributor to the rise in deaths.
Also: Child abuse-related deaths double at Las Vegas hospital: https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-las-vegas/child-abuse-related-deaths-double-at-las-vegas-hospital/
NY: Foster care placements increase in Herkimer County
Observer-Dispatch – December 04, 2017
The county has experienced a 50 percent increase in foster care placements since 2015, with a fair share of them attributable to opioid use, said Tim Seymour, commissioner of Social Services for Herkimer County.
NY: More US kids in foster care; parental drug abuse a factor
Associated Press – December 03, 2017
The number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, with substance abuse by parents a major factor, according to new federal data released on Thursday.
OK: Youth and Family Services ends its foster care program
Enid News and Eagle – December 01, 2017
Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma (YFS) has ceased its foster care placement service, citing a lack of foster families and insufficient funding to support the program. The action became effective Friday, said YFS Executive Director Dan Buckley.
PA: Aller Retires After Lifetime of Helping Kids
Centre County Gazette – December 04, 2017
Across Centre County, many children have Donna Aller to thank for a permanent, stable home. Aller can be credited with helping to modernize the county’s foster care system after restrictions became tight and it was more than a matter of just placing a call to a reliable family that someone personally knew. “As the agency grew and as the requirements for foster care grew, it became impossible,” she said of the old system.
PA: Auditor General: Opioid crisis is pushing child protective system to breaking point
Lancaster Online – December 01, 2017
The child protection system in Pennsylvania can’t hold together under the strain of mandatory reporting and the opioid crisis, according to state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. “We have a system that is broken to the point it can’t keep kids safe any longer,” said DePasquale who was in Lancaster Thursday on a statewide mission to create a plan to fix it.
TX: For Texas grandparents raising children, ‘we have to fight’ to get state help
Guardian – December 01, 2017
The number of assistance recipients under has shrunk while poverty stayed consistent – and those who do get benefits have difficulty accessing them.
TX: Goodfellows: Volunteer finds fulfilling experience in fighting for needs of children in foster care
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal – December 01, 2017
Monique Swartz remembers watching a television commercial about five or six years ago that showed her the plight of children in the foster care system. Two years ago, when a switch to a different job gave her the spare time for volunteer work, Swartz said signed up to be an advocate for the Court Appointed Special Advocate for the South Plains, also known as CASA, which is one of this year’s Goodfellows beneficiaries.
TX: State failed 3-year-old Sherin Mathews, head of Child Protective Services says
Dallas Morning News – December 01, 2017
Texas Child Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman is disappointed in his agency’s handling of Sherin Mathews’ case, according to an interview with WFAA-TV (Channel 8).
Also: Sherin Mathews’ Abuse Reported By Doctor Before Missing Texas Toddler’s Death (Includes video): http://www.ibtimes.com/sherin-mathews-abuse-reported-doctor-missing-texas-toddlers-death-2622668
Also: CPS commissioner: Child Protective Services failed Sherin Mathews (Includes video): http://www.khou.com/news/local/texas/cps-commissioner-child-protective-services-failed-sherin-mathews/496028341
WI: Mom Convicted For Swearing At Son
International Business Times – December 03, 2017
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday sustained a mother’s conviction, who was charged last year with disorderly conduct for swearing at her 14-year-old son over burnt popcorn, without indicating whether she was protected by the First Amendment.
US: 5 Tips to ensure your unaccompanied minor is safe
Viva Fifty – December 04, 2017
So, with travel season coming up and for parents that, like me, have to send their children as unaccompanied minors on flights, here are a few tips to protect your child or grandchild when you can´t fly with them.
US: Relative Growth: Three States Increasingly Rely on Kin for Kids in Foster Care
Chronicle of Social Change – December 04, 2017
Murdock’s story has become a more common scenario in the past decade as the philosophy that relatives are the preferred placement for foster youth was embedded in federal policy.
US: Montana kids counting on Congress to reauthorize CHIP (Commentary)
Missoulian – December 03, 2017
While members of Congress are preoccupied with tax reform, millions of American children, including thousands of kids in Montana, are at urgent risk of losing their health care coverage due to congressional inaction. Congress will be in session for only two more weeks this month before recessing for the rest of the year. They must not fail to renew funding for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program before they leave Washington, D.C.
US: Lawyers Working Pro-Bono to Help Children Obtain Legal Status (Video)
WCVB – December 02, 2017
Thousands of unaccompanied children are apprehended at the U.S. border each year, trying to enter illegally. Those who appear in immigration court are not provided legal representation by the United States. Yet, many of these children are eligible for protection and legal status under U.S. law. But without legal expertise to navigate the system, immigration advocates say 9 out of 10 children are deported.
US: Gig Economy Gives Child Support Scofflaws a Place to Hide
Pew Charitable Trust: Stateline – December 01, 2017
The rise of the gig economy and a broad shift to contract work is making it easier for people to evade paying child support, causing headaches for parents and for state officials charged with tracking down the money. About 70 percent of child support payments are collected by withholding income from paychecks. It’s possible to capture the wages of an Uber driver, Airbnb renter or a contractor – but only if state officials know that a person owing child support is earning wages that can be garnished, and only if the employer cooperates.
US: Tax Plan’s Deficits Could Prompt Elimination of Major Child Welfare Programs (Commentary)
Chronicle of Social Change – December 01, 2017
If Congress doesn’t figure out how to pay for that gap, it will be within the power of the Trump administration to do so under the current federal spending rules. If that happens, several key programs to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to keep families together after maltreatment has occurred, will take a major hit or could be completely defunded.
US: Number Of American Children In Foster Care Increases For 4th Consecutive Year
National Public Radio – November 30, 2017
A new government report says the number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, due largely to an uptick in substance abuse by parents. The report, issued annually by the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services, shows that 437,500 children were in foster care by the end of fiscal year 2016. A year earlier the number was 427,400.
Report: Number of children in foster care continues to increase: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/media/press/2017/number-of-children-in-foster-care-continues-to-increase
Afghanistan: US Troops to be Trained on Reporting Child Sex Abuse by Afghans
Military.com – December 04, 2017
Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO Resolute Support mission, said that the new policy “sets out procedures for monitoring, reporting and investing violations by any (Afghan) Ministry of Defense personnel” suspected of child abuse.
Canada: How family ties help moms unbind from addiction
Globe and Mail – December 03, 2017
Mothers such as Rider are often faced with what Kingston physician Adam Newman calls an “impossible choice.” If they do not seek treatment for their substance use, they can lose custody of their children. But to get the treatment they need in order to keep their families, they’re required to leave their children for weeks at a time since most facilities aren’t set up to allow families to stay together.
Canada: Fix First Nations child welfare system now, says Cindy Blackstock
CBC News – December 02, 2017
A leading First Nations children’s advocate is hailing Ottawa’s decision to abandon its legal challenge on First Nations child welfare, but warns she will continue to fight for equality of access until the government delivers on its commitment.
International: The religious factor in Muslim foster care in the West (Commentary)
Arab Weekly – December 03, 2017
The controversy over a British Muslim family fostering a Christian girl has bubbled up in British media. The story claimed that a 5-year-old Christian girl’s Muslim foster parents stopped her from eating pork, told her to learn Arabic and removed her crucifix necklace. The authorities in the family’s London neighbourhood, however, rejected concerns about the care received by the child. So, what’s the reality of Muslim foster care and adoption?
Malaysia: DPM Launches ‘Safe’ Campaign Against Child Abuse
Bernama – December 04, 2017
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today launched the ‘Stop Abuse for Everyone for a Safer and Fearless Environment’ (SAFE) campaign, here.
Singapore: Wilmar launches landmark sustainable finance deal, child protection policy
Eco-Business – December 01, 2017
The announcement comes almost a year after international human rights group Amnesty International released a report outlining extensive labour abuses in Wilmar supplier plantations, including the use of child labour, unsafe conditions for workers which include exposure to toxic pesticide Paraquat, and a failure to pay minimum wage to workers.
CA: Snag Could Cost California Foster Parents
Chronicle of Social Change – November 30, 2017
As California grapples with massive changes to its foster care system, a plan to dramatically alter the way that foster parents are reimbursed could cause costly hiccups for those taking in older youth.
FL: Study Suggests Florida Could Use Less Foster Care, More “Light Touch” Help for Families (Commentary)
Chronicle of Social Change – November 30, 2017
The state has struggled to recruit enough foster homes to keep up with the increase. But a study out of one of Florida’s most populous counties suggests that much of this new influx could be handled without the use of an out-of-home placement, and in some cases, without much child welfare involvement at all.
KS: Kansas child abuse deaths more than doubled in 4 years (Includes video)
KSHB – November 30, 2017
Since 2012, the number of children who’ve died as a result of child abuse has steadily increased each year and more than doubled by 2015.
Information Gateway resource: Child Abuse & Neglect Fatalities: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/fatalities/
MN: 6 Minnesota Counties To Sue Opioid Producers (Includes video)
WCCO – November 30, 2017
Twenty Minnesota county attorneys announced Thursday that they are suing the companies that make and distribute opioids.
NC: County: We Are Not Profiting off Adoptions
Tribune Papers – December 01, 2017
Buncombe County is one of ten counties that opted to have extra monitoring by the federal government. Shook said the county volunteered for the oversight because of its commitment to continual improvement.
NE: Grant will give 40 homeless families permanent homes in Lincoln
Lincoln Journal Star – November 30, 2017
A $460,000 federal housing grant will make it much easier for 40 homeless families to find permanent housing in Lincoln, Mayor Chris Beutler said during a Thursday news conference.
OH: Marsh Foundation opens new foster care and adoption center
Limaohio.com – November 30, 2017
The Marsh Foundation has purchased the building located at 102 W. Main St., Van Wert. Plans for the building are to utilize the space as the agency’s new foster care and adoption center.
OH: Ohio awarded funding to improve outcomes for youth victims of sex and labor trafficking
Circleville Today – November 30, 2017
Through strategic trainings and technical assistance, Ohio’s specific goals are to increase the expertise of child welfare agencies to identify and refer potential victims for services, reduce barriers to services for trafficked youth by promoting and implementing screening protocols for identifying and referring victims, implement screening processes for identifying potential minor victims of trafficking within county juvenile courts, and increase implementation of the Safe Harbor legal statute for minor victims of human trafficking.
OK: 9 Investigates: DHS Workers Blow Whistle On Child Protective Services (Includes video)
News 9 – November 30, 2017
DHS workers are blowing the whistle on Oklahoma’s Child Protective Services, saying they are overburdened with extremely high caseloads and the state is covering it all up to comply with a court order. As a result, children aren’t being protected like they should.
Also: WEB EXTRA: DHS Responds To Workers Allegations (Video): http://www.news9.com/clip/13946796/web-extra-dhs-responds-to-workers-allegations
TX: CPS Commissioner: Child Protective Services failed Sherin Mathews (Includes video)
WFAA-TV – November 30, 2017
The Child Protective Services commissioner, in an exclusive interview with WFAA, said he is disappointed with the department’s investigation in the Sherin Mathews case and promises to get to the bottom of it.
TX: Doctor Suspected Physical Abuse of Sherin Mathews
WBAP/KLIF – November 30, 2017
While the adoptive parents of a toddler found dead in Richardson last month pled the fifth during a custody hearing Wednesday related to their interactions with her, a physician testified that he found several bone fractures last March on 3-year old Sherin Mathews. During the hearing, Dr. Suzanne Dakil testified that she suspected abuse and reported her concerns to Child Protective Services.
Also: Doctor: Sherin Mathews had broken bones, injuries: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/doctor-sherin-mathews-had-broken-bones-injuries/18789158
VA: Non-profit launches to target ‘foster care and adoption crisis’ in Va. (Includes video)
WRIC – November 30, 2017
It’s called Virginia’s Kids Belong (VKB). VKB is an affiliate of America’s Kids Belong, an organization co-founded the Kellys. VKB brings together leaders from the faith, non-profit, creative, business and government spheres for a multi-angled approach to finding a solution and support for all layers of the problem.
WV: DHHR to release draft of opioid-response plan
Times West Virginian – December 01, 2017
“There is a critical need to identify a concise set of recommendations to stem the tide of overdose deaths in West Virginia,” Crouch said. “We anticipate the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy to implement a comprehensive statewide strategy across DHHR’s bureaus through the use of the Medicaid 1115 Waiver and its expanded treatment services for those with substance use disorder to tackle the ever-growing impact of substance abuse on the child welfare system.”
US: Alton Healthcare and the Washington Group Merge to Improve Outcomes for Foster Children as DocAlton (Press release)
DocAlton – November 30, 2017
Alton Healthcare, led by Dr. Ernie Fletcher, and The Washington Group, led by Mark A. Washington, merge to form DocAlton aimed at improving the lives of 425,000 children and youth in the nation’s foster care system. DocAlton’s focus is on delivering proven solutions to drive improved decision making for providers and care managers in the social services and healthcare managers networks.
US: Finding Safe, Loving Homes for Teens in Need (Includes video)(Press release)
US Department of Health and Human Services – November 30, 2017
America now has more than 430,000 children in foster care, from infants to 21-year-olds, and new data released by HHS this week found that there are now more children in foster care than ever. We are happy to note that in 2016, there were more adoptions out of foster care than ever.
Also: What to expect when you are expecting a teen (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnLHeXvNKlo&feature=youtu.be
US: Kids in foster care on the rise
Associated Press – November 30, 2017
The number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, with substance abuse by parents a major factor, according to new federal data released on Thursday. The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services counted 437,500 children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 2016, up from about 427,400 a year earlier.
Also: AFCARS Report 24: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/afcars-report-24
Also: Number Of American Children In Foster Care Increases For 4th Consecutive Year: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2017/nov/30/number-of-american-children-in-foster-care/
National Foster Care Numbers Continue To Rise; Up 10 Percent Since 2012: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/child-welfare-2/national-foster-care-numbers-continue-rise/28874
US: Why Are We Casting Older Foster Youth Aside? (Commentary)
Chronicle of Social Change – November 30, 2017
We are trying to change a foster care culture that criminalizes, penalizes and discards our youth. We will never know the trauma of being removed from home. Or what it’s like to relive that trauma with each new placement. But we can help our youth to heal.
International: Internet Watch Foundation appoints Andrew Puddephatt as its Independent Chair (Press release)
Cambridge Network – November 30, 2017
He said: “Child sex abuse is one of the most severe human rights abuses that can be perpetrated on anyone, leaving as it does lasting damage, both physical and psychological. “Tackling child sex abuse online is a formidable challenge given the frequently organised nature of the abuse, the ease of uploading images, the global nature of the internet and the challenge of operating across dozens of jurisdictions. “The IWF represents a unique and powerful model of self-regulation by service providers through the vehicle of an independent charity that operates in a transparent and accountable manner.”
CA: Big data for social good: Tri-county initiative will benefit K-12 students
University of Santa Cruz Newsletter – November 29, 2017
As a professor of education, Rod Ogawa spent 30 years studying public schools, trying to figure out how to improve student performance. In retirement, Ogawa is getting high marks for a new approach. The answer lies in sharing information among educators and social service agencies, said Ogawa, now a research professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the higher-education leader of a major new data-sharing initiative called the Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust (SVRDT).
CA: Educational Results Partnership Study Uncovers Pathways to Foster Youth Success in Community Colleges
Enhanced Online News – November 29, 2017
Although foster youth students in California’s community colleges underperform the general student population on several key measures, a new report released by Educational Results Partnership and California College Pathways offers actionable insights for colleges and policy-makers seeking to improve outcomes. Using predictive analytics, this report also identifies “bright spots” and promising approaches in the community college system that are contributing to student success.
CA: L.A. County celebrates Adoption Awareness Month
Antelope Valley Times – November 29, 2017
Nearly 400 children in Los Angeles County’s foster care system are in need of permanent families, officials said Tuesday. Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the Board of Supervisors honored adoptive families as part of November’s Adoption Awareness Month.
CA: The Man Entrusted with Los Angeles’ Most Vulnerable Children
Chronicle of Social Change – November 29, 2017
When Bobby Cagle is sworn in today, the 50-year-old will take the helm of L.A. County’s $2.4 billion Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which serves more than 34,000 children, roughly 18,000 of whom live in foster care. This newfound prominence, which will afford Cagle the ear of child welfare leaders and politicians at most levels of government, gives him the opportunity to impact child welfare nationally. And given his age, his ideas on when to remove a child or not will change the lives of thousands of families for years to come.
CA: Editorial: Helping the homeless amid affluence
Ventura County Star – November 28, 2017
You might not know, however, that many of the remaining third of the homeless in Ventura County can be found in Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks. Cortes said they will serve people who get evicted, the elderly, former foster children and others. “A lot of our homeless population in Thousand Oaks are kids who aged out of foster care. Now they’re 30-35 years old, no one’s taught them to drive, they can’t write a resume and a lot of them didn’t graduate from high school,” she said.
Information Gateway resource: Services for Youth: Homeless and Runaway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/youth/interventions/homeless-runaway/
CO: State grapples with 80 percent jump in newborns going through opioid withdrawal
Denver Post – November 29, 2017
Pueblo hospital’s number of drug-addicted babies makes others “shudder.” The rise in Colorado newborns addicted to opioids has alarmed physicians and child advocates, jumping 83 percent from 2010 to 2015. The state’s rate, according to the Colorado health department, climbed from 2 births out of 1,000 to 3.6 births in that five-year period.
IA: Despite controversies, Iowa DHS’ Foxhoven gives agency glowing marks (Includes video)
Des Moines Register – November 28, 2017
Although the Iowa Department of Human Services has been embroiled in several controversies over the past year, director Jerry Foxhoven gave a glowing assessment of his agency Tuesday in a budget presentation to Gov. Kim Reynolds. Foxhoven, who has been on the job fewer than six months, described Iowa’s Medicaid health care program for low-income patients as having high levels of customer satisfaction. He said it’s one of the best states in the country for overall child well-being and for mental health treatment.
IL: Unshackling Children in Court (Includes audio)
Public News Service – November 30, 2017
It’s been just over a year since the Illinois Supreme Court moved to end indiscriminate shackling of children in court, and judges across the state say it’s working well.
IN: After infant saved, interest grows in ‘baby boxes’
Chicago Tribune – November 22, 2017
After hearing a newborn girl had been placed in the Safe Haven Baby Box at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department near Michigan City earlier this month, Monica Kelsey says she started crying. “Now this little girl is going to grow up because of our efforts, and she wouldn’t have,” said Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes and a firefighter in Woodburn, outside of Fort Wayne. She was abandoned as an infant and fought to get clearance for the boxes from the Indiana Department of Child Services.
KS: & MO: Local organizations receive grants to continue their work with children (Includes video)
KSHB – November 28, 2017
Both CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte counties and Synergy Services received grants from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. “It’s truly a huge blessing for us because it truly is a huge need for street outreach services,” Francis said, whose organization received $75,000. Francis said this will help the organization after it lost a $100,000 from Health and Human Services.
KY: Foster parents needed for incarcerated mothers
Oldham Era – November 29, 2017
Around 12 inmates are pregnant at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women (KCIW) in Pewee Valley and several of those babies will be in need of foster homes.
MD: Trying to bite the ‘elephant’ of addiction
Calvert Recorder – November 28, 2017
In addition to understanding addiction as a disease, Adams said it is also “a symptom of trauma,” including childhood trauma and physical trauma. Half of all U.S. adults had one adverse childhood experience, such as having an unstable home environment, being physically or sexually abused or having a parent taken away from them, he said. “With each adverse childhood experience you have, your risk of addiction goes up 400 percent.”
ME: What it’s like to survive high school only to fail college
Bangor Daily News – November 30, 2017
Because of the instability, she was sent to a foster home near Houlton, where she lived for more than a year before enrolling at the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 2015. Those who are the first in their family to attend college are unlikely to finish, even if they come from families of means. Nationally, about 25 percent of first-generation students not considered low-income, who enrolled in the fall of 2003, earned a bachelor’s degree in six years. Just 10.9 percent of students considered both first-generation and low-income – meaning their family earned less than $25,000 – graduated in that timeframe, according to the Pell Institute.
MI: Ontonagon man gains support of attorney general in foster case
Ironwood Daily Globe – November 30, 2017
William Johnson, of Ontonagon, scored a significant first victory in his lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on the basis of the right of foster parents to have guns in their homes. Johnson claimed the department denied his right to become a foster parent to his grandson because he has guns in his home. Johnson said the department had specifically rejected his application on that basis.
OH: Opioid crisis leaving children in its wake; foster and adoptive parents needed
Akron Beacon Journal – November 29, 2017
Summit County is looking for a few good parents. The county is experiencing a shortage of foster and adoptive parents and is starting a campaign to attract more. The effort includes a video that features three sets of parents who have adopted or are fostering children in their homes with the hope of eventually adopting them.
OH: County Commissioners discuss children services
Record Herald – November 28, 2017
Commissioners Dan Dean, Jack DeWeese and Tony Anderson passed several contracts to help the Fayette County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS).
OK: Nonprofit group seeks to reduce number of children in foster care
Tulsa Business & Legal News – November 30, 2017
Keeping children at home and out of foster homes is the mission of the Oklahoma Family Legal Advocates Inc., and the newly-formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit group and its initial efforts are on target. Since January, volunteer attorneys and staff have completed four guardianships and are in the process of filing for an adoption and awaiting a hearing for a guardianship. Nineteen cases have been worked on or are in various states of completion, said Barbara Sears, board president and executive director.
OK: DHS programs now funded for about 3 months
Tahlequah Daily Press – November 29, 2017
Though the Oklahoma Legislature soon must return to the capitol building to clear the budgetary rubble left by Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto, a cohort of state residents is breathing easier – for now. The veto, which crossed out 165 of 170 sections passed in special session by lawmakers, did not touch $26.9 million in emergency funding for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Urgent funding for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services also emerged intact.
OR: With high housing costs, few shelter beds, where can the homeless go?
Medford Mail Tribune – November 29, 2017
“Obviously the root causes of homelessness are complex and include many layers,” says Ashland City Councilor Stefani Seffinger. “Family breakdown, mental illness, drug use, post traumatic stress, a broken foster care system, low wages, disappearing jobs, lack of affordable housing, our educational system with increasing college debt are all areas that need to be addressed if a real solution can be found. I am sure the future also holds added stress that environmental change will cause with populations affected by climate change.”
PA: Somerset wants more funding for human services, other priorities
Tribune Democrat – November 29, 2017
For one thing, the commissioners argued, Pennsylvania must provide additional funding for county human services programs. A 10 percent funding cut to several human services budget items in 2012 and 2013 has “strained county capacity to its limits,” the commissioners’ group said. New child welfare laws passed in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal has increased the workload of county Children and Youth Services caseworkers around the state, they added.
SC: Would this ‘surprise’ tactic keep government more honest? (Commentary)
State (South Carolina) – November 29, 2017
The year was 1969, and the young Richland County House member was co-chairing a joint legislative committee studying the state’s juvenile justice system. Acting on a tip from a social worker about routine physical abuse, he made “a personal surprise investigation” of the John G. Richards School for Boys, which is what we used to call juvenile prisons. “At the time,” Mr. Medlock recalled, the guard with the hose was “herding a group of very small African-American boys into an open shower area.” A reporter with the Christian Science Monitor would visit a few weeks later at Mr. Medlock’s urging and then testify before Mr. Medlock’s committee that “I found boys at the school beaten over the head and body with a leather belt, ropes, fists, a bog-shaped wooden handle, sticks, and, I’m told, chains, too.”
TX: Hurricane Katrina Survivor Leads Red Cross In North Texas, Helps Evacuees Start Over (Includes audio)
KERA News – November 28, 2017
In 2005, Keith Rhodes was running the Methodist Home for Children in New Orleans. Then, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana Gulf Coast. He had to evacuate dozens of kids, and move his own family to safety. That experience prepared him for the influx of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey this past August. He coordinated their care as CEO of the North Texas chapter of the American Red Cross. On Dec. 5, KERA will launch a new chapter in the One Crisis Away series. “After The Flood” will share the stories of Hurricane Harvey evacuees who chose to leave their storm-damaged homes behind, and start over in North Texas.
WI: Opioid Crisis Hits Milwaukee Hard (Include audio)
WUWN – November 29, 2017
“It (opioid addiction) can happen anywhere and it can be anybody. We’re not talking about homeless people or junkies on the streets.
WI: Representatives introduce Foster Forward package of bills
La Crosse Tribune – November 29, 2017
A new set of bills designed to tackle the needs of the 7,000 children currently in foster care statewide is headed for the Legislature this winter. Each bill was crafted to address one or more of six key needs in the foster system, including increased support for foster youth, foster parents and the workers and organizations involved in the child welfare system, as well as higher education assistance for individuals who have aged out of the system, prevention tactics to avoid the removal of a child from their home and a simplified legal process.
Also: Assembly task force aims to support foster children, families with 13 proposals: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/election-matters/assembly-task-force-aims-to-support-foster-children-families-with/article_84d12162-a262-5235-9af9-9b06fa8c37da.html
US: Staggering New Numbers on Youth Homelessness Demand Action
Advocate – November 30, 2017
Every year, more than 4 million young people experience homelessness in the United States. And while youth homelessness is a largely hidden problem, it impacts a staggering number of young people in every city, town, and suburb in this country. New research from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago details the extent of the issue, and it should serve as a wake-up call for all of us: Homelessness is threatening to derail a generation of young people.
Study: Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America: http://voicesofyouthcount.org/brief/national-estimates-of-youth-homelessness/
US: Identifying Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services
Urban Institute – November 28, 2017
When there is evidence of racial and ethnic differences at any point in the service delivery spectrum-for example, in access to and take-up of human services, in the nature and quality of services received, or in the outcomes of services-it can be challenging to interpret what those differences mean. In particular, it can be challenging to understand whether and to what extent those differences represent disparities. Disparities mean that one group is systematically faring worse than another for reasons that are not due to the group’s needs, eligibility, or preferences.
US: National Day of Mourning 2017: Celebrating survival, resilience and resistance
International Action Center – November 28, 2017
In modern times, this violence has led to thousands of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. This colonial violence means many thousands of Indigenous People lack safe drinking water or a decent diet when our food sovereignty is threatened. I think especially of the pipelines and the corporate salmon farming destroying the salmon that Indigenous peoples have relied upon for millenia. This violence tears apart our families generation after generation – years ago from residential schools and currently due to disproportionate numbers of our children in foster care.
US: Edible Marijuana Products Pose Risks to Children, Annals of Emergency Medicine Study Finds (Press release)
American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) – November 27, 2017
As states update marijuana regulations, emergency physicians should be mindful of the likely increase in visits to the emergency room (ER), particularly for children who accidentally ingest edible marijuana or related products, according to a new study in Annals of Emergency Medicine, Cannabis Intoxication Case Series: The Dangers of Edibles Containing Tetrahydrocannabinol.
US: Parents can get a free Baby Box that helps reduce SIDS risks
Daily Camera – November 21, 2017
A Baby Box is, quite simply, a sturdy cardboard bassinet, equipped with a firm, safe mattress. It’s designed for babies up to six months old. Baby Boxes have a history in Finland, where the government has been distributing them for 75 years. Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
Canada: Department of Health and Social Services of Yukon: Family reunification project launched (Press release)
Department of Health and Social Services of Yukon – November 28, 2017
The Government of Yukon is introducing a new three-year pilot project to reunite families. The family reunification home project is an innovative foster placement model through which foster parents will work intensively with the parents of the children under their care within a single family home in Whitehorse. The program will allow children in care to be reunited with their families.
Finland: Rebrand for Finland’s baby boxes
BBC News – November 23, 2017
Finland is hoping to rebrand its celebrated baby box with a new, more inclusive name as the government gift for new parents celebrates its 80th anniversary. National benefits agency Kela, which administers the scheme, launched the discussion earlier this week, asking “Does the name of the maternity kit discriminate against dads?”, national broadcaster Yle reports. “Or is maternity box so good a name that it should not be replaced?” it adds.
India: India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights
Global Citizen – October 11, 2017
India’s top court has ruled that sex with a child is always rape, quashing a clause that allowed men to have sex with underage girls if they were married to them. The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Wednesday closed a legal loophole that has historically allowed perpetrators of rape to escape punishment.