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KARA (Kids At Risk Action) tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. KARA’s reporting is only sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse is never known.
American states are struggling to find answers for ending adverse childhood experiences and saving at risk children by reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect. Today, many state ward children are the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and with serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues
37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)
12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines
ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN
AZ: Early data indicates possible spike in child fatalities in Navajo County
White Mountain Independent – March 20, 2018
There has been a recent spike in deaths and injuries related to child abuse,” says Janelle Linn, RN and Public Health Nursing Supervisor of the Navajo County Public Health Services District. The spike that Linn refers to emanates from the number of child fatality cases reported in Navajo County towards the end of 2017.
Also: Arizona Child Fatality Review Program: 24th Report: https://repository.asu.edu/attachments/192771/content/24th%20Annual%20CFR%20Report%202017.pdf
Also: Arizona Child Fatality Review Program Annual Reports: https://repository.asu.edu/items/28275
CA: LA County Board looks to shut down pipeline from foster care to juvenile hall
City News Service – March 20, 2018
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to reevaluate the treatment of youngsters in the county’s care, aiming to keep foster children out of juvenile halls and camps.
FL: Report: Fetal, infant death rates for Volusia, Flagler remain high
Daytona Beach News-Journal – March 20, 2018
Volusia and Flagler counties continued to see stubbornly high numbers of fetal and infant deaths in 2016, a fact that has stunned some local government, health and child welfare agencies and spurred them into action.
Report: Project Inform: A Publication to Review Infant, Neonatal, and Fetal Outcomes Related to Mortality in Flagler and Volusia Counties: http://www.news-journalonline.com/assets/pdf/news-journalonline/LK1631320.PDF
FL: Martin, Okeechobee counties targeted for foster parent recruitment
TCPalm – February 26, 2018
A foster-parent recruitment campaign rolled out last spring is making tracks in the New Year. “The project is getting legs now,” said Christina Kaiser, Devereux director of community relations. “Once we made those first few presentations, word seemed to spread and school principals started reaching out to us.”
GA: Conservative groups split over child sex abuse legislation
Atlanta Journal-Constitution – March 19, 2018
“Things are not real good in Vidalia, Georgia right now. Citizens are torn up,” said Kay Stafford, a church member and retired attorney who isn’t directly involved in the lawsuit but is bothered by what he sees as a culture of silence around child sexual abuse. “It ain’t going to be right until there’s justice.”
KS: Bill Would Let Faith-Based Agencies Apply Beliefs In Child Placement, Even To Exclude LGBT Parents
KCUR – March 20, 2018
A bill before Kansas lawmakers says faith-based child agencies should not be required to place children in families if it conflicts with the religious values of the organization. The private groups currently can choose not to serve some people, such as single parents or same-sex couples.
Also: HB 2687: Creating the adoption protection act: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/hb2687/
Also: DCF supports bills letting adoption agencies refuse LGBT couples on religious grounds: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article206012364.html
KS: Kansas Legislators Weigh Creating Independent Child Welfare Watchdog
KCUR – March 20, 2018
Kansas lawmakers are considering creating a watchdog based outside the state’s child welfare agency, but with access to inside information. A bill to create a child advocate to review the Department for Children and Families comes after years of horror stories of abused children who ended up injured, missing or dead.
Also: HOUSE BILL No. 2751: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/documents/hb2751_00_0000.pdf
KS: Legislators Pushing Kansas Child Welfare Agency To Tell More About Fatal Cases
KCUR – March 20, 2018
Kansas Lawmakers moved Tuesday to make a bill to release information about the deaths of children in state custody more transparent.
KY: Kentucky opens some child protection cases to public (Includes video)
WAVE – March 20, 2018
For the first time in Kentucky, family court in six counties, including Jefferson, are allowing the public inside proceedings. The decision went into effect on Monday as a part of a new program.
LA: National campaign to end child marriages arrives in Louisiana; backers say state law must change
Acadiana Advocate – March 17, 2018
Those troubled by young girls marrying adult men gathered to tell their stories and voice their support for legislative action in Louisiana to make child marriage illegal. “We’re tackling this aggressively because evil flourishes when good people do nothing, said Valerie Cahill, owner of the Hotel Cazan and one of the organizers of the conference.
ME: Lawmakers fight to keep four child protection services funded (Includes video)
WGME – March 20, 2018
State lawmakers say they will be introducing a bill on Monday that could help save four child protection and abuse prevention programs from losing all state funding.
MN: Hennepin County to review how police, social workers missed warnings in ‘house of horrors’ case
Star Tribune – March 20, 2018
The county hopes to determine why child protection workers and other authorities did not detect years of abuse and remove the two girls from a home that prosecutors have called a “house of horrors.” The twin girls, now 21, have described being repeatedly raped, beaten with bats and chained for days at a time without food.
MN: Wadena County Board: Human Services restructuring, handling more child welfare intakes
Wadena Pioneer Journal – March 20, 2018
KariLee Pietz of Human Services reported on April Child Protection Month. In Minnesota, the number of child welfare intakes has increased. This upward trend is occurring in Wadena County as well, Pietz told the board.
MT: Eastern Montana Catholic diocese’s effort to drop bankruptcy after settlement fails is a first
Billings Gazette – March 15, 2018
For the first time ever, a U.S. Catholic diocese is trying to back out of bankruptcy court due to its failure to reach a settlement with victims of clergy sex abuse. In a motion filed Tuesday, the Great Falls-Billings Diocese said negotiations with the abuse victims had broken down and that continuing through bankruptcy court would only add to litigation costs and diminish the funds that will eventually be used to compensate victims.
NH: Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Hires Executive Director
Valley News – March 20, 2018
The New Hampshire Foster and Adoptive Parent Association has named Bobbie Gaudette, a longtime foster parent, as its executive director.
NH: NH DHHS Appoints NJ Department of Children and Families Deputy Commissioner Joseph Ribsam as DCYF Director (Press release)
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services – March 19, 2018
NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers has appointed Joseph Ribsam the Director of the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). Ribsam, currently the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, will assume the role of DCYF Director effective October 27.
NV: I-Team: Lawyer defends parents of ‘caged child’ (Includes video)
KLAS – March 20, 2018
At issue could be mandatory reporting. There are certain people who by law, have to report suspected child abuse or neglect. For example, doctors or teachers. In this case, a teacher at Red Rock Elementary School said she visited the child’s home twice and saw that homemade enclosure, was concerned and told her principal about it, but they did not report it to authorities. The same principal remains at that school.
NY: Report: “Close to Home,” Juvenile Justice Plan Facing Budget Peril, Produces Better Outcomes in New York City
Chronicle of Social Change – March 20, 2018
Close to Home, New York City’s effort to keep incarcerated juveniles in nearby rehabilitative facilities, imperiled by recent budget decisions on the state level, have demonstrated signs of success while juvenile incarceration and arrest rates continue to decline.
Also: New York Officials Battle Over the Fate of Innovative Program For Youth Offender Rehabilitation: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/juvenile-justice-2/new-york-state-and-city-battle-over-the-fate-of-innovative-program-for-youth-offender-rehabilitation/29929
NY: Senator Brooks: ‘New York fails child victims’
Long Island Herald – March 19, 2018
According to current legislation, child victims of sexual assault could seek prosecution until they turn 23. The Child Victims Act aims to extend this age to 28 for criminal cases and 50 for civil cases. It would also create a one-year window after the bill’s passage in which individuals for whom the statute of limitations has passed can file a lawsuit.
OH: Getting Answers Exclusive: Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services speak about case assessments amid recent child deaths (Includes video)
WOIO – March 20, 2018
Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services agreed to a sit-down, round-table style interview regarding how CCCFS assesses and services child cases exclusively with Cleveland 19 News, Tuesday. This, after the death of a 4-year-old Euclid girl who previously had an open case with CCCFS but was closed due to lack of evidence during CCCFS’s 2017 investigation.
OK: No simple solution to Oklahoma shelter concerns (Commentary)
Oklahoman – March 21, 2018
The Department of Human Services plans to close its Tulsa shelter in November as part of a continued effort to end shelter placements. Three experts overseeing Oklahoma’s child welfare reforms say closure needs to happen ASAP. Is a middle ground possible
OR: Gov. Kate Brown, other state leaders get earful at foster care forum
Statesman Journal – March 20, 2018
Joined by Gov. Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, DHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht and other state staff, nearly 120 community members and advocates shared concerns and brainstormed solutions for the state’s troubled foster care system.
SC: State leaders consider child sex trafficking bill (Includes video)
WCSC – March 20, 2018
A bill moving through the South Carolina Statehouse aims to help put an end to modern day slavery. Bill S. 541 would allow victims of child sex trafficking to get more state resources by labeling child sex trafficking as a form of child abuse.
TN: Memphis megachurch pastor resigns following sexual abuse investigation (Includes video)
Memphis Commercial Appeal – March 20, 2018
A pastor accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Texas 20 years ago resigned from his ministerial post Tuesday at a Memphis megachurch.
WI: Minnetonka resident bringing orphan-hosting program to Minnesota
Sun Sailor – March 20, 2018
Kelly and her husband may be empty nesters now, but she’s spending her time as the co-coordinator of the newfound Minnesota chapter of Kidsave Summer Miracles. While the program remained in operation in other states, it hasn’t operated here for 14 years due to lack of partnerships. But now it’s back, and Kelly is passionate about bringing the life-changing experience to other families in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
WV: Personnel board okays pay changes for some DOH, CPS positions
MetroNews – March 20, 2018
The state Personnel Board agreed Tuesday to raise the salaries for some workers in the state Division of Highways and Child Protective Services at the requests of the agencies.
US: APA Gives Mixed Review to President’s Opioid Plan (Press release)
American Psychological Association (APA) – March 20, 2018
Following is the statement of Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association, regarding President Trump’s plan to address the opioid epidemic: “While we are encouraged that the administration is calling much-needed attention to the opioid epidemic in America, President Trump’s focus on prosecution and punishment all the way to the death penalty for some traffickers is ill-advised and extreme.”
US: Black administrators in child welfare: We can no longer ignore that our Black children are dying, too (Opinion)
Trice Edney News Wire – March 20, 2018
At the same time, the silence that shrouds the lives of Black children and youth who are losing their lives daily to gun violence is deafening. Aren’t they also victims? But sadly, there is no national outcry voiced against the gun violence that easily ensnares and frequently destroys our Black children and youth where they live-in poor, segregated neighborhoods with little political clout.
US: Carson defends delay in LGBT homeless protections (Includes video)
Cable News Network (CNN) – March 20, 2018
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended his agency’s delay in instituting regulations to protect transgender individuals in homeless shelters because “there are some women who said they were not comfortable with being in a shelter” with “somebody who had a very different anatomy.”
Also: PFAW Sues DOJ, HUD To Release Information On Secret LGBTQ Policy (Press release): http://www.pfaw.org/press-releases/pfaw-sues-doj-hud-to-release-information-on-secret-lgbtq-policy/
US: Feds Planning to Delay New Data on Broken Adoptions, Sexual Orientation of Foster Youth
Chronicle of Social Change – March 20, 2018
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is planning to delay the collection of new data on foster youth and families until fiscal 2022, and also plans to reconsider the new rules set up for that process by the Obama administration in December of 2016. The news prompted the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), to withhold his support for President Trump’s top child welfare official unless HHS reconsiders.
Also: New AFCARS Data Collection: What to Know: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/subscriber-content/new-afcars-collection-know/23970
Also: Information Gateway resource: Child Welfare/Foster Care Statistics: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/statistics/childwelfare-foster/
US: Hidden Heartache: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome’s Impact on Adoptive Families
Chronicle of Social Change – March 20, 2018
Akila is one of the thousands of children in this country living with FASD, which is the umbrella term for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD). While it’s unknown how many people in America have one of the disorders, the CDC estimates that up to 1.5 infants are born with FAS for every 1,000 live births.
Also: Study: Prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210790/
US: U.S. Senate to hold confirmation hearing for county official Lynn Johnson
National Association of Counties (NACO) – March 20, 2018
On March 20, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee will consider the nomination of NACo member Lynn Johnson for the post of Assistant Secretary for Family Support within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Since 2007, Johnson has served as Jefferson County, Colorado’s Executive Director of the Department of Human Services, which manages federal health and human services programs such as Head Start, Medicaid and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Johnson previously worked as Chief of Staff for Colorado’s former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton.
Also: View the confirmation hearing: U.S. Senate Hearing to Consider the Nomination of Lynn Johnson to be Assistant Secretary for Family Support, Department of Health and Human Services (Includes video): https://www.finance.senate.gov/hearings/hearing-to-consider-the-nominations-of-john-j-bartrum-of-indiana-to-be-an-assistant-secretary-of-health-and-human-services-vice-ellen-gloninger-murray-and-lynn-a-johnson-of-colorado-to-be-assistant-secretary-for-family-support-department-of-health-and-human-services-vice-carmen-r-nazario
Also: Hatch Opening Statement at HHS Nominations Hearing (Press release): https://www.finance.senate.gov/chairmans-news/hatch-opening-statement-at-hhs-nominations-hearing
US: New momentum seen in legislative fight to ban child marriage
Hill – March 19, 2018
Thousands of children every year are married in the United States, most of them girls wedding older men, in a worrying trend that some advocates say creates a prisonlike environment that leaves children with little recourse to change their situations. Child marriage is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Half of all states have no minimum age at which a child can be married.
AZ: Tucson case of children locked in rooms raises concern of state oversight lapse
Arizona Daily Star – March 19, 2018
New details on the disturbing living conditions of four Tucson children, who were adopted out of foster care in 2013, suggest possible lapses in oversight by Arizona child welfare workers.
AZ: Darcy Olsen: Don’t let vulnerable children linger in foster care (Commentary)
Arizona Daily Star – March 18, 2018
With parents unwilling or unable to get clean, 50,000 newborns will enter state foster care systems this year. What happens next is Russian roulette.
KS: Kansas’ Child Welfare Agency Wants to Hire Another Investigator to Find Missing Kids
KCUR – March 19, 2018
DCF is taking that one step further by requesting $150,000 for its annual budget to hire a second investigator to bring back missing kids. Currently, DCF has one full-time investigator, but the money the agency is requesting would bring a second person on board, and give both a dedicated travel budget.
KY: Kentucky Adoption And Foster Care Overhaul Nears Final Passage
WFPL – March 19, 2018
A sweeping bill that would overhaul Kentucky’s foster care and adoption system is nearing final passage in the state legislature. A key part of House Bill 1 would give the state more options to terminate the parental rights of negligent parents and try to reduce barriers for people who want to adopt.
KY: Supreme Court issues order for Open Court Pilot project, opening six Family Courts to the public
Northern Kentucky Tribune – March 18, 2018
Some child protection cases will be open to the public under a four-year pilot project that will take place between 2018 and 2021. In accordance with Senate Bill 40, passed by the 2016 General Assembly, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an order this week authorizing the Open Court Pilot Project.
Information Gateway resource: Ethical Practice & Client Rights: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/management/ethical/
ME: Bill to save Maine child abuse prevention program attracting bipartisan support
Portland Press Herald – March 19, 2018
Maine DHHS officials told nonprofit agencies in early February that they were pulling funding from the child abuse prevention program – effective Sept. 30 – because it duplicates other programs and is not evidence-based. But those operating the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children program – which includes Opportunity Alliance in South Portland – argued that the prevention program is the most effective of its kind, based on scientific research and is not duplicating other state programs.
ME: Maine Compass: Act now on child welfare, before it’s too late – again (Commentary)
CentralMaine.com – March 18, 2018
Established in 2001 by MRSA Section 4087-A, the ombudsman is an independent agency authorized to investigate complaints about child welfare services. The ombudsman is empowered with unfettered access to information about children and the performance of the child welfare agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. The law requires the ombudsman to report annually on its findings and make recommendations to the governor and the Legislature for policy change and service improvements.
MI: Amended Child Protection Law Benefits Tribes (Commentary)
National Law Review – March 19, 2018
Tribal access to information regarding suspected abuse or neglect of an Indian child complies with MIFPA, therefore the Child Protection Law should not prohibit such access. Including tribes on the list of individuals and entities allowed access to confidential records of Indian children gives tribal representatives the opportunity to intervene and assist the family in a culturally appropriate manner before custody proceeding are underway.
MI: Bethany Christian Services considering program for troubled youth
Holland Sentinel – March 17, 2018
Leadership at Bethany Christian Services in Holland is considering adding a new program to better serve the more challenging children and youth in the organization’s case load. The program, called Treatment Foster Care Oregon is a therapeutic foster care alternative to institutionalizing youth who have problems with antisocial behavior, emotional disturbance and delinquency.
MS: Foster care agency seeks money to meet mandates (Includes video)
Associated Press – March 18, 2018
Dickinson told lawmakers months ago that Child Protection Services was facing a $50 million shortfall for the current year. The agency saved money by cutting some contracts. And Human Services was again able to use federal matching money to help out. Those changes reduced the current year’s shortfall to $12 million, and Dickinson is asking legislators to provide that money.
ND: Mentoring Foster Youth in Rural America Is Harder But Badly Needed (Opinion)
Youth Today – March 19, 2018
Recently, I relaunched a mentoring program for youth in foster care. This program had been attempted before but with marginal support from the county’s social service agency. Without support from case managers, who work directly with the families, it was almost impossible to get referrals for children in foster care.
NY: N.Y. budget director claims Administration for Children’s Services funds aren’t being cut
New York Daily News – March 19, 2018
The Cuomo administration insisted Sunday it is not cutting funds to the city Administration for Children’s Services.
NY: New York City Says It’s A Sign Of Progress That Fewer Foster Kids Return Home
Chronicle of Social Change – March 19, 2018
The city reunified 68 percent of the children who exited foster care in 2010. By 2016, 53 percent of exiting youth went back to their parents. But while the idea of fewer children returning home sounds worrisome, ACS officials say it’s due to improved efforts to keep families together in the first place, before a child gets removed due to child abuse or neglect allegations made against their parents.
NY: ACS still sending ailing foster kids to shady psychiatric hospital in Virginia
New York Daily News – March 17, 2018
City foster children with serious medical needs will continue to be sent to a controversial for-profit psychiatric hospital in Virginia that’s under federal investigation for allegedly holding patients longer than necessary to collect more money.
OH: Program aims to help opioid-addicted parents keep kids
Columbus Dispatch – March 18, 2018
Jenny Conrad knows how to talk to parents addicted to heroin and other opioids because she has been there. Now recovered, Conrad and two other former drug addicts are teaming up with Fairfield County Child Protective Services workers to help currently addicted parents recover and hold on to their children.
OH: 5-year-old Native American boy to remain in Ohio for now
Coshocton Tribune – March 17, 2018
A 5-year-old Native American boy at the center of controversy for more than a year will remain with his Coshocton County foster family, for now. Last week, the Ohio Court of Appeals reversed an earlier juvenile court ruling that would have sent the preschooler 2,000 miles from his home to a reservation in Arizona. The ruling stated the juvenile court should not have granted custody without first conducting a full evidentiary hearing taking into account the best interest of the child.
OK: The Rev. Stephen L McKee: Children need good homes, which includes LGBTQ homes (Commentary)
Tulsa World – March 20, 2018
A loving, caring home and family life can indeed be provided by a married couple who are practicing Christians. But we need to remember that while a married couple may be a man and a woman, it can also be a man and a man or a woman and a woman. We also need to remember that single adults can provide stable, loving and caring families for children in need.
OR: Klamath Works ranked second to last in DHS site evaluations
Herald and News – March 20, 2018
The proposed Klamath Works site for possible Department of Human Services offices in Klamath Falls was ranked second to last in evaluations by local DHS officials, according to state documents.
OR: State’s mandatory reporting laws lack clarity, enforcement (Includes video) (Commentary)
Statesman Journal – March 17, 2018
Many lessons are emerging from last Sunday’s Statesman Journal story about a pastor, two other former church staff members, and a member of an affiliated church accused of sexual assault and rape that spanned more than two decades. One of the most important takeaways is the lack of clarity in Oregon’s mandatory reporting laws.
PA: Many problems with the Allegheny Family Screening Tool (Opinion)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – March 20, 2018
Rather than eliminating the inherent racial and class biases in child welfare, the Allegheny Family Screening Tool merely automates those biases.
PA: Catholic Social Services Refuses to Change LGBT Adoption Policy After Philadelphia Halts Program
Christian Post – March 19, 2018
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia said that it will not change its policy to place children with same-sex couples as its foster care program is investigated by the city.
PA: Grandparents caring for grandchildren as parents battle addiction
Observer-Reporter – March 17, 2018
At a time when they thought they would be spending their retirement traveling or pursuing hobbies, a growing number of grandparents find themselves instead raising grandchildren, a consequence of the opioid epidemic.
SC: South Carolina foster care group defends policy that allows only for Christian foster families
Charleston Post and Courier – March 17, 2018
As foster parents through Miracle Hill Ministries, the Watsons met the organization’s requirement of being a Christian family. That policy has come under scrutiny recently, as the state’s Department of Social Services told the group in January it needed to abandon the screening policies or risk losing its license.
TX: Report: Drugs or alcohol factor into half of Texas child abuse and neglect deaths
Texas Tribune – March 20, 2018
Dimple Patel, associate director of public policy at TexProtects, an organization focused on child welfare policy, said every case is a “different and unique situation” and that sometimes parents can be functioning drug users who don’t impact the safety and well-being of their kids. She also noted that parents dealing with Child Protective Services often are victims of abuse and neglect themselves and use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate or manage stress.
Also: Report: http://bit.ly/2oOeZiR
UT: Commentary: Don’t let child abusers hide behind home schooling
Salt Lake Tribune – March 19, 2018
Utah home schools bypass the teacher and school safety net of mandatory reporting to social services and other authorities when child neglect and abuse is evident. Far too many abusers use this unregulated Utah home school option to avoid discovery and accountability.
US: To retain social workers in child welfare, let them do their jobs (Commentary)
Child Welfare Monitor – March 20, 2018
In Oregon, caseworker turnover was 23% in 2016, according to an audit. About one-third of child welfare staff were in their first 18 months on the job. The Pennsylvania State Auditor cites county turnover rates for direct child welfare service personnel of up to 50%. There appear to be no national data on worker turnover, but news articles across the country continue to report high turnover rates as a major problem facing child welfare systems.
US: Cases of children exposed to drugs growing
Cleburne Times-Review – March 17, 2018
Across the U.S., a growing number of children are testing positive for drugs at the hand of their own parents.
AK: Child abuse cases increase in Southeast Alaska, expert says
Republic – March 19, 2018
The director of a regional service provider says social workers’ caseloads for child neglect and abuse have dramatically increased in Southeast Alaska. KTOO Public Media of Juneau reports that Erin Walker-Tolles, executive director of Catholic Community Service, testified before the House Finance Committee earlier this month.
DE: Delaware bill would outlaw underage marriages (Includes video)
News Journal – March 14, 2018
Underage marriages in Delaware soon could be a thing of the past. A bill introduced in the state House on Tuesday would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to get hitched, regardless of whether their parents’ approve of the union or not.
FL: Manatee teachers to receive notice to ‘Handle With Care’
Southwest Florida Herald-Tribune – March 16, 2018
The School District of Manatee County is launching a new program to notify teachers whenever a child endures a traumatic experience. It is intended to protect a child’s privacy while also helping teachers anticipate certain behaviors.
GA: Welch praises passage of HB 159
Thomasville Times-Enterprise – March 18, 2018
State Representative Andrew Welch (R-Locust Grove) praises the hard work of State Representative Bert Reeves (R-Marietta) on House Bill 159, which will substantially update Georgia’s adoption laws for the first time in almost three decades and streamline and expedite all types of adoptions in Georgia. House Bill 159 was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday, March 5, 2018.
GM: Vatican convicts ex-Guam archbishop accused of abuse
Associated Press – March 17, 2018
The Vatican on Friday removed the suspended Guam archbishop from office and ordered him not to return to the Pacific island after convicting him of some charges in a sex abuse trial.
ID: Senate OKs Child Protective Act
Bonner County Daily Bee – March 18, 2018
The “Child Protective Act,” or “Foster Care Improvement Act” passed an Idaho House panel March 15 with unanimous support. A trailer bill, appropriating $88,000 with $32,000 ongoing, passed the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee March 16. “The meat of the bill,” she said, lies in establishing citizen review panels within Idaho Public Health Districts. Perry said the decision to organize citizen review panels and move them to the health districts was “a true epiphany.”
KS: Wichita group home put foster kids at risk of ongoing harm, suspension order says
Wichita Eagle – March 16, 2018
Failures at Carla’s Youth Residential Center, 1065 N. Topeka, created a situation that put children “at risk of on-going physical and emotional harm,” according to an emergency suspension order issued to the home on Nov. 20. Federal officials “have reason to believe that the residents … are not in a safe living environment and have been the victims of sexual and physical abuse,” it says.
Also: Wichita boarding home’s license suspended: http://www.knssradio.com/articles/wichita-boarding-homes-license-suspended
LA: Fostering Louisiana: Gov. Edwards hopes to extend foster care (Includes video)
BR Proud – March 18, 2018
With the 2018 regular legislative session underway, Governor John Bel Edwards spelled out some of his goals for the session to improve the lives of Louisiana children and seniors. Landing on that list is a goal to extend foster care to age 21, as opposed to 18.
MA: Parents, fearful of deportation, make plans for their children
Boston Globe – March 18, 2018
The couple signing the paperwork were contemplating an unthinkable prospect for most parents: What would happen if they were deported? Would they leave their children in the United States or take them to a country they have never known? Stay together or separate, with the hope the children will have more opportunity if they stay here?
ME: DHHS tried to cut back on the number of child abuse cases where it intervened
Bangor Daily News – March 16, 2018
Maine’s child welfare program last spring changed how it handles reports of suspected child abuse and neglect, with a goal of reducing the number of cases that cause state Child Protective Services workers to intervene.
ME: LePage says he’ll address ‘major holes’ in Maine’s system for protecting at-risk children
Portland Press Herald – March 16, 2018
Gov. Paul LePage vowed to issue executive orders to address systemic problems with Child Protective Services in the aftermath of the beating death of a 10-year-old Stockton Springs girl.
Also: State system to safeguard kids buckles under stress: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/03/18/state-system-to-safeguard-kids-buckles-under-stress/
MI: Engler: Lawmakers ‘interfered’ in Nassar talks (Includes video)
Detroit News – March 16, 2018
Interim President John Engler on Thursday argued lawmakers slowed and “interfered” in settlement talks with Larry Nassar sexual abuse victims by taking up legislation he said gives attorneys more leverage in negotiations with Michigan State University.
Also: Michigan Senate passes sexual assault bill despite requests not to from 15 public universities: http://westernfreepress.com/2018/03/18/michigan-senate-passes-sexual-assault-bill-despite-requests-not-to-from-15-public-universities/
MO: Missouri, home of the child bride: How the US state has become a haven for 15-year-old brides thanks to lenient laws requiring consent from just one parent
Daily Mail – March 11, 2018
A wide-spanning investigation by the Kansas City Star has revealed that more than one thousand 15-year-olds have married in Missouri over the past two decades.
MS: Foster care agency seeks money to meet mandates (Includes video)
Associated Press – March 18, 2018
Mississippi legislators are approaching the final phase of patching holes in the current year’s state budget and writing a $6 billion spending plan for fiscal 2019, which begins July 1. Budget writers face deadlines in late March, and the Department of Child Protection Services is among the agencies requesting more money for this year and next.
MS: Pending legislation could provide tax credits that would benefit foster care system (Includes video)
Mississippi News Now – March 16, 2018
Foster families in Mississippi are making big sacrifices. But a bill pending at the State Capitol would give them some financial help. House Bill 1566 could pave a new way to help foster families and children in Mississippi.
NC: State to take over child welfare office after AP story
Associated Press – March 16, 2018
North Carolina officials said Friday they will take over a county child welfare agency that illegally removed children – potentially hundreds of them – from their homes. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said it will temporarily take over the Cherokee County Department of Social Services starting Monday.
NY: Editorials Spare the children, gov and don’t cut kids’ funding (Editorial)
New York Daily News – March 19, 2018
Just when the city’s child welfare agency is making two big breakthroughs transforming kids’ lives for the better, Gov. Cuomo is balking at continuing to pay the state’s share of the bill.
NY: New Warren County administrator, DSS heads named amid questions
Post Star – March 16, 2018
Warren County’s new county administrator and social services commissioner were officially appointed Friday, but one supervisor questioned whether “political pressure” played a part in the choice of administrator. The new county administrator is Ryan Moore, a Saratoga County native who served as Saratoga County’s deputy administrator for several years until 2015, when he left to take a job in the Westchester County executive’s office.
OH: Bill would crack down on human trafficking practice of ‘re-homing’ difficult or unwanted children
Daily Reporter – March 19, 2018
The Ohio House of Representatives has taken up legislation that addresses extrajudicial adoptions, perhaps the most pernicious form of human trafficking. Called re-homing, the practice amounts to a transfer of a child’s legitimate custody from either his birth parents or legal, adoptive parents to willing individuals who forgo the lawful adoption process, presumably for illicit reasons.
OH: So many opioid epidemic stories are devastating. These are stories of hope…
Journal-News – March 18, 2018
The stories and images of the devastating effects of the drug and opioid crisis have taken hold across Butler County and the wider nation. The stories of sobriety and those getting clean are sometimes overlooked. But when heard, they shed light on what it takes to get clean and stay that way.
OH: The truth about trafficking
Ashtabula Star Beacon – March 18, 2018
Traffickers prey on those without support structures or loved ones. Many victims did not attend school regularly or didn’t have a peer group they fit in with. Most came from broken homes where drugs were prominent and they were bounced around the foster care system. That leaves victims vulnerable to manipulation and coercion with no one to trust. Many times traffickers also become drug suppliers, and from there it’s not a far push into the sex trade.
Information Gateway resource: Responding to Human Trafficking: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/trafficking/pir/responding/
OH: Fewer cases filed in Hancock County Juvenile Court
Findlay Courier – March 17, 2018
The number of cases filed last year in Hancock County Juvenile Court was the lowest since 1985, according to the 2017 annual report released by the court. Just 1,178 cases were filed in the court last year, compared with 1,287 cases in 2016, a previous low.
OK: DHS has plan to close Laura Dester Shelter in November, asks for extension of June 30 deadline
Tulsa World – March 17, 2018
The Department of Human Services wants an extra few months past an oversight panel’s deadline to close the Laura Dester Shelter. The agency wants time to re-purpose the facility by creating a treatment program for children with intellectual disabilities and mental-health diagnoses.
PA: Philly halts foster placements with 2 faith-based agencies shutting out LGBT couples
WHYY – March 16, 2018
The city has stopped placing children with Catholic Social Services and Bethany Christian Services. And Kenney promised an investigation into whether they have violated city contracting laws.
Also: Philly Catholic Social Services hopes to continue working with city: https://wtlmautodesk.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/philly-catholic-social-services-hopes-to-continue-working-with-city-2/
SC: New SC law allows foster agencies to choose foster parents based on religion (Includes video)
WPDE – March 18, 2018
Foster agencies in South Carolina can now be more selective of the foster parents with whom they work. Gov. Henry McMaster recently issued an executive order that will let foster agencies choose parents based on their religion.
TX: Quicker Exams Could Save Young Lives
KTRH – March 17, 2018
Texas children suddenly thrust into the state’s foster care system will receive a necessary health check by a physician sooner, potentially addressing life-threatening issues. Senate Bill 11, one of four child welfare reform bills the Texas Legislature passed during the 2017 session, requires foster kids to see a physician within three business days of placement in foster care.
TX: Federal Family First Act could help vulnerable Texas kids – but only if the state quits dragging its feet (Editorial)
Dallas Morning News – March 16, 2018
The fine-print details were all but drowned out amid last month’s partisan budget fight, obscured by the drama of a brief government shutdown. But buried in the budget Congress finally passed and the president signed into law, there’s a groundbreaking shift in the way our nation treats its most vulnerable children.
WA: Inslee signs foster care “bill of rights” legislation into law
KXLY – March 16, 2018
Foster parents have a new official list of foster parent rights and responsibilities under legislation signed by the governor this week. Rep. Tom Dent, representing the 13th district, introduced House Bill 2785 for the 2018 session after meeting with a foster parent group during the interim and later finding out many of their concerns and requests were already state law.
WV: Campaign kicks off to highlight children affected by opioid epidemic
Register-Herald – March 01, 2018
As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage West Virginia, a group of child welfare advocates gathered recently to kickoff a campaign to ensure children impacted by the crisis aren’t forgotten.
US: How #MeToo is leaving child victims behind (Commentary)
Week – March 19, 2018
#MeToo has changed that, as more and more survivors of sexual violence and sexual harassment are coming forward to share their stories. But while some of these stories have included child victims, for the most part, the focus of #MeToo has been on adult victims of workplace sexual misconduct. The subsidiary #MeTooK12 movement emerged recently as a way to address sexual misconduct that occurs in schools, but even still, the scores of young girls and boys who experience child sexual abuse are largely cut out of the conversation. This has to change.
US: President has plan for opioid addiction
Associated Press – March 19, 2018
President Donald Trump’s plan to combat opioid drug addiction calls for stiffer penalties for drug traffickers, including the death penalty where appropriate under current law, a top administration official said Sunday. It’s a fate for drug dealers that Trump, who aims to be seen as tough on crime, has been highlighting publicly in recent weeks.
US: ‘Where’s Mommy?’: This family fled death threats, only to face separation at the border
Washington Post – March 18, 2018
They had come so far together, almost 3,000 miles across three countries and three borders: a mother with three children, fleeing a gang in El Salvador that had tried to kill her teenage son. But now, in a frigid Border Patrol facility in Arizona where they were seeking asylum, Silvana Bermudez was told she had to say goodbye. Her kids were being taken from her.
US: The Safe Sport Act Aims to Protect Young Athletes From Sexual Abuse
MS Magazine – March 18, 2018
The Safe Sport Act amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act as well as the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act to make everyone within the Olympic movement and other sports organizations mandatory reporters for child sexual abuse, provide monetary damages to victims, extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases and mandate abuse prevention education by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which opened last year.
US: Unaccompanied immigrant children could face a return to danger
News Observer – March 18, 2018
A decade ago, a bipartisan bill was signed into a law that established child-friendly procedures intended both to protect these children from falling into the hands of traffickers or abusers and to encourage these children to make their case for protection under U.S. law. These basic due process procedures are critical to ensuring that children are not sent back to harm without a real chance for our courts to hear them. It’s one of the few immigration protocols that is actually working in this country right now, yet it’s somehow under threat by the administration and some members of Congress.
US: Homeland Security fails decency test (Commentary)
Washington Post – March 17, 2018
In a class-action suit, the ACLU asserts that the Trump administration has separated children from their parents in more than 100 cases, even though the department says it does not “currently” have a policy on the matter.
US: Data shows more human trafficking cases reported to helplines in 2017
WTTV – March 16, 2018
Polaris, an organization which operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline, reports a 13 percent increase in human trafficking cases reported in 2017 to the hotline and BeFree Textline when compared to 2016. In Indiana, there were 95 cases reported to hotlines in 2017 compared to 85 in 2016.
US: Young runaways, immigrants more likely to become trafficking victims
Loquitur – March 16, 2018
According to the Congressional Research Service, there are more than 1 million homeless youth living without supervision on the streets, in abandoned homes and buildings, in shelters, with friends or even with strangers every year. This estimation is considered to be lower than the actual number of homeless youth because this demographic is difficult to track. The majority of runaways are female.
Information Gateway resource: : Runaway and Homeless Youth: Demographics and Programs: http://www.nchcw.org/uploads/7/5/3/3/7533556/crs_2013_rhya_history_and_lit_review.pdf
International: Child Trafficking Through International Adoption Continues Despite Regulations
Epoch Times – March 15, 2018
Global adoption is a big business, fraught with loose regulations and profit incentives that have made it a target for kidnappers, human traffickers, and pedophiles. Despite regulations on international adoptions, and with some countries even banning all foreign adoptions, the problem has continued. Kidnappers continue to fuel the trade, and adoption agencies continue to skirt the laws.
CA: California Approves Short-Term Fix For Foster Parents Stuck in the Approval Process
Chronicle of Social Change – March 15, 2018
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a stop-gap measure on Tuesday that will provide emergency funding to caregivers who take in a foster child before completing the approval process. The measure approved by Brown, Assembly Bill 110, will set aside short-term funding for families who have yet to complete the RFA process, but who have already taken in a foster child.
CA: Probation chief recommends ending contract housing refugee minors at juvenile hall
Davis Enterprise – March 15, 2018
Yolo County’s chief probation officer is recommending that the county end its agreement with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to house unaccompanied refugee minors at the county’s juvenile detention center.
FL: My Father’s Arrows opens first wing of children’s home (Includes video) (Correction)
Santa Rosa Press Gazette – March 13, 2018
Four years after the team at My Father’s Arrows set out to provide licensed community homes for local children in need, the plan is becoming a reality. The first wing of Mama’s House is officially open, and the second wing is nearly done, according to MFA founder Sarah Ellis.
HI: Pilot project would reduce Child Welfare Services caseloads
Hawaii Tribune-Herald – March 15, 2018
According to House Bill 2277, caseloads for the area have become unmanageable, with the Child Welfare Services branch being sanctioned by Family Court for failing to meet court deadlines. The bill, which passed the House and one Senate committee, would provide funding for an additional eight case managers and 15 support staff positions for the East Hawaii Child Welfare Services section. Caseloads would be limited to no more than 20 under the five-year pilot program.
IN: Gibault’s Response to Inquiries of Abuse
WTWO – March 15, 2018
“Gibault cooperates with the Department of Child Services, State Licensing and Child Protective Services. Gibault turns over all allegations of abuse to Child Protective Services for external review. We are a transparent agency that provides our governing bodies with any documentation they request, including viewing of video footage in any area they wish to review.”
Also: Former worker alleges impropriety at Gibault: http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_news/former-worker-alleges-impropriety-at-gibault/article_197cf239-f043-52c0-8444-e050a2132270.html
KS: Judge rebukes new DCF secretary’s reversal of decision in adoption case
Wichita Eagle – March 16, 2018
The newly confirmed secretary for children and families improperly reversed a decision about adoption for three children in foster care, a Sedgwick County judge ruled Thursday. The three children were to have been adopted by their foster family, but the Department for Children and Families said last week that they should instead go to their grandfather after inquiries by The Wichita Eagle.
MA: Massachusetts Senate approves bill banning animal drowning
Associated Press – March 15, 2018
The legislation would mandate that officials from the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs and the Disabled Persons Protection Commission report instances of animal abuse – while making animal control officers mandatory reporters of child abuse, elder abuse and abuse against disabled persons.
Information Gateway resource: Mandated Reporting: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/reporting/mandated/
ME: Governor plans to issue executive orders to change Child Protection Services procedures (Includes video)
WFVX – March 15, 2018
During an interview with ABC 7 Thursday morning, the governor said to expect him to issue executive orders in the coming weeks aimed at changing some procedures in the child protective service. But he’s keeping specifics of his plan private for the time being.
OK: ‘Child maltreatment’ reported at Laura Dester Shelter; panel orders removal of children from the Tulsa center
Tulsa World – March 16, 2018
The panel overseeing reform and closure of the Laura Dester Shelter cites “child maltreatment” in directing the Department of Human Services to immediately stop accepting children and remove all residents by June 30. The panel’s demands were prompted in part by an August site visit by its monitors in which they observed “multiple safety issues and continuing staffing problems.”
PA: City halts foster care intakes at two agencies that discriminate against LGBTQ people
Philadelphia Inquirer – March 15, 2018
The Philadelphia Department of Human Services has ceased foster-care intake with Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services, pending an investigation by the Commission on Human Relations. The restriction follows an Inquirer and Daily News report that the city-funded agencies will not work with LGBTQ people or same-sex couples interested in becoming foster parents, a stance that likely violates city contract rules. The organizations do work with LGBTQ youth.
US: Poor Kids End Up in Foster Care Because Parents Don’t Get Margin of Error Rich Do (Opinion)
Youth Today – March 16, 2018
But both writers knew, instinctively, that they could write about situations that, unintentionally, could have put their children in danger and suffer no consequences. Margin for error in child-rearing is one more benefit of middle-class status that is denied to poor people.
US: Legal immigration has soared as illegal entries have dwindled (Commentary)
Dallas News – March 15, 2018
Here’s the paradox of immigration in America right now: The economy is roaring, and wages are rising, yet 2017 was another year of virtually no illegal border crossings. On average, each Border Patrol agent apprehended just 16 people all year – one every three weeks, tied for the lowest rate since World War II. This is down from when Border Patrol agents apprehended an average of 261 crossers per agent in 1996.
US: New Mapping Tool to Help Advocate for Prevention of Abuse and Neglect
Chronicle of Social Change – March 15, 2018
Casey Family Programs, a national grant maker in the child welfare field, has launched the Community Opportunity Map, a tool that allows users to see localized indicators connected to community health and maltreatment prevention.
Also: Community Opportunity Map: http://caimaps.info/caseyfamily/Home?location=Seattle
US: AP: Child-on-child sex assault cases languish on US bases (Includes audio)
Associated Press – March 14, 2018
A decade after the Pentagon began confronting rape in the ranks, the U.S. military frequently fails to protect or provide justice to the children of service members when they are sexually assaulted by other children on base, an Associated Press investigation has found. The Pentagon does not know the scope of the problem and does little to track it. AP was able to document nearly 600 sex assault cases on base since 2007 through dozens of interviews and by piecing together records and data from the military’s four main branches and school system.
Also: Congress demands Pentagon, DOJ investigate child sex assault: http://journaltimes.com/news/national/congress-demands-pentagon-investigate-child-sex-assaults/article_379d2b3e-d9c1-5b20-89a1-a016f1f9c444.html
Also: AP: Families feel deserted after sex assaults at base school: https://www.apnews.com/7c043c6b009645659f15a6efdfcb3e10/AP:-Families-feel-deserted-after-sex-assaults-at-base-school
Also: How AP’s investigation into childhood sex assault took shape: https://www.apnews.com/6343535d52af4370aa75767774fc92aa/How-AP’s-investigation-into-childhood-sex-assault-took-shape
US: Equality Making Waves in States Across the Nation (Opinion)
Human Rights Campaign – March 14, 2018
As legislative sessions continue in state capitols across the country, HRC is tracking more than 110 anti-LGBTQ bills and more than 166 pro-equality bills introduced in state legislatures.
Also: Preview 2018 Pro-Equality and Anti-LGBTQ State and Local Legislation: https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/2018-LegislativePreview.pdf?_ga=2.174442786.1880203130.1521205003-1026706714.1470139580
International: NGOs concerned that refugee children will be ‘coerced’ into giving biometric data
Planet Biometrics – March 14, 2018
An NGO and UN agency grouping is concerned by proposals now under consideration as part of the ongoing reform of the Common European Asylum System which would allow the use of coercion to take the fingerprints and facial images of children. The groups says new EURODAC proposal being considered by the European Commission, Council and Parliament expands the purpose of the current database of asylum applicants to facilitate the identification of “irregularly staying third country nationals” through the use of biometric data. It also lowers the age at which a child must be registered from 14 to six.
United Kingdom: Government urged to reject foster care proposals that ‘weaken children’s rights’
Children & Young People Now – March 14, 2018
A coalition of more than 40 leading children’s organisations and experts has written to government urging it to reject several proposals from a major review of the fostering system, because they would “greatly weaken” legal protections for vulnerable children.