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Child Safety State By State

Where does your state rank in protecting children 

These stories tell the best and worst states for child well being around the nation;


Worst States; Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi & Texas

Best States; Washington, connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine & Minnesota


Compare to 2014;

Worst states;Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina

Best states; Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut

State News, find your state here;





AZ: Aging out, but not abandoned; program helps foster kids stay on track (Includes video)
KNXV – March 02, 2021
A joint effort between Foster 360 and Arizona’s Children Association, the program provides low-cost housing, allowing young adults with similar experiences to live in the same complex, building a support system of their own. The program also provides help with completing their education, job hunting and mentors.


CA: SCOE, other Bay Area counties address needs of homeless students amid pandemic
Reporter – March 02, 2021
Among the nation’s homeless, which may swell to more than 3.5 million during the year, some 1.5 million of them are K-12 students, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In the Golden State, the number of students experiencing homelessness has increased by 48 percent in the past decade, higher than in any other state, with some 270,000 such students in 2019, or about 4.3 percent of the total enrollment.
Also: School Support for Bay Area Students Experiencing Homelessness During Pandemic Focus of New Report (Press release): Also: Report: Addressing the Needs of Students Experiencing Homelessness During the COVID-19 Pandemic: https://mailchi.mp/acoe/report-on-students-experiencing-homelessness-during-pandemic-released-by-bay-area-county-offices-of-education


CA: Transition-Age Foster Youth to Aid Vaccination Effort in California
Imprint – March 02, 2021
Hundreds of current and former foster youth are being recruited to jump in on the California effort to vaccinate the state’s most disadvantaged residents against COVID-19.


CA: California Considers Universal Basic Income for Former Foster Youth
Imprint – March 01, 2021
Former foster youth in California would receive $1,000 a month for their basic needs, under a new piece of legislation now being considered by state lawmakers grappling with widespread economic devastation during the pandemic.
Also: Report: https://theappeal.org/the-lab/report/guaranteed-income-for-kids-transitioning-out-of-foster-care/


IA: Iowa House bill would require implicit bias training for child-care programs
Clinton Herald – March 02, 2021
Implicit bias training will be required for foster parents and child-care facility staff if Iowa House File 572 is enacted. Introduced to the House Feb. 17 by Democratic Senators Tracy Ehlert, Charlie McConkey, Bob Kressig and Timi Brown-Powers, the bill adds implicit bias training to the list of subjects already required for foster parent licensure.


IN: Once homeless, this former foster youth is advocating for change within Indiana DCS (May require subscription) (Includes video)
Indianapolis Star – March 02, 2021
Rodriguez arrived at Foster Success, a nonprofit that provides support and resources to youth and young adults ages 14 to 26 as they transition from foster care to independent adulthood, in 2019. Maggie Stevens, the organization’s CEO and president, said Rodriguez came to Foster Success with an openness to make change, a willingness to ask for help and a trust that they’d get her to the right place. Because of that, she flourished, Stevens said, and was an obvious choice to be nominated for the Diamond Service Award.


NC: How a year of the COVID-19 pandemic radically altered NC, shown in 15 charts (Includes audio and video)
Herald – March 03, 2021
Exactly one year ago, state health officials announced the first diagnosis of COVID-19 in North Carolina. The case count has ballooned to nearly 900,000 in the months since, claiming the lives of more than 11,000 residents along the way. And alongside the enormous toll of sickness and loss, the novel coronavirus left its mark on nearly every aspect of life in 2020, from employment and court activity to state park visits and liquor sales. Compared to the previous three years, the number of children entering foster care across the state saw a sharp decline in April, May and June as the COVID-19 pandemic set in.


NM: Limit on Expulsions and Out-of-School Suspensions Passes House
Grant County Beat – March 02, 2021
Legislation limiting the use of out-of-school suspension or expulsion as disciplinary methods in New Mexico schools due to their often counterproductive repercussions passed the House of Representatives X-X today, and will now move to the Senate. Sponsored by Rep. Raymundo “Ray” Lara (D-Chamberino), House Bill 93 requires suspension or expulsion to be used only as a last resort when required for the safety of students or staff, or by federal law. Such extreme disciplinary measures cannot be used unless all other intervention methods including restorative justice practices and positive behavioral support have been exhausted. The process must take into account a child’s personal circumstances, such as homelessness, foster care placement, or other adverse childhood experiences.


NY: Onondaga County union members say they are struggling to try to keep up with cases of child abuse and neglect (Includes video)
WSYR – March 02, 2021
Union members who work for the Department of Children and Family Services for Onondaga County say they are facing a critical staffing shortage that’s existed for years, but now, has been made worse by the pandemic.


SD: Tradition of Caring 2021: Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment (Includes video)
KELO – March 02, 2021
It is a tragedy that likely goes unnoticed by many of us, yet the numbers associated with child abuse and maltreatment are startling. The most recent statistics show that in 2017, South Dakota had nearly 16,000 referrals for child abuse and neglect and investigations were started in nearly 2500 of those referral cases.


WV: W.Va. Senate rejects amendment for TANF drug testing bill
Herald-Dispatch – March 02, 2021
A bill to continue the pilot program to drug test TANF recipients will be on third reading Wednesday in the West Virginia Senate. The Senate rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, on Tuesday that would have removed marijuana from the list of substances tested for. The state Department of Health and Human Resources testified last week out of 131 positive tests since 2017, 61 have been for marijuana. Senate Bill 387 would extend the drug testing pilot program until 2022 and permits DHHR to continue the program if they want. DHHR Deputy Secretary Jeremiah Samples said the department felt they needed more time to evaluate the value of the program after the pandemic.


US: How to help your kids get enough sleep, especially during the Covid pandemic (Commentary) (Includes video)
CNN – March 03, 2021
Getting enough sleep was tough even before the pandemic. With disrupted routines, extra screen time and the incredible amount of stress most people face now, sleep routines seem to have gone quickly but quietly downhill. And from what I’m seeing in my child psychiatry practice – kids are suffering especially hard.


US: Opeeka Debuts Nation’s First Software Designed to Help Child Welfare and Foster Agencies Meet New Federal Requirements (Press release)
HB Publications, LLC – March 03, 2021
Today, Opeeka announced the release of its Person-Centered Intelligence Solution (P-CIS), an assessment and care planning software for social, behavioral and mental health care. P-CIS supports person-centered care by helping youth and families in care easily communicate their story, circumstances, and progress. The cloud-based assessment software puts people at the center of their story and helps providers better serve people in care. Because P-CIS learns what works for whom and provides continuous monitoring and evaluation of care at the person and population level, it helps meet many of the requirements recently mandated in the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).


US: ‘Teacher Cams’ Could Revolutionize Education After the Pandemic Ends, But Some Critics See a Massive Student Privacy Risk
74 – March 02, 2021
Nationally, about three-quarters of educators require students to use webcams if their district offers live remote instruction during the pandemic, according to a recent survey by the Education Week Research Center. While 42 percent of educators said they allow for exceptions, nearly two-thirds said students could face consequences if they turn off their cameras during class. School camera policies are stricter in districts where students of color make up the majority versus those where most students are white, researchers found.


US: Biden calls on all states to vaccinate teachers by end of March
Hill – March 02, 2021
President Biden said Tuesday he is calling on all states to prioritize teachers for COVID-19 vaccinations so that all teachers and school staff will have received at least one dose by the end of March. He noted that more than 30 states have already prioritized teachers for vaccinations but said he is using the “full authority of the federal government” in “directing every state to do the same.”
Also: White House taps insurers to boost vaccinations among vulnerable communities: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/03/white-house-insurers-vaccinations-473101


US: Children crossing the border deserve fair treatment (Opinion)
Chicago Sun-Times – March 02, 2021
President Joe Biden, as part of an effort to reverse his predecessor’s most inhumane immigration policies, has called a halt to border agents turning back unaccompanied minors. The result of this, though, has been a challenging unintended consequence; the number of children crossing the border without parents has been shooting up, including 2,000 minors last week alone.
Also: ‘We’re not keeping up’: Biden administration scrambles to house children crossing the US-Mexico border alone: https://keyt.com/politics/2021/03/02/were-not-keeping-up-biden-administration-scrambles-to-house-children-crossing-the-us-mexico-border-alone/


US: Disappointment, concern greet Bethany’s reversal (Commentary)
Baptist Press – March 02, 2021
Southern Baptist leaders expressed disappointment and concern for the ramifications of Bethany Christian Services’ national policy reversal to place children for adoption and foster care with same-sex couples.
Also: Leading Christian Foster Care And Adoption Nonprofit Pledges To Work With LGBTQ Families: https://imprintnews.org/adoption/faith-christian-foster-adoption-lgbtq-reversal/52416


US: For Teens in Foster Care, It Takes a Village to Raise but a Family to Show Love (Opinion)
Imprint – March 02, 2021
Over the last five years I have worked hard on getting children out of residential group homes. I struggled with the idea that we have overlooked and bypassed the most important need in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: a sense of belonging. When we prevent teenagers from having families, we restrict them from the love, belonging and security that a family has to offer.


US: Study: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana the worst states for children during pandemic
Hill – March 02, 2021
Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana are among the worst states for children during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from Save the Children. The study ranks states using a combination of factors including child hunger, access to technology for remote learning and adult difficulty with paying bills each month.
Also: 2021 Childhood Report: https://www.savethechildren.org/us/about-us/resource-library/us-childhood-report


US: Use Federal Child Welfare Funds to Prevent Family Housing Crises (Commentary)
Imprint – March 02, 2021
According to a study by Columbia University, an additional 8 million households have plunged into poverty. As problems accumulate, child welfare workers are likely to encounter families on the margins whose children are at risk of separation largely due to the fact that unlike many American households, have little in savings and assets to buffer their children from this great economic disruption. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a weapon it can deploy to arm child welfare first responders to fight poverty-related crises before children are sent to foster care. And it’s time to pull the trigger.




Canada: Ontario changing child-welfare system to stop teens from aging out of care unprepared
CBC News – March 02, 2021
CBC News has learned the Ontario government will use the time to redesign how young people leave the system by doing away with the current age cut-off. Instead, provincial officials say they plan to ensure youths feel confident and prepared. According to the province, just under 12,000 children and youth are in the child-welfare system. About half of youths who experience homelessness in Ontario were involved in that system, more than half drop out of high school and 57 per cent rely on social assistance, according to a 2017 report by the now-closed Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.


International: COVID-19: Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost a full year, says UNICEF (Press release)
UNICEF – March 03, 2021
Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost an entire year due to COVID-19 lockdowns, according to new data released today by UNICEF. Furthermore, around 214 million children globally – or 1 in 7 – have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning. The analysis on school closures report notes that 14 countries worldwide have remained largely closed since March 2020 to February 2021.


International: Action Pledge in Support of the UN International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor (Press release)
Fair Labor Association – February 25, 2021
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has worked for over 20 to resolve labor rights issues from factories to farms in global supply chains. The FLA welcomes and supports the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) resolution declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. The General Assembly calls upon the member States to make commitments “to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, child marriage, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.”


Child Welfare in the News is distributed at no charge by Child Welfare Information Gateway (https://www.childwelfare.gov), a service of the Children’s Bureau/ACF/HHS (https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb). It features news stories on topics of interest to child welfare and related professionals. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any view expressed in a resource, and opinions or views do not reflect those of Child Welfare Information Gateway, the Children’s Bureau, or staff.
We are always eager to get your feedback or to know how you are using Child Welfare in the News. To comment on this service, contact cwn@childwelfare.gov.
CO: Colorado Springs police investigating alleged sexual assaults by foster parent
KRDO – March 01, 2021
A foster father accused of sexual assault on a child was arrested in Colorado Springs after police found there were more victims.


DC: New COVID-19 report paints bleak picture for DC-area kids, households
WTOP – March 02, 2021
A new nationwide study examining how U.S. households are faring with COVID-19 paints a bleak picture for children and families in the D.C. region. The state-by-state study, which included the District, ranked D.C. 42nd in the country when considering childhood hunger, ease of remote learning and ability to pay bills.


IL: Illinois Must End Youth Incarceration, Not “Transform” It (Opinion)
Truthout – March 01, 2021
It is clear that the “21st Century Transformation Model” falls far short of achieving any vision of transformative justice. The “Illinois Youth Centers,” or child prisons, by definition cannot be restorative. This has been demonstrated time and again in Illinois and across the country, traumatizing and shortening the lives of countless children in the process.


MD: Maryland Bill Would End Life Sentences Without Parole for Juveniles (Video)
WRC – March 01, 2021
Maryland lawmakers are considering abolishing sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders. News4’s Darcy Spencer reports the legislation would allow people who committed crimes as kids to get out of prison after serving 20 years.


MI: Pandemic adds to generational trauma
Cadillac News – March 02, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is trauma itself. But even as the pandemic adds extra strain, other stressors on family life continue, such as substance misuse, poverty and neglect. And those problems can revisit future generations, as children who had traumatic childhoods grow into adults who deal with stress in unhealthy ways.


MO: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson reverses last of 2020-21 budget cuts, citing improving economy
Springfield News-Leader – March 01, 2021
In a news release Monday, Parson said he’s restoring the final $281 million of the money that was withheld earlier as the economy continues to beat his administration’s expectations. Parson is also releasing $3.6 million allocated for child welfare staff at the Department of Social Services, where roughly 100 layoffs in the Children’s Division raised concerns last year.


NM: House committee passes bill that aims to hold CYFD accountable (Includes video)
KOB – March 01, 2021
House Bill 284 would create an independent grievance process for all stakeholders. The bill passed its first committee Monday. House Bill 284 would utilize the Administrative Hearings Office to create an independent grievance process. Rep. Dow said it would give all stakeholders access to an impartial avenue for disputes.
Also: House Bill 284: https://nmlegis.gov/Sessions/21%20Regular/bills/house/HB0284.pdf


NY: D.A. Vance: “Phoenix Project” Begins Serving Young Survivors of Sex Trafficking Across New York City (Press release)
Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. – March 01, 2021
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., announced that beginning today, the non-profit organization The New York Foundling is supporting survivors of sex trafficking through its new child and youth sex trafficking intervention program, “the Phoenix Project.” The innovative program will serve approximately 50 to 70 young people ages 12 through 21 each year at locations across New York City.


OK: House Advances Bill to Help Homeless Youth (Press release)
Oklahoma House of Representatives – March 01, 2021
A bill designed to help homeless youth gain access to housing, medical care, education and other services passed the House today with a vote of 82-6. House Bill 1739, by Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, creates the Connecting Futures Act, which is designed for youth between the ages of 15 and 18. The measure would direct the state Department of Human Services, working with social service providers, to design a pilot program addressing the needs of minors who are not supported by parents or guardians and who are not in state or tribal custody. The act would not deprive a parent or legal guardian of any parental or legal authority.


US: Biden admin will allow families separated under Trump to remain in US (Includes video)
Hill – March 01, 2021
The Biden administration will allow families separated at the southern border by the Trump administration to reunite and remain in the U.S., the White House announced Monday.


US: Biden Taps New York Official to Lead U.S. Children’s Bureau (May require subscription)
Imprint – March 01, 2021
President Biden has appointed Aysha Schomburg, a senior official for New York City’s child welfare and juvenile justice agency, to lead the U.S. Children’s Bureau. She takes the helm at a federal agency that serves as ground zero for child welfare policy and funding within HHS, administering, among other things, the Title IV-E entitlement for child welfare services, and the Title IV-B funds for family preservation and reunification. She succeeds Jerry Milner, Trump’s associate commissioner for the Children’s Bureau, who remained in that administration from the summer of 2017 until the week before Biden was inaugurated.


US: Major Evangelical Adoption Agency Will Now Serve Gay Parents Nationwide
New York Times – March 01, 2021
One of the country’s largest adoption and foster care agencies, Bethany Christian Services, announced on Monday that it would begin providing services to L.G.B.T.Q. parents nationwide effective immediately, a major inflection point in the fraught battle over many faith-based agencies’ longstanding opposition to working with same-sex couples.
Also: Nation’s Biggest Evangelical Child Welfare Group OK’s LGBTQ+ Parents: https://www.advocate.com/family/2021/3/01/nations-biggest-evangelical-child-welfare-group-oks-lgbtq-parents


US: The State of the States: Amid the Pandemic, Governors Tackle Health, Social, and Economic Issues
National Academy for State Health Policy – March 01, 2021
Governors use their annual state of the state addresses to showcase recent successes and define their policy priorities for the year ahead. By late February, 45 governors had delivered speeches outlining plans to address a wide range of health and related issues in the coming months. All mentioned their states’ responses to COVID-19, frequently praising frontline responders and public health agencies and applauding their states’ agile interagency actions to address the pandemic.


US: A History of Child Welfare, with Martin Guggenheim (Commentary) (Audio)
Parental Rights Foundation – February 09, 2021
This week, Jim talks with Martin Guggenheim, who has taught at the NYU School of Law for over 25 years, and is one of the foremost experts on family law and family rights today. Marty tells us about his lengthy career in the family law field, including how the current child welfare system came to be, and why it’s vitally important that parents receive legal representation in court.




International: Children have lost more than a third of their school year to Covid-19 pandemic (Press release)
Save the Children – March 02, 2021
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, children across the world have lost an average of 74 days of education each due to school closures and a lack of access to remote learning, Save the Children said today – more than a third of the standard global 190-day school year.
Also: Estimates of lost days of education: https://www.savethechildren.net/sites/www.savethechildren.net/files/Methodological%20note_23022021.pdf


Child Welfare in the News is distributed at no charge by Child Welfare Information Gateway (https://www.childwelfare.gov), a service of the Children’s Bureau/ACF/HHS (https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb). It features news stories on topics of interest to child welfare and related professionals. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any view expressed in a resource, and opinions or views do not reflect those of Child Welfare Information Gateway, the Children’s Bureau, or staff.
We are always eager to get your feedback or to know how you are using Child Welfare in the News. To comment on this service, contact cwn@childwelfare.gov.


FROM 2014;

California leads the nation in disappeared and murdered children in child protective services and the majority of child abuse calls to DHS go unanswered.

This new data begins to explain why;

CA: PD Editorial: Fixing a broken foster care system
Santa Rosa Press Democrat – December 27, 2013

Nearly three decades ago, California began privatizing part of its foster care program as part of a grand experiment. But an analysis of state records by the Los Angeles Times has found that those children living in residences run by private agencies are now about 33 percent more likely to be the victims of serious physical, emotional or sexual abuse than children who reside in state-supervised foster family homes.
This new California Foster Care Education model could become a national success story;

CA: Humboldt County program to improve education for foster youth; could serve as model for state

Mercury News    December 27, 2010

More than 80 people representing numerous agencies recently attended a workshop designed to improve educational outcomes for foster youth from kindergarten through college.


IA: Child abuse deaths in Iowa in the past decade
DesMoinesRegister.com   December 28, 2010
In addition to 2-year-old Shelby Duis of Spirit Lake, here is a partial list of other child deaths in the past decade, including some never before reported by The Des Moines Register, based on new reports obtained from the Department of Human Services.  Also: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20101229/NEWS/12290345/-1/WESTDESMOINES/Child-abuse-deaths-drop-but-cases-still-fall-past-safety-net


MN program helping American Indian boys in long term foster care;

MN: Healing native spirits in MN long-term foster care

Public News Service  December 29, 2011

A unique program in south Minneapolis is finding success helping American Indian boys in long-term foster care.


NC: Murder your child & spend a few years in prison (far less punishment than owning 11 marijuana plants)

NC: Effort to strengthen child abuse laws
WFMY – December 28, 2012
In May, Kilah Davenport was almost beaten to death. Police say her step-father attacked her, broke her collar bone and fractured her little skull, damaging 90 percent of her brain. The punishment, for this life changing beating? The max is 7 and a half years in prison. Many think that’s too lenient, and now a group is traveling across North Carolina to gain support for a bill called “Kilah’s Law.”

Child abuse protection in Japan (see KARA’s earlier reporting here)

JAPAN: Protecting children from abuse
The Japan Times    December 28, 2010
A panel of the Legislative Council of the Justice Ministry has proposed revising the Civil Law so that parental prerogatives can be suspended for up to two years if doing so is desirable to protect children from neglect or abuse by their parents. The government hopes to submit a revision bill to the Diet next year. According to the welfare ministry, child consultation centers handled more than …



GREECE: Greek economic crisis turns tragic for children abandoned by their families

The Guardian  December 28, 2011

Propelled by poverty, 500 families had recently asked to place children in homes run by the charity SOS Children’s Villages, according to the Greek daily Kathimerini.



All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

KARA reports on child abuse and child protection issues.

This article submitted by KARA advocate Mike Tikkanen

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