August Sad Stories Part II

Kids At Risk Action; American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and 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

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August Sad Stories Part I

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and 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

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August Sad Stories 2016 (part II)

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

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August Sad Stories (part 1)

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and  attention to our youngest and most vulnerable  citizens.  Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported. ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN…

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August 2016 Sad Stories (Part 3 through August 31)

AZ: Report: Foster Care Rates Sky-Rocket, More Arizona Children Living In Poverty (Includes audio)
KJZZ – August 18, 2016
“Fifty-one percent, so more than half of the kids in Arizona are in low income families,” she said. “And that’s a concern because we know that there are a number of other factors that are affected by that particular benchmark.” Arizona Kids Count Data Book: http://kjzz.org/sites/default/files/8-17-16AZKidsCount-2016_FINAL_for-web-1_0.pdf
http://kjzz.org/content/352635/report-foster-care-rates-sky-rocket-more-arizona-children-living-poverty

CA: First of three bills to protect foster kids passes Assembly
Daily Democrat – August 18, 2016
Legislation that would create a more rigorous process for the prescribing of potentially harmful psychotropic drugs to foster children easily passed off the Assembly floor Thursday afternoon.
http://www.dailydemocrat.com/article/NI/20160818/NEWS/160819882

CA: Lawmakers advance bill to decriminalize prostitution for minors
Los Angeles Times – August 18, 2016
SB 1322, authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would make the crimes of solicitation and loitering with intent to commit prostitution misdemeanors inapplicable to children younger than 18. It also would allow law enforcement to take sexually exploited children into temporary custody if leaving them unattended would pose an immediate threat to their health or safety.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-sac-essential-politics-updates-california-lawmakers-reject-bold-step-1471556676-htmlstory.html

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Articles, Stories & Statistics About Adoption and Foster Care for June 2018

Group home caters to LGBT foster children
Cronkite News
Redmond said she wanted to provide a real home for LGBT foster children and her group home was immediately at capacity. They usually go on …
Flag as irrelevant

Adopted children ‘barely surviving’ in high-pressure schools
The Guardian
Adopted children who have suffered traumatic early experiences are “barely surviving” in the current high-pressure school environment and need …
Flag as irrelevant

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Arkansas Politics; Death Penalty For Rebellious Children, Charlie Fuqua & His Bible

The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellioius children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21:

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Are You An Out of State KARA Follower?

Kids At Risk Action is looking for writers from other state’s to report on child protection/child abuse conditions around the country.

Report each week about how your state treats at risk youth and help KARA bring more attention to what needs to happen for children to be safe and happy where you live.

Contact me directly for more information, mike@invisiblechildren.org

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Are Class Action Lawsuits The Future For Child Protection? (Just filed in Arizona)

Note, this article is not about blaming people doing the work – it’s about legislators that are unaware of the dire straits abused and neglected children are facing and their slow and inadequate reaction to the conditions existing in our most important institutions today.

Many states are failing their most vulnerable citizens in the most tortured and traumatizing ways. National Disgrace (Star Tribune) & Colossal Failure are the words being used across America describing child protection in state after state. Four and five year old children are dying by homicide and suicide.

Two days ago, a lawsuit was filed against the AZ Department of Child Safety alleging “severe shortage of mental and physical health services”, “failure to conduct timely investigations of child abuse reports”, and a widespread failure of the State to help troubled children maintain family relationships.

If lawmakers do not make and allocate funding for policies that keep children safe, this nation resorts to lawsuits that pay damages and fines for such failures. Sometimes, the court includes very expensive punitive awards to make it explicit that the state needs to function better for children. It’s an expensive way of creating policy and children have to suffer greatly before that happens.

From my perspective as a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, it is far less costly, and way more ethical and productive for legislators to fund programs and address problems than it is to obfuscate, ignore, and watch the slow torture of abused and neglected children evolve into class action lawsuits and the next generation of abused and neglected children becoming parents of another generation of abused and neglected children. We are costing this nation its quality of life by trading at risk children and young families for failed schools, unsafe streets, a giant prison system, and monstrous pharmaceutical industry (and million of children reported to child protection each year).

Every five years a new generation of abused and neglected children enter our schools and communities.

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April, May & June 2015 Sad Stories

une 30, Austin Texas New law after child dies in hot car will save lives

June 26, Minneapolis Minnesota, Hennepin County screens out child abuse reports to reduce caseloads (multiple high profile child deaths draw attention of the Casey Foundation)

June 27, Columbia South Carolina, Man gets prison sentence for killing 14 month old boy

June 25, Farmington Maine, Franklin County child abuse rate among highest in the state

June 24, South Dakota, Terrible Racial Disparities lock up 3 times more SD youth than other states with longer sentences

June 24, Salina Kansas, 7 year old Jonathan Michael Kelley’s drowning death under investigation

June 29, Battle Creek Michigan, Leo Ackley to have new trial in death of 3 year old’s (Baylee Stenman) felony murder

June 24, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Julie Pittman indicted for felony neglect and the death of 6 month old son (unnamed in article)

June 24, Iowa City Iowa, Jorge Pereze convicted of child endangerment resulting in beating death of 20 month old son Marcus Balderas

June 24, US, Abuse of youth in U.S. juvenile prisons = sexual victimization and widespread abuse Annie E Casey Foundation report

June 22, Pennsylvania, Foster Care kids given psychotropic meds at 3 times the normal rate

June 22, Boone County Kentucky puts child protection on hold for 92 cases of child abuse due to lack of funding, high turnover and rising caseloads.

June 26, Oberlin Louisiana, Bobby Davis Jr guilty of negligent homicide in 2nd degree murder by blunt force trauma of girl friend’s 2 year old daughter (unnamed in article)

June 19, Waterloo Iowa, Police investigate toddler death at daycare

June 16, Minneapolis Minnesota, Stressed child protection system spotlighted by 2 year old Sophia ONeill’s violent death by Cody Samuel Feran-Baum

June 19, New Zealand, Worst child death rate in the nation, Northland

June 16, Sandpoint Idaho, Death of 3 year old boy (not named in article) left in 130 degree car under investigation

June 19, Fulton Georgia, William Gaddy arrested on murder charge in death of beating death of 2 year old girl (unnamed in article)

June 17, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Tiffany Dawn Sampson & Robert Roger Dishman charged with second degree criminal abuse in the death of 19 month old Adrian Louis Maldonado

June 9, Manitoba Canada, Less than 1/3 of foster care youth graduate high school

June 9, US, medical news, Children and teens with Down syndrome and psychotropic medications

June 9, New York Times, Innocent Real Child waits for adoption

June 9, Richmond Virginia, Caseworkers underpaid, overworked and disgusted with dismissive attitude towards abused and neglected children file a lawsuit in Federal Court

June 9, Rhode Island, 45 children missing from child welfare – sex trafficking suspected

June 9, Ohio, Child abuse caseloads explode (double last year)

June 9, Buffalo New York, Record child abuse levels and end of Head Start funding create big problems

June 9, Minnesota, Indian couple sues to allow adoption to white family

June 8, US, Almost 18 million children annually witness or are victims of assaults with weapons (one in four children)

June 8, Connecticut, Transgender girls rights violated when sent to state prison

June 8, Los Angeles California, Relative foster child placements under- supported by the County

June 8, Georgia, High caseloads, gruesome child deaths, stagnant pay and low social worker morale

June 8, Nova Scotia Canada, Troubling pattern of placing First Nation children in government – supervised care

June 8, UK, Disturbing Facebook footage of cruelty to Children draws criticism

June 8, Tennessee, Tennessee children suffer from high Adverse Child Experiences (CDC report)

June 8, Texas, Texas Baptist Home for Children (allegedly)repeatedly ignored Bryan and Austin Cook’s crying for help as they were molested.

June 7, Spartanburg South Carolina, Big increase in child abuse reports

June 7, New Jersey, Statistics and stories confirm child abuse hiding in the shadows – a serious public health epidemic

June 6, Oklahoma, Where will the children go?

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April 2016 Sad Stories

CA: Vacaville commissioner advocates for preventing child abuse
The Reporter – March 31, 2016
She’s a mom, an advocate, a businesswoman and a Vacaville Community Services commissioner, and in honor of April being a double whammy–it’s both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month–Christina Baird is offering her expertise to help keep kids safe.
http://www.thereporter.com/general-news/20160330/vacaville-commissioner-advocates-for-preventing-child-abuse

FL: 2 sheriff’s office employees disciplined for mishandling allegations in Bradenton child abuse case
Bradenton Herald – March 31, 2016
Two Manatee County Sheriff’s Office employees were disciplined for their mishandling of allegations that 15-month-old Knowellan Kelly and his three siblings were being abused, by failing to complete or signing off on an incomplete investigation, according to internal affairs reports.
http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/crime/article69299067.html

FL: State leads nation with more than 10,000 Guardian ad Litem Volunteers
Chipley Bugle – March 31, 2016
The Guardian ad Litem Program has exceeded its goal of more than 10,000 volunteers. In Holmes and Washington Counties, 37 trained and dedicated volunteers spoke on behalf of 127 abused and neglected children from our community who are currently or previously going through court proceedings within the last year.
http://chipleybugle.com/2016/03/31/florida-leads-nation-with-more-than-10000-guardian-ad-litem-volunteers/

FL: Trauma can produce PTSD in our own neighborhoods (Opinion)
Times-Union – March 31, 2016
For too long, post-traumatic stress disorder was a mental illness associated solely with the stress of battle. Today physicians and researchers realize that this debilitating illness strikes in our own neighborhoods.
http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2016-03-31/story/trauma-can-produce-ptsd-our-own-neighborhoods

IN: April is Prevent Child Abuse Awareness Month
Brazil Times – March 31, 2016
“Each day our agency must respond to reports of tragic abuse and neglect,” said Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) Director Mary Beth Bonaventura. “This month gives us an opportunity to highlight community resources to help at-risk parents and ultimately keep children safe.”
http://www.thebraziltimes.com/story/2291363.html

IN: Officials aim to educate about child abuse
Lafayette Journal & Courier – March 31, 2016
Connor, also executive director of Tippecanoe County Court Appointed Special Advocates, said a heroin epidemic nationwide and locally is driving mental health and domestic violence problems in the community. As a result, Tippecanoe County CASA currently has more than 80 children on its waiting list. “Children become victims because of those issues,” Connor said.
http://www.jconline.com/story/news/crime/2016/03/31/officials-aim-educate-child-abuse/82212520/

KY: Home of the Innocents to open E-town foster site
Courier-Journal – March 31, 2016
The Home of the Innocents is opening a new foster care office in Elizabethtown. The Louisville-based charity, that tends to abused and abandoned children, is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new Hardin County outlet on Friday at noon. The open house is at 11 a.m. The office is at 2608 Ring Road in the Hardin County seat.
http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2016/03/31/home-innocents-open-e-town-foster-site/82463696/

KY: Republican Senate continues bipartisan accomplishments for Kentuckians (Opinion: Senator Mitch McConnell)
Franklin Favorite – March 31, 2016
The recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) would help address the opioid epidemic by providing additional tools for enhanced prevention, education, treatment and recovery programs that are already underway across Kentucky. The bill calls for the expansion of naloxone, a drug which can counter the effects of an opioid overdose. The bill would strengthen and enhance prescription drug monitoring programs, to crack down on “doctor shopping,” a practice used to obtain multiple prescriptions for drugs that can be abused.
http://www.franklinfavorite.com/opinion/editorials/article_f7b586f3-17bf-5814-88d5-bac07f8dd10e.html

MO: Audit questions Missouri’s eligibility checks for subsidized child care
Associated Press – March 31, 2016
A state audit of how Missouri spends federal funding has raised concerns about how the Department of Social Services verifies people’s eligibility to receive subsidized child care.
http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/missouri/2016/03/31/audit-questions-missouris-eligibility-checks-subsidized-child-care/82496958/

MS: & US: Judge Strikes Down Mississippi Ban on Same-Sex Adoptions (Includes video)
NBC News – March 31, 2016
A federal judge struck down Mississippi’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples Thursday–making the practice legal nationwide. Also: Federal Judge Halts Enforcement of Mississippi Ban on Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples: http://www.hrc.org/blog/federal-judge-halts-enforcement-of-mississippi-ban-on-adoptions-by-same-sex?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss-feed
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/judge-strikes-down-mississippi-s-ban-same-sex-adoptions-n548856

NY: Attorneys for foster kids claiming abuse fighting to obtain ACS case files needed for lawsuit
New York Daily News – March 31, 2016
Lawyers for 10 children alleging abuse while in foster care are fighting for access to the kids’ ACS case files, part of an ongoing federal lawsuit seeking reforms to the child welfare system.
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/lawyers-foster-kids-fighting-obtain-acs-case-files-article-1.2584724

PA: Pennsylvania one of lowest reported child abuse rates in country (Includes video)
WHAG – March 31, 2016
Advocacy groups allege Pennsylvania has developed a culture of cover-ups. High-profiles cases like in Altoona-Johnstown, where a grand jury found Diocese members abused hundreds of children, and a similar scenario involving Penn State’s football coach Jerry Sandusky highlight the issue.
http://www.your4state.com/news/4state-in-focus/4sif-child-abuse/pennsylvania-one-of-lowest-reported-child-abuse-rates-in-country

PA: York County CASA: Child Abuse/Neglect Advocacy (Includes video)
ABC27 – March 31, 2016
In recognition of the collaboration needed to help prevent child abuse and neglect, the York County CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, program will be holding a public film screening of the documentaries Removed parts I and II on Friday April 1, 2016. These films were created with the intent of bringing to light the often unknown subjects of foster care and child abuse/neglect.
http://abc27.com/2016/03/31/york-county-casa-child-abuseneglect-advocacy/

TN: Training to help adults notice, prevent child abuse
Knoxville News Sentinel – March 31, 2016
The National Children’s Alliance has called it “the most effective tool to stop child abuse.” So the Community Coalition to Protect Children is hoping as many people as possible–parents, church leaders, teachers, foster parents, child-care workers and community members–can take advantage of the chance to get the training for free.
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local/training-to-help-adults-notice-prevent-child-abuse-2f4ad4d6-8d56-479c-e053-0100007f8f8c-374179661.html

TX: No excuse: ChildSafe sets lofty goal to combat child abuse, neglect (Includes video)
KSAT – March 31, 2016
ChildSafe served more than 4,300 children last year, and CEO Kim Abernethy said at the end of February this year, the organization has already seen a 32 percent increase in the number of children that depend on ChildSafe for counseling.
http://www.ksat.com/features/childsafe-chooses-lofty-april-goal-1-million

UT: Sponsor of vetoed grandparents rights bill to work with Gov. Herbert to refine legislation
Deseret News – March 31, 2016
The sponsor of a grandparents’ rights bill vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert over concerns it could jeopardize adoptive parents’ rights said Thursday he is willing to work with the governor to refine the legislation.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865651296/Sponsor-of-vetoed-grandparents-rights-bill-to-work-with-Gov-Herbert-to-refine-legislation.html?pg=all

VA: Majority of local Social Service calls deal with child neglect
The News Virginian – March 31, 2016
Nearly two thirds of the calls received last year by the local Social Services office dealt with the physical neglect of a child. That was the report delivered by the staff of the Shenandoah Valley Social Services office Wednesday, sharing information on child abuse and neglect, legal definitions and caseloads in the service area of Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County.
http://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/news/majority-of-local-social-service-calls-deal-with-child-neglect/article_2f1e459c-f6e3-11e5-88e5-3789aa9e8e8e.html

VA: Navigating identities
Fairfax County Times – March 31, 2016
Rosen didn’t have a project in mind when she first learned about ConnectGens. This idea of conflicting identities for adoptive children had always been in the back of her mind, but it was not something she ever put into words. She also noted that when she was going through the adoptions process and when her son was younger there wasn’t a ton of information available on adoption.
http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/articles/navigating-identities/article_117846b6-f777-11e5-99c3-7bc51331246e.html

WV: Official: Child abuse cases on the rise in West Virginia (Includes video)
WHAG – March 31, 2016
Most parents would never intentionally hurt their children, but some do and others could use some help defining what abuse is to make sure they do not cross a line harming their child.
http://www.your4state.com/news/4state-in-focus/4sif-child-abuse/official-child-abuse-cases-on-the-rise-in-west-virginia

US: A crisis with little data: States begin to count drug-dependent babies
Kaiser Health News – March 31, 2016
Many states — including some that have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis — don’t know how many of their youngest residents each year are born physically dependent on those drugs.
http://khn.org/news/a-crisis-with-little-data-states-begin-to-count-drug-dependent-babies/

US: Foster Caretaker Must Be Ready to Be Thoroughly Supportive of LGBT Youth (Opinion)
Youth Today – March 31, 2016
For many youth, foster care can be a safe place for care and support when the biological family does not provide appropriate care. However, foster care experiences can be impacted by many factors, such as sexual and identity orientation.
http://youthtoday.org/2016/03/foster-caretaker-must-be-ready-to-be-thoroughly-supportive-of-lgbt-youth/

US: Know Someone Who Grew up in Foster Care? Three Things They Need From Us (Opinion)
The Huffington Post – March 31, 2016
As National Social Work Month winds down, I’ve been thinking about what older foster youth and those aging out of state care need from their social worker, counselor or other supportive people in their lives. What do they want and need to help them make the leap from dependence on the system to successful independent adulthood? The best way, the only way, to find out what these young people need is to listen.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-lee/know-someone-who-grew-up_b_9584598.html

US: My adopted daughter is part Native American — and I was terrified she’d be taken away (Opinion)
She Knows – March 31, 2016
“She’s legally free,” I said. “Her birth father has relinquished his rights”. “It doesn’t matter” he said, his voice tense. “Being legally free is a state law. The Indian Child Welfare Act is federal law; it supersedes everything else.”
http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1117475/adopted-daughter-is-part-native-american

US: National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Honoring Our Most Innocent Victims (Opinion)
The Huffington Post – March 31, 2016
This April marks the 33rd anniversary of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time dedicated to child abuse education, awareness and prevention. The issue, which is in the media every day causes one to shiver at the thought of what happens to our children, yet it is the most ignored issue because it’s so ugly. Also: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-heroux/april-is-child-abuse-prev_b_9586460.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ross-ellis/national-child-abuse-prev_1_b_9577188.html?utm_hp_ref=impact&ir=Impact

US: Presidential Proclamation–National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2016 (Press release)
The White House – March 31, 2016
During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect. Information Gateway resource: National Child Abuse Prevention Month 2016 Community Involvement Resource Guide: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/03/31/presidential-proclamation-national-child-abuse-prevention-month-2016

US: Relapse rates fall with use of long-acting medication to treat opioid addiction among criminal justice-involved adults
Medical News Today – March 31, 2016
Opioid addiction is a rapidly escalating public health crisis in the United States. Now, new research findings could shed important light in addressing this epidemic. “We believe our study is the first of its kind to look at the real-world effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone in community settings,” says lead author Joshua D. Lee, MD, MSc, associate professor in the Departments of Population Health and Medicine at NYU Langone. “It may be particularly effective with populations, such as recently released prisoners, who typically don’t have access to other evidence-based daily medications for opiate disorders, like methadone or buprenorphine.” Study: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1505409
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/308523.php

US: Same-Sex Couples Can Now Adopt Children In All 50 States
The Huffington Post – March 31, 2016
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Mississippi?s ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional, making gay adoption legal in all 50 states.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mississippi-same-sex-adoption_us_56fdb1a3e4b083f5c607567f

US: Why the Lexi Page case may go to the US Supreme Court
The Christian Science Monitor – March 31, 2016
The case echoes several other cases pitting the foster care system against the ICWA. In 2013, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a case involving Veronica, a young Cherokee girl, reached the US Supreme Court.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0331/Why-the-Lexi-Page-case-may-go-to-the-US-Supreme-Court

INTERNATIONAL

Canada: Child welfare in Manitoba election spotlight
The Canadian Press – March 31, 2016
Manitoba’s beleaguered child-welfare system came under the provincial election spotlight Wednesday with promises from all parties to cut a record number of kids in care.
http://globalnews.ca/news/2608630/child-welfare-in-manitoba-election-spotlight/

International: Longer maternity leave linked to better infant health (Press release)
Medical News Today – March 31, 2016
For each additional month of paid maternity leave offered in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), infant mortality is reduced by 13%, according to a new study by researchers from McGill University and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The finding, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, marks the first time that research has examined the impact of paid maternity leave on infant mortality in LMICs. Previous work has shown that paid time off is consistently associated with lower mortality of babies under one year old in high-income countries. Report: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001985
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/308504.php

Mali: & Senegal: Transforming the lives of child beggars (Press release)
SOS Childrens’ Villages – March 31, 2016
A new programme is transforming the lives of 1,500 street children in Mali and Senegal by restoring their basic human rights. In collaboration with SOS Children and the European Union, child beggars are being reunited with their families and given access to quality education.
http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/news/transforming-the-lives-of-child-beggars

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Another Happy CASA Story

A couple of weeks ago at an “Everyday Courage” event sponsored by the California Endowment I met a very caring and compassionate woman named Rosa Arevalo. Rosa works for CASA of Los Angeles a non-profit organization that recruits, trains, and supports CASA volunteers(Court Appointed Special Advocates) to transform the lives of abused and neglected children. It is the only organization in Los Angeles County providing court-assigned volunteer advocates serving foster children in the dependency court.

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Another Failed State (no protection from child rape and no foster parents in Montana)

Kids with chaotic family situations, with behavior and mental health issues, as young as you can imagine, end up needing emergency housing. The need for foster families trained to help these kids is ever present.

Youth Dynamics is a non-profit organization operating across Montana. Katie Gerten works out of the Kalispell office licensing people to be foster parents. She said in the past six months she’s has about 20 children referred to her office to be placed in foster care that she had to turn down. She said it’s hard to find people up for becoming foster parents.

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Another Avoidable Child Death

Gordon Collins-Faunce, a father with PTSD & related psychotropic medications, and a history of physical and sexual abuse growing up in his own foster family, hurled his two-month old son into a chair. Ethan Henderson died three days later. Child Protective services had been alerted but deemed the boy was safe. While it is easy to blame the workers, it solves nothing without attention to the systems, resources and procedures that will prevent the next Ethan Henderson from an abusive family home.

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Another Asset For Protecting Children; The Law

Perhaps one of the best things that ever happened to foster care in Mississippi was a class-action lawsuit initiated by an advocacy group some 1,200 miles away.

Since its 2004 filing, Olivia Y. v. Barbour has shaken the state’s system to its core, not only revamping procedures and policies aimed at bolstering children’s safety and the reunification of families but also restructuring the environment of those working to make those goals happen.

“It’s not what it used to be,” said Hollye Alvarado, a family protection worker with the Division of Family and Children’s Services of the Mississippi Department of Human Services Region VI. “I definitely wouldn’t have been here without the lawsuit because there’s so many positive changes from it.

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Anoka MN – Saying Yes To Childhood Obesity & Smoking (not great public policy)

Anoka MN has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation, and it need not worry that free federal funding to promote smoking secession, anti obesity, and child safety programs will show up in schools to change overweight smoking youth anytime soon.

Thanks to Rhonda Sivarajah, the County Chair of the Human Services Committee – who perhaps finds childhood obesity and smoking a public good, or at the very least, finds programs promoting the well being of the Counties children not worth supporting.

Rhonda worked hard to vote down the 1+ million dollar federal strings free SHIP grant that would have created low-calorie snack menus, safe walking routes to school programs, and smoking cessation programs for thousands of Anoka elementary and high school children.

The primary complaint against the SHIP Grant, was that the feds wanted some kind of tracking (accountability) to see that the money was being spend wisely.

It’s my observation that accountability goes against everything these people stand for.

This decision demonstrates a very low value the County sees in its children.

Remember friends, “What we do to our children, they will do to society”. Pliny the Elder 2500 years ago

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Amy Sherman’s Blog for Florida’s At Risk Children

Postscript… I too have had 4 year old and 7 year old suicides as a Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem and a judge that has shared with me the pages of documented Prozac, Ritalin, and other Psychotropics given to very young children. This conversation needs to take place at a higher level (where something can be done about it).

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America: 20 Times More Gun Homicides Than The Rest Of The Developed World

America at that time had slid far from the top in almost all of the important measurements.

Today’s Institutes of Medicine & National Research Council 378 page study demonstrates that our nation is at the bottom of almost every health indicator, early death, the world’s leader in gun death, and U.S. women are now second to last in life expectancy.

David Strand’s study determined that programs helpful to young families and children used regularly in other nations always lead to safer, healthier, and more educated societies.

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Almost Half The Children Dying From Abuse In Colorado Were In Or Known To Child Protection Workers (72 of 175)

Today’s Denver Post Article reports a just completed state child protection workload study that indicates a need for 574 more child protection workers to keep abused and neglected children safe in the state (a 49% increase). Of the 150 CP workers interviewed, 100 felt that their case load was unmanageable.

Only 25% of these workers had face to face contact with their caseload children on a monthly basis. That’s pretty cold. Monthly contact is not enough to start with. The system can be so cold and removed and the family and child are so at risk.

There is currently a call for a Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman, who would investigate complaints within the child welfare system. That would be a start towards recording and responding to the biggest problems faced by children, families, and the people trying to make the system work.

2 years ago the Post published a series about 175 Colorado children who died of abuse and neglect (72 of them known within the child protection system). The video on this site makes a compelling argument for adequate reporting, more resources, better training for workers, and smaller caseloads – monthly visits are not enough.

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ALERT For MN Child Protection – Rolling Back Child Protection Reforms (from Safe Passage for Children MN)

This week county social services directors and the Department of Human Services (DHS) presented a plan to legislators that would significantly weaken reforms approved by the Governor’s Child Protection Task Force. Items they recommended dropping include:http://safepassagemn.com/counties-propose-rolling-back-child-protection-reforms/

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Adoption, Kinship and Grandparents (a tribute)

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Almost 8 million children in America live with grandparents and other relatives. Most of them receive little or not help from governmental agencies.

Not all counties and states appreciate that it is easier for a child to restart a painfully disrupted life with someone they are connected to and have memories of than waking up in a home they have never seen before with people they don’t know.

Grandparents often don’t know about the court proceedings that are about to forever alter their relationship with grandchildren as they may live in another city or have become estranged from their badly behaving children.

Even if grandparents know of court proceedings, it can be very hard for them to have standing in the court or navigate the system once they are in it.

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Everyone needs a lawyer and lawyers are expensive. I know grandparents that have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying desperately to provide a safe and familiar home for their grandchild.

It doesn’t seem right that money should be a biggest part of an adoption equation for grandma and grandpa (or other relatives) to make their argument for custody.

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Admitting I Have Problem Is The Hardest Part (thank you Brandon Stahl for identifying the problem)

Brandon Stahl’s reporting has been the best thing to happen for Minnesota’s abused and neglected children in my lifetime.

As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I have seen an underfunded and not too healthy child protection system become sclerotic, insular, and unresponsive to the needs of our most vulnerable children.

The slow tortured death of Eric Dean was only reported in a newspaper because he died. Had he lived, we would not know about it. I have children in my CASA guardian ad-Litem caseload that suffered just like Eric, and no one knows about their suffering but me (and people that read my words).

Over the past twenty years, I have watched underfunded, under-trained, under-resourced child protection workers (including judges, educators, day care and health providers, foster and adoptive families, try to work with cold and unresponsive systems that are now creating exactly what they were designed to stop.

I have seen lives of very young children destroyed forever because easily available information was ignored. Plenty of children in Minnesota have had Eric Dean type torture that no one knows about (because our systems are overwhelmed and unresponsive).

Governor Dayton’s proposed investigation should uncover the sad truth that no child protection information gets public attention unless a child has died violently.

The fact that most counties don’t keep past reports of screened out cases and are prohibited from considering past reports when evaluating new charges of child abuse should be seen for the awful impact it is having on children living in toxic homes (it leaves children in homes where they are molested, neglected, tortured, and murdered).

That Minnesota Counties don’t report death and near death of children as required by Federal Law is misfeasance, nonfeasance, or malfeasance and should be viewed as a crime worth punishment.

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