InvisibleChildren.org ‘s new website is now mobile friendly as well as faster and much easier to read. We are grateful for the efforts of our friend and webmeister August Johnston. Take a minute to review the new layout and give us your feedback.Details
Preschool is having its moment, as a favored cause for politicians and interest groups who ordinarily have trouble agreeing on the time of day. President Obama devoted part of his State of the Union address to it, while the deeply red states of Oklahoma and Georgia are being hailed as national models of preschool access and quality, with other states and cities also forging ahead on their own.
With a growing body of research pointing to the importance of early child development and its effect on later academic and social progress, enrollment in state-funded preschool has more than doubled since 2002, to about 30 percent of all 4-year-olds nationwide. In just the past year, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and the city of San Antonio have enacted new or expanded programs, while in dozens of other places, mayors, governors and legislators are making a serious push for preschool.Details
Does Legislature have the will to fix CPS this time?
At long last – or again, that is — we have an answer to why Ariana and Tyler Payne had to die, and Jacob Gibson and Schala Vera and 20-month-old Liana Sandoval, whose battered body was found wired to a rock at the bottom of a canal in 2001, one day after Child Protective Services found no evidence of abuse.
At long last – or again, that is – we know why Annie Carimbocas had to die, and Haley Gray and Vanessa Martinez and 3-year-old Angelene Plummer, who was beaten, burned, raped and murdered in 2005 after CPS declared eight times that she was safe.
At long last – or again that is – we know why Janie Buelna left us in 2011, her body scarred, her teeth broken, her leg ravaged by an untreated burn when a simple phone call by CPS might have saved her.
And 22-month-old Za’Naya Flores, who starved to death in 2012 while a CPS caseworker wrote monthly reports on her progress.
At long last – or again that is – we know what the heck is going on in Child Protective Services. And we know how to fix it.
The question is: will we?
On Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer’s Independent Child Advocate Response Examination team – a task force of troubleshooters tapped in December after the agency’s latest epic fail — released its report on what is wrong with Arizona’s most beleaguered agency.Details
KARA planning a course for Continuing Legal Ed; For the attorneys, how many of you would consider attending?
We appreciate any feedback we can get to create the most accurate and up to date coursework for those of you who want to better understand this complicated and evolving area of law. Are there parts of the child protection topic that would be most important to you? Tell us. We will be bringing a new perspective to a much under-served subject. Please forward this to your lawyer friends.
email me directly; firstname.lastname@example.orgDetails
We need Congressional Oversight Hearings to review the enormous waste of federal funds that are often used to help dangerous abusers gain custody. We agree the hearings should consider the fraud, corruption and ignorance that waste large sums of money and bankrupt so many litigants. Most important we need oversight about the failure of the courts to protect our most important asset—OUR CHILDREN
We hope everybody will join together in seeking Congressional Oversight Hearings. Sign the Petition and tell your friends about it. Let’s give our children a chance for a safe and healthy life.
Why a Prison Birth Project?
Since 1977, the female prison population has increased by 872% (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008). Over 85% of the women in prison were the primary caregivers to their children before incarceration, and approximately 25% of women in prison have either given birth at some point during the year prior to or are pregnant at the time of their arrest (U.S. Department of Justice).These women have little access to services or rehabilitation related to birth preparation and parenting while in prison.
Labor, delivery, and birth rarely involves family, friends, or support, and most often consists of the woman being searched, shackled, and taken to a hospital under the watch of guards. Their babies are taken away from them soon afterwards. Some mothers will not see their children again then until their release; some may never see them again. These women experience shame, powerlessness, and fear during labor, and are left exposed and likely to suffer to post‐partum depression, life‐long parent‐child attachment issues, and an overwhelming insecurity in their ability to be a successful parent.
Child Abuse In Your State (recent news from across the nation – thank you Child Welfare in the News)
IN: Can parents sue DCS? Yes, divided justices rule
Indiana Lawyer – January 01, 2014
A sharply divided Indiana Supreme Court decision that a family may sue the state’s child protection agency for negligence is sure to resonate within the Department of Child Services, attorneys familiar with the case said. “The whole purpose of this appeal was to try to hold the Department of Child Services accountable for its failure to abide by statutory requirements,” said Adam Sedia of Rubino Ruman Crosmer & Polen LLC of Dyer, who successfully argued the case decided in a 3-2 opinion Nov. 26.
Even though the legislative session doesn’t start for another month, the MinneMinds campaign continues to work to ensure more kids have access to high quality early learning. Bills have already begun to be filed and one of the first bills to be introduced calls for more resources for early learning scholarships.Details
Florida, The Land Of Oranges & Prosecuting 14 Year Olds As Adults (sentenced to 70 years – for robbery)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In decisions widely hailed as milestones, the United States Supreme Court in 2010 and 2012 acted to curtail the use of mandatory life sentences for juveniles, accepting the argument that children, even those who are convicted of murder, are less culpable than adults and usually deserve a chance at redemption.
But most states have taken half measures, at best, to carry out the rulings, which could affect more than 2,000 current inmates and countless more in years to come, according to many youth advocates and legal experts.
“States are going through the motions of compliance,” said Cara H. Drinan, an associate professor of law at the Catholic University of America, “but in an anemic or hyper-technical way that flouts the spirit of the decisions.”
Lawsuits now before Florida’s highest court are among many across the country that demand more robust changes in juvenile justice. One of the Florida suits accuses the state of skirting the ban on life without parole in nonhomicide cases by meting out sentences so staggering that they amount to the same thing.Details
photo compliments of Richard Ross David R Dow (voluntarily) represents the poor on death row – no one else cares. Two people a month are executed in Texas. Lawyer Dow points out that it is children in need of protection that have no way of avoiding the juvenile justice system that end up in the criminal justice system. The very worst cases end up on death row. How can we intervene? This is not rocket science. Points of interventionDetails
there is only one Colin Powell. His TED talk contradicts most of what we think we know about him. It touches the critical issues facing at risk children in America today and is perhaps the most touching TED talk I have ever watched.Details
I have been part of government reorganizations. People have to redesign logos, develop new civil service positions, decide about fonts for the stationery…. It takes years. In the meantime, programs often tread water.
A better plan is to focus all that energy on improving outcomes. Counties should regularly measure and report how their children are doing regarding mental health, level of trauma, cognitive skills, and physical development.Details
Governor Brewer has eliminated the states Child Protective Services Department and replaced it with a new division. Is this the silver bullet that will provide some safety to the thousands of AZ children living in horrid circumstances that have been ignored for years now? (6000 cases ignored) (10,000 cases beyond the 60 day investigation limit)
Currently, 1000 caseworkers already have caseloads that are 77 percent above the standard. It does not appear that the general public is mostly unconcerned, and not many legislators seem to be pulling for more child friendly programs. For years now Arizona has largely ignored child protection. It will surprise me if this effort makes much difference.Details
Even if you know that African Americans are arrested at a greater rate than their white counterparts, it’s still a shock to see the scale of the disparity. To wit, according to a new study published in the Journal of Crime & Delinquency, nearly 50 percent of all black males have been arrested by the age of 23. Overall, 30 percent of black men, 26 percent of Latino men, and 22 percent of white men have been arrested by age 18, and those numbers jump—respectively—to 49 percent, 44 percent, and 38 percent after five years.Details
The 2014 state legislative session is almost here! It will start on Tuesday February 25th.
Safe Passage for Children is proposing a bill with two provisions. See a summary here.
The legislature plans to get all the bills through the committees and onto the floor of the House and Senate in 3 ½ weeks, so we need to be ready to communicate our support for the bill.
The key events for volunteers will be:
1. Training sessions to prep you for the session (see options below)
2. Visits with your state Representative and Senator.
3. Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 5th.Details
he report points out that in 2010, California’s per-student spending was $3,500 below the national average. And between 1995 and 2014, per-student spending increased 19 percent, from $6,971 to $8,304, while spending per prisoner ballooned 82 percent, from $32,933 to $60,032.Details
Join Brenda Benning, MSW, LGSW, for Part II of the popular Beyond Consequences Training and Support developed by Heather T. Forbes, the founder of the Beyond Consequences model. This second session is for parents who have previously attended the full 10 session Beyond Consequences Training & Support series, because it builds on the skills and techniques taught from Part I. This special series explores Volume 2 of Heather Forbes’ book and offers parents a “love-based” approach to helping children with severe behavior and trauma/attachment histories. Part II presents new scenarios and behaviors seen in the home and encourages parent’s participation. The price of the training includes the book, Volume II, “Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control” by Heather T. Forbes. Books are available at the door to walk ins. Class is only open to adoptive, kinship, and foster parents.Details
Jane McGonigal’s TED talk takes an approach to life and trauma that is very different, uplifitng, and perhaps the most remarkable insights I have experienced on this topic in years. When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better.…Details
http://www.voicesempowered.org/ This organization is drawing attention to gaps in the social services system and collaborating with other advocates to support and empower children and families. Anyone with experience with them is encouraged to comment.Details
JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. – In Kentucky, a lot of children are being raised by extended family members: at 6 percent of all kids, it’s one of the highest kinship-care rates in the nation. A new report from Kentucky Youth Advocates outlines what the group says needs to be done to increase support for grandparents and others raising kids who cannot safely live with their parents.
According to Jeanne Miller-Jacobs, who with her husband is raising their three grandkids, more assistance is badly needed.
“The biggest hurdle that we’ve had is misinformation,” she said. When we first got the kids, the financial part of kinship care never came up.”
She said her grandchildren, ages five, three and one, came to live with them because their parents struggle with drug addiction.
Kinship care has doubled in Kentucky in the last decade, and earlier this year, the state stopped taking new applications for its Kinship Care Program, which provides caregivers $10 a day to help meet a child’s basic needs.Details
Class action lawsuits get results where legislators don’t (Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, D.C., New Jersey, Mississippi) Proving that it’s not who is your senator, but who is your attorney. Whatever it Takes.
From Oklahoma News on 6 12,27.13,
Oklahoma is one of 14 states sued by child advocacy group Children’s Rights. The federal class action lawsuit was filed back in 2008, claiming children in state custody were in danger, because the system wasn’t doing enough to protect them.
The state has spent millions fighting it. With the trial just two months away and a judge denying the state’s last two efforts to get the case thrown out, DHS is now considering settling the suit.
According to Children’s Right’s website, their lawsuits have led to $2 billion in additional funding for child welfare systems.Details
Friends of KARA, if you emailed us yesterday, it did not get to us as we changed web hosts and had a 12 hour problem with emails (all correspondence was lost). Please resend your notes today as all is working now (and you will find that the pages load much faster than ever before).Details
The United States is one of two nations that has not signed the International Rights Of the Child Treaty. The other is Somalia (and it doesn’t have a functioning government). It is KARA’s position that the primary reason we refuse to sign the treaty is that it includes a prohibition against recruiting child soldiers (and…Details
Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune article supports a position I’ve held for years. By ignoring or under-serving people with mental health problems we are manufacturing state wards, preteen moms, and felons and this is making our cities dangerous and unsafe.
Our current policies of dumping the mentally ill in detention, jail, and prison places a huge burden on educators & juvenile, criminal justice workers, and especially the families (often grandparents, and foster and adoptive parents) that live with them.
Not much teaching gets done in a classroom populated with disturbed youth on Prozac. Safety and behavior management becomes the teachers primary concern at the expense of educating all the other youth. Our nations miserable graduation and drop out rates, STD rates (we lead the world), and crime rates (we also lead the world) are all tied to how we ignore and under-serve people with mental health issues.
Forcing foster/adoptive parents and service providers (educators, social workers, juvenile & criminal justice workers) to be the front line in managing mental health issues of the children and youth in their charge is an overwhelming task that rarely ends well for the children and youth. These children need professional guidance to overcome the serious issues that have triggered dangerous behaviors and the explosive increase in psychotropic medicating of five and ten year old children in our society.Details