May 23-29: CA&N Media Articles and Resources
Some recent media articles and resources relating to child abuse and neglect. If you have items that you think would be helpful to include in this occasional post, please forward them to me at the email in my signature block.
These stories were chosen because of their perceived relevance to the child welfare community. MiPSAC is not responsible for the views expressed in any of these articles, nor does it take a position for or against the positions expressed in the articles. They are presented merely to provide a sampling of what the media is saying about child welfare.
Charlie Enright, JD, MSW
4907 Foster Rd.
Midland, MI 48642
Michigan Professional Society on Abuse of Children, MiPSAC
This and previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles
RECENT MEDIA ARTICLES
India: Adopted Indian Orphan Deported from US Alleges Sexual Abuse
May 29, The Indian Express: An Indian orphan who was deported from the US in 2008 following her arrest on drug charges today wrote to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna asking him to help her get back to the US so that she can live with her two children – eight and nine year olds. In a letter to Krishna, Jennifer Edgell Haynes, claims that she was a victim of child trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation after she was adopted by an American couple when she was seven years old. Link to Article
US: Are Foster Kids Helped, Harmed by Open Hearings
May 28, AP: A California judge’s decision to open a county’s child welfare hearings earlier this year has energized a debate among advocates in other states about whether greater transparency helps or harms the young victims appearing in family court. Link to Article
OH: Gay Families Struggle to Safeguard Adopted Kids
May 27, The Columbus Dispatch: Because same-sex couples cannot marry, they cannot jointly adopt in Ohio and several other states that prohibit second-parent adoption. That should remind Americans that the nation’s long-running debate about gay marriage is a child-welfare issue, too, advocates for same-sex couples say. It’s also an issue that is being pushed to the forefront by growing numbers of those couples who are turning to, and often being embraced by, agencies seeking permanent homes for tens of thousands of foster children. Link to Article
OK: Court Rules DHS Must Provide Foster Parent Information to Media
May 26, Tulsa World: An appeals court has upheld a Tulsa district judge’s ruling that the Department of Human Services must provide information on foster parents to the Tulsa World and television station KOKI-23. Citing the state Open Records Act, the media outlets sought a list of current DHS foster parents, including birthdates and addresses. The birthdates and addresses were requested only for use in distinguishing between individuals with the same names. While another section of state law made information about foster parents confidential, the World and KOKI argued that a compelling reason exists for disclosing the information: checking names to determine whether foster parents have criminal backgrounds. In the appeal, the World and KOKI claimed that at least two children in DHS custody had been placed with a foster parent who had a criminal conviction listed in state law that would bar participation in the foster program. Such crimes include assault, battery, drug offenses, child abuse or neglect, domestic abuse, a crime against a child or a violent crime. Link to Tulsa World Article; Link to Appellate Court Decision
WI: Wis. Black Earth Pastor Gets 2 Years in Child Abuse Case
May 26, Wisconsin State Journal: A Black Earth pastor was convicted of conspiracy to commit child abuse for advocating the use of wooden rods to spank children and has been sentenced to two years in prison and court supervision afterward. Link to Article
IN: Woman adopted as baby faces deportation to India; single-mother never filed for citizenship
May 27, The Republic: Attorneys are scrambling to find a way to prevent the deportation of a woman who was adopted from an orphanage in India as a 3-month-old baby following a determination by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that she is in the country illegally. Kairi Abha Shepherd’s adoptive mother died when she was 8-years-old, never having filed citizenship paperwork. The appellate court earlier this month upheld an immigration court’s ruling that Shepherd, now 30, is too old to qualify for automatic citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 that applies to children from foreign countries adopted by Americans. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began efforts to deport Shepherd in 2007 after she was jailed in Salt Lake City for probation violation. ICE said Shepherd’s conviction was an aggravated felony, making her an immigration enforcement priority. Link to Article
FL: In One Year, Number of Florida Child Abuse Deaths Dropped 30 Percent?
May 26, NECN.com: The dip between 2009 and 2010 seems remarkable, but wasn’t due to a massive campaign to prevent child abuse deaths. Rather, it’s because the state changed the way it categorized such deaths. Only a fraction of Florida’s 2,282 overall child deaths in 2010 were labeled as abuse. The state child abuse death review team which compiles the tally is only forwarded cases that the local investigators determine to be abuse. Just before the dip, former DCF director of family safety Alan Abramowitz sent out a draft policy in 2010 narrowing guidelines for how to classify drowning and the deaths of children sleeping with parents known as co-sleeping deaths, saying there had to be a willful act of a caregiver to be considered neglect. The classifications have sometimes put the child death review team at odds with DCF because the team has repeatedly pushed to review all child death cases, saying it removes politics from the process and gives authorities a more accurate picture to help prevent future deaths. Link to Article
State Ends Dispute Over Child Welfare Testimony
May 25, The Journal Gazette: After months of haggling with Allen County prosecutors about whether they should testify about confidential information in child abuse cases, state officials said Friday they are backing off their original positions and seeking to resolve the issues away from the courtroom. Since March, attorneys with the Department of Child Services have filed motions in two separate criminal cases, expressing concern that if DCS officials testify to confidential information in open court, they could be opening themselves up to civil or criminal penalties. Since DCS records are confidential and trials are conducted in public, DCS employees would be violating state law by testifying, DCS officials said. The information they sought to protect was the content of DCS’ child abuse and neglect records and the identity of all reporting sources according to motions filed by the DCS attorneys. Link to Article
Michigan Supreme Court Reinstates Man’s Conviction for Raping Two Girls
May 25, MLive.com: The 2007 child rape conviction of James Henry Buie has been reinstated by the Michigan Supreme Court. The state high court decision comes a year after the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the conviction. The appeals court ruled that since two experts testified via video — and there is nothing on the court record indicating 47-year-old Buie agreed to allow this — there was a Constitutional violation of his right to confront his accusers, and he had a right to a retrial. But the five justice higher court majority found that since Buie’s attorney Valarie Foster agreed with the use of the video, and Buie did not raise a specific objection on the record to his lawyer’s decision, the jury verdict should stand. Link to Article
Measure of a Mother’s Love: How Early Neglect Derails Child Development
May 24, Healthland.Time.com: To understand how early maltreatment can derail a child’s development requires careful study — and is fraught with ethical peril. Researchers were allowed to randomize abandoned infants without clear birth defects to either usual orphanage care or foster care from birth. (To mitigate the thorny ethics of the study, adoption was encouraged as early as possible for the orphanage-assigned kids, even though that could have potentially weakened the findings.) Nonetheless, the study showed that the children placed in foster care developed normally, with appropriate head sizes, and less distress, better attention skills and a 9-point higher IQ on average, compared with children sent to orphanages. Follow-up studies found that the orphanage-raised group was more than twice as likely to develop mental illness, compared with those who had been in foster care. More than 50% of the orphanage group was diagnosed with at least one mental illness. Link to Time Article
US: USMC Braces for Post-Combat Child Abuse Spike
May 23, MarineCorpsTimes.com:With the end of full-scale combat in Afghanistan in sight, the Marine Corps wants to head off an anticipated spike in the number of child-abuse and child-neglect incidents associated with post-deployment stress and family reunification. Family advocacy personnel throughout the service are being trained to better help Marines, along with their spouses and children, improve communication and cope with traumatic events. The effort focuses on techniques that emphasize participation from parents and children. Link to Article
US: Foster Kids on Too Many Meds: is the Government Taking Action?
May 23, ABC News: The senator who spurred the Government Accountability Office to investigate the startling numbers of foster children being put on powerful, mind-altering drugs is calling on the Obama administration to follow through on its vow to find solutions to the issue. Link to Article
Identity Theft: Kids Don’t Know They’re Victims
May 23, NPR: Jennifer Andrushko, discovered when she applied for Medicaid in 2009 and found out that someone had been using her 5 year old son’s Social Security number for years. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Many identity theft victims are children and, because children don’t usually have reason to check their credit reports, the crime often goes undiscovered for years. Now, Utah has partnered with a credit reporting company to provide a service that would help protect kids against fraud. After she discovered that someone had been using her 5 year old son’s Social Security number, Jennifer Andrushko had a lot of questions. For one thing, she wanted to know how the Social Security Administration could issue a number to her child that was already in use. Until this year, there was very little parents could do to protect their children. The Utah attorney general’s office is now piloting an online child identity protection service. It allows parents to register their children, free of charge, for protection through the credit rating agency TransUnion. So far, about 4,000 children have been enrolled since the program was introduced in January, and Carter Andrushko is one of them. But Carter’s mother says their family’s ordeal isn’t over. Link to Article
Files Show How Priest Child Abuse Was Generational
May 22, AP: Robert Van Handel was a 15-year-old seminarian at St. Anthony’s, a prestigious Franciscan boarding school, when, he said, a priest slipped into the infirmary where he was recovering from a fever and began to molest him. The priest told him it would help draw the fever out. More than a decade later, Van Handel himself was molesting children while working as a Franciscan priest at the same Santa Barbara boarding school. Van Handel formed a boys’ choir for local children and chose his victims from among its ranks for eight years. The sexual abuse at St. Anthony’s, including Van Handel’s own account of his crimes, is included in more than 4,000 pages from the confidential files of nine Franciscan religious brothers who were accused of abuse. The internal files, coupled with an additional 4,000 pages of sworn testimony obtained by the AP, are the largest release of a religious order’s files to date and paint one of the fullest pictures yet of a pervasive culture of abuse that affected generations of students at the seminary dedicated to training future Franciscans. Link to Article
Cherokee Nation Asking US Supreme Court to Review Indian Child Welfare Act Case
May 21, Indian Country Today: The Cherokee Nation and one of its members, the mother of the child in question, are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling last April that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply to what a three-judge panel termed “temporary” tribal citizenship conferred solely for ICWA purposes. At the birth of the child, the mother had not formally become a tribal member. The Cherokee Nation intervened on her behalf, arguing that the child was an Indian child under ICWA because of a section in its Citizenship Act which provides that every newborn “who is a direct descendant of an original enrollee shall be automatically admitted as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation for a period of 240 days following the birth of the child.” The court acknowledged tribes “have exclusive authority on membership determinations for tribal purposes,” but charged that the Cherokee Nation was trying to expand federal law. The ICWA definition of “Indian child” applies to an unmarried person under age 18 who is a tribal member, but the child was an Indian child only if he was a member of the Cherokee Nation at relinquishment, the court said. ICWA does not apply to the 240-day citizenship awarded by Cherokee law, the court said, citing “gamesmanship” on the part of tribes if they authorize temporary citizenship on a “nonconsenting” person to invoke ICWA protection. Link to Article
CHILD DEVELOPMENT; How to Cut Crime, Alcoholism and Addiction?
It’s Not Elementary, But Preschool
June 9, 2011: To cut crime, raise education and income levels, and reduce addiction rates among the poor, no program offers more bang for the buck than preschool, as a new study published in Science demonstrates. After tracking the children to age 28, researchers found that those who had attended preschool were 28% less likely to develop alcohol or other drug problems or to wind up in jail or prison in adulthood, compared with kids who did not go to preschool. What’s more, their odds of being arrested for a felony were cut by 22% and they were 24% more likely to attend a four-year college. Incomes in adulthood of those who attended preschool ere also higher than those for the children who did not. Link to Article
RESOURCES WITH ONGOING VALUE
Pathways to Desistance Study
Ongoing: Center for Research on Health Care (CRHC) Data Center: The Pathways to Desistance study is a two-site, longitudinal study of serious adolescent offenders as they transition from adolescence into early adulthood. The study was designed to:
● To identify distinct initial pathways out of juvenile justice system involvement and the characteristics of the adolescents who progress along each of these pathways.
● To describe the role of social context and developmental changes in promoting desistance or persistence of antisocial behavior.
● To compare the effects of sanctions and selected interventions in altering progression along the pathways out of juvenile justice system involvement.
Link to Study Web Site; Includes a long list of publications of study results; Highlights From Pathways to Desistance: A Longitudinal Study of Serious Adolescent Offenders; An OJJDP summary of results.
Key Points of Pathways to Desistance Study:
● Most youth who commit felonies greatly reduce their offending over time.
● Longer stays in juvenile institutions do not reduce recidivism.
● In the period after incarceration, community-based supervision is effective for youth who have committed serious offenses.
● Substance abuse treatment reduces both substance use and criminal offending for a limited time.
Unexplained Fractures in Infants and Child Abuse:
The Case for Requiring Bone-Density Testing Before Convicting Caretakers
2011, BYU Law Review: This Comment highlights the problems inherent in making a diagnosis of child abuse based solely on findings of unexplained fractures in x-rays and ultimately proposes a solution to the problem that will help protect innocent children and caretakers alike. It proposes a statute requiring that bone-density tests be performed when the prosecution wishes to use unexplained infantile fractures as evidence of child abuse. Link to Law Review Article
LINKS FROM CHILD INFORMATION GATEWAY WEB SITE
Michigan Foster Care Review Board 2011 Annual Report: Parent-Child Visitation.
May 14, Michigan Supreme Court; State Court Administrative Office; Michigan Foster Care Review Board: This report provides an overview of the MFCRB’s functions and program activity details from this past year. Included are data, trend summaries, and observations from the review of cases involving over 1,100 children in foster care. The information obtained from case reviews provides an objective, third-party evaluation of the care that Michigan’s foster care system provides to abused and neglected children and address significant issues related to parent-child visitation and its impact on child well-being and timely reunification for children in foster care. Link to pdf Report
Study on Title II and Title XVI Benefits for Children in Out-of-Home Placements.
2012, American Public Human Services Association. National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.: While children are in out-of-home placement, it is the child welfare agency’s responsibility to ensure that their needs are met. This study examined state public child welfare policies and practices regarding Title II Social Security and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for eligible children in out-of-home placement. It addresses the following questions:
1. How are eligible and potentially eligible children identified?
2. How are decisions about benefit utilization made when children are eligible for funding from multiple federal funding sources?
3. How do child welfare agencies that serve as representative payees use and track federal benefits for children in out-of-home placement?
Who might find this report helpful?
This report is designed to help community stakeholders and national, state, and local policy-makers understand how states use Title II Social Security and SSI funds to help provide top-quality child welfare programs and individualized services for eligible children in out-of-home placement. Link to pdf Report
Postsecondary Education Resources for Youth in and Transitioning Out of the Child Welfare System.
2012, American Bar Association. Center on Children and the Law. Education Law Center. Juvenile Law Center. Legal Center for Foster Care and Education: Discusses resources that such youth may be able to use to further their education, both financial and support services. Includes a program at Michigan State University. Link to pdf Report
Stepping Up for Kids
What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Care
2012, CO Dept of Human Services. Univ of Southern Maine. Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service: Children placed with kin by the formal foster care system represent one-fourth of all children removed from their homes by the public child welfare system and placed in state custody.
Such kinship caregivers face the emotional, physical, and financial strain of raising children who have experienced the trauma of parental separation. Many kinship caregivers take on this responsibility without government assistance, often because they do not realize they could get help. Those who are able to get help find themselves navigating through thickets of bureaucratic rules and procedures that evolved without kinship families in mind. This guide can help get the support process started. Link to Kinship Guide
Psychotropic Medication Use by Children in Child Welfare.
2012, National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation: These data add critical information to the current discussion regarding psychotropic medication use among children in the CWS. First, high levels of unmet need still remain among children in the CWS, despite findings published almost a decade ago from the NSCAW I study. More than one half of children either living in-home or informally with kin met a clinical threshold for mental health needs, as did a third of children in foster care; yet, many of these children did not receive any type of behavioral health service, either pharmaceutical or psychosocial. This underuse of mental health services is as important to address as concerns about potential overuse of medications. Link to pdf Brief
Understanding Practices in Residential Treatment Facilities (RTFs) for Youth
2012, Mathematica Policy Research: Link to Fact Sheet
1: Three Quarters of Residential Treatment Facilities Seclude or Restrain Children and Youth
2: Only Half of RTFs for Children and Youth Monitor Patient Outcomes Beyond Satisfaction
3: Youth and Families Have Limited Involvement in the Oversight or Governance of RTFs
4: RTFs Can Increase the Adoption of Family-Driven, Youth-Guided Practices
How the IDEA and the Fostering Connections Act Can Work Together to Ensure School Stability and Seamless Transitions for Children With Disabilities in the Child Welfare System.
2012, ABA, Legal Center for Foster Care and Education: Children with disabilities have specific rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other federal laws which require that children with disabilities receive special help to succeed in school. In addition, as children in foster care, these students are also entitled to school stability under the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (the Fostering Connections Act) – and in some cases state laws – which seek to ensure school stability, prompt school enrollment, and regular school attendance for children in care of compulsory school-age. Anyone who works with a child in care who has or who may have a disability – including staff from child welfare and education agencies, parents, foster parents, juvenile court judges, children’s and agencies’ attorneys – needs to understand how these two independent federal laws can help advocates ensure school stability and smooth transitions for this highly mobile population. Advocates also need to comprehend how these laws fit (or do not fit) together. Link to Brief
No Place Like Home; (a) Lifelong Families; (b) Better Results for Foster Youth; (c) Conversation on Permanence
Spring 2012, The Annie E. Casey Foundation: Reducing Congregate Care p12Healthy family relationships are fundamental to successful human development. Nothing is more important to a child than a strong and loving lifelong family to promote emotional, physical, and financial well-being. Young people who are cut off from a family environment and left to languish in group care—either as a result of parental challenges, abuse, and neglect or involvement with the juvenile justice system—face long odds against transitioning to a successful adulthood. Far too many children continue to be housed in group settings, rather than in family homes. Yet many jurisdictions have significantly and safely reduced the number of children in foster care in group settings and the number of youth placed in juvenile correctional facilities. In this issue, we focus on efforts to reduce the number of youth in congregate care in the child welfare system and to move them more quickly into lifelong families. Link to Article
The NIS-4: What It All Means (and Doesn’t Mean).
2011, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: This Technical Assistance Brief summarizes the findings from the most recent iteration of the National Incidence Study (NIS-4):
Examines some of the differences from previous iterations
Considers the implications of the study and these differences
Offers some practical conclusions for courts and judges
The overall purpose of this Brief is to offer guidance on understanding the meaning of the NIS-4 findings in both a broader context, and in terms of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ (NCJFCJ) Courts Catalyzing Change: Achieving Equity and Fairness in Foster Care initiative priorities, goals, and opportunities. Link to pdf Brief
Senate Bills 0246 and 0247 would amend the Juvenile Code and the Mental Health Code, respectively, to do the following regarding juveniles subject to a delinquency petition:
– Establish a presumption of competence to proceed for a juvenile who was 10 years of age or older, and a presumption of incompetence for a juvenile who was under 10.
– Allow a court to order, or a party to request, a competency evaluation to determine whether a juvenile was incompetent to proceed if he or she were charged as a juvenile in court.
– Establish standards for conducting a competency evaluation of a juvenile, including a requirement that an evaluation be conducted by a qualified forensic mental health examiner. Link to SB 0246 Page; Link to SB 0247 Page
APPELLATE COURT CASES
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Grochowalski
The court held that the trial court did not clearly err in finding that §§ 19b(3)(c)(i), (c)(ii), (g), and (j) were established by clear and convincing evidence or in determining that terminating the respondent-mother’s parental rights to the minor child was in the child’s best interests. However, the court conditionally reversed the trial court’s order terminating respondent’s parental rights and remanded for the purpose of providing proper notice to any interested Native American tribe pursuant to the ICWA. Full Text Opinion