All posts by MiPSAC

Registration Still Open: 2013 Child & Adolescent Online Training in Trauma & Dissociation

This 6-month course starts on January 14, 2013!

Join our team of internationally known experts who have specialized in trauma and dissociation for several decades and learn about how to treat those “resistant cases!”

Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., Frances S. Waters, DCSW, Sandra Wieland, Ph.D. & Renee Potgieter Marks, Ph.D. will provide a comprehensive course from assessment to integration with children of all ages who have all degrees of dissociation and all levels of co-morbidity.

General Description: This program is designed for clinicians in both private and public sectors. This course begins with an introduction to theories of dissociation, and looks at trauma and dissociation in children and adolescents from a historical perspective. The course then covers methods of assessment, assessment tools, and differential diagnosis across the spectrum of dissociative pathology. The psychotherapy section presents a model that integrates child developmental theory, attachment theory and family systems theory with an understanding of how trauma affects the developing brain. The therapy enriches purely cognitive behavioral perspectives with an emphasis on processing emotions related to traumatic events through creative expression and sensitivity to attachment dilemmas in traumatized children. The course addresses techniques for looking at difficult symptoms such as self-injury, trance states, rage reactions and sexual acting out. The course ends with a review of techniques for intervening within the systems that affect the child and adolescent such as family dynamics, social services, schools, and the legal arena. The effect of this work on the therapist through counter-transference will be discussed.

Overall Course Objectives:
At the end of this experience, participants will be able to diagnose dissociative symptoms and disorders in traumatized children and adolescents discuss how to intervene with the traumatized child with dissociative symptoms to promote healthy development
identify skills needed to conduct individual psychotherapy to treat complex trauma in children and adolescents, to work with their caregivers, and to interface with other pertinent professionals in the child’s life.

How to start the registration process:

  1. Write Mirel Goldstein, M.S., M.A., LPC, [email protected] to be sure that there is room in the class currently forming. Please do not use voicemail, Mirel does not have an ISSTD telephone line, and much prefers email. If you have a special circumstance, first write her about it, and then make additional arrangements with her if necessary.
  2. You may send along, at that time, electronic versions of your CV and your current license to practice your profession in your jurisdiction. If you cannot scan your license to email it, then fax it to 703-610-0234. If you are a student, then you are required to have a letter from your department chairperson stating that you have their permission to participate in this additional academic activity.
  3. We invite participation by licensed mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors) who are personally treating a child or adolescent with Complex PTSD, a significant trauma history, or dissociative symptoms; master or doctoral students in area of psychology, social work, or counseling; educators in human services. We do accept educators and other professionals in related field with permission by Fran Waters, Faculty Director.

Continuing Education Sponsor: CE Learning Systems, LLC

NBCC – CE Learning Systems, LLC is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (Provider # 5951) and a cosponsor of this event/program. CE Learning Systems, LLC may award NBCC-approved clock hours for events or programs that meet NBCC requirements. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for the content of this event.

ASWB – ISST-D’s Continuing Education Co-sponsor, CE Learning Systems, is approved by the Association of State Social Work Board’s ACE program (ASWB Provider # 1020) to provide continuing education courses. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

NAADAC – ISST-D’s Continuing Education Co-sponsor, CE Learning Systems, is approved by the National Association of Addiction and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC Provider # 410) to provide continuing education courses. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

APA – ISST-D’s Continuing Education Co-sponsor, CE Learning Systems, is approved by American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Visit us at http://www.isst-d.org today!

ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act)

Child Welfare Services training “ICWA Qualified Expert Witness Testimony to Protect the Best Interests of the Indian Child” that was held August 8, 2012. Attached are 6 PDF’s that were handed out at the training as well as the agenda for the training.

Nov 27: News Articles Relating to Child Abuse & Neglect

TN: Tennessee to Require Reporting of Addicted Babies

Nov 26, The Tennessean: The Tennessee Department of Health will begin requiring hospitals to report babies born with addictions Jan. 1 so it can better monitor a rising epidemic caused by mothers taking prescription narcotics. The state will also look for better ways to treat at-risk mothers who are pregnant and care for addicted babies born with what doctors call neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. “The group felt incredibly strongly that we really needed to take a supportive rather than a punitive approach,” Warren said. “There are certainly schools of thought that say we need to criminalize every mother who uses these substances during pregnancy and has a baby with neonatal abstinence syndrome. “Yet from a public health perspective, we know that could be disastrous in terms of the moms who would choose not to seek prenatal care because they were worried about the consequences.” Link to Article

US: In Juvenile Detention, Girls Find Health System Geared To Boys

Nov 26, NPR: For the growing number of teenage girls who are incarcerated each year, detention may be the only time they get health care. Up to 90 percent of these girls have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse, Pierce says. Their health statistics are particularly grim: 41 percent have signs of vaginal injury consistent with sexual assault; up to a third have been or are currently pregnant; 8 percent have had positive skin tests for tuberculosis; and 30 percent need glasses but don’t have them, according to research from the National Girls Health and Justice Institute. Link to Article

CA: Does California’s ‘Open Adoption’ System Help Heal a Baby’s Separation Wound?

Nov 26, Southern California Public Radio: As the process of adoption has gotten more open, research and studies into what adoptees experience has also advanced. According to Marcy Axness, an adopted child and family therapist with a specialization in Early Childhood Development, the relationship between a birth mother and baby is critical in the early days and weeks. Axness cites “17 different bio-regulatory channels” that exist between a birth mother and baby, “From breathing to respiration, heart-rate, to blood.” To take a baby away at birth, says Axness, cuts off all this regulation that the baby requires from its biological mother and causes a wound to the baby. Link to Article

MI: Foster Kids Get New Direction

Nov 25, Traverse City Record-Eagle: McGovern found stability as she emerged from the foster care system, thanks both to her foster parents and an innovative program called Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative. That program seeks to increase the odds of success for foster care kids like McGovern by teaching them valuable life skills like budgeting, saving, setting long-term goals, and advocacy. Link to Article

US: Report: Disabled Parents Face Bias, Loss of Kids

Nov 25, Minnesota Public Radio: Millions of Americans with disabilities have gained innumerable rights and opportunities since Congress passed landmark legislation on their behalf in 1990. And yet advocates say barriers and bias still abound when it comes to one basic human right: to be a parent. A Kansas City, Mo., couple had their daughter taken into custody by the state two days after her birth because both parents were blind. A Chicago mother, because she is quadriplegic, endured an 18-month legal battle to keep custody of her young son. Link to Article See also a lengthy Report by National Council on Disability; Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children Link to Report

TN: Tennessee’s DCS’s Payments, Penalties Under Fire: Private Providers Dislike System

Nov 23, dnj.com: The Department of Children’s Services found itself in urgent discussions with the 30 private companies and nonprofits that the department pays to clinically treat children in state custody. Many of the companies have become dissatisfied with a DCS program that levies cash penalties and bonuses based on how the agencies care for children. “The system certainly has brought attention to doing your best work as effectively and efficiently as possible, but I think it’s outgrowing itself in some ways,” said Darci Halfman, executive director of the Tennessee Alliance for Children and Families. The alliance, which speaks on behalf of the private companies, has pushed for a meeting with top DCS officials to discuss changes to the incentives payment system, which is known as “performance-based contracting.” Changes have been discussed this year, but not fast enough, some providers say. Yet amid the recent critiques, even the private providers agree that the way Tennessee reformed its payment system has greatly benefited high-needs children and set a standard so highly regarded that DCS officials frequently give presentations to officials from other states, including some who have followed Tennessee’s example.  Link to Article

MI: Michigan Families File Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Adoptions

Nov 21, WXYZ: Kimberly and her husband of Waterford adopted Zola two years ago, but Kimberly says she feels betrayed by the state’s Department of Human Services, or DHS, and some adoption workers. She says they withheld information that Zola had sickle cell disease. “We asked (if she had any health issues) and they had very little information to give us. They didn’t even know why she was in foster care,” she says. Link to Article

US: Dive Off Fiscal Cliff Could Be ‘Disastrous’ For Adoptive Parents, Say Advocates

Nov 21, Fox News: Among the so-called Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012 is a one-time adoption tax credit that gave $12,650 this year to families who adopt. However, unless Congress acts to extend it, the only tax credit for adoptive parents on Jan. 1, 2013, will be to those who take in special needs children from within the United States. For them, the credit will be just $6,000. “And it’s really not going to do much,” said Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of the National Council for Adoption. “Most families adopting those kids won’t even qualify for it because of the strict income requirements. It really would be a credit unclaimed at that point and that could have pretty disastrous impact for kids awaiting adoption in foster care.” Link to Article

NY: Child Welfare in the Storm: What Happens to Vulnerable Families after a Disaster?

Nov 14, Child Welfare Watch: The day after Hurricane Sandy blew through the eastern seaboard, a social worker in Manhattan was frantic to track down a little girl on Long Island. The child is 2 years old and lives with her foster mother in a neighborhood that had been slammed by the storm. She had a tracheotomy when she was a baby, and needs a feeding tube to eat and an oxygen machine to breath. No one knew whether the family had been evacuated or where they were. Article also looks at several other types of issues likely to come up as a result of an overwhelming natural disaster. Increased workload and increased likelihood of PS reports when families are living in shelters and the like. Link to Article

MiPSAC WEB PAGE / ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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
(989) 600-9696
[email protected]
Secretary,
Michigan Professional Society on Abuse of Children, MiPSAC
These and previous CA&N News Articles can be found at: https://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles where you can subscribe to an abbreviated version of posts such as this one.

 

Nov 6-20: News Articles Legislative Updates and Appellate Court Cases Relating to Child Abuse & Neglect

RECENT CA&N NEWS ARTICLES

US: Mandated Reporting of Child Maltreatment: Developments

Fall 2012, APSAC Alert: Our own Frank E. Vandervort discusses the history of mandated reporting statutes and considers the variation in state reporting laws. Several changes have been enacted or proposed prompted mainly by the Penn State scandal and the author considers the value of these changes. Recent changes to the reporting laws will no doubt fuel the long-standing debate about the efficacy of such statutes, whether they are efficient uses of resources, and whether they invite unnecessary intrusion into the private realm of family life. APSAC Alert Fall_2012.pdf; APSAC_Alert_Fall_2012_Spanish.pdf

For example, see:

D.C.: Bill That Expands Child Sex Abuse Reporting Requirements Advances

Nov 15, Washington Post: Nearly all adults in the District would be held liable if they fail to report suspected child sex abuse under a bill tentatively approved Thursday by the D.C. Council. But the proposal is prompting some unease about government overreach that would set the stage for a surge in thinly vetted complaints, which could lead to false accusations. “I think we definitely want to achieve more reporting, but there is definitely some concerns around how [authorities] will handle the level of reports that they will get and potentially false allegations,” said council member Kenyan M. McDuffie (D-Ward 5), a former Prince George’s County assistant state’s attorney. “And does having lots of false allegations have the effect of making it more challenging to prove some of these cases?” Link to Article

CA: I-Team Investigates International Adoption Facilitator

Nov 20, KGO-TV: Families across the country have trusted a Santa Clara County man to help adopt Ukrainian children. But there are concerns that aren’t getting full story when it comes to the kids’ mental health. The family profiled in this story thought they were adopting healthy children from the Ukraine, a boy and a girl. They found out later the kids actually came from a mental institution and have serious problems. How could the adoption facilitator not have known? Link to Article

CO: Seeking Solutions to Improve Colorado’s Child Welfare System

Failed To Death – An Eight-Part Denver Post Investigative Series

Nov 20, Denver Post: About This Series:

Day 1: More than 40 percent of children who died of abuse and neglect in the last six years in Colorado were known to child protection workers.

Day 2: Caseworkers are the backbone of the system but often fail to follow state policies.

Day 3: Some children never get a chance for help because their cases were “screened out.”

Day 4: Too often child welfare workers and law enforcement fail to work together.

Day 5: Funding inequities have plagued Colorado s child welfare system.

Day 6: People who kill children serve much less prison time than those who kill adults.

Day 7: Abused children often suffer from a long-term psychological impact.

Day 8: There are answers to the problems that face Colorado s child welfare system but they require political will and often money. Link to Summary of Articles

PA: Health IT Startup Building System to Improve Access to Foster Children Health Records

Nov 19, MedCity News: One of the complexities of the foster child system is that children tend to move around. A lot. That can make it tricky to ensure their medical records are kept up to date and that foster parents have access to this information, along with the children themselves when they leave the system. A health IT startup is developing a variation of its cloud-based patient record system to make it easier to do both things. Link to Article

MI: Michigan Foster Care Kids May Qualify for Extended Benefits And a Better Chance at Success

Nov 19, MLive.com: Josie Brown had no place to call home after leaving the state’s foster care system at age 18. Brown found out about a new program allowing young adults who have aged out of foster care to continue receiving certain types of support until they turn 21 years old. “It has helped me grow, it has helped me realize I’m not alone,” Brown said of the Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care program — signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder one year ago this week. “I feel like this program is going to help me become something that I never thought I would be able to, and be stronger.” The program formally launched in April. The Department of Human Services says 269 young adults are enrolled in the program, but there could be many more who are eligible. State officials are using the one-year anniversary of the law to raise awareness among potential participants – most of whom lose contact with the state as soon as they “age out” of traditional foster care at age 18. Link to Article

US/MI: National Safe Place Gets $10.5M Federal Grant for Training, Assistance

Nov 18, Courier Journal.com: The Louisville-based National Safe Place has received a $10.5 million grant over five years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide training and technical assistance to more than 400 runaway and homeless youth agencies across the country. National Safe Place was competitively selected by the Family and Youth Services Bureau to receive $2.1 million a year and will coordinate the efforts of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center for the next five years. Link to Article

Safe Places in Michigan

Child and Family Serv. Of SW Michigan
269.925.1725
2450 M-139
Benton Harbor, MI 49023
www.cfsswmi.org
Coordinator: Tanisha Craig
Click here to list all Safe Places for this agency >

Matrix Human Services-Off the Streets
313.873.0678
680 Virginia Park
Detroit, MI 48202
www.matrixhumanservices.org
Coordinator: Taneisha King
Click here to list all Safe Places for this agency >

Advocacy Group Urges Feds to Block DCFS Program Cuts

Aim is to stop reductions to intact family service program

Nov15, Chicago Tribune: An advocacy group filed a federal complaint Thursday against the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to halt cuts to an intervention program that links struggling parents to support services. Lawyers for the Family Defense Center argue that the changes will lead to more children being removed from their homes in violation of a federal law that requires DCFS to exhaust all “reasonable efforts” to keep families together. No more info in Article

“Crossover Youth”: The Intersection of Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice

Nov 15, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: The long-term consequences for crossover youth are significant with many suffering higher incidence of drug use and exacerbated mental illness. Crossover youth have a higher recidivism rate than non-crossover youth, and more than 30 percent have new maltreatment referrals following their arrest. These young people may not only commit offenses as adults, but may well perpetuate the cycle of maltreatment as parents.

What can be done? Fortunately, juvenile justice professionals are increasingly recognizing the unique situation of crossover youth and are developing system tools sensitive to the specifics of their problem. Law enforcement officials, judges, and child welfare practitioners are beginning to collaborate on how to best meet the needs of this unique population early enough to offset the substantial human and fiscal cost. In addition, reform-minded foundations and non-profits have initiated pilot technical assistance programs across the country, in the hopes of creating replicable best practices. The recent OJDDP webinar featured speakers advocating for multi-disciplinary teams to bridge the system-wide gap, an approach shared by others. For example, the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, at Georgetown University, developed The Crossover Youth Practice Model, which is currently used at 11 jurisdictions across the country. A central feature of the model is to encourage multi-agency collaboration across the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Such coordinated case management and supervision fosters family engagement and youth permanency. This directly addresses the instability that leads many young people from the child welfare system to the juvenile justice system. In California, the Sierra Health Foundation, through their Positive Youth Justice Initiative, has also taken a lead in fostering county-level innovation to address this issue. Link to Article

US/OR/CA: Behind The Story: An Information Gap in Child Abuse Cases

Nov 15, Investigate Reporters & Editors: There were signs of problems before 15-year-old Jeanette Maples died of starvation and abuse in Oregon in December 2009. There had been substantiated reports of abuse in California. When Oregon protective services workers tried to get that information, it was denied. Congress had mandated that states share information with one another in 2006, passing a law requiring the establishment of a national database of proven child abuse cases. But there was no deadline for the project or plan for its implementation. Link to Article

MI: Mother of Battered 3-Year-Old Boy also Charged with Child Abuse

Nov15, MLive.com: FLINT, MI – Prosecutors have charged the mother of a 3-year-old boy who remains hospitalized after he was allegedly beaten by her boyfriend. Wyatt’s boyfriend, Robert L. Martin III, was charged with child abuse Nov. 6 The boy has been hospitalized since Nov. 1 after his mother’s boyfriend allegedly beat him over a series of days. The boy was “covered head to toe in bruises,” court documents said on termination of his mother’s parental rights on accusations of neglect and failure to protect her child. Link to Article

MI: Self-Proclaimed ‘Pit Bull’ of Psychiatric Hospital Ordered to Stand Trial on Sexual Assault Charges

Nov 15, MLive.com: SAGINAW, MI — Despite reported attempts to convince psychiatrists that he is not mentally fit for trial, a Saginaw man will stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted a 6-year-old boy. McRannolds was charged in April, but it took months for him to face preliminary hearings as personnel at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti and the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital worked to ensure he was mentally fit for trial. The judge in July relied on a report from the Ypsilanti center to rule that McRannolds was not fit for trial. McRannolds then was transported to the Kalamazoo hospital. Psychiatrist Angela Jacobs filed a report stating that based on her observations and interviews of McRannolds that he was acting in an attempt to persuade personnel that he was incompetent. Jacobs wrote that she conducted a Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales test, a “reliable measure of nonverbal, verbal, and general cognitive ability.” McRannolds, Jacobs wrote, was “putting forth very little effort during the administration of the test, and answering items in a deliberate/inaccurate manner.” “He is able to function at a much higher level than he would have others believe,” Jacobs wrote. “He is capable of higher-level functioning. He has the ability to reason and rationalize as well as manipulate. He is clearly very motivated to demonstrate that he is incompetent to stand trial, although the facts do not support it.” Link to Article

Proposed Law Would Block Sex Offenders’ Access to Kids

November 14, CBS Detroit: Should sex offenders have access to their own children? State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor is pushing a bill that would block such access unless proof is offered that the child would not be at risk. The Downriver Democrat would like to see the public get involved in the push to get this new child protection law on the books. Link to Article

MI: Juveniles Serving Mandatory Life for Murder Won’t Be Freed, Michigan Appeals Court Rules

November 17, Detroit Free Press: The Michigan appeals court has ruled that a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that ends mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles convicted of murder will not apply retroactively to teens already found guilty who have exhausted their direct appeals. The decision, released Friday by a three-judge panel, came nearly a month after it heard oral arguments on whether the U.S. Supreme Court decision should apply retroactively to Michigan prisoners. It was in response to an appeal filed on behalf of Raymond Carp, a St. Clair County man serving life in prison without parole in the murder of Maryann McNeely, 43, when he was a juvenile. Link to Article

See somewhat related story:

MI: Juvenile Lifers: Michigan Lawmakers Quietly Propose New Sentencing Hearings, Possibility of Parole

Nov 14, MLive.com: The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that sentencing minors to life in prison without the possibility of parole is an unconstitutional form of cruel and unusual punishment, prompting calls for legislative action in Michigan and other states with mandatory sentencing guidelines that apply to juvenile offenders. House Bills 6013-6019 were introduced during the opening days of the state Legislature’s lame-duck session. Michigan is home to more than 350 inmates serving mandatory life sentences without parole for serious crimes they committed as minors. Link to Article

WI: Actors Embrace Atypical Gig to Help Child Welfare Caseworkers

Nov 14, Newswise.com: An angry “client,” 25-year-old, redheaded Wilma, storms into the room and slams the door. “Let’s get this shit out of the way,” Wilma says angrily to Gray, her “social worker,” by way of introduction. Wilma’s enraged, on the hook for behavior that could lead to the state separating her from her children. Gray smiles at her. “Do you mind if I sit here?” she asks Wilma quietly, eyeing a chair in the sparse room. “Do what you want. It’s a free country,” Wilma snaps as she plunks in a nearby chair and folds her arms across her lap. Gray, who has earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work, is in what amounts to an apprenticeship to be a Milwaukee child welfare caseworker. “Wilma” is a Milwaukeean with a theater background, whose real name is Jessie Moffat (’03 Anthropology). The two women represent an unusual and successful partnership in which social work educators enlist the help of local actors to boost the skill level of new child welfare caseworkers. The caseworkers are clear: They are here to learn and welcome criticism, no matter how difficult it is to hear. While medical colleges have long used actors to help students hone clinical skills, Wisconsin social work educators have only started to do the same in earnest in the past few years. Gray, recently hired by the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, is one of about 100 new child welfare caseworkers annually who receive job training from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families requires that all new caseworkers throughout the state complete job-specific training within 18 months of being hired. The school’s Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership for Professional Development (MCWPPD) provides the training, and has worked since 2008 with In Tandem Theatre to supply actors to play the roles of traumatized adults on the brink of losing their children. Link to Article

TN: Advocates Call for Justice for Drug Dependent Babies

Nov 13, WVLT-TV: Lawmakers and medical experts agree drug dependent babies have become an epidemic. But in Tennessee, the law doesn’t classify the condition as child abuse or neglect. Advocates say it should. Link to Article

US: Congress: Save Adoption Tax Credit

Nov 13, Washington Times: Congress will take up the issue of taxes at the end of this year. If the adoption tax credit is not among the list of credits to be extended, it will no longer be a help to the majority of families who adopt. If the credit is extended, but is not made refundable, this will leave out a large percentage of families who adopt from foster care. Link to Article

MI: 8-Year-Old Boy Testifies His Mother Hit His Infant Brother with a Bat; Boy’s Statements, However, Are Inconsistent

Nov 13, MLive.com: JACKSON, MI – Amber Murphy struck her 9-month-old son with a bat, Murphy’s 8-year-old son said Tuesday. “My mom hit him like crap,” the boy testified. The child, however, went on to say he did not see his mother hitting his baby brother, Seth Murphy, shortly before the infant’s August 2009 death. His father, who was not there when Seth was hurt, told him this is what occurred, he said in a soft voice barely audible to people sitting in courtroom pews. He was testifying before Jackson County District Judge Daniel Goostrey for a preliminary examination. Goostrey listened to his and others’ statements and found there was probable cause to believe Murphy committed open murder. He sent her case to Circuit Court. The 8-year-old’s testimony was confusing and inconsistent. Portions of it were untrue. Link to Article

MS: Analysis: Legislators Aim to Prevent Child Abuse

Nov 12, NECN.com: JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — “Erin’s Law” is described as a tool to keep sexual predators away from children. Four states — Maine, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri — have enacted it and a dozen more may consider it in 2013. The law would require schools to create lessons to help children understand and talk about sexual abuse. Supporters say teachers and administrators may be best positioned to identify children who are abused at home.

Miles says he and Collins support a program that educates children “to know when they are being messed with and that they can go to an authority figure and not be scared to report it.” “It’s also a deterrent to sexual predators who will now know that they will be reported to authorities,” Miles said. Link to Article Comment by C. Enright: Not sure why a statute is required. We had a disclosure by a child recently in Muskegon County by an alleged victim when a lesson on abuse was presented to grade school students.

MI: ‘Bad Parent List’ a Rights Violation? People Stay on Abuse/Neglect Registry for Life

Nov 12, WOOD TV: A little-known list can cause big problems for parents across Michigan. If you land on it, it could cost you your job, your reputation and your ability to parent your kids. It’s called the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry, and the State of Michigan can put you on it for life without a judge’s ruling. Family law attorney Elizabeth Warner represents four parents in Kent, Calhoun and Jackson counties who are all part of a federal suit against the State of Michigan. Warner said the list violates constitutional rights because people are put on it without having a day in court. She calls the registry a “blacklist” of people unfairly labeled as child abusers. “It’s the most massive civil rights violation in Michigan,” Warner said. “It affects hundreds of thousands of people, and if you take that out, it affects their families for all generations because once you’re on the registry, you’re on for life.” Department of Human Services officials defend the registry as a useful tool available to businesses, schools and daycare centers to screen job applicants. “It allows us to do that background check to ensure that Michigan’s children are not put under the care and supervision of individuals who have a substantiated history of abuse and neglect,” said Steve Yager of DHS. The agency says at any time up to 300,000 people are on the registry. Unlike the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, the Central Registry is not open to the public. Critics say the Central Registry is too subjective, and that it’s easy to get on but almost impossible to get off. Yager said he doesn’t think that’s accurate. “I would refer to the investigation process,” said Yager. “It is not a process we take lightly. We take it very seriously.” DHS says in each case, its investigators base their findings on evidence and a risk assessment. Link to Article

US: Shaken-Baby Syndrome: US Resists Conviction Reform, Unlike England

Nov 8, Plain Error: Student fellows working under Prof. Alec Klein with The Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University are assessing why the United States criminal justice system’s treatment of shaken-baby syndrome (SBS) cases has a dangerous potential of leading to wrongful convictions. This is the first of a three-part series discussing Shaken-Baby Syndrome. Link to Article

MI: Ypsilanti Resident Found Guilty of Forced Labor Charges in Human Trafficking Case

Nov 6, Ypsilanti Courier: An Ypsilanti man has been found guilty on charges of forced labor for bringing four minors to Michigan from Africa and using force to have them perform domestic labor. Evidence presented during the trial showed the defendant used force and threats of force to obtain domestic labor from the four minors between January 2006 and January 2011, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “This conviction and the liberation of these victims occurred because of the diligence of school teachers, advocates, investigators and prosecutors.” The defendant brought the minors to the United States by giving them passports with false names and dates of births, according to the press release. He represented them as his biological children on immigration papers. Link to Article

MI: Unusual Muskegon County Child Abuse Charge Sends Alleged Alabama Molester To Jail

Nov 1, MLive.com: MUSKEGON, MI – Swift work by the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office and an unusual charging decision by the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office led to the recent arrest of an Alabama man accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a girl in that state. To get six children, including the now 16-year-old alleged victim, out of Grdjan’s household and get him into jail, the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office charged him with two non-sexual crimes. In the words of the Muskegon County arrest warrant, the alleged second-degree child abuse was committed “by forcing the victim to continue to reside with the defendant who had sexually assaulted her repeatedly,” thereby allegedly causing her emotional harm. The delinquency count alleged child neglect, for a similar reason. Link to Article

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Committee Meeting

Committee     Families, Children, and Seniors

Location          Room 327 House Office Building, Lansing, MI

Date                Tuesday, 11/27/2012

Time                10:30 AM

Agenda

SB 246 Juveniles; criminal procedure; revise juvenile competency standards;.
HB 4555 Juveniles; criminal procedure; clarify juvenile competency and culpability;.
HB 5641 Children; protection; central registry records; require certain notifications to recipients regarding expungement and limit maintenance of records to 10 years.
HB 5763 Children; adoption; allow objection to placements by child placing agency based on religious or moral convictions
HB 5764 Children; adoption; allow licensure of child placing agency that objects to placements on religious or moral grounds.

Senate Bill 0694 (2011) Tie Barred to Senate Bill 1303 (2012)

Both passed by the Senate and pending before the House Judiciary Committee

Senate Bill 694 (S-1) would amend the juvenile code to revise a provision granting the family court jurisdiction over a juvenile whose home or environment is an unfit place for the juvenile to live in, to do the following:

— Refer to a home or environment that “is or will be” unfit.

— Define criminality, and include violations that do not result in a conviction.

— Add abuse and substance abuse to the factors that make a home unfit.

— Require the court to consider allegations against an absent parent.

— Provide that, in a consideration of whether offenses against children rendered the home unfit, it would not matter if the child victim was related to the parent, guardian, nonparent adult, or other custodian.

Senate Bill 1303 (S-1) would amend the juvenile code to provide that the Department of Human Services would be permitted, but not required, to provide services to reunify a child with his or her parent, and the court could order the DHS to provide those services, in situations involving a parent who “is or will be imprisoned for 2 or more years”.

Senate Bill 1000 (2012) would prohibit parenting time in a country not a party to the Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction. Passed by Senate and referred to House committee on the Judiciary.

APPELLATE COURT CASES 

ICWA: Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: In re ENM

Delta circuit terminated parental rights of parents on or about June 14, 2011. Terminated mother enrolled in the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe on August 2, 2011. The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians motioned to intervene when a non-Indian petitioned to adopt. They claimed ICWA applies because the child is now eligible although enrollment in their tribe was closed during an audit. They claimed an Indian relative was available to adopt the child. Trial court ruled the tribe could not intervene in the termination or in the adoption. The NHBPI appealed.  COA followed the trial court’s reasoning under Nielson v Ketchum, 640 F3d 1117 (CA 10, 2011) which held a tribe cannot expand the reach of a federal statute by a tribal provision that extends automatic citizenship to the child of a non-member of the tribe. COA affirmed the trial court. Thanks to John Forczak for this summary. Full Text Opinion 

MiPSAC WEB PAGE / ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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
(989) 600-9696
[email protected]
Secretary,
Michigan Professional Society on Abuse of Children, MiPSAC
These and previous CA&N News Articles can be found at: https://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles where you can subscribe to an abbreviated version of posts such as this one.

 

October 16-30: News Articles Legislative Updates and Appellate Court Cases Relating to Child Abuse & Neglect

RECENT CA&N NEWS ARTICLES

MI: Traverse City’s Child & Family Services: Born of an Orphan Train

Oct 30, Traverse City Ticker: Notes the history of legendary pediatrician Mark Osterlin – helping Munson Hospital get off the ground, heading up its newly formed Children’s Clinic, and his early efforts leading to the establishment of today’s Child and Family Services, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this month. You might not know is that the inspiration for this community staple traces back to New York – and to the legendary orphan trains that whisked abandoned and neglected city kids off the streets, cleaned them up, and sent them west to families who promised a better life. Osterlin contacted the Michigan branch of the orphan train folks and proposed a northern Michigan branch, and in October 1937, realized his dream. Link to Article

US: The Only Hope for Many Who Want Children

Oct 30, New York Times Op Ed: Children’s lives depend on the renewal of the adoption tax credit. Most adoptive families need it in order to afford adoption, which costs an average of $30,000. Most of our applicants at Helpusadopt.org spend $30,000 to $50,000, and sometimes more depending on the circumstances and travel involved. Many American families seeking to build their families through adoption can provide for a child on a day-to-day basis but cannot pay these fees in full and up front. So these large costs present insurmountable financial obstacles. Link to Op Ed

 

MI: Foster Kids “Age Out” Without a Financial Education – OR NOT!:

Oct 29, The Street.com: This program is available in Michigan!

So what can be done to give foster kids a solid personal finance foundation? Opportunity Passport bridges the gap. Eddye’s story isn’t that of the typical kid aging out of the system.

After she turned 18, her caseworker told her about a program called Opportunity Passport that would match every dollar she saved, up to $1,000 per year. All she had to do was complete some personal finance classes. Eddye used matched funds to purchase a car and a laptop. She’s also used her savings to pay for her Certified Nursing Assistant and Emergency Medical Technician licenses. The program has three main benefits for participants:

First, the program gives foster kids experience in handling money.

Second, the program gives kids incentive to save.

Third, the program provides education and support.   Link to Article

FL: Florida Foster Children Wind Up In Unlicensed Religious Homes

Oct 29, Tampa Bay Times: Child care workers have violated Florida law by sending foster children to unlicensed religious homes, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found. The Times discovered at least four state children living this year in three separate unlicensed religious homes. Two homes told the Times about the transfers. The third published information about the children in its newsletter. Department of Children and Families officials are investigating how the transfers occurred. “It’s a mistake,” said DCF spokeswoman Erin Gillespie. “We’re owning up to it. Everyone’s owning up to it.” Link to Article

Brain Scans Show the Impact of a Mother’s Love on a Child’s Brain Size

Oct 29, Medical Daily: Neurologists say that the latest images provide more evidence that the way children are treated in their early years is important not only for the child’s emotional development, but also in determining the size of their brains. Experts say that the sizeable difference shown in the two brains is primarily caused by the difference in the way each child was treated by their mothers. While at first glance, the images might indicate that the child with the right brain might have suffered a serious accident or illness, neurologists said that the truth is that the child with the shrunken brain was neglected and abused by its mother, and the child with the larger and more fully developed brain was raised in a loving, supportive home and was looked after by its mother. Link to Article

MI: New U of M Public Safety Division Announced in Response to Child Porn Case Involving Six-Month Delay

Oct 29, Ann Arbor Journal: A review of how the University of Michigan handled the discovery of child pornography within its health system has concluded with the recommendation to create a single, unified new division. Board of Regents Chair Laurence B. Deitch announced this new unit, the Division of Public Safety and Security, at Friday’s meeting at the university’s Flint campus. Board regents unanimously approved the recommendation for this new division. Stephen Jenson, a former pediatric resident in the University of Michigan Health System, was dismissed in December and was charged for possession of the child pornography. The Board also thanked the University of Michigan physician who did step up to make the discovery of the child pornography known, which ultimately led to Jenson’s arrest and prosecution. Link to Article

OR: States Don’t Often Share Child-Abuse Records. and Sometimes Kids Die.

Oct 26, The Oregonian: A 10-year-old girl is found dead in a footlocker in Arizona and police learn her family had been under investigation by child welfare authorities in Utah. A teenager is murdered in Eugene, leaving a trail of questions from Sacramento to Salem about who failed to protect her. A baby spends its vital first year with a stranger in Alabama foster care while relatives in Oregon wait for word that they can raise the child. The fate of those three children and thousands more across the nation might have been different if only critical information had made it across state borders. An investigation by The Oregonian finds child welfare workers in different states often fail to communicate about a family’s history or a child’s needs. Federal law directs states to cooperate in child abuse investigations, foster care placements and interstate adoptions. But that doesn’t always happen. The federal government offers few deadlines and weak enforcement about what can and should be shared. There is no national database identifying proven child abuse cases, though Congress passed a law requiring that in 2006. Link to Article

MI:Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler Honored by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan

Oct 26, MLive.com: Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler was recently honored by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan for being a strong proponent of child abuse and neglect prevention. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan is a statewide crime prevention, nonprofit organization led by more than 500 of Michigan’s best-known police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors. Gribler was presented the award by Clinton County Sheriff Wayne Kangas, the statewide co-chairman of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan. “Sheriff Gribler has been a strong representative for public investments in voluntary home visitation and parent coaching, and high-quality preschool, after-school programs, and community-based treatment programs,” Kangas said. Link to Article

FL: Agencies Work to Unite Foster, Biological Parents

Oct 25, CDAPress.com: Days after Austin-Knight’s children were put in foster care, she met foster mother Krista King at a park as part of an effort in Florida to encourage more foster parents to communicate with birth parents, let them talk to their children and honor their child-rearing wishes. Similar programs are in California, Virginia and New Mexico. The programs have been developed as child welfare administrators acknowledge that more than half of foster children will eventually return home to their parents _ a longstanding proportion that wasn’t always addressed in innovative ways. The approaches provide an opportunity to help rehabilitate the parents, most of whom lose their children because of drugs and alcohol or neglect issues related to poverty. Caseworkers and judges decide how much contact is appropriate. Birth parents who were abusive often aren’t allowed to maintain a relationship with the foster family. States vary widely on whether they encourage birth parents to stay involved. In states and counties now encouraging the interactions, parents may keep in contact over the phone or face-to-face. Foster parents are taught to speak positively about birth parents and are encouraged to do small things like place a birth parent’s picture in the child’s room. “It may not always be comfortable for the adults to navigate these relationships, but it’s about the best interest of the child,” said Claudia McDowell, who heads Bridging the Gap in Fairfax County, Va. The program in Northern Virginia arranges icebreaker meetings, often during the first week after a child’s removal. Link to Article

UK: 300 Potential Abuse Victims Emerge in BBC Scandal

Oct 25, Detroit News: London – The scale of the child sex abuse scandal engulfing the BBC expanded on Thursday as authorities announced that 300 potential victims had come forward with accusations against one of the broadcaster’s most popular children’s entertainers and that others might have acted with him. The well-known children’s TV and radio host is accused of using his fame to coerce teens into having sex with him in his car, his camper and even in dressing rooms on BBC premises. All but two of the cases involved girls and detectives have interviewed 130 people. Savile, who died last October at age 84, was “undoubtedly” one of the worst sex offenders in recent British history. Previously feted for his charity work at hospitals and homes for children, Savile is alleged to have deliberately supported such causes to target troubled youths whose credibility would be questioned if they reported the alleged sexual abuse.
The Savile scandal has rocked the BBC and prompted disbelief that the TV host’s crimes could have gone unnoticed or unreported by colleagues or managers. Link to Article

MI: Livonia Teacher Accused of Child Abuse Resigns

Oct 25, Observer & Eccentric: The Livonia Public Schools teacher accused of abusing special-needs preschoolers resigned Oct. 16, school officials said Tuesday. Sharon Turbiak will remain on paid administrative leave until March 31, 2013, the effective date of her resignation, they said. She has not been charged with any crime. Turbiak was scheduled to go before the Michigan Tenure Commission Monday. The school board voted unanimously June 18 to recommend the tenure commission terminate Turbiak’s employment. The tenure commission has the final say in whether a teacher is fired. Superintendent Randy Liepa said the district had the choice of proceeding through the tenure process or accepting her resignation, and it made more sense to accept the resignation. Turbiak is accused of slapping, grabbing and force feeding special-needs preschoolers in her classroom at Webster Elementary, among other unprofessional classroom management practices, from about October 2011 to April 2012. Link to Article

US: More States View Registration Requirements for Youth who Commit Sex Offenses as Inappropriate

Oct 24, Models for Change: In fact, registries actually have the potential to decrease public safety as well as needlessly harm youth’s lives. Researchers have shown that youth who commit sex offenses – including violent sex offenses – recidivate at the rate of one to three percent. Thus, 97 percent of the youth placed on sex offense registries will never commit another sex offense – a much higher percentage than youth who commit other crimes. Putting youth on these registries means that law enforcement resources must be put toward unnecessary tracking of these youth – often for decades – and this backlog of useless data on the registry can actually impede the ability of police to speedily investigate new sex offenses. One might argue that these drawbacks are worth it, if it means tracking the one to three percent of youth who will recidivate. The problem is that it’s not at all clear that registries help us do that. And that’s not all: a recent federal law that made state registries even tougher has only made this problem worse. Link to Article

US: Tough Times For Girls In Juvenile Justice System

Oct 24, NPR: Experts say girls make up the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice system, with more than 300,000 arrests and criminal charges every year. A new report by the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy says the system isn’t doing enough to help those young girls. Most girls who wind up tangled in the justice system have family problems, trauma or a history of abuse, says Georgetown University professor Peter Edelman, who co-authored the report, “Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls.” More than half of the girls detained these days don’t commit big crimes. More often their transgressions are things like skipping school, breaking curfew or running away from home, says Edelman, who has studied justice up close since the 1970s. “Getting them back into school and getting them back on a path without invoking the sanctions of the juvenile and criminal justice system,” Edelman says, “that is so much better in terms of not leaving those wounds and scars and preserving the possibilities for the future.” Link to Article

MI: Analysis : 4 University of Michigan Public Safety Failures That Contributed to 6-Month Child-Porn Reporting Delay

Oct 23, Ann Arbor.com: In winter 2011 University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman learned that at least eight officials failed to timely report a pediatrician caught looking at child pornography while at work. The six-month reporting lapse occurred because of a variety of reasons, including poor decisions by university attorneys and the misconception that hospital security acted as police. But perhaps one of the most significant factors leading to the lapse was the animosity between hospital security and university police, which multiple individuals say contributed to a “culture of fear and blame” between the units. The Board of Regents in March commissioned Margolis Healy to conduct a review of the safety culture, where if fell short and how insufficiencies contributed to the six-month reporting lapse that allowed Stephen Jenson, 37, to work alongside children at University Hospital while viewing child porn at his home and, worse, during shifts at work. The result was a scathing report of problems between the Department of Public Safety, hospital security and, less so, housing security. Link to Article

MI: Boy Scouts ‘Perversion’ Files Show 3 Cases of Alleged Sexual Abuse by Saginaw County Scoutmasters

Oct 23, MLive.com: The Boy Scouts of America severed ties decades ago with three Saginaw scoutmasters after sexual assault claims arose, according to documents contained in the more than 14,500 pages of the organization’s secret files. The records, released last week by an order from the Oregon Supreme Court, document sex abuse allegations across the country from 1965 to 1985. The records include about 50 files from Michigan, including three in Saginaw County. Link to Article

NYU Dentistry, Foster Care Agency Partnership, Improves Child Health, Aids Student Training

Oct 21, Science Codex: The New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) and Graham Windham, a local NYC-based foster care agency, have partnered to provide regular dental care to more than 650 children since spring of 2011. The success of the program, Partners Against Caries (PAC), both for the participating foster children and the dental school students, may serve as a model for other dental schools’ outreach programs. PAC’s successes were outlined in an oral as well as a poster session at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, October 20-23, 2012. “The program has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for both the children and families in foster care, as well as for the NYUCD dental students,” said study author Elizabeth A. Best, MPH, Department of Pediatric Dentistry. “The pediatric patients enjoy receiving care from the dental students, who are very engaged with the children.” For the dental students, the experience has been eye-opening. “Most of the dental students have little knowledge of the foster care system,” commented Best. “At NYUCD, we are now graduating dental students who have worked with this population, and are aware of their unique health care needs,” she said. Link to Article

PA: Outsmarting The Abusers; Police Here Make Inroads in Fight Against Child Abuse

Oct 21, Lancaster Online: “Nobody wants to believe that an adult would hurt a child,” Lancaster city Detective Aaron Harnish told a large audience last week at a local conference. “But these are crimes that happen every day.” However, Harnish and other experts explained at the two-day conference in downtown Lancaster, advancements in detection here have made it harder for offenders to hide. “It’s a matter of the expertise and investigative ability,” said Randall L. Miller, a veteran prosecutor hired by Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman to handle child-abuse cases. And those advancements have helped bring justice to more abused kids, local investigators say. At the conference, Harnish and Miller discussed methods that help Lancaster County stay ahead of the curve in investigating abuse. The article includes suggested investigative techniques. Link to Article

UT: Fewer Foreign Children Available For Utah Families to Adopt

Oct 21, Salt Lake Tribune: There is no single factor that explains the free fall, adoption experts say, which has occurred as the number of orphans continued to grow — now at 153 million worldwide, including 18 million who have lost both parents and as many as 8 million living in institutions, according to UNICEF. And interest in adoption remains strong as ever, though the recession may have affected some families’ ability to handle the expense. But most experts bring up two issues when asked to explain the decline: the rise in nationalistic policies by foreign countries favoring domestic adoption, and The Hague Adoption Convention, which was fully implemented in the United States in 2008. The United States recorded a peak number of adoptions of children from foreign countries in 2004 — 22,991 — but international adoptions have fallen steadily since then. In 2011, slightly more than 9,300 children were brought into the United States from another country. Link to Article

MI: Resentence Juvenile Lifers? Michigan Appeals Court Considers Implications of US Supreme Court Ruling

Oct 17, Mlive.com: The Michigan Court of Appeals is weighing arguments in a single case that may shape the fate of 368 prisoners serving mandatory life sentences for violent crimes they committed when they were minors. The nation’s highest court ruled mandatory life terms without the possibility of parole is an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment for minors, invalidating sentencing schemes in Michigan and other states. In her 5-4 majority opinion, Justice Elena Kagan wrote such mandatory sentences fail to recognize the potential for cognitive and character development in young people. Judges, she said, need the ability to consider mitigating factors and circumstances at the time of sentencing. But Kagan did not indicate whether the ruling should retroactively apply to convicts who were sentenced years ago. Michigan has more “juvenile lifers” than most states, according to an MLive Media Group analysis. Defense attorneys are expected to request hundreds of resentencing hearings in coming months, and judges around the state are looking to the Court of Appeals for guidance. Link to Article  Comment by C. Enright: An important factor not discussed in the article or in the Supreme Court opinion is the impact of juvenile incarceration on the cognitive development of the offenders. Say a 30 year old gets out of prison after 15 years of incarceration. Even if he has a high school diploma – how likely is that since he was told he was never going to get out anyway? – He has not been outside for 15 years. He wouldn’t know how to act in a public place. He has never needed to get a job so has no job skills and has none of the normal social skills that those never incarcerated have developed without thinking about it. Are we ready to give these potential parolees the help they need to stay outside? Or will release just become an inevitable revolving door?

TX: CPS Target Of Probe After Toddler Dies

Oct 14, Houston Chronicle: Six days before officers were called to the home, a newly-minted Texas Child Protective Services supervisor hastily but quietly closed an 11-month-old neglect investigation involving Tamryn, the dead toddler, without making a required final visit to the family or having someone approve the case’s closure. Those two errors, along with a series of others committed by CPS workers in Abilene, are the latest fatal foibles involving child abuse victims across Texas in which too few workers are investigating too many cases at one time. In this instance, the Houston Chronicle has learned, CPS – the state agency charged with caring for abused children – is now the target of a rare criminal investigation. “The Abilene Police Department is actively investigating the local CPS office,” Chief Stan Standridge confirmed, declining to give any other details. In August, the Chronicle reported on the death of Houston toddler Julia Martinez, whose case languished as Harris County CPS workers shouldered as many as 80 cases a month with many of those 60 days old or more. Link to Article

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

House Bill 5600 (Substitute H-3)
Expand & Clarify Eligibility For Set-Aside Of Juvenile Adjudications

Brief Summary: The bill would allow an individual to have more than one adjudication for a juvenile offense set aside under certain conditions. (Unlike adults, who are convicted when found guilty of an offense, juveniles are found responsible, and the process is referred to as an adjudication.)

The Apparent Problem: Traditionally, the emphasis in the juvenile justice system has been on rehabilitation. However, beginning in the late 1980s and continuing through the 1990s, the trend shifted toward treating juvenile offenders more harshly. This was due, at least in part, to a rise in serious juvenile crime. Laws across the country were changed to reduce judicial discretion for certain offenses, resulting in more juveniles being tried as adults. Even those remaining in the juvenile justice system faced more punitive treatment than before. One result has been that juveniles who have turned their lives around are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to move forward. With their juvenile record following them into adulthood, these now-responsible citizens are blocked from joining the military, going to college, and finding employment. As the trend across the nation has begun to shift in the other direction, back to an emphasis on rehabilitation, some states have amended their expungement laws to make it easier for youth who have demonstrated change to clear their records. It has been suggested that Michigan review its treatment of juvenile offenders who were adjudicated in the juvenile justice system (not those tried as adults in adult court) to make it easier for deserving individuals to put their past behind them. Link to Bill Status Page See the Fiscal Analysis for the pros & cons.

Senate Bill 694 (Substitute S-1 as reported)
Senate Bill 1303 (Substitute S-1 as reported)

Senate Bill 694 (S-1) would amend the juvenile code to revise a provision granting jurisdiction to the family court over a juvenile whose home or environment is an unfit place for the juvenile to live in due to neglect, cruelty, drunkenness, criminality, or depravity on the part of a parent, guardian, nonparent adult, or other custodian. The bill would refer to a juvenile’s home or environment that “is or will be” an unfit place to live in.

Senate Bill 1303 (S-1) would amend the juvenile code to provide that the Department of Human Services (DHS) would be permitted, but not required, to provide services to reunify a child with his or her parent, and the court could order the DHS to provide those services, in situations involving a parent who “is or will be imprisoned for 2 or more years”. Link to Bill Status Page for both bills.

 

Senate Bill 1240
Social Services Agency Liability Act

The bill would grant immunity to a social services agency, and its officers and employees, for injury or damage caused by the provision of a child social welfare program. Specifically, a social services agency would be immune from liability for personal injury or property damage caused by its provision of a child social welfare program. A director, member, officer, employee, or agent of a social services agency also would be immune from liability for personal injury or property damage caused by that person while he or she was acting on behalf of the agency in the conduct of a child social welfare program, if he or she were acting or reasonably believed he or she was acting within the scope of his or her authority. The immunity provisions would not apply if the conduct that caused personal injury or property damage amounted to gross negligence or were willful misconduct. In a civil action for damages resulting from the conduct of a child social welfare program, there would be a presumption that a director, member, officer, employee, or agent of a social services agency was acting within the scope of his or her authority and that his or her conduct did not amount to gross negligence and was not willful misconduct. Link to Bill Status Page

 

Senate Bill 1314
Copying Or Reproducing Child Sexually Abusive Activity Or Material

The bill would amend the Michigan Penal Code to include copying or reproducing child sexually abusive activity or material in the current prohibition against, and the penalty for, involvement in child sexually abusive activity or material. The bill also indicates that a violation would be committed when actions were taken for personal, distributional, or other purposes. Link to Bill Status Page

 

Senate Bill 934
Criminal Sexual Conduct: Foster Homes & Child Care Organizations

The bill would amend the criminal sexual conduct (CSC) provisions within the Michigan Penal Code. This section lists the conduct for which a person would be guilty of CSC. The bill would add circumstances in which the actor (person committing the offense) was an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person (the victim) is a resident, and the sexual conduct occurred during the period of that other person’s residency. Link to Bill Status Page

APPELLATE COURT CASES

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Garrison; Wayne County

Although the court held that the respondent-mother did not show a violation of her procedural due process rights, the court concluded that remand for further proceedings was necessary because the trial court’s determination that “there were no allegations against the father” and thus, that it had “no other choice but to return” the child to his care was both factually and legally flawed. The trial court placed the minor child with the father, and terminated its jurisdiction over the child. The petition for temporary custody identified the father as a respondent and alleged that he had no relationship with the child. He entered a plea at the pretrial hearing and the order of adjudication indicated that the trial court acquired jurisdiction in part because he lacked a home and a source of income. Thus, the trial court clearly had a choice whether to return the child to her parent and the relevant inquiry under MCL 712A.19a(5) was whether returning the child to the father would or would not “cause a substantial risk of harm to the child’s life, physical health, or mental well-being.” In making that determination, the trial court is to consider whether the parent substantially complied with the case service plan as well as “any condition or circumstance of the child that may be evidence that a return to the parent would cause a substantial risk of harm to the child’s life, physical health, or mental well-being.” The trial court did not address these issues before deciding that it was compelled to return the child to the father and terminate its jurisdiction over the child. “There was evidence suggesting that such action could cause a substantial risk of harm to the child.” The foster-care worker testified that the father had suitable housing, but he had not completed parenting classes and the worker did not know whether he was participating in or benefiting from the classes. Further, the record showed that his attendance at family visits had been sporadic throughout the proceedings, even though he was granted unsupervised visitation in 10/11. Also, the father had a wife and three other children in his home and there was no evidence as to the child’s relationship with them. Full Text Opinion

MiPSAC WEB PAGE / ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

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
(989) 600-9696
[email protected]
Secretary,
Michigan Professional Society on Abuse of Children, MiPSAC
These and previous CA&N News Articles can be found at: https://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles where you can subscribe to an abbreviated version of posts such as this one.

 

“Suicide in America” Infographic Promotes Awareness and Prevention

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens. This week is Suicide Prevention Week. To show the enormous impact this public health problem has on individuals, families, workplaces, the healthcare system, and society, and to promote its prevention, the National Council created a new infographic, “Suicide in America.” Link to Infographic