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
School Presentation Uncovers Hidden Sexual Abuse
Dec 12, The Muskegon Chronicle:
A jury found Steven Li-Hua Wei of Egelston Township guilty of two counts of 1st-degree CSC with a person younger than 13 and three counts of 2nd-degree CSC with a person younger than 13. The crime was brought to a teacher’s attention after the victim heard a school presentation about sexual abuse by the Child Abuse Council of Muskegon County. The girl said the abuse began when she was 6 or 7 years old, but she was afraid to tell anyone until recently because Wei had threatened her, the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office report said. Link to Article
Comment by C. Enright: A good argument for making the importance of reporting child abuse a public education campaign like those against smoking and for use of seat belts. Often, what the young victim needs is to know that it is OK to tell, and even that it is important to tell.
In Wake of Penn State Scandal, Western Michigan University to Review Procedures for Reporting Abuse
Dec 12, Kalamazoo Gazette:
In the wake of scandals that went unreported in Penn State and Syracuse, Western Michigan University, is raising standards on what is expected when reporting criminal or ethical violations. The Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution that “expects members of the campus community to always be vigilant for the well-being of colleagues, students and visitors and to be cognizant of the special needs of those populations the University serves that are particularly vulnerable to criminal abuse.” This measure is meant to ensure community and faculty members are prompt about reporting university-connected incidents to the University Departments of Public Safety. They also announced the formation of a three-person trustee committee to examine the existing reporting procedures and to recommend changes if necessary. Link to Aricle
Circuit Court Judge Sides With Mother, Won’t Reinstate Criminal Charges
Dec 12, Detroit News:
Wayne County Circuit Judge Gregory Bill refused to reinstate criminal charges Monday against a mother who resisted police forcing their way into her home last March to take her teenage daughter during a dispute with a Child Protective Services worker over medications. Link to Dec 12 Article
See Also For More Details:
Mom in Police Standoff Awaits Decision on Charges
December 10, Detroit News:
A judge is expected to decide Monday whether to reinstate criminal charges against a mother who resisted police who forced their way into her home to take her teenage daughter during a dispute over medications. In a hearing on the motion to reinstate charges against Maryanne Godboldo, the Prosecutor argued that the District Court judge was wrong to have thrown out charges. Police acted on a call from a CPS worker, who told police she had obtained an order to remove the child for medical neglect, the officers who went to Godboldo’s home accused her of firing a handgun at them through a plaster wall after refusing to let them in. Godboldo was talked out of the house. She was jailed for several days until her release on bond, and her daughter was held in a state psychiatric facility for almost two months. The District Court judge tossed out the charges in August because he said the order used by police as authority to enter the house was invalid. It was never authorized by a judge, but had a rubber stamp signature. Police also testified they don’t normally enforce civil court orders, but had been told by the protective services worker it was a criminal warrant. A Juvenile Division judge ruled in September against the government’s claims the mother had committed medical abuse by withholding a controversial antipsychotic medication. The girl was being treated for a sudden onset of psychotic behavior. Link to Dec 10 Article
Westland Parents Charged in Death of 2-Month Old Son
Dec 09. Detroit News:
A young couple was formally charged Dec 8th with first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of their 2-month-old son and the beating of the infant’s twin brother.
Nicole Susanne Roberts, 18, and her 22-year-old boyfriend, Antonio Pepalonia Brandon, were arraigned on one count each of felony murder, and five counts each of first-degree child abuse for the alleged beating of their twin boys. On Monday, police were called to the home the couple shared with Roberts’ family. They found 2-month-old Kayden unresponsive. The baby was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The baby had bruises and human bite marks on his body, according to Westland police. Brandon is accused of beating Kayden and his twin brother, Cameron, while Roberts did nothing, according to police. Officers testifying at the arraignment said the father admitted striking and biting the deceased child and also said the mother stated that she was aware that the father had been beating both boys since they were about 7 weeks old but was afraid to stop him or report him because she wanted him to remain in her and the twins’ lives.” The couple is scheduled for a preliminary exam Dec. 15th. Link to Article
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids honors Ionia County Prosecutor Ron Schafer with Crime Fighter Award
Dec 8, Sentinel-Standard:
Ron Schafer, Ionia County Prosecutor was given the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan’s 2011 Crime Fighter Award for advocating for early childhood school readiness, high quality after-school programs and child abuse and neglect prevention. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is a non-profit, anti-crime organization including more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors nationwide and 480 members in Michigan. The organizations purpose is to help kids stay away from criminal activities as adults, thus saving money. FCIK says studies show that such programs save society many times more than their costs. Link to Article
Live Tweets of Opening Arguments in Sex Abuse Case Involving 11-month-old
Dec 07, Bay City Times:
Reporter Holly Setter is live on Twitter covering the opening arguments of the criminal sexual conduct and child abuse case involving an 11-month-old girl. Mark Townsend, a 28-year-old Monitor Township man, is accused of sexually abusing his girlfriend’s daughter. . Brooks said: DTownsend is facing charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim younger than age 13, first-degree child abuse and assault with intent to do great bodily harm. Tweet: Prosecutor J. Dr. Lisa Markman, a prosecution expert and Assistant Professor and Associate Director, U of M Child Protection Team, will testify injuries are suspicious of child abuse. Link to Article
RESOURCES WITH TIME LIMITED VALUE
Highlights of Michigan’s Modified Consent Decree Approved on July 18, 2011
This is by no means a comprehensive list
- Created greater flexibility for DHS to organize the department; it is less stringent, reflects current structure, and allows flexibility for future changes.
- Implements new provisions to support the child welfare reform efforts commenced by Director Corrigan in January 2011.
- Expand supportive services for youth aging out of foster care, for example:
- Create and expand scholarships and onsite support and mentorships for youth attending Michigan colleges and universities, including the Seita Scholars program at Western Michigan University. Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal Fall 2011, go to Pg 35 (1,553 KB, PDF)
RESOURCES WITH ONGOING VALUE
Mandated Reporter Educational Pamphlets
A set of pamphlets have been prepared by the Michigan State University Chance at Childhood Program, with assistance from the Michigan Department of Human Services and the MSU College of Human Medicine, Department of Pediatrics.
The pamphlets are targeted specifically for physicians, nurses, public schools, social workers or clergy with a separate pamphlet for each discipline. Link to Pamphlets
Further explanation of the requirements set out in the pamphlets can be found at:
Enabling Mandated Reporters to Fulfill their Legal Obligations: Getting the Word Out Effectively and Affordably by Joseph P. Kozakiewicz, JD, LMSW on page 37 of Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal Fall 2011 (1,553 KB, PDF)
Stop It Now Provides pdf Pamphlets On Recognizing The Warning Signs Of Child Sexual Abuse.
Behavioral indications of Warning Signs are presented in the links below. Further explanation is provided at: Link to Stop It Now Website
- Warning Signs in Children and Adolescents of Possible Child Sexual Abuse
- Age-Appropriate Sexual Behavior
- Behaviors to Watch for When Adults Are With Children
- Signs That an Adult May Be At-Risk to Harm a Child
- Signs That a Child or Teen May Be At-Risk to Harm Another Child
- What is Considered Child Sexual Abuse?