December 2009 CA&N Media Articles, Resources and Cases

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
(989) 832-9628
[email protected]


Detroit News, Dec 9th: A Harrison Township woman, Julie Baumer, who spent more than four years behind bars on a child abuse conviction was granted bond Wednesday as she awaits a new trial.  Baumer’s new attorneys presented experts who testified that the boy’s injuries were consistent with venous sinus thrombosis or a “childhood stroke,” rather than shaken baby.  The University of Michigan Innocence Clinic has agreed to represent Baumer on appeal. Baumer is serving a 10-15 year sentence.  Full Story

Traverse City Record-Eagle, Dec 2nd:  A visiting judge will handle former 13th Circuit Court referee Dennis P. Mikko’s criminal case after local judges recused themselves. Mikko, is charged with five felony counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials.  Full Story

Bay City Times, Dec 1st   A jury won’t have to decide the guilt or innocence of a 23-year-old man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 14-month-old son. Bradley J. O’Neil avoided trial when he pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of second-degree murder.  Full Story, Nov 30th:  The Michigan Supreme Court today announced that a caseworker, a children’s attorney, and a probate judge have been recognized for their outstanding work on behalf of children by the Foster Care Review Board.  Full story

Grand Rapids Press, Nov 30th: Jeffery Allen Holmes is scheduled for an arraignment hearing Dec 2nd on a manslaughter charge in connection with the death of his four month old daughter Nov. 21st. Full Story

Flint Journal, Nov 29th: More than once, it would have been easy for Daryl Lowe to give up.  But his persistence took this Mott Community College graduate to law school despite troubled childhood.  Full Story

Detroit Free Press, Nov 29th:  We can fight child abuse with health care legislation.  See the next story as an example of a failure.  Full Commentary

Tuscola County Advertiser, Nov 27th: A Reese woman was sentenced to serve 15-30 years behind bars for sexually molesting a toddler.  An example of an abuse victim who became an abuser.  Full Story

Macomb Daily, Nov 27th:  A woman who was convicted of child abuse under the “shaken baby” theory has been granted a new trial because her lawyer failed to raise strong medical evidence in her defense, a judge decided.  Full Story

Lansing State Journal, Nov 25th: More than 30 Michigan counties honor National Adoption Day Full Story
Moments after 6-year-old Naetaja Sylvester’s adoption was finalized Tuesday in Ingham County Circuit Court, Judge Janelle Lawless handed the child a teddy bear.

Detroit News, Nov 25th:  Military tries to predict who will suffer from PTSD.  Studies on veterans and civilians point to some clues. Childhood abuse, history of mental illness and severity of trauma seem to raise a person’s risk. Having a social net and a coping strategy appear to offer some protection.  Full Story

Saginaw News, Nov 23rd: The “Carrollton CAN Make a Difference” campaign, a community service project taken on by the eighth graders of Carrollton Middle School, has resulted in a sizable donation to be presented to the Child Abuse & Neglect Council of Saginaw County.  Full Story

AP/, Nov 20th:  West Michigan Catholic priest sentenced to six months in jail for sexual misconduct.  Full story

Detroit Free Press, Nov 20th: Closing Michigan youth academy is a bad idea.  Full editorial

Detroit News, Nov 18th: Covenant House Michigan, a residential facility in Detroit for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth, is putting out an alert as the winter months approach to homeless youth that assistance is available to them. A candlelight vigil scheduled Thursday is meant to raise awareness of their plight.  Full Story

Kalamazoo Gazette, Nov 13th: The murder trial for the father and stepmother of a Centreville girl who died in a fire while chained to her bed will be held in Kalamazoo County based on a defense motion to move the trial out of St. Joseph County and will start Jan. 26th.  Full Story

Detroit Free Press, Nov 5th: An editorial criticizing placing juveniles on the sex offender registry for sexual activity with consenting girlfriends even if they successfully complete probation and the charges are expunged under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA).  Link to Editorial
See also: Detroit Free Press, Nov 4th: Mich. Appeals Court holds juvenile sex offender registration unconstitutional.  Full story


APSAC Pre-Conference Institute #1
Sunday, Jan. 24, 8 a.m.-Noon and 1-4 p.m., continuing on Monday, Jan. 25, 8 a.m.-Noon (Total of 12 Hours)
Advanced Forensic Interviewing Techniques for Children: The Cognitive Interview and Beyond
Julie Kenniston, Chris Ragsdale, Lynda Davies-Faroni, and Michael Haney

APSAC Pre-Conference Institute #2
Sunday, Jan. 24, 1-4 p.m., continuing on Monday, Jan. 25, 8 a.m.-Noon (Total of 8 Hours)
Advanced Sexual Abuse Evaluation for Medical Providers
Lori D. Frasier, Suzanne Starling

APSAC Pre-Conference Institute #3
Monday, Jan. 25, 8 a.m.-Noon (Total of 4 Hours)
Medical Issues in Child Maltreatment for  the Non-Medical Team Member Rich Kaplan
Click here for details and registration.


A new Department of Justice publication describes the impact of children’s exposure to violence.  “Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children’s Exposure to Violence” helps parents and other caregivers understand the potential impact of exposure to violence on the development of their children. The guide provides practical and age-specific recommendations for supporting the healing process.  Link to Publication

The ABA Center on Children and the Law is pleased to announce the release of Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Futures: A Judge’s Guide.  This Guide is the result of a collaboration with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Zero to Three National Policy Center.  It addresses the wide array of health needs of very young children in the child welfare system.  By sharing current research on physical health, child development, attachment, infant mental health, and early care and education, the authors provide tools and strategies to help judges promote better outcomes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who enter their courtrooms.  While the Guide is written for judges, the information it provides can be useful for both parents’ and children’s attorneys, guardians ad litem, CASAs, and other child advocates.
The Guide can be accessed through its own webpage, which allows for download of the full PDF version, individual chapters, or chapter Practice Tips: Link to Judge’s Guide

Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, ACF, HHS, maintains an online conference calendar at

The publications of the Family Violence Department (FVD) of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) include comprehensive suggestions for model court practice; legislation in family violence; and policies for collaboration among child protection workers, domestic violence service providers, and the courts.  Link to Publications

US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women has provided guidelines for supervised visitation and exchange services with parents who may present a risk to their children or to another parent to have parent-child contact monitored by an appropriate third party: Link to Guidelines

Index of Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) Approved Court Forms for Use in Adoptions: Link to Adoption Forms

Index of Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) Approved Court Forms for Use in Child Protective, and Other Juvenile Proceedings: Link to Child Protection Forms

The 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents Chartbook (NSAP). The NSAP is the first-ever survey to provide representative information about the characteristics, adoption experiences, and wellbeing of adopted children and their families in the United States. All information was reported by the children’s adoptive parents. The findings represent children under age 18 who were adopted and living with neither biological parent.  Link to Chartbook

The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education and the National Center for Homeless Education presents a guide to help educators and child welfare advocates clear the path to school success for children and youth who are forced to leave their homes due to abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction.  Link to Brief

The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators is pleased to announce the PPCWG website.  Check out the guidance to the Child Welfare field in the Strategy, Communications, Practice Model and Leadership sections.  This is the first phase, so look out for new content to be loaded soon.  PPCWG establishes a mechanism for state and local public agency leaders, child welfare researchers, academicians and stakeholders to come together to develop guidance for the field outlined in fourteen (14) critical areas. These critical areas include: Strategy, Leadership, Practice Model, Communications, Administrative Practices, Workforce, Disparity and Disproportionality, Strategic Partnerships, Information Management, Change Management, Research, Technology, Public Policy and Budget and Finance.  Link:


Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published)
Case Name: In re Williams
On its own motion, the court in an order vacated its prior opinion (see Link to Earlier Opinion in the 10/7/09 edition) and issued an amended opinion and concurrence. It also granted the publication request. The court again held the trial court correctly terminated the respondent-mother’s parental rights to the minor child, but plainly erred in terminating the respondent-father’s rights after failing to advise him at the permanency planning hearing of his right to appointed counsel and compounding the error by refusing to appoint counsel at the termination hearing.  Full Text of New Opinion

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Miteff
Concluding the trial court’s decision to terminate the respondent-father’s parental rights to his son where he actively took numerous steps to regain custody of the boy was clearly erroneous, the court reversed the termination decision. The court held several of the trial court’s findings of fact were clearly erroneous. The trial court rejected the testimony of a psychotherapist and a doctor on the grounds their testimony was not supported by sufficient, objective evidence. However, both witnesses stated they relied on documents, evaluations, psychological tests, and interviews from various doctors and counselors who were either assigned by the petitioner to evaluate respondent or hired by respondent.  The trial court also improperly rejected respondent’s trial testimony; particularly where he testified at length about how his behavior toward his daughter was wrong and he understood how his statements on the audiotape led to her removal and the removal of his son.  Respondent further testified he blamed no one but himself for what occurred and placed no blame on his daughter. As did other witnesses, respondent disagreed about aspects of his daughter’s testimony, including how he handled and stored guns and his alleged angry outbursts. However, the trial court should not have rejected respondent’s testimony simply because he failed to agree with all his daughter’s allegations. Respondent testified at length about what he learned in his parenting and anger management classes and in therapy, about how to be a better parent, and how to handle difficult emotional situations. He fully described his improper behavior and repeatedly expressed regret about how it affected his daughter and his relationship with her.   Full Text Opinion

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Johnson
The Court of Appeals reversed a trial court decision to terminate a father’s rights in a child because the father was incarcerated for molesting another of his children.  Since the trial court did not establish harm to the child at issue, the Court of Appeals opined that it did not have jurisdiction and could not therefore terminate the father’s rights.  Full Text Opinion

Court: Michigan Supreme Court
Case Name: In re Mitchell
In an order in lieu of granting leave to appeal, the court reversed the Court of Appeals judgment (see e-Journal # 42260 in the 3/30/09 edition) for the reasons stated in the Court of Appeals dissenting opinion and because the trial court committed plain error in failing to timely appoint counsel in violation of MCL 712A.17c(4) and (5), MCR 3.915(B)(1), MCR 3.965(B)(5), and MCR 3.974(B)(3)(a)(i), and in failing to advise the respondent-father his plea could later be used in a proceeding to terminate his parental rights in violation of MCR 3.917(B)(4). Thus, the court remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this order.  Full Text Opinion

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Ruiz
The trial court did not clearly err in determining § 19b(3)(j) was established by clear and convincing evidence and in terminating the respondent-mother’s parental rights to her three minor children. The two girls were previously made court wards in part because respondent could not protect them or herself from domestic violence. Despite participating in services to help her end her victimization and to protect the children, she refused to recognize she had to put their needs above her own. “She maintained a relationship with her abusive partner, became pregnant by him, and lied to try to conceal the relationship when it was discovered just a month after” the trial court ended its jurisdiction in the prior case. The court held considering the fact “respondent was willing to maintain a relationship with an abusive partner despite having received extensive services designed to enable her to free herself from further victimization” and thus, also protect the children, the trial court did not clearly err in determining the children were likely to be harmed if placed in her home. Full Text Opinion

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