July 11-17: CA&N News Articles
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
US: New Research Raises Concerns About Gaps in National Child Abuse Statistics
July 16, News Medical: In the largest study to examine the impact of the recession on child abuse, researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) PolicyLab detected a significant increase in children admitted to the nation’s largest children’s hospitals due to serious physical abuse over the last decade. The study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, found a strong relationship between the rate of child physical abuse and local mortgage foreclosures, which have been a hallmark of the recent recession. The CHOP findings, based on data from 38 children’s hospitals, contradict national child welfare data, which show a decline in child physical abuse over the same period. Link to Article See also: Link to MSNBC Article, which focuses on relation of foreclosures to child abuse. Same study.
U.S. Parents Cautiously Welcome Child Adoption Treaty
July 16, Moscow Times: The adoption climate between the US and Russia soured in April 2010, when a Tennessee woman put her 7-year-old son alone on a plane with a one-way ticket back to Russia. She said the boy had emotional problems and claimed she had been misled by a Russian orphanage about his condition. Russian officials responded by threatening to halt all adoptions by Americans. Adoption agencies and prospective parents hope an agreement ratified last week will ease tensions between the two countries over the abuse and deaths of Russian children adopted by U.S. parents. Russian officials say at least 17 adopted children have died at the hands of their American parents. Link to Article
MD: Casey Foundation Ends Foster Care Program After 36 Years
July 15, The Baltimore Sun: Annie E. Casey Foundation to transition to grant-making strategy.About 30 foster children in Baltimore stand to lose their social workers — for some the one constant in lives prone to turmoil — as the Annie E. Casey Foundation begins a new mission intended to extend its reach. The Baltimore-based foundation will close its Casey Family Services, a 36-year-old program that oversees the care of 400 foster children in seven states. Casey says the move will free up $18 million to $20 million a year to help increase adoptions and help other organizations that assist foster children. The end goal is to improve child welfare across America by reaching a greater number of children, said Norris West, spokesman for the organization. He said Casey is committed to ensuring that the lives of the children affected are not disrupted. Link to Article
Foster Care for Meth Exposed Kids
Jul, 15, Daily Rx: Methamphetamine use by parents requires special treatment for abused and neglected kids. Kids that live in homes where their parents use methamphetamines are often abused and neglected. Foster care interventions can help place the child in a better environment. A recent study reported spikes in foster care admissions due to methamphetamine abuse in the U.S. Researchers recommend a tailored plan for handling kids that have been removed from situations due to methamphetamine use in the home Link to Article.
UK: Disabled Kids 4 Times More Likely to Suffer Violence: Study
July 12, Health Day: Analysis shows children with mental, intellectual disabilities at greatest risk for sexual abuse. In the report, published online July 11 in The Lancet, researchers from the United Kingdom said that the risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect for these children is nearly four times greater than for children who are not disabled. “The impact of a child’s disability on their quality of life is very much dependent on the way other individuals treat them,” one of the study authors, Mark Bellis of Liverpool John Moores University in England, said in a journal news release.” It is the duty of government and civil society to ensure that such victimization is exposed and prevented,” Bellis added. Link to Medline Article
UT: Utah Wants to Help More Kids at Home and Reduce Foster Care Placements
July 12, Deseret News: Fewer Utah children would be placed in foster homes under an ongoing effort to strengthen in-home services provided by the Division of Child and Family Services, a sought-after change in the state’s care of children. A state legislative audit in 2011 revealed a 38 percent increase in Utah foster care placements during the previous decade. The audit also showed that the number of families that received in-home support that enabled children to stay in their homes decreased by 40 percent over the same time period. Those troubling numbers prompted a change in approach. Link to Article
MI: Genesee County Sees Significant Drop in Infant Death Rates; Health Department Official Credits Community Collaboration
July 12, MLive.com: Genesee County Health Department officials say the infant death rate is the lowest it’s been in 25 years. The infant death rate (from birth to one year of age) for 2010 in Genesee County was 5.7 per 1,000 births compared to 9.4 deaths in 2009. A decrease in infant deaths can be attributed to different community groups coming together to improve mother and infant health, promote healthier lifestyles and routine doctor visits and offer better access to care. Link to Article
OK: Save Veronica’ Protesters Head to Washington to Push for ICWA Changes
July 11, Tulsa World: Protesters will lobby Congress to change the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, after her adoptive parents in South Carolina lost custody of “Baby Veronica” to her birth father in Oklahoma. The South Carolina couple had raised the girl from birth. Among other changes, the group says they want:
•To give a birth parent only 30 days, instead of 12 months, to revoke consent for an adoption.
•To let Indian birth parents choose an adoptive family for their child, regardless of the family’s ethnic heritage.
Generally speaking, however, the Indian Child Welfare Act does a lot of good, said Chrissi Ross Nimmo, the tribe’s assistant attorney general who represented the Cherokee Nation in the Baby Veronica proceedings. The coalition wants to change the law in ways that would make it easier for non-Indian families to adopt Indian children. “This defeats the entire purpose” of the legislation, Nimmo said. “The problems that you hear about in high-profile cases are not caused by the law itself,” Nimmo said. “The problems are caused when attorneys, adoption agencies, and courts do not follow the federal law.” Link to Article
MI: Dad Calls Michigan’s Effort to Force Son to Have Chemo ‘A Mockery tf Our Judicial System’ As Appeals Court Hears Case
July 11, Grand Rapids News/MLive: Jacob Stieler’s parents are not as easily able to disengage their thoughts. “We’re sick of it,” said Jacob’s father, Kenneth Stieler. “It’s a mockery of our judicial system and our freedom.” A State Court of Appeals panel heard arguments about whether the state can force him to receive cancer treatments. The state Department of Human Services filed a medical neglect charge after the Stielers, of Skandia, stopped chemotherapy treatments for bone cancer after three months of treatment because they made Jacob extremely ill. The parents also learned that a PET scan showed no sign of cancer. DHS officials contend they are acting in Jacob’s best interest because the cancer is likely to return without six more months of chemo. Marquette County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Solka dismissed the neglect case. Link to Article
MI: Juvenile Dentention Chief: Transfer Teenagers from Genesee County Jail to Pasadena Avenue Facility
July 11, Flint News/MLive.com: As many as 40 of the youngest inmates in the county jail would be transferred to a juvenile detention center under a plan county officials are giving serious consideration. Fred Woelmer, director of the county Genesee Valley Regional Center, made the proposal to the county Board of Commissioners today, part of a broader plan that also would put the county Sheriff’s Department in charge of transporting all detainees facing charges in adult rather than juvenile court. “We believe the proposal would provide more secure transport for our adult court residents (and) provide some relief to the current over-population of the county jail,” Woelmer said in a memorandum to commissioners. Link to Article
IL: Caseloads Are Higher Than in Nearby States
July 11, Chicago Tribune: Investigators often handle as many as 40 cases at a time and one recent report showed some juggling 60 or more, the Tribune determined. By contrast, the Tribune found that similar investigators in Michigan handled an average of 12 cases at a time in 2011. In Indiana, the average worker handled 13. Link to Article
YouthBuild Recruiting Teens Exiting Foster Care To Get GED, Construction Skills
July 11, Grand Rapids News/MLive.com: A partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and Bethany Christian Services and the U.S. Department of Labor, YouthBuild program graduated its first class of 20 students in June.
The 40-week program for low-income young adults ages 18 to 24 that are exiting the foster care system to help them receive their GED while learning construction job skills by building affordable housing for low-income families in Kent County. Link to Article
Just Because You See It on TV Or In A Store, Doesn’t Mean It Is Safe
July 11, Kids In Danger: People do it all the time. Walk into any grocery store and you’ll see infant seats perched on shopping carts. Infant carriers and seats placed at eye level on counters and tables show up in everything from advertisements to network television sit-coms. Both in magazine spreads and retail stores, cribs are packed full of beautiful comforters, pillows, and baby bumpers. Would these be featured on a cover or commercial if they weren’t safe and acceptable? A store wouldn’t sell a product unless it was certified to be safe. Right? Wrong. There is often a disconnect between how children’s products are used and what we know is safe. Link to Article
Labor Department’s Abandoned Push to Restrict Kids Working on Farms Stirs Debate About Safety
July 10, Star Tribune: “You can’t make a rule to stop every accident,” Dennis Mosbacher said after his 10 year old son Jacob hopped off the 40-year-old, 60-horsepower tractor at their farm. “There’s always a risk in life, no matter what you do.” Labor Department officials note that children performing farm work are four times more likely to be killed than those employed in all other industries combined. John Myers, chief of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s surveillance and field investigations branch, said it’s unfortunate the agency dropped its proposal in the face of intense opposition from agricultural groups. “If society says you have to be 16 to operate a car, I don’t see how you can say it’s any less sound advice that you have to be 16 to operate farm equipment,” he added. “I suspect this will not be addressed again, and I suspect we will continue to have youths dying on farms each year in situations that were perfectly preventable.” Link to Article
CT: Katz Brings Real Reform to DCF, Observers And Lawmakers Say
July 7, Hartford Courant: In cases of relatively minor child neglect, DCF is now working with the parents to strengthen the household and stop the situation from getting worse. Unless there is a pressing safety issue with a child, DCF social workers in these cases are calling the families and telling them they are coming. Until recently, it was DCF’s longstanding practice to treat the minor cases the same way as reports of physical or sexual abuse — by starting a police-style forensic investigation, opening an abuse/neglect file on the family, and showing up unannounced. Fifteen hundred DCF social workers have now been trained in this “differential response.” Child advocates say the less adversarial approach will reduce the number of needless child removals and help preserve families that deserve to stay together. Link to Article