May 29-June 4: CA&N Media Articles and Resources
Some recent media articles and resources relating to child abuse and neglect. If you have items that you think would be helpful to include in this occasional post, please forward them to me at the email in my signature block.
These stories were chosen because of their perceived relevance to the child welfare community. MiPSAC is not responsible for the views expressed in any of these articles, nor does it take a position for or against the positions expressed in the articles. They are presented merely to provide a sampling of what the media is saying about child welfare.
Charlie Enright, JD, MSW
4907 Foster Rd.
Midland, MI 48642
Michigan Professional Society on Abuse of Children, MiPSAC
This and previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles
RECENT MEDIA ARTICLES
MI: Death of 7-Year-Old Detroit Boy Officially Ruled a Suicide
June 5, Detroit Free Press: The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office has officially ruled the death of a 7-year-old Detroit boy found hanging in a bedroom last month a suicide. The boy had been depressed about being bullied by other children and about his parents’ recent separation, the boy’s mother told police, according to police reports. Link to Article
MI: Two Children Burned With Scalding Water; Doctors Say Recovery Could Take Months
Jun 1, Jackson Citizen Patriot: A long recovery process awaits two children recovering from severe burns at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. Doctors on Thursday night told Blackman-Leoni Township public safety officers the two children, a 1-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy, will require skin grafts and months of healing, said Deputy Director Jon Johnston. The children remain in critical condition but are stable. Officers believe a 24-year-old live-in boyfriend of the children’s mother burned their legs and lower portion of their bodies with scalding water. At 6:30 p.m., officers responded to a rescue call involving two children with severe hot-water burns. The children went to Allegiance Health and were then flown to the trauma burn unit at the Ann Arbor hospital. The two had second- and third-degree burns, according to earlier reports. Link to Article
MI: Juvenile Justice Facilities to Stay Open Next Year
May 29, Times Herald: Michigan will continue housing juvenile offenders at Maxey Training School and two other state-run facilities for the coming year, but spending was cut by $2 million. The budget conference committee agreement reached Tuesday also requires the Department of Human Services to let private contractors bid on housing some youths rather than adding capacity if facilities become full. The final agreement still must be approved by the State House and the Senate later this week. Link to Article
MI: How Can They Sleep At Night?
May 29, Tuscola County Advertiser; Editorial Comment: The Paul Ryan (GOP) Budget Which Mitt Romney Has Declared To Be “Marvelous” Would Impact Millions Of Kids. With This Budget, Children Will Go To Bed Hungry, There Will Be More Hidden Child Neglect And Abuse Cases And Lack Of Foster Care Will Result In Homeless Children. With This Budget, How Can Congress People Sleep At Night? Link To Editorial
MI: Michigan Supreme Court: Prisoner May Withdraw Plea to Sex With Child
May 28, Muskegon News: An inmate imprisoned the last three years for sexual contact with a child in Muskegon County, must be allowed to withdraw his no contest plea because the judge who took it didn’t tell Cole his penalty would include lifetime electronic monitoring, the Michigan Supreme Court decided Friday. The high court unanimously upheld a 2011 Michigan Court of Appeals ruling to that effect. Link to MLive Article
NY: Day Care Program No Help For At Risk-Kids’ Siblings
June 4, Reuters Health: The younger siblings of kids who went through a preschool education program that included home visits and day care didn’t do any better on measures of intelligence or behavioral problems as teenagers, according to a new study. Link to Article
PA: Erie Jury Awards $8.7M to Adopted Child Raped By Foster Child
June 4, Erie Times-News: Kenny Bryan told jurors his future was derailed at age 9 when he was repeatedly raped by a 14-year-old foster child whom Erie County caseworkers had placed in his adoptive parents’ home. The panel meant the award to cover Bryan’s past medical bills, his lost earnings, and his emotional suffering, juror Bridget Swick, of Meadville, said. The verdict also was meant to send a message. “Maybe they will think twice about their procedures,” Swick said of the Erie County Office of Children and Youth. With the verdict, the jury accepted Bryan’s claim that former Erie County OCY caseworkers violated his civil rights when they placed the foster teen, J.O., who had a history of past sexual offenses, in the home of his adoptive parents in 2001. Bryan was repeatedly hospitalized after the assaults and suffers from debilitating mental-health conditions that were either exacerbated or induced by the sexual assaults. Link to Article
MN: Mayo Clinic Consult Service to Cut Harmful Psychotropic Rx to Kids
June 4, Star Tribune: Primary care doctors will need to check in before prescribing antipsychotics and other dicey psychiatric medications to many children in Minnesota. The state Department of Human Services has hired the Mayo Clinic to provide a new consult service to cut down on doctors who make questionable prescriptions of psychiatric drugs and to improve the quality of child mental health care in the state. “The vast majority of children who are prescribed psychotropic medications are receiving care from primary care practitioners, due to the critical shortage of child psychiatrists. Primary care practitioners have accepted this responsibility of necessity, but public and private sectors together must assure that adequate psychiatric supports are available to physicians prescribing psychotropic medications and the children they serve.” The proof that psychiatric drugs are being over prescribed and used incorrectly is the high rate of these drugs among Minnesota’s foster children. The drugs are five times more prevalent among foster children. “While it is certainly the case that children known to the child welfare system are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders than either the general population or other children receiving Medicaid, the magnitude of the medication disparity is alarming.” Link to Star Tribune Op Ed: Link to Business Journal Article.; Link to Star Tribune Article
CA: Newton: What Dependency Court Delays Do
June 4, LA Times: In the weeks since Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Michael Nash opened this county’s dependency proceedings to the press, there have been a number of revelations about a system that, until now, has been largely shielded from scrutiny. For the first time, the public is getting a broad look at the consequences of sloppy social work, the defensiveness of lawyers used to operating in secret, the agonizing decisions of judges, even the occasional happy outcome in which a family, once torn apart, is successfully reunited. Link to Article
Nick Anderson Editorial Cartoon June 3, 2012
An oversimplification but it does say something about our priorities.
OH: No Logical Reason to Deny Same-Sex Couples the Right to Adopt
June 3, LimaOhio.com: Nearly every modern study has demonstrated that children raised by same-sex couples are as well-adjusted and fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. The key to raising a well-adjusted child, according to most studies, rests with the nature and interactions of the familial relationships rather than the sex of the parents. Link to Article
US: Eliminating Barriers to Adoption
June 3, Washingtonpost.com: Why is it easier for an American family to adopt a child from across the world than adopt a foster child across a state line? State Department data show that in fiscal 2010, Americans adopted 11,058 children from other countries. By contrast, according to data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, Americans adopted just 527 children from foster care across state lines that same year. Link to Article
CO: More Kids Now Live With Relatives Other Than Their Parents, Study Says
June 2, Denver Post: Most of those children are living with relatives in informal relationships. Part of the increase is because child-welfare agencies increasingly recognize that kids whose parents can’t care for them do better with family members rather than strangers in foster care. Link to Article
New Mexico Court Lets Same-Sex Partner Seek Child Custody
June 1, WSBT-TV: New Mexico’s highest court has ruled in a precedent-setting case that a same-sex partner of an adoptive mother has legal rights as a parent and can seek child custody. Link to Article
HI: Parent, Child Therapy Helps Military Families Connect
June 1, Hawaii Army Weekly: Researchers and providers from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services; School Behavioral Health Team and Child and Adolescent Psychology Services; here, have been collaborating with the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to adapt a therapy called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, or PCIT, for use with military families. Link to Article
WA: Tribe to Operate Child Welfare Services
Children’s Bureau: The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State recently became the first Tribe in the nation allowed under new Federal rules to operate its own foster care, adoption, and other child welfare services. This shift in control over child welfare services is a result of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. Now, the Tribe can evaluate child abuse and neglect reports and operate its own foster care, adoption assistance, child support, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programs. The Tribe also plans to develop, in partnership with the State of Washington, a Medicaid and food benefits eligibility pilot program for Tribal members in Kitsap County. Link to Information
NE: Governor Appoints Children’s Commission Members
May 31, Lincoln Journal Star: Gov. Dave Heineman named his appointments Wednesday to the Nebraska Children’s Commission. The Legislature created the commission in reaction to the many troubles that played out in the past two years with foster care reform and privatization of services for state wards, including foster care children and families. Link to Article
PA: Child Abuse Reports Lead to Threats
May 31, Tribune-Review: Doctors, school nurses and others required by law to report suspected child abuse said they want better protection from retaliation by people they report, a panel of health care professionals told the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection on Thursday. If parents are investigated soon after taking their children to the doctor, they often suspect the physician as filing the report, they said. Dr. Amy Nevin, a pediatrician at Hilltop Community Healthcare Center in Beltzhoover, told members of the task force meeting at Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville that she has had to call police after receiving threatening phone calls from parents she reported. Link to Article
US: Bill Would Help Foster Youths With School Records
May 31, Associated Press: Federal lawmakers proposed a bill Thursday that would give social workers better access to school records in an effort to improve education for foster children. Current law requires social workers to get a court order to access a foster child’s school records to protect the child’s privacy. But advocates said the extra red tape has made it extremely difficult for social workers because foster youths change schools frequently as they move between different homes. Some end up taking the same classes over because credits are lost or don’t transfer. The proposed law would give child welfare workers access to school records and pave the way for better data sharing between education and child welfare agencies. The bill would also allow child welfare agencies to use education records to study how well foster kids are measuring up to federal education mandates. Link to Article
US: Preventing Child Abuse Requires Many Approaches, Not Just One
May 30, Huffington Post: Although Nurse Family Partnership is a stellar example of how to design, test, and replicate an intervention, solving high-cost problems such as child maltreatment, unintentional injuries, and poor cognitive development requires more than replicating a single promising intervention. Link to Article
CT: On The Front Lines of Change In the Risky World Of DCF
May 29, CT Mirror: Adversarial visits by DCF social workers often begin with the parent refusing to answer questions and end with the child being removed from the home to enter the Connecticut’s highly criticized foster care system. Instead, flexibility given to social workers has become the new norm for CT DCF staff answering the 8,000 phone calls each month. It is a national model known as a Differential Response System, and Connecticut is following the lead of 20 other states by implementing it. This involves getting the child’s family the support they need to improve his living situation. And it seems to be paying off. Eight years after this system rolled out statewide in Minnesota, an independent analysis by the Institute of Applied Research, shows a drop in calls resulting in a child entering state custody. And maltreatment recurrence has declined. Link to Article
US: Report: US Has One Of The Highest Child Poverty Rates In The Developed World
May 29, ThinkProgress: According to a new report from the Office of Research at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world. Of the 35 wealthy countries studied by UNICEF, only Romania has a child poverty rate higher than the 23 percent rate in the U.S. Report. Link to ThinkProgress Article
NY: Alaskan Can Give Up Child For Adoption Without Notifying Tribe
May 29, Thomson Reuters: An upstate New York state judge has ruled that an Alaskan Native woman is free to give her baby up for adoption without notifying her tribe, concluding that her privacy rights would otherwise be violated. The decision is the first in New York to address the question of whether a tribe is entitled to notice of a voluntary adoption proceeding when the adoptive parents are not Native American, according to the ruling. Link to Article
UK: Profit-Driven Adoptions Turn Children Into a Commodity
May 29, The Globe and Mail: A dramatic rise in foreign adoptions from Africa is ringing alarm bells among child advocates who worry that the soaring numbers are fuelled by financial incentives and a lack of basic safeguards. Link to Article
US: More Mental Health Care Urged for Kids Who Self-Harm
May 25, HealthDay News: Doctors have long known that some kids suffering severe emotional turmoil find relief in physical pain — cutting or burning or sticking themselves with pins to achieve a form of release. But researchers now are questioning whether enough is being done to reach out to these young people and help them before they do themselves irreparable damage.
One study this year found that six of every 10 adolescents who went to an emergency room for treatment after harming themselves were released without receiving a mental health assessment or any follow-up mental health care. The findings were reported in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Link to Article
LINKS FROM CHILD INFORMATION GATEWAY WEB SITE
ACYF Issues Guidance on Well-Being
The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) is promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who have experienced maltreatment and trauma and are receiving child welfare services. To focus on social and emotional well-being is to attend to children’s behavioral, emotional, and social functioning—those skills, capacities, and characteristics that enable young people to understand and navigate their world in healthy, positive ways. This approach can significantly improve outcomes for children while they receive child welfare services and after their cases have closed. Link to Information
State Measures of Child Well-Being
A recent State-by-State comparison of measures of child well-being showed enormous variation across States and a picture of child well-being that differs from that found in national studies. This report combines data from the KIDS COUNT Project with the methodology developed for FCD’s Child Well-Being Index (CWI). The analysis revealed drastic variation across States, indicating that a national landscape reveals very little about actual child well-being in the States. However, the data did denote a geographic pattern in which States in the South and Southwest show low rates of overall child well-being and States in the Northeast and Upper Midwest show higher rates of child well-being. Link to Information
Enhancing Permanent Connections
A four-part series in the National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth (NCFY) newsletter, The Exchange, focuses on improving outcomes for homeless and runaway youth. The issues feature a variety of programs that help achieve and enhance well-being, permanent connections, safety, and self-sufficiency for this vulnerable population. Link to Information
Policies That Promote Well-Being
The paper urges States to review their data on children with social, emotional, and behavioral health problems, note trends, compare the data to those of other States and the nation as a whole, and then set targets for improvement. Three evidence-based strategies are described for improving child well-being:
● Promote early childhood social and emotional development, such as through Kansas’s expansion of Early Head Start
● Prevent social, emotional, and behavioral health disorders, such as through Delaware’s child welfare and early intervention program that established policies for referring children involved in cases of abuse or neglect
● Connect the specialized needs of children with appropriate services, such as Florida’s pilot program in Miami-Dade County, which addressed the mental health needs of young children and their families involved with child welfare Link to Information
Supportive Housing and Child Welfare Outcomes
The provision of concrete services, such as housing, can have a positive impact on child welfare outcomes. A new publication by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) highlights results from a longitudinal study in Minnesota evaluating the role of supportive housing on homeless children’s well-being, specifically, educational and child welfare outcomes. Link to Information
Solutions to Help Transitioning Youth
The National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) hosts a one-stop-shop resource center for child welfare professionals and agencies working with transitioning youth. The Solutions Desk website provides practice models, reports, statistics and the latest research about transitioning youth, and a bevy of resources to enhance collaboration. Funded by the Children’s Bureau, Solutions Desk is a service of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), a 12-agency consortium. Link to Information
Updates From the Children’s Bureau Training &Technical Assistance Network
The Children’s Bureau’s Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network continues to produce resources that can help States and Tribes in their work with children and families. This is a long list of many resources helpful in child welfare. Link to Information
Ten Things Every Child Professional Should Know about Children in Foster Care
2012, University of Rochester. Department of Pediatrics: Removal from family and all that is familiar is emotionally traumatizing because, with very few exceptions, even maltreating families have some strengths. Removal is not traumatic for every child however. For some children or teens, it is the first time they have felt truly safe. But even those children are leaving the only world they have known. Provides details of types of traumatic experiences. Link to Slides & Notes
Educational Outcomes for Children in Out-of-Home Placement.
2012, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare: This study explores the educational well-being of Minnesotan children whose out-of-home care experience occurred during the 2009-2010 academic year in conjunction with a child protection case. Children’s out-of-home placement records were matched to their corresponding educational records. Children who are involved in child protection, and especially children who experience out-of-home placement, struggle in their educational well-being. Although less than 10% of all children in out-of-home care experienced school transfers, during their placement, those that did experience school mobility during placement fared worst across all educational measures. Link to pdf Report
Foster Children in Licensed and Unlicensed Kinship Care
2012, Annie E. Casey Foundation: Table 4 from Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should do to Support Kinship Families. Link to One Page Table
The Importance of the Sibling Relationships for Children in Foster Care.
May 2012, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections: Sibling relationships are essential to children, and the maintenance of sibling ties “can nurture a sense of stability and continuity in the lives of foster youth”. Oftentimes, “children who are abused or neglected by their caregivers have especially strong ties to one another” and separating them may cause additional trauma. Moreover, the emotional support of the sibling bond can provide “a sense of safety” as children enter foster care. In addition, “children in care are likely to form sibling-like relationships with non-related children in their placements. As a result, professionals must “seek the views of children” in making an assessment of sibling relationships. Contains many links to additional resources. Link to pdf Info Packet
Understanding Child Abuse in Rural and Urban America: Risk Factors and Maltreatment Substantiation.
2012, University of New Hampshire Carsey Institute: Given the climate of limited resources, it becomes more challenging to meet the many needs of families in rural communities, which confront fewer qualified caseworkers, lack of transportation, and longer driving distances to services. There are, however, a number of promising strategies to enhance the clinical skills of rural providers and access to services for rural families. Telehealth technologies, such as videoconferencing, offer ways to connect specialists to enhance training in rural areas as well as connect services with clients in rural areas. In addition, comprehensive web-based training courses for evidence-based therapeutic approaches, such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Based Therapy, are available online via the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Rural providers have greater access now to distance technologies that can result in enhanced quality of services for children and families. Link to pdf Report
Permanency Enhancement Interventions for Adolescents.
2012, California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare: Permanency Enhancement Interventions for Adolescents are defined by the CEBC as interventions to increase the timely achievement of permanency for adolescents by locating one or more adults that will care for the child or youth up to and beyond the age of 18. The interventions reviewed for this area are designed to address the various barriers to permanency for adolescents. Includes links to various resources on the stated topic. Link to Resource List
Responding to Students Affected by Trauma: Collaboration Across Public Systems.
2012, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago: Many youth involved with the juvenile justice system have been exposed to trauma and also struggle in school. Yet, success in school may help to mitigate the effects of trauma exposure and reduce the likelihood of engaging in high-risk behaviors. Building on the research connecting trauma and learning, this article draws out lessons learned from three initiatives in which public systems attempt to assess trauma and meet both the behavioral health and academic needs of students. Promoting a shared view of child development and an understanding of the impact of trauma on that developmental trajectory is an important step toward implementing an effective, coordinated system of care for high-risk youth. Link to pdf Report
The Four Rs of Service Delivery (Rules, Routes, Relationships, Resources) for MFIP Teen Parents: Approaches of Eight Minnesota Counties.
2012Minnesota Department of Human Services. Transition to Economic Stability Division: This special report presents the results of an environmental scan, based on a policy and practice framework – Rules, Routes, Relationships and Resources – developed for the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). The purpose of the study is to understand the characteristics of service delivery models for teens – caregivers under age 20 – in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) in eight of Minnesota’s 87 counties. This report supplements program manuals and administrative data with a glimpse into the reality of the program on the ground, from the perspective of the adults. Link to pdf Report
PPCD Research Report: Washington Workload Site Assessment: Spokane.
Aug 2011, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Permanency Planning for Children Department: Using a standardized case file review instrument, PPCD researchers coded 72 case files, examining case processing and outcomes related to timeliness, child placement, permanency, and parental engagement. Further, researchers explored predictors of timely reunification and examined the role of family team decision meetings (FTDMs) as a means of improving efficiency of practice. Link to pdf Report
PPCD Research Memo: Assessing the Relationship Between Efficiency and Effectiveness in Juvenile Dependency Cases.
Nov 2011,National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: The current analysis seeks to answer two questions:
(1) Do judicial workloads (estimated from judicial time logs and structured hearing observations) predict reunification?
(2) Are timely outcomes (within statutory guidelines or state goals) related to safe and permanent outcomes? Link to pdf Report
Integrated Programs for Mothers With Substance Abuse Issues: A Systematic Review of Studies Reporting on Parenting Outcomes.
2012, Harm Reduction Journal: Conclusions: This is the first systematic review of studies evaluating the effectiveness of integrated programs on parenting. The limited available evidence supports integrated programs, as findings suggest that they are associated with improvements in parenting skills. However, more research is required comparing integrated programs to addiction treatment-as-usual. This review highlights the need for improved methodology, study quality, and reporting to improve our understanding of how best to meet the parenting needs of women with substance abuse issues. Link to html Report; Link to pdf Report
Building a System of Support for Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs in Illinois: Findings from Year 2 of the Strong Foundations Evaluation.
2012, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.: This evaluation focuses on three models of evidence-based home visiting programs in Illinois—Parents as Teachers (PAT), Healthy Families America (HFA), and the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). The primary research questions are:
● State system: To what extent do state partners in the Strong Foundations initiative collaborate and implement an effective state infrastructure to support evidence-based home visiting programs, for example, with respect to governance, funding, monitoring and quality assurance, and training and technical assistance?
● Community partnerships: How are communities supported and assisted by the state infrastructure in selecting evidence-based home visiting programs to meet the needs of families and in delivering services effectively? Are home visiting programs integrated into the full array of services and supports for families with young children in the community?
● Program quality and fidelity: Are home visiting programs being implemented and delivered in a way that is faithful to their program model, for example, with respect to staff selection, training, and supervision; engagement, participation, and retention of families; intensity, length, and frequency of services; and links to other community services?
To address these questions, the evaluation includes a process evaluation to assess the implementation of the state system, local infrastructure, and the operation of local programs; a pilot study of the newly implemented Strong Foundations trainings on domestic violence, perinatal depression, and substance abuse, and an administrative data study of program performance, capacity, and fidelity. Link to pdf Report
Issue Brief: Using Practice-Based Evidence to Complement Evidence-Based Practice in Children’s Mental Health.
Feb 2011, Outcomes Roundtable for Children and Families: This issue brief addresses important issues associated with the emergence of Practice-Based Evidence, (PBE), with particular emphasis on:
• The emergence of PBE as a construct,
• The role of PBE as part of an array of evidence supported and evidence-informed practices,
• Characteristics and dimensions that begin to define PBE more precisely,
• Potential policy implications for the use of PBE in services/systems. Link to pdf Brief