Nov 2011 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 Charlie Enright [email protected].

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]

This and an archive of previous posts can be found at:


Report Outlines History Of Abuse By Former Fowlerville Woman

10/26/11 – A report from a Florida state agency details a history of child neglect by a former Fowlerville woman charged last month in the death of her infant daughter. 21-year-old Kylee Jean Copeland is charged with manslaughter in the September 25th death of 3-month-old Nataley Jade Agee in a crib at her home in Lakeland, Florida. The family had a history with child protective services in Michigan prior to moving to Florida. Link to Story

Authorities Investigate Child Abuse In Kent County

WBCK: October 26, 2011

Baby treated for fourteen broken bones

Officials in Kent County are investigating a shocking case of child abuse. The victim, a 3-month-old boy was brought in to Devos Children’s Hospital on the 20th. When doctors discovered the extent of his injuries they called in police immediately. Doctors at Devos told police that the baby had 14 broken bones, including an arm, a leg, and all of his ribs. Detectives later arrested the boyfriend of the child’s mother, 24-year-old Andrew Valdez. Valdez is being held on suspicion of child abuse, and for being a habitual offender. Link to MLive Article

Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

Oct 25, 2011: National Public Radio Series; Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters

Nearly 700 Native American children in South Dakota are being removed from their homes every year, sometimes under questionable circumstances. An NPR News investigation has found that the state is largely failing to place them according to the law. The vast majority of native kids in foster care in South Dakota are in nonnative homes or group homes, according to an NPR analysis of state records. Link to Multi Part Investigative Series

A Comment by C. Enright: Thanks to the comments from the Cornell Child Maltreatment Researchers List. There is substantial concern by several list members about NPRs use of the term “social worker” to refer to the child welfare workers in South Dakota and elsewhere. Not all CW workers have social work degrees. Also, it was pointed out that many schools of social work do not give ICWA more than a cursory coverage in coursework on CW. Michigan only recently required child welfare workers to have social work or equivalent degrees. No more fine arts and poly sci majors. ICWA is like a lot of other situations child welfare works are supposed to know about, say: Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. (ITP is bruising caused by a blood disorder, not abuse) It is encountered so seldom, that it shouldn’t be surprising that a worker is unfamiliar with it. Of course in South Dakota that would be a flimsy excuse for ICWA since Native Americans are a significant fraction of the population.

Child Advocacy Center in Jackson is Helping Victims of Abuse and Their Families

The Jackson Citizen Patriot – – ‎Oct 25, 2011‎

By Tarryl Jackson

Jackson County has recently opened a child advocacy center in the Center for Family Health, 505 N. Jackson St. It aims to help children with child focused, forensically appropriate interviews locally, instead of referring them to other counties.

It is a collaboration between the Center for Family Health, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, county Department of Human Services’ Child Protective Services and other organizations.

The center includes a room where Allison Yeomans, a forensic interviewer and a Child Protective Services worker, can interview a child. While law-enforcement officials, attorneys and others can observe through a one-way mirror.

Jerome Colwell, director of the state’s Department of Human Services Jackson office, said the Washtenaw Child Advocacy Center sees about 40 to 50 families a year. He predicts that the Jackson center could see just as many. Link to Article

A Comment by C. Enright: Thanks to the comments about the recording of child forensic interviews on the Children’s Law List: Apparently the forensic interviews at the Jackson center are not recorded for use in court. The testimony of the interviewer is taken instead. There is some concern that accuracy may suffer as a result. Apparently, the recording of interviews is not a uniform practice. To an inquiry to the MiNCA, I received the following reply:

Many Centers in Michigan record interviews and a few do not. It is possible that in the near future it may be required in Michigan but that is currently not the case. You are correct in that other members of the multidisciplinary team observe the interview. Even in cases where the interview is recorded, the forensic interviewer can still be called into court to testify regarding the interview process. Current accreditation standards allow for recording or other means of documenting the interview. Other means can be written documentation by the forensic interviewer.

I would be happy to answer any questions anyone may have.

Tom Knapp
Michigan Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance
P.O. Box 543

Hudsonville, MI 49426


[email protected]

Bay & Saginaw Counties’ Child Advocacy Groups Join Forces

October 16, 2011: The Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Saginaw County and the Nathan Weidner Children’s Advocacy Center in Bay City are merging form the CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region. Both facilities will remain open. The two organizations served 4050 children, families and professionals in 2010 with forensic interviews, forensic medical examinations, court advocacy, personal safety education, and professional development. Link to Story

Office of Children’s Ombudsman Report Regarding Ricky Holland Released to Media

Lansing State Journal: Dec. 8, 2006

The Office of Children’s Ombudsman issued a statement that their investigation determined that Jackson County DHS and Ingham County DHS did not fully comply with applicable laws, rules, and policies during their handling of the Children’s Protective Services, Foster Care, adoption, and Foster Home Licensing cases concerning the Hollands. Link to Article/Opinion

US Bishop Charged For Not Bringing Porn To Police

Oct 15, 2011; KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP & NPR) — The first U.S. bishop criminally charged with sheltering an abusive clergyman has been accused of failing to protect children after he and his diocese waited five months to tell police about hundreds of images of child pornography discovered on a priest’s computer, authorities said. Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese have pleaded not guilty on one count each of failing to report suspected child abuse, officials said Friday. Link to NPR Story


Trainings available from the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Association:
Click on the links for further info and registration:

Nov 8th-9th, 2011 Forensic Interviewing University Center Delta College
December 6th, 2011 Forensic Interviewing Frankenmuth Zehnder’s Splash Village
December 12th, 2011 Drug Endangered Children Traverse City Park Place Hotel
December 16th, 2011 Preparing for Court East Lansing Kellogg Center
December 21st, 2011 Stranger Conspiracies Mt. Pleasant Comfort Inn Hotel


The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths were presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference in Boston. The complete guidelines will be published in the November issue of Pediatrics. Additionally, the AAP will post this information on the Academy’s Healthy Children website: See: SIDS Prevention Link on AAP Website


Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: In re Jett

The respondent-father’s expert’s (M) theory remained unproven and generally unaccepted in the medical community. Thus, the court held that the record substantiated that respondent abused the injured child. X-rays revealed a spiral fracture of her right proximal femur and bilateral metaphyseal fractures of both distal femurs and both distal tibias. The father’s expert opined that her fractures resulted from “metabolic bone disease of infancy,” also known as temporary brittle bone disease. Another expert evaluated the child and stated that temporary brittle bone disease remains an unaccepted medical diagnosis and that it would be beyond her abilities to generate enough force to fracture” her femur. Full Text Opinion

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: In re Schwarz

The court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the petition to terminate parental rights based solely on the child’s absence from the county at the time the petition was filed. The child’s mother was deceased. After her death, the child went to live with his maternal grandparents in another state, who were later appointed his legal guardians by the county probate court. Petitioner was appointed the child’s GAL, and later filed a petition in the trial court to terminate the respondent-father’s parental rights. The petition alleged that the trial court had jurisdiction under MCL 712A.2(b)(4). The offense against the child as alleged in the petition was respondent’s failure to comply with a court-structured plan adopted by the county probate court in the guardianship proceeding. Since the county probate court adopted a court-structured plan, and respondent lived in that county during the time he was required to comply with the plan, and he failed to comply with the plan without good cause, the child would be “found within the county,” for purposes of MCL 712A.2(b)(4), even though he was not physically present there. Full Text Opinion

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