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
This and an archive of previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles
RECENT MEDIA ARTICLES
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 – MLive.com – 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.
Michigan Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance
P.O. Box 543
Hudsonville, MI 49426
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
RESOURCES WITH TIME LIMITED VALUE
Trainings available from the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Association:
Click on the links for further info and registration:
|Nov 8th-9th, 2011
|December 6th, 2011
|Zehnder’s Splash Village
|December 12th, 2011
|Drug Endangered Children
|Park Place Hotel
|December 16th, 2011
|Preparing for Court
|December 21st, 2011
|Comfort Inn Hotel
RESOURCES WITH ONGOING VALUE
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
MICHIGAN APPELLATE COURT CASES
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