Nov 27: News Articles Relating to Child Abuse & Neglect

TN: Tennessee to Require Reporting of Addicted Babies

Nov 26, The Tennessean: The Tennessee Department of Health will begin requiring hospitals to report babies born with addictions Jan. 1 so it can better monitor a rising epidemic caused by mothers taking prescription narcotics. The state will also look for better ways to treat at-risk mothers who are pregnant and care for addicted babies born with what doctors call neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. “The group felt incredibly strongly that we really needed to take a supportive rather than a punitive approach,” Warren said. “There are certainly schools of thought that say we need to criminalize every mother who uses these substances during pregnancy and has a baby with neonatal abstinence syndrome. “Yet from a public health perspective, we know that could be disastrous in terms of the moms who would choose not to seek prenatal care because they were worried about the consequences.” Link to Article

US: In Juvenile Detention, Girls Find Health System Geared To Boys

Nov 26, NPR: For the growing number of teenage girls who are incarcerated each year, detention may be the only time they get health care. Up to 90 percent of these girls have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse, Pierce says. Their health statistics are particularly grim: 41 percent have signs of vaginal injury consistent with sexual assault; up to a third have been or are currently pregnant; 8 percent have had positive skin tests for tuberculosis; and 30 percent need glasses but don’t have them, according to research from the National Girls Health and Justice Institute. Link to Article

CA: Does California’s ‘Open Adoption’ System Help Heal a Baby’s Separation Wound?

Nov 26, Southern California Public Radio: As the process of adoption has gotten more open, research and studies into what adoptees experience has also advanced. According to Marcy Axness, an adopted child and family therapist with a specialization in Early Childhood Development, the relationship between a birth mother and baby is critical in the early days and weeks. Axness cites “17 different bio-regulatory channels” that exist between a birth mother and baby, “From breathing to respiration, heart-rate, to blood.” To take a baby away at birth, says Axness, cuts off all this regulation that the baby requires from its biological mother and causes a wound to the baby. Link to Article

MI: Foster Kids Get New Direction

Nov 25, Traverse City Record-Eagle: McGovern found stability as she emerged from the foster care system, thanks both to her foster parents and an innovative program called Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative. That program seeks to increase the odds of success for foster care kids like McGovern by teaching them valuable life skills like budgeting, saving, setting long-term goals, and advocacy. Link to Article

US: Report: Disabled Parents Face Bias, Loss of Kids

Nov 25, Minnesota Public Radio: Millions of Americans with disabilities have gained innumerable rights and opportunities since Congress passed landmark legislation on their behalf in 1990. And yet advocates say barriers and bias still abound when it comes to one basic human right: to be a parent. A Kansas City, Mo., couple had their daughter taken into custody by the state two days after her birth because both parents were blind. A Chicago mother, because she is quadriplegic, endured an 18-month legal battle to keep custody of her young son. Link to Article See also a lengthy Report by National Council on Disability; Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children Link to Report

TN: Tennessee’s DCS’s Payments, Penalties Under Fire: Private Providers Dislike System

Nov 23, The Department of Children’s Services found itself in urgent discussions with the 30 private companies and nonprofits that the department pays to clinically treat children in state custody. Many of the companies have become dissatisfied with a DCS program that levies cash penalties and bonuses based on how the agencies care for children. “The system certainly has brought attention to doing your best work as effectively and efficiently as possible, but I think it’s outgrowing itself in some ways,” said Darci Halfman, executive director of the Tennessee Alliance for Children and Families. The alliance, which speaks on behalf of the private companies, has pushed for a meeting with top DCS officials to discuss changes to the incentives payment system, which is known as “performance-based contracting.” Changes have been discussed this year, but not fast enough, some providers say. Yet amid the recent critiques, even the private providers agree that the way Tennessee reformed its payment system has greatly benefited high-needs children and set a standard so highly regarded that DCS officials frequently give presentations to officials from other states, including some who have followed Tennessee’s example.  Link to Article

MI: Michigan Families File Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Adoptions

Nov 21, WXYZ: Kimberly and her husband of Waterford adopted Zola two years ago, but Kimberly says she feels betrayed by the state’s Department of Human Services, or DHS, and some adoption workers. She says they withheld information that Zola had sickle cell disease. “We asked (if she had any health issues) and they had very little information to give us. They didn’t even know why she was in foster care,” she says. Link to Article

US: Dive Off Fiscal Cliff Could Be ‘Disastrous’ For Adoptive Parents, Say Advocates

Nov 21, Fox News: Among the so-called Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012 is a one-time adoption tax credit that gave $12,650 this year to families who adopt. However, unless Congress acts to extend it, the only tax credit for adoptive parents on Jan. 1, 2013, will be to those who take in special needs children from within the United States. For them, the credit will be just $6,000. “And it’s really not going to do much,” said Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of the National Council for Adoption. “Most families adopting those kids won’t even qualify for it because of the strict income requirements. It really would be a credit unclaimed at that point and that could have pretty disastrous impact for kids awaiting adoption in foster care.” Link to Article

NY: Child Welfare in the Storm: What Happens to Vulnerable Families after a Disaster?

Nov 14, Child Welfare Watch: The day after Hurricane Sandy blew through the eastern seaboard, a social worker in Manhattan was frantic to track down a little girl on Long Island. The child is 2 years old and lives with her foster mother in a neighborhood that had been slammed by the storm. She had a tracheotomy when she was a baby, and needs a feeding tube to eat and an oxygen machine to breath. No one knew whether the family had been evacuated or where they were. Article also looks at several other types of issues likely to come up as a result of an overwhelming natural disaster. Increased workload and increased likelihood of PS reports when families are living in shelters and the like. Link to Article


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) 600-9696
[email protected]
Michigan Professional Society on Abuse of Children, MiPSAC
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