July 18-24: 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: Foster Kids Learn Resilience from Compassion
July 23, PsychCentral.com: A new cognitively based intervention has been shown to improve the mental and physical health of adolescents in foster care. Researchers found the technique was associated with a reduction in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP), reduced anxiety and increased feelings of hopefulness. Emory University researchers studied the new approach, Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Human Services and the Division of Family and Child Services. Researchers suggest that CBCT is unique in that it provides strategies for people to develop more compassionate attitudes toward themselves and others. Link to Article
PA: Officials Weigh In On Changes To Child Abuse Law
July 23, republican herald.com: Changes to the public school code dealing with child abuse and recognition reporting requirements that were signed by Gov. Tom Corbett are a good thing, local school officials and legislators said. The bill states that training shall be provided to school entities and independent contractors that have direct contact with children. These entities and contractors would undergo mandatory training on child abuse recognition and reporting requirements, and this training could count toward educational requirements and other measures if approved by the state Department of Education and Department of Public Welfare. Previously, the departments administered the program to those mandated to report abuse. Link to Article
CA: The Education Report: Is failure to report child abuse in schools a matter of policy?
July 22, Oakland Tribune: “From Moraga to Palo Alto to San Jose, child sex abuse cases in schools and day care centers have surfaced alleging that school employees entrusted with the safety of students failed to do what their oaths and the law required: report to police or child protective services when they have a reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused. Today, Congressman George Miller announced he was asking the Government Accountability Office to examine the effectiveness of current laws and policies on child abuse reporting. He released the letter he had sent to the head of the agency, requesting the inquiry. It began: “The child sexual abuse scandal at The Pennsylvania State University, other recent incidents of child abuse and findings contained within the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) prior work for the Committee on Education and the Workforce have raised a number of concerns about whether we have adequate laws and policies in place to prevent and address abuse of children in schools.” Miller wants the agency to find out the procedures in place at schools and universities and how they handle allegations that school staff engaged in child abuse, and how parents are notified when there has been such an allegation or investigation; what laws and regulations states have in place for such complaints; and what policies universities have to protect children on campus who aren’t students, but who are participating in on-campus activities. Based on your experience, are human failings — fear, loyalty to peers, denial — at the root of the problem, where it exists, or is it a matter of clarifying policies and strengthening laws? Or both? Which policies would make a difference? Link to Article
KY: Watchdog Report: Reviews of Child Abuse Deaths Not Always Completed
July 22, Lexington Herald Leader: Derek Cooper was just 2 years old when his father, Brandon Fraley, put his hands over the crying toddler’s mouth “until the child was silent,” according to a state file on the case. Derek died as a result. Still, state child-protection workers did not conduct an internal review of Derek’s death, even though state law mandates such a review by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in every case in which a child dies, or nearly dies, because of abuse or neglect and the cabinet “had prior involvement with the child or family.” Link to Article See related story below.
KY: Files Provide Unprecedented Look at Child Abuse in Kentucky
July 22, Lexington Herald-Leader: Kayla’s parents did not know their precocious 2-year-old had gotten into their stash of pills in March 2010, authorities think. She died of an acute drug overdose. The gut-wrenching story is one of many contained in thousands of pages of documents released last week by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees child protection in Kentucky. The files give an unprecedented look into how Kentucky’s abused and neglected children die and how the state’s child-protection system operates. The cabinet and the state’s two largest newspapers, the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal of Louisville, have been fighting in court for more than two years over access to the case files of children who were killed or critically injured in 2009 and 2010 as a result of abuse and neglect. The cabinet had long refused to release such files, but began doing so in January after Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled they are public records. So far, 40 of the case files released by the cabinet have detailed the deaths of 41 abused and neglected children. Link to Article
VA: Report In Baby’s Death Calls For Foster Care Changes
July 21, The Virginian-Pilot: Braxton Taylor died as a result of his brain swelling and filling with blood. The unit of the city Department of Human Services that placed Braxton with a foster mother who later killed him is a “division in crisis,” struggling with heavy caseloads, low morale and ineffective leaders and procedures, according to a state review released Friday. The study, by the Virginia Department of Social Services, called for immediate corrective action, including reorganizing the Child Welfare division, not sending so many foster children to group facilities and stopping what it called “inadequate and inappropriate” training of foster families. A separate review by the Child Welfare League of America into the February 2010 death of Braxton Taylor found that, while no single change in the agency’s actions would have saved his life, numerous shortcomings in policies and procedures need to be addressed. Taken together, the reports described an agency out of step with accepted practices that is failing to meet the needs of the families it serves. “A significant culture change is needed,” the review concluded. Link to Article
CA: New Safeguards for Children Moving Abroad
July 21, U-T San Diego: During her career, San Diego Superior Court Judge Yvonne Campos has confronted the sometimes emotionally difficult, politically touchy and legally hazy question of whether it would be in the best interests of a U.S.-born child to be placed with relatives in a foreign country where their well-being could no longer be assured. Gov. Jerry Brown has now signed legislation giving judges leeway to demand more evidence from relatives who don’t reside in the U.S. when they ask a court for custody of children. Prospective guardians must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that going to live with family in another country is in the best interests of the child. Link to Article
MI: Rise in Child Protective, Foster Care Cases Linked To Methamphetamines
July 21, The Mining Journal: An increase in regional child protective services and foster care cases can be linked to a rise in area wide methamphetamine use, according to the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services. Recently, the number of CPS cases has increased in Alger, Schoolcraft and Marquette counties, according to DHS Director Maura Corrigan, who was in Marquette Friday. “Our intelligence is that that’s because of the methamphetamine problem coming in,” Corrigan said. “When you put kids at risk with parents abusing substances, they will be in the child protection system. You cannot leave them in that situation.” While Corrigan’s team did not have exact statistics on-hand, they said the CPS and meth statistics are clearly linked. Link to Article
PA: Access to foster care to grow for older youth in Bradford County
July 21, Thedailyreview.com: Faced with increased homelessness and joblessness among young people, the Pennsylvania Legislature is expected to pass legislation this fall that would give more children the option of remaining in foster care after they have turned 18, according to officials from Bradford County Human Services Department. Link to Article
MI: Inside Bay Pines; DHS Head Tours Escanaba Juvenile Facility
July 20, Daily Press: Youth serving time at Bay Pines in Escanaba expressed concern about the juvenile justice facility possibly closing when they got a chance to meet with the director of the Department of Human Services Thursday. Maura Corrigan was in Escanaba Thursday as she kept a promise to visit personally, every county office in the state after being appointed by the governor 18 months ago. Bay Pines was the department’s 42nd office visit, she said. “We meet with the front-line workers to see what their needs are,” Corrigan said. Corrigan said she is responsible for administering all the DHS programs including cash assistance, child welfare, and juvenile justice. The department has an annual budget of $6.5 billion, employs 12,000 workers, and serves 1.8 million clients, she explained. While touring the juvenile facility with staff, Corrigan said she couldn’t guarantee action on suggestions because state programs are ultimately in the hands of the legislature which decides the budget. “It’s critically important to keep services continuing,” Corrigan said during an interview. “We need to keep our state facilities going for our very serious cases.” Bay Pines is licensed to accept up to 45 youth age 12 to 20 years. Currently, 40 individuals from across the state are housed at the local facility for residential detention services and residential treatment programs. Throughout the programs in the Department of Human Services, the goal is “to get clients to self-sufficiency,” Corrigan noted. Link to Article
IL: 600 Will Get Layoff Notices at Department of Children and Family Services
375 positions to be eliminated, other positions realigned to bolster front-line staff
July 20, The State Journal-Register: The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services began issuing layoff notices to 600 employees on Friday. The agency is trying to reduce its workforce by a net of about 375 positions and still meet its obligations to care for abused and neglected children and provide other services. The department said the job eliminations were forced by the General Assembly, which cut $86 million from the department budget this fiscal year. Gov. Pat Quinn wants to return $50 million to DCFS by reallocating it from the Department of Corrections budget. Lawmakers, who designated that money to keep open prisons and juvenile detention facilities Quinn wants to close, would have to approve the change. Link to Article
NE: Subsidies End for Two Omaha Child Care Centers
July 20, NE DHHS: An agreement with two Omaha child care centers to provide child care payments was terminated today (7/20) by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services after a state examination of billing records, according to Thomas Pristow, director of Children and Family Services. DHHS officials presented a notice of the termination of the agreement to Wise Kids, Inc. and Kids Ark Learning Center to be effective at the end of business today. DHHS authorizes subsidy payments for the care of children of low-income parents who are employed, seeking employment, obtaining medical services, enrolled in vocational or educational training, or incapacitated. Link to News Release
PA: Miss America Speaks To Children of Incarcerated Parents
Jul 20, Intelligencer Journal: Sandra Johnson is the founder and director of Kon-nectingservices Inc., an organization that advocates for children of incarcerated parents. The Lancaster woman served 12 years in prison and remembers the hardships placed on her son, who was 3-years-old at the time. When Johnson heard that Laura Kaeppeler, the winner of the 2012 Miss America contest, was focusing on children with parents in prison, Johnson sent a letter to the Miss America organization asking that Kaeppeler visit. Kaeppeler, of Wisconsin, once was a child of a parent in prison. Her father served 18 months for fraud when she was in college. Kaeppeler met with a group of children of incarcerated parents at the conference and encouraged them to not be defined by their situation. Link to Article
OK: Full Compliance With Indian Child Welfare Act, Not Its Dismantling, Is Needed
July 20, The Oklahoman: Today, ICWA has been increasingly in the media spotlight. Most recently, The Oklahoman cited its application in South Carolina’s Baby Veronica custody case, characterizing it as creating “roadblocks” between Indian children and loving homes, and focused on an antiquated notion of race. A failure to comply with the law led to Baby Veronica’s original placement outside of her family and the tragic custody battle that ensued. What’s needed is full compliance with the law, not its dismantling. Link to Op Ed
MO: Missouri Adoption Ruling Illustrates How Easily Deportees Can Lose Their Kids
July 20, Southern California Public Radio: The proponents of measures aimed at keeping the children of deportees with their families now have a sad development to point to in the case of Guatemalan immigrant Encarnacion Bail Romero, her 5-year-old son, and the Missouri couple that took the boy in while she languished in custody and eventually moved to adopt him. A judge in Missouri ruled this week that the couple, Seth and Melinda Moser, may proceed with the adoption of Romero’s son and that Romero has no parental rights because she “abandoned” him. It’s the lower court’s second such ruling; a similar ruling in 2008 was appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which called the decision then to terminate Romero’s parental rights a “travesty of justice” and kicked the case back to the lower court for a new trial. Link to Article
MI: Mother to Stand Trial for Torture, Child Abuse for
Allegedly Nearly Killing Her 2-Year-Old Daughter
July 19, Jackson News; A mother will stand trial in Circuit Court for three felonies including child abuse and torture. Chantel Arce, 18, is accused of abusing her 2-year-old daughter, Koriana, and causing nearly fatal internal injuries. Arce told doctors at the urgent care center Koriana was sick. She had been vomiting, not responsive and uncomfortable. Koriana went from the urgent care center to Allegiance Health where doctors decided to fly her to Ann Arbor. There, doctors did a few tests and rushed Koriana into surgery. “I would say that Koriana was in a very short time of dying if they had not taken her to the operating room when they did,” Dr. Lisa Markman, the assistant medical director of the child protection team at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital said, adding the child might not have lived another three hours. Doctors at first saw four to five small oval shaped marks between Koriana’s belly button and rib cage, Markman said. Further tests and surgery revealed much more serious problems. Koriana had bruises to the muscle under the skin of the belly. The top of her intestine had popped like balloon, spilling stomach acid. There was a cut and bruise on her liver, a hole in the covering of the intestine and an injury to her pancreas, Markman said. About 300 cubic centimeters of blood were in her belly. Link to Article
CT: Rate of Timely Adoptions and Family Reunifications Lowest in Years
July 19, CT Mirror: Eighteen months after new management took over the troubled Department of Children and Families, a report issued Thursday by a federal monitor says the agency still has a long ways to go before he’s convinced that abused and neglected children are in good hands with the state. According to monitor Raymond Mancuso’s newest analysis, the rate of timely adoptions is at its lowest since 2004 – a “significant departure” from previous reports. Further, the rate of eligible children being reunited with their families in a timely manner is the lowest since mid-2009. Link to Article
NJ: Judge Concerned About $11.5M Cut to Department of Children and Families’ Budget
July 19, The Star-Ledger: The federal judge who is overseeing the court-appointed monitoring of the state’s child welfare system today expressed serious concerns about a recent $11.5 million cut to the department’s budget — just before he declared that his “court is committed to seeing that this agency gets the funding it needs.” “Every gain which we have made will start to vanish,” U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler told a half-full courtroom this afternoon, shortly after the monitor of the state’s Department of Children and Families gave an often-positive rundown of the agency’s recent improvements while also warning of the serious setbacks that could result from the state Legislature’s June 29-announced budget cut. Link to Article
N.J. Child Welfare Agency Struggles To Visit Families, Excels In Getting Foster Kids Health Care
July 19, NJ.com: New Jersey’s child welfare system once again failed to meet expectations in how regularly it visits and plans for the future of the children and families it supervises, according to the latest report card from a federal court monitor who has identified these shortcomings for two consecutive years. Marcia Robinson Lowry, founder and executive director of Children’s Rights, the advocacy group whose lawsuit prompted the court monitor’s appointment and a massive overhaul of the system, called the findings “alarming.” Link to Article
MT: Adopted Kids’ Ranch in Montana Denied License
Jul 19, Salt Lake Tribune: The Russian government isn’t alone in raising questions about a Montana ranch that cares for troubled children adopted from foreign countries. Montana regulators are actively involved in a legal battle to shut down the Ranch For Kids near the Canadian border. Those records show the ranch in Eureka has been operating without a license since 2010. The state board that oversees private alternative adolescent residential and outdoor programs ordered it last year to stop operating until it obtains a proper license. An inspection that was part of the license application process found deficiencies that included a failure to show the ranch’s buildings are up to code, the lack of a disaster plan, no background checks or commercial drivers’ licenses for employees and no student handbook or statement on the rights of the program participants. Link to Article
US: Dad’s Early Engagement With Son May Shape Behavior Later
July 19 (Health Day News/Medline Plus: A father’s strong connection with his child during infancy may reduce the risk of behavioral problems later in life, a new study suggests.
British researchers looked at nearly 200 families and found that children whose fathers were more positively engaged with them at age 3 months had fewer behavioral problems when they were 1 year old. The association between higher levels of interaction and fewer subsequent behavioral problems was strongest in sons. This suggests that boys are more susceptible to the influence of their father from a very early age, the University of Oxford researchers said. Link to Article
MI: Jacob Stieler Case: All Factors Must Be Considered When Child’s Life Is At Stake, Michigan DHS Director Says
July 19, MLive.com: “Every child’s life is precious.” That is why the Michigan Department of Human Services is pursuing a court case seeking to continue chemotherapy treatments for a 10-year-old boy, says DHS Director Maura Corrigan. In a column submitted to MLive, Corrigan explains the legal and medical reasons behind the medical neglect case involving Erin and Kenneth Stieler, of Skandia, and their son, Jacob. Jacob was being treated for Ewing sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, when his parents stopped chemo treatments in July 2011 against the recommendation of doctors at DeVos Children’s Hospital. A medical neglect charge was filed against the parents, and the case was dismissed without trial by the Marquette County Circuit Court. DHS appealed that ruling to the state Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in the case July 11. Corrigan discusses the factors behind the DHS decision in her Op Ed. Link to Op Ed
MO: Undocumented Immigrant Mother Loses Adoption Battle
July 18, CNN: A 5-year-old boy caught in a heart-wrenching custody battle will remain with his presumptive adoptive family after a judge ruled Wednesday that the biological mother had abandoned him. It was a complex and delicate case that reached the Missouri Supreme Court and was unlikely to have a tidy ending. Link to Article
MI: ‘Erin’s Law’ Clears Senate Despite Concerns About Adding an Unfunded Mandate on Schools
July 18, MLive.com: “Erin’s Law,” a package of bills aimed at teaching children how to protect themselves against sexual abuse, is headed to the state House after being unanimously approved in the Senate. But there was some concern that the bills would add another unfunded mandate on the backs of local districts. Senate Bills 1112-1114 would create a task force made up of legislators, state staff members and experts to make recommendations to school boards to create a curriculum to address child sexual abuse prevention. Link to Article; See the Bills under Legislative Updates
ND: FBI Victim Specialists Urge Teamwork on Indian Cases
July 18, Inforum: Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they are heeding the call for teamwork by victim specialists who handle child abuse and neglect cases on American Indian reservations. Experts told attendees at a conference on family violence in Indian country that successful prosecution for crimes against children depends on cooperation among law enforcement, social workers, doctors and attorneys. “It takes a lot of people to be able to make this work,” said Joan Halvorson, a Native American victim specialist with the FBI. Link to Article
US: Adopted From China: Finding Identity Through Heritage
July 18, CNN: Thousands of girls are adopted out of China each year, ending up in homes around the world. Many of them find identity and purpose in returning to China to visit their roots. Adoptive parents often choose to travel back to China frequently with their adopted children. Many adoptive parents feel it a duty to teach their children about where they came from. Link to Article
MI: After Court Ruling, Michigan’s Juvenile Lifers May Not Be Lifers After All
July 18, Detroit Free Press: Michigan’s juvenile lifers — prisoners sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles — are unlikely to win their freedom in large numbers or anytime soon, despite last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring such sentences unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. Based on testimony before a legislative panel at the state Capitol on Tuesday, it may be some time before any of the 360 or so juvenile lifers in Michigan can seek to have their sentences overturned based on the June 25 ruling. And prosecutors may still choose to oppose re-sentencing on the grounds that the decision should not be applied retroactively, said Assistant Attorney General Margaret Nelson. The testimony came at a hearing before a House appropriations subcommittee reviewing whether state prison spending would be affected by the ruling. But Dawn Van Hoek, director of the State Appellate Defender Office, said it could take several years to resolve issues arising out of the ban on mandatory life sentences for juveniles convicted of first-degree or felony murder, and that only a small number of inmates will be affected in the short run. Van Hoek said she believes it is clear that the Supreme Court decision applies retroactively, and will require re-sentencing for all of Michigan’s juvenile lifers at some point. Link to Free Press Article; Link to Related MLive.com Article; Link to Related Oakland Press Article
MI: Grosse Pointe Choir Director May Face Firing
July 18, The Detroit News: Grosse Pointe Public School administrators will seek to fire choir director Ellen Bowen following allegations from a student that she hit him on the head with his cell phone during class. Superintendent Thomas Harwood said in a statement Monday he recommends the termination “due to past concerns regarding a pattern of behavior toward students and fellow staff members that has resulted in previous disciplinary action with Ms. Bowen.” Bowen, an award-winning choir director for Grosse Pointe South High School, was placed on paid administrative leave June 6, the day after the school’s principal filed an assault report with the Grosse Pointe Farms Police. Link to Article
AZ: Keeping Kids Connected With Their Jailed Parents
July 18, NPR: Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, and that means it also has one of the highest percentages of children with one or both parents in jail. One rural county there is trying to help families stay connected. On a recent day, 45-year-old Liz Minor sits in the shade outside a coffeehouse in Flagstaff, enjoying icy drinks with her two sons. She relishes this ordinary moment, considering that just a few years ago their time together was limited to a prison visiting room, separated by shatterproof glass. A major step is that the county is installing a Skype-like video visitation system. They can visit from a coffeehouse, they can visit from their iPhone or iPad. Skype is basically a secure video connection to conduct that visit. It will also cut down on the trauma that many children experience having to go inside prison to visit a parent. That’s heartening to kids like A.J. Minor, who says he would’ve liked something like this when his mom was in prison. Link to Article
MI: Flint YWCA Rescues City’s Crime Victim Advocacy Program with State Grant Funds
July 17, The Flint Journal: The YWCA of Greater Flint has received a $96,000 grant to run the city of Flint’s Victim Advocacy Program, which was nearly lost through city budget cuts. The grant was awarded by the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Crime Victim Services Commission. Link to Article
MI: Arrest Warrant Signed, Charges Pending Against Mom Who Allegedly Left Kids in Hot Vehicle While Shopping At Fruitport Walmart
July 17, The Muskegon Chronicle: A mother of three young children who allegedly left them in a vehicle on an 88 degree day earlier this month while she shopped at the Fruitport Township Walmart store is expected to turn herself in to police, authorities said. A warrant was signed for the woman’s arrest Tuesday afternoon. It wasn’t clear what type of crime she would be charged with, but police said earlier they had requested the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office charge her with child abuse. Link to Article
US: Study Finds 71 Percent Of People Support Adoption By Same-Sex Couples
July 17, Advocate.com:Seventy-one percent of people surveyed in a recent study approve of adoption by same-sex couples, according to a study released Tuesday by Oxygen Media. Link to Article
US: Deportation Pyramid Illustrates Effects Of Deportation On Children
July 17, Southern California Public Radio: The Journal of Marriage and Family has a fascinating new article on the effects of deportation on kids. The author, sociologist Joanna Dreby of New York’s University of Albany, presents what’s titled a “deportation pyramid,” something she describes as similar to an “injury pyramid” used by public health professionals, to illustrate how children experience deportation and the threat of it. The weight goes beyond actual removal of immigrant parents to the fear of it occurring, Dreby writes. While the dissolution of families tops the pyramid, the threat of deportation leaves some children with misunderstandings about immigration, associating it with illegality even when status is not discussed in the family, in some cases even keeping their immigrant background a secret from peers. Link to SCPR Article; Link to Journal Article
FL: Think Tank Likes Florida’s Privatized Child Welfare Services
July 17, The Ledger: Florida’s child-welfare system is among the best in the nation, according to a new ranking by the Foundation for Government Accountability, a Naples-based, free-market think tank. Florida ranks fourth in the nation behind No. 1 Idaho, New Hampshire and North Carolina in the 2012 Right for Kids rankings, the first report of its kind that measures how well states and the District of Columbia treat abused and neglected children. Link to Article See also: Link to pdf Report that has more details.
NC: Collateral Damage on the Home Front: Ten Years Later
Making Strides in Reducing Homicides by Parent or Caregiver in the Military
July 2012, Action for Children North Carolina: Between 2001 and 2010 there were 251 homicides by parent/caregiver of children from birth through ten years of age in North Carolina. That computes to a state rate of 1.9 deaths per 100,000 children. Just seven counties had eight or more occurrences. It is clear that the rates for counties with a high population of military remain much higher than any other county, and indeed more than twice the state rate. But statistics show that the rates among military families declined at a higher rate than among civilian families. Link to pdf Report See also: Link to Fort Bragg Patch News Article
US: Some Call For Abuse Reporting Reforms Now, Others Urge Caution
July 17, witf.org: With the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal in the headlines, state lawmakers are calling attention to proposed reforms to child protection laws. But some child welfare advocates say it’s dangerous to become too distracted by the scandal that rocked Penn State. The special investigation into Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse allegations has renewed state lawmakers’ focus on revamping child protection laws. Cathleen Palm, of the Protect Our Children Committee, a coalition of advocacy groups, is not calling for the speedy passage of any one of them. “Each of the pieces of legislation have value and have a role to play but I think moving any of them independent of each other is where we get into problems, because it would not get us into a comprehensive fix,” said Palm. “It wouldn’t seal all the cracks. It potentially even creates more cracks.” Link to Article
IN: Purdue Study Says Child Abuse Can Increase Cancer Risk
July 17, Fox 59: Research from Purdue University suggests that frequent child abuse by a parent can increase that child’s risk of cancer in adulthood. Purdue found their discovery to be especially true when mothers abuse their daughters and fathers abuse their sons. Researchers are unsure as to why there is this correlation, but a possible reason is the closer bond between a child and parent of the same sex. Link to Article
US: Securing Legal Ties for Children Living in LGBT Families
July 17, Center for American Progress: In October 2011 the Movement Advancement Project, the Family Equality Council, and the Center for American Progress released the report, “All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families.” The report offers one of the most comprehensive portraits to date of LGBT families in America and details ways in which antiquated laws and stigma make it harder for children with LGBT parents to have their needs met in three areas: stable, loving homes; economic security; and health and well-being. This column provides a snapshot of a new report, “Securing Legal Ties for Children Living in LGBT Families,” which is the third in a companion series to the “All Children Matter” report. Focusing specifically on the impact of state marriage and parenting laws on children living in LGBT families, this companion report provides a framework for state policymakers to draft, pass, and enact new laws that protect children living in contemporary family structures. It also includes recommendations for amending, repealing, or overturning archaic and discriminatory laws and policies that leave children without the security of legal ties to their parents, or without the loving, “forever” homes that all children need and deserve. Link to CFAP Article; Full LGBT families legal ties report (pdf); Original LGBT families column and report (pdf)
AZ: Preschool Services Help At-Risk Parents, Children
Jul. 17, TusconCitizen.com: CPS frequently offers child care, among other services, to families accused of abuse or neglect. Child care can provide an immediate solution for a mother who left her young children home alone while she worked. Or it can be part of a package of services to help parents regain custody of their kids. For the lucky families who get in, research shows, Educare, Head Start and other high-quality preschool programs work. But while they are free to the families who benefit, they are expensive to operate. Head Start costs average about $8,000 per child; Educare works out to more than twice that for each child enrolled at the east Phoenix campus. Statewide, fewer than 5 percent of eligible infants and toddlers get into Early Head Start, and roughly 40 % of preschoolers who are eligible find a seat in a Head Start classroom. Link to Article
US: Oxygen Media Study Reveals Women Say Yes to Adoption
July 17, The Futon Critic: Oxygen Media today released a study conducted by Lightspeed Research targeting the insights of women and men on the deeply personal and complex topic of adoption. The survey, which interviewed more than 1,000 people ages 18 to 49, explores a vast range of findings. Times are changing, and so is the sensibility of many Americans. When it comes to atypical adoption scenarios, an overwhelming number of the men and women surveyed expressed support. Women ultimately lead the pack with a massive 86 percent open to single parents adopting a child (vs. 77 percent males) and 73 percent open to gay and lesbian couples adopting (vs. 62 percent males). Similarly, 90 percent of the women surveyed feel it’s more socially acceptable than it used to be to adopt children of different races, while 84 percent of men feel that way. Link to Article
US: Child Abuse Rises When Economy Sags: Study
Risk is highest in families losing their homes
July 16, Medline Plus, Health Day News: The housing crisis that has left so many people without a permanent home may have worsened another serious problem: child abuse. As mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures loom, the rates of child abuse leading to hospitalization also increased, according to new research. Between 2000 and 2009, the rate of child abuse requiring hospital admission increased by 3 percent a year for every 1 percent increase in the 90-day mortgage-delinquency rate. The rate of traumatic brain injury suspected to be caused by child abuse increased 5 percent a year for every 1 percent increase in the mortgage-delinquency rate, according to the study. “On the community level, we need to recognize that losing a home is very stressful, and we need to let families know that it’s OK to ask for help,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Joanne Wood, assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We need to provide them links to resources where they can get help.” Results of the study will be published in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study was released online July 16. Link to Health Day News Article
US: Bill Would Curb Foster Care Entries Linked to Deportation, Immigration Issues
July 13, Chronicle of Social Change: A bill was introduced in the US Congress yesterday that aims to curb the number of children placed in foster care because of immigration enforcement, and end the termination of parental rights brought on because of deportation proceedings. “While current law allows undocumented individuals to become a foster or adoptive parent, our child welfare system continues to be biased against undocumented caregivers,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), who introduced the Help for Separated Families Act yesterday, in a statement on the floor of the House of Representatives. “Undocumented parents love their children and want the best for them as all parents do.” The legislation comes eight months after the release of a report from the Applied Research Center (ARC), which found 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported in the first six months of 2011, leaving more than 5,100 of those children in foster care. Link to Article
NC: North Carolina Couples Sue to Overturn Second Parent Adoption Ban
Jun 15, FOX Carolina: An adoption ban is at the center of a heated debate in North Carolina after a law threatens to break up families. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with six North Carolina couples, has filed a federal lawsuit against the state’s law that prevents one partner in an unmarried couple from adopting their partner’s biological or adopted child. One of the same-sex couples that filed the lawsuit lives in Asheville with their two children, after spending time traveling across the world before settling down to start a family. Link to Article
HB 5763 & 5764: Permits a child placing agency to refuse to place a child in a placement that violates a written policy based on religious or moral convictions of the child placing agency. HB 5764 prohibits DHS from considering such a policy in its dealings with the child placing agency. Link to HB 5763 Status Page; Link to HB 5764 Status Page In early stages yet.
Senate Bill 1112 as passed by the State Senate:
The bill would amend the Child Protection Law to do the following:
- Create the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children.
- Require the Task Force to make recommendations for reducing child sexual abuse in Michigan.
- Require the Task Force to submit to the Governor and the Legislature a final report containing its recommendations within 180 days.
- Abolish the Task Force when the final report was submitted.
Senate Bills 1113 and 1114 (tie barred) as passed by the State Senate:
Senate Bill 1113 would amend the Revised School Code to require the board of a school district or intermediate school district (ISD) or board of directors of a public school academy to adopt and implement a policy addressing sexual abuse of children.
Senate Bill 1114 would amend the Revised School Code to require a pupil’s parent or guardian to be given advance notice of pupil instruction under the policy adopted under Senate Bill 1113, and allow the parent or guardian to have the pupil excused from the instruction.
APPELLATE COURT CASES
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Bailey
This case is distinguished from In re Mason and In re Rood where DHS knew that the parents were incarcerated and did not give them an opportunity to meaningfully participate. In this case the Respondent expressed a lack of interest in the proceedings or in receiving services. Here, the trial court found that the DHS’s efforts were reasonable under the circumstances of this case, and that neither Rood nor Mason supported respondent’s position that DHS did not make reasonable reunification efforts. The appellate court agreed. The court held that there are few, if any, similarities between respondent’s case and Rood and Mason. Full Text Opinion