Tag Archives: CA&N Articles

November 22 – 29: 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 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]

This and previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles


Dentist in CSA Case Called ‘Monster’; Defense Questions The Details Of Alleged Assaults

Nov. 29, LSJ.com:

A dentist accused of sexually assaulting a child patient multiple times over the course of five years is charged with four counts of 1st-degree CSC involving penetration and 11 counts of 2nd-degree CSC, involving touching. Prosecutors say the assaults happened between 1996 and 2000 at Wendell Alan Racette’s former office on East Saginaw Street in Lansing, when the former male patient was between the ages of 5 and 10. He is now 21.

Racette’s attorney, raised questions about how any of the alleged assaults could have happened in a busy office within earshot of parents, siblings and staff. He said this is a case where the alleged victim claims things happened to him that were not physically possible and are completely inconsistent with what the staff will tell you the practices were. Link to LSJ Article

Anti-bully Bill Debate Heats Up In Michigan Legislature

November 28, Detroit News Lansing Bureau:

After more than 10 years of debate in the Legislature, Michigan is close to having a school anti-bullying bill. But some see it as only a partial victory. A major stumbling block has been whether the bill should single out groups of students for protection, especially those who are, or are perceived to be, gay, lesbian or transgender. Bills passed by the Republican-led state House and Senate don’t enumerate specific groups of students. If the GOP-led Senate agrees to changes made by the House, the bill would head to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk. The House bill requires school districts to implement an anti-bullying policy within six months. Link to Article

Woman Charged With Child Abuse In I-75 Chase, Crash

Nov 28, Oakland Press:

A 35-year-old woman faces multiple charges after police said she led officers on a chase Wednesday on I-75 in Oakland County. Oakland County Sheriff’s office said the woman stole items at a Walgreen’s store in Pontiac. She fled the store and failed to stop when a deputy attempted to pull her car over. She and her passenger, her 14-year-old daughter, were treated for minor injuries after a rollover crash resulted from the pursuit. She is now charged with fleeing and eluding officers, child abuse/endangerment and retail fraud. Link to Article

County Places Obese Cleveland Heights Child In Foster Care

Nov 26, The Plain Dealer:

An 8-year-old Cleveland Heights boy was taken from his family and placed in foster care last month after county case workers said his mother wasn’t doing enough to control his weight. At more than 200 pounds, the third-grader is considered severely obese and at risk for developing such diseases as diabetes and hypertension. Others suggest there’s hypocrisy in a government that would advocate taking children away for being overweight while saying it’s OK to advertise unhealthy food and put toys in fast-food kids’ meals.  Cuyahoga County does not have a specific policy on dealing with obese children. It removed the boy because case workers considered this mother’s inability to get her son’s weight down a form of medical neglect, said Mary Louise Madigan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Family Services. They said that the child’s weight gain was caused by his environment and that the mother wasn’t following doctor’s orders — which she disputes. “This child’s problem was so severe that we had to take custody,” Madigan said. The agency worked with the mother for more than a year before asking Juvenile Court for custody of the child, she said. Link to Plain Dealer Article


Childhood Obesity: A Call for Parents to Lose Custody

July 14, 2011; ABC Good Morning America:

Harvard University child obesity expert Dr. David Ludwig’s recent claim that some parents should lose custody of their severely obese children has sparked outrage among families and professionals across the country. The national outcry led one family to share how its personal experience with the matter damaged their lives. Link to ABC Article/Video

Public Tours New Women’s and Children’s Hospitals

An estimated 20,000 visitors flocked to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital November 6 for a sneak peak into the new facility. Following five years of construction, the $754 million, 1.1-million-square-foot hospitals will be among the premier pediatric health care centers in the country when they open in December.

The 12-story in-patient tower features a dedicated pediatric emergency department; 348 private rooms, including 50 private maternity rooms and 46 private NICU rooms; 16 operating rooms; and two interventional radiology rooms. Patients will be moved December 4; until then, staff and faculty will train in the new facility.


Defending Parents in Child Welfare Cases Involving Medical Diagnoses of Abuse or Neglect

This 1-1/2 hour broadcast from the ABA is a “must see” for judges and attorneys handling physical abuse cases involving infants with medical evidence, like shaken baby, broken bones, and head injuries. It may also help the experts and PS workers who act as witnesses. It is taught by an Atlanta attorney, who is a Certified Child Welfare Law Specialist, and a radiologist from Pennsylvania. Power Point slides with radiology films are essential while listening to the recording. Thanks to attorneys: Elizabeth Warner and Elizabeth Thornton for posting and cross posting these materials. On Nov 21st, Diana Rugh Johnson and Dr. Julie Mack presented the webinar, “Defending Parents in Child Welfare Cases Involving Medical Diagnoses of Abuse or Neglect.” Below is a link to the recorded presentation. The recording will only be available at this link through December 21, 2011. The webinar started a little over three minutes late, so you will not hear the recording until after three minutes have passed.

  1. Click on the link: Link to Webinar
  2. At the prompt, enter your name and email address.
  3. Click “Submit”. The playback will begin.

Follow this link to the Powerpoint slide presentation necessary for the presentation: Download Presentation (.pdf 4.7mb)


Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures

Organizations that work with children and youth must strive to create safe environments for youth, employees, and volunteers so that young people can grow, learn, and have fun. It is vital that youth-serving organizations create a culture where child sexual abuse is discussed, addressed, and prevented.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures [PDF 4.5MB] to assist youth-serving organizations as they begin to adopt prevention strategies for child sexual abuse.

The guide identifies six key components of child sexual abuse prevention for organizations:

Components of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

  1. Screening and selecting employees and volunteers
  2. Guidelines on interactions between individuals
  3. Monitoring behavior
  4. Ensuring safe environments
  5. Responding to inappropriate behavior, breaches in policy, and allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse
  6. Training about child sexual abuse prevention
    1. Training employees/volunteers
    2. Training caregivers
    3. Training youth

The guide includes prevention goals and critical strategies for each component. Suggestions for addressing challenges and tools to help organizations get started are also provided.

State Guides and Manuals
is a new searchable database compiled by Child Welfare Information Gateway. The database links to publications created by State agencies that describe their services and provide guidance on child welfare-related topics to both professional and general audiences. For example one can view and compare each states mandatory reporting statutes. Something of interest to policy people these days.

The publications are organized by topic and cover a wide range of issues across the child welfare continuum. Features of the search include categories that identify the primary intended audience for each publication and multiple ways for users to access, filter, and sort information from the original documents.
Visit the State Guides and Manuals Search on the Information Gateway website: http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/sgm

For more information, contact Child Welfare Information Gateway at [email protected] or 1.800.394.3366.

November 13 – 21: 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 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]

This and previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles


Detroit Jesuit Priest Arrested On Sex Assault Charges


A Jesuit Priest who taught chemistry at the University of Detroit High School, has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a minor. Rev. Richard James Kurtz was arrested on Nov 21st in Chicago on allegations that he sexually assaulted a minor 10 years ago in Colorado. Authorities allege that the 2001 assault happened in Douglas County, south of Denver. At the time, Kurtz was teaching in Detroit. The investigation began after the Society of Jesus Chicago-Detroit Province notified the sheriff’s office in June, 2011 about the alleged assault. An arrest warrant was issued Friday. The province said in a written statement Monday that in 2001, when a report of misconduct first surfaced, it reported the allegation to authorities in Michigan. The province also has a policy under which it reports abuse allegations to authorities in the place where the conduct is said to have occurred. The province said it has been cooperating with Colorado authorities since April. It wasn’t immediately clear why the report was only made this year. Kurtz was removed from public ministry soon after the initial allegation was received, the province said. The Jesuits said Kurtz’s activities have been restricted since then. It didn’t say where Kurtz was working at the time of his arrest. The case has been turned over to prosecutors who will decide whether to charge Kurtz. Link to Article

Former Minister Admits to Sexually Assaulting 12-year-old Boy

Nov 21, WNEM:

Matthew Jordan, 51, a former minister at Center Road Church of Christ in Saginaw Twp pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy. During the abuse, Jordan was serving as minister. Court documents say FBI agents raided Jordan’s home and confiscated cameras and computers. Those documents also say that Jordan recorded himself sexually assaulting the victim. This case isn’t the first time Jordan has been convicted of sex crimes. Back in 1987 he was convicted in Tennessee of assault with intent to commit rape of a minor. Jordan is scheduled to be sentenced in a U.S. District Court in Bay City on Dec. 1. Link to Article

Kildee Says He Never Had a Close Relationship With Accusing Relative

Nov 21, Flint Journal:

U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee’s second cousin has claimed he was sexually assaulted by the congressman 50 years ago, according to a Washington Times story. But the Flint Democrat, who has said he never sexually assaulted his relative, said he also rarely saw his second-cousin’s family. Link to Flint Journal Article

Snyder to Sign Law to Nudge Foster Kids to College

Nov 21, Michigan Public Radio Network:

Governor Rick Snyder is to sign a law Tuesday that will provide some continued state assistance for college students who grew up in the foster care system.  Hundreds of kids in foster care “age out” every year when they turn 18.  They lose their housing subsidy and medical coverage. Jack Kresnak of the advocacy group Michigan’s Children says that has held back many former foster kids making the difficult transition to adulthood.  “This will help the foster kids (who we all have a legal and a moral responsibility for) actually make it in life and I actually think we’re going to see a lot more positive outcomes because of this law,” he says. Kresnak says he would like the law to be changed in the future to let foster kids who do not opt for college but later change their minds qualify for assistance. He says colleges can also do more to help former foster children succeed. He cites Western Michigan University’s residential program as one that’s kept a lot of former foster kids from dropping out.

In Wake of Penn State Scandal, Muskegon Nonprofit Teaches Parents How to Keep Kids Safe:

Nov 18, Muskegon Chronicle:

The child abuse scandal at Penn State has prompted questions about how a coach allegedly molested children for years without anyone reporting it. In Muskegon, those who work with abused children hope the scandal provides a “teachable moment” for parents about how to keep kids safe. Many abusers “groom” a child and family before committing abuse. That includes winning a family’s trust and convincing the child they have a special relationship, possibly by presenting gifts or cultivating a “shared interest.” Often, they choose children who are lonely or lack strong parental relationships. Link to Article

Flint Father to Stand Trial in Toddler Daughter’s Death

Nov 16, FLINT (WJRT):

A Flint man facing murder, child abuse and torture charges in the death of his toddler daughter, has been bound over to circuit court for trial. The toddler’s father, Donovan Haynes, is charged. His attorney, objected to the bind-over Wednesday morning because he says the prosecutor’s witnesses did not show who, if anybody, caused the injuries to the child. The standards of proof for child protection trials (civil) and criminal prosecutions are quite different. Link to Article

Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse is Not Simple

Nov 16, Morning Sun:

“It depends on the age (of the child) first and foremost, and it depends on the (accuser’s position). Are they in a position of authority over the child or are they now? That makes a difference,” Mt. Pleasant police officer Jeff Browne said. “There are four categories (of criminal sexual conduct): first, second, third and fourth,” Browne said. “Second and fourth are touching, and first and third are any time you’re talking about penetration.” Link to Article

Comparing and Contrasting Sex-Abuse Cases in Kalamazoo and Happy Valley

Nov 16, Kalamazoo Gazette:

Like Sandusky, Terrence Bell was a popular football coach. Like Sandusky, he was a trusted member of an educational institution and had unfettered access to its facilities. Like the allegations against Sandusky, Bell appeared to exploit his position to foster a sexual relationship with a minor. In Kalamazoo, when the 17-year-old victim disclosed the sexual relationship to her family this past April, they went promptly to police, who promptly investigated. Before Bell was even charged, he was put on leave by Kalamazoo Public Schools. Within six months of authorities’ first hearing about the accusation, Bell was convicted. Link to Article

Day to Honor Families

Nov 15, The Alpena News:

Thousands of foster care children across the United States are set to have their adoptions finalized on Fri, Nov 18th, in conjunction with National Adoption Day, and Alpena County Circuit Court will join the celebration with festivities of its own. Link to Article

Should Babies Co-Sleep With Their Parents?

Nov 10, NPR Blog Post:

Co-sleeping is back in the news. It’s understandable that public-health officials want to do everything they can to reduce infant mortality. When a doctor’s advice is a stark pronouncement that a baby “should sleep alone in a crib by themselves.” However, in a wish for greater clarity and context, the stakes are high and solid, scientific evidence suggests that certain patterns of co-sleeping are beneficial for babies and their parents. Link to Article

See also:
Many Infants At Risk In Unsafe Sleep Settings, Poll Shows

Nov 8, U of M Health.org, Ann Arbor:

Most parents are aware of the national Back To Sleep message, but many parents still place infants in unsafe sleep settings. The study found that 89 percent of parents believe that placing an infant on his back in a crib is a safe sleep position. That’s the recommended position. However, 40 percent of parents believe that it is safe for an infant to sleep in the same bed as another person, which is not recommended. A similar proportion of parents – 40 percent – report that they “often” or “sometimes” have fallen asleep with their infants.

Tips for parents and other family members about infant sleep safety:

  • Babies should always sleep in their own space, in a crib or bassinette with a firm mattress and tight fitting sheet.
  • There should be nothing in a baby’s sleep space, other than the baby with a thin blanket or sleep sack.
  • Caregivers should not fall asleep while holding their babies.

Link to U of M Article

‘SNL’s’ Darrell Hammond Reveals Cutting, Abuse

Nov 7, NPR: In 14 years on Saturday Night Live,

Darrell Hammond did many impressions, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Sean Connery. Few of his cast members knew that Hammond struggled with drugs, alcohol and self-cutting as the result of childhood abuse. Link to Broadcast/Article


Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: In re Fowler

The trial court properly terminated the respondent-father’s parental rights to the minor children. Appellant and his wife are the parents of four children. His and the mother’s rights were terminated. The mother did not appeal. Respondent has been unavailable to parent since 2004 because he has been serving a prison sentence of 20 to 40 years for a conviction of CSC I. There was no evidence that appellant made alternative plans for the children’s care when their mother’s inability to care for them became apparent. Due to his lengthy prison sentence, respondent will not be available to provide care and custody until 2023 at the earliest, by which time the youngest child will be 20 years old. Appellant argued that the termination should be reversed because he was not offered appropriate services to reunify even though he is incarcerated. He cited In re Mason, an appellate case where a termination was reversed for failure to provide reunification services to an incarcerated parent. The court of Appeals found contrary to his contentions, that the case was distinguishable from Mason, in which the incarcerated father was due to be released in a few months and had participated in services to ready himself for reunification. Decision to terminate affirmed. Link to Opinion (pdf)


November 6 – 13: 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 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.

Continue reading November 6 – 13: CA&N Media Articles, Resources and Cases

Nov 2011: More 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 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) 832-9628
[email protected]

This and previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles


A Declining Delinquency Rate, Low Recidivism and Use of Local Resources Mean Big Savings for the County.

Midland Daily News, Nov 6,

Probate Judge Dorene S. Allen said the savings are in excess of $200,000,”, adding the exact number won’t be known until a later date due to the complicated funding stream, which includes federal and state money. Savings will be the result of staff reductions. The ability to reduce staff is the result of keeping youth at the County’s Juvenile Care Center where they attend evidence-based programs designed for rehabilitation, such as Multisystemic Therapy, rather than placing them in costly residential treatment facilities outside the community. The result has been declining delinquency and recidivism rates.
Multisystemic Therapy is a program that looks at all aspects of a child’s life, and works not only with the child but with their families as well. In the past, it was not uncommon to see an older sibling, followed by younger siblings, coming before the court. Now, Allen said, she is not seeing the remaining siblings coming before the court after families receive evidence-based programming for the first delinquency case. The recidivism rate went from 76 percent for 1997-2007, to 17 percent for 2008-2010. The court will not benefit from the savings, Allen said, because a grant for the Multisystemic Therapy program ends next year. Savings result from the retirement of the probation director and a probation agent, along with the resignation of the foster care coordinator, Allen said. Link to MDN Article

Ex-Defensive Coordinator, Others at Penn State Charged in Child Sexual Abuse Case

Detroit News, Nov 05

Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator for Penn State’s football team was accused Saturday of sexually abusing eight boys. The school’s athletic director and an administrator were charged with perjury and failing to report what they knew about the allegations in a case that prosecutors said uncovered a years-long trail of a predator and those who protected him. Apparently, the AD and Administrator will argue they are not mandated reporters. Sandusky, closely identified with Penn State’s reputation as a defensive powerhouse, retired in 1999, but continued to work with at-risk children through the nonprofit, Second Mile organization he founded in 1977. He was charged with multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor, as well as single counts of aggravated indecent assault and attempted indecent assault. Link to Article

Oklahoma Authorities Search for Infant’s body

AP/Midland Daily News | Nov 4

Authorities were searching a rural Oklahoma property for the body of a baby girl Friday after one of nine children taken into protective custody told officials her father helped her deliver a baby at home, then buried it. She told authorities that the child did not cry and that her father told her it was dead and buried the baby on their property. It was also reported that neither the child’s birth nor death was reported to the state of Oklahoma, as is required. Link to MDN Article

Federal Prosecutor Looking Into Texas Beating

AP/Midland Daily News | Nov 4

Federal prosecutors agreed Friday to look into a video that shows Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams beating his then 16-year-old daughter with a belt, a police chief said a day after state authorities said the statute of limitations had passed. Hillary Adams, now 23, posted the 8-minute clip on YouTube last week that shows her father lashing her and trying to force her to bend over her bed to be beaten despite her pleas to stop. The clip had received more than 4 million views by Friday. County Attorney Richard Bianchi said a visiting judge would handle all of Judge Adams’ cases for the next two weeks. Adams often presides over child abuse cases. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is also investigating the case because Judge Adams has children living in his home. Link to MDN Article

Grandfather of Dominick Calhoun to Urge State House Judiciary Committee to Strengthen Child Abuse Laws

Nov 03, The Flint Journal

The grandfather of Dominick Calhoun, the 4-year-old boy beaten to death last year, will testify in front of the state house judiciary committee about a law named for his grandson that would strengthen child abuse laws. The law, sponsored by State Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, would “increase punishments for child abusers to unprecedented levels,” according to a press released from Michigan House Republicans.

A Comment by C. Enright: Does anyone think this provision would reduce child deaths or improve child outcomes? Any criminologist will tell you that severity of punishment does not act as a deterrent. Increasing penalties increases costs with no benefit. See articles, immediately below, for things legislators could do to actually improve child outcomes. Link to Article

Law Enforcement Leaders Urge State to Invest in Early Childhood

October 31, SAGINAW, MI (WNEM)

Law enforcement leaders from Mid-Michigan held round table discussion in Saginaw on Halloween to raise awareness about the connection between early childhood care and education and juvenile crime. The group presented research showing that thousands of Michigan kids become victims of child abuse and neglect every year, and only 2 of 3 at-risk 4-year-olds are able to access high-quality preschool. The group says it will also call on state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder to continue Michigan’s investment in early childhood care and education, including preschool and voluntary home-visiting. The group also plans on calling on federal lawmaker U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, a member of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to maintain federal funding for these proven-effective services to help get kids on the right track to success and improve public safety. Link to Article

See also; NEWSCHANNEL 3, Nov 4th: a meeting in Three Rivers/St Joseph County: Link to Second Article

Occupy the Classroom

By Nicholas D. Kristoff, Op-Ed Columnist Oct 19, 2011 NY Times:

Occupy Wall Street is shining a useful spotlight on one of America’s central challenges, the inequality that leaves the richest 1 percent of Americans with a greater net worth than the entire bottom 90 percent.  Most of the proposed remedies involve changes in taxes and regulations, and they would help. But the single step that would do the most to reduce inequality has nothing to do with finance at all. It’s an expansion of early childhood education. Link to Op Ed

Experts: Half of Foster Kids Quit High School

Oct 31, 2011, Argus Press:

When Carey Sommer entered foster care in California; he left his mom, his high school and his friends. Bounced from home to home, he changed high schools nine times until the disheartened teen finally dropped out. “I just started to not really care about high school because I figured I’m just going to move anyway. Why does it matter?” said Sommer, who was told it would take an extra year and a half to graduate to make up for credits he lost changing schools. Article discusses several efforts afoot to address this problem. Link to Article

Bay City Man Likely to Plead in Child Abuse Case and Avoid Jail

Bay City Times, November 01, 2011:

Court records show Kyle Witkop was charged with the felony after reportedly harming his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, whom he was baby-sitting on Oct. 15. The child’s grandmother took her grandson to the hospital after picking him up from Witkop and noticing he bore several injuries. A Bay City Police officer who arrived at the hospital noted the boy had a number of bruises. The deal stipulates that if Witkop pleads guilty or no contest to a two-year felony count of third-degree child abuse, prosecutors will recommend his jail time be deferred. If he completes the terms of his deferment, he will be allowed to withdraw his plea and plead to a lesser count of attempted third-degree child abuse. Link to Article

Escanaba Child Abuse Case Bound to Circuit Court

November 1, 2011, Daily Press;

An Escanaba woman, accused of abusing her three-month-old child last spring, was bound over to Delta County Circuit Court.

Angel Dawn Micheau was arrested on Oct. 21 on charges of first and second degree child abuse stemming from an April 11 incident involving burns on her infant daughter. The now 9-month-old child is currently in foster care. According to testimony, Micheau brought her daughter to a walk-in clinic on April 11 and was referred to the emergency room. The examining doctor noted second-degree burns on the baby. Hospital personnel suspected child abuse and notified child protective services and police. Following additional questioning and investigation, the child was placed under protective care and was transported to a hospital in Green Bay. The child was then transferred to Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. An Escanaba Detective said there was additional evidence of several broken bones on the child including fractured ribs which were healing.

Warren Priest Suspended as Archdiocese Investigates Sex-Abuse Allegation

Detroit Free Press, Oct. 31, 2011:

A priest who has spent almost four decades working in metro Detroit was placed on paid administrative leave as the result of an allegation of sexual misconduct.  Link to Freep Story

Harper Woods High School Employee Faces Child Sexual Abuse Charge Maurice Bulls could spend 15 years in prison

31 Oct 2011, HARPER WOODS, Mich. (WJBK)

A Harper Woods High School staff member could spend the next 15 years in prison after prosecutors say he attempted to take nude photos of a teenage student. Link to WJBK Article

Records show Boy Scouts failed to report abuser

October 29, 2011; Los Angeles, AP:

Boy Scout officials in the U.S. and Canada not only failed to stop an admitted child molester in their ranks, but sometimes helped cover his tracks, according to confidential records. Apparently, scout leader Rick Turley molested at least 15 children over nearly two decades, most of whom he met through American and Canadian Scouting beginning in the 1970s. Boy Scouts of America officials didn’t call police in 1979 after Turley acknowledged molesting three Orange County boys, records show. Turley is one of more than 5,000 suspected child molesters named in confidential documents kept by the BSA. The Scouts’ handling of sex-abuse allegations is similar to the scandal prevention of the Catholic Church in the face of accusations against its priests, attorneys told the Times and the CBC. The BSA has continued to enhance its youth protection efforts as society has increased its understanding of the dangers children face,” the Scouts said in a statement. Link to Detroit News Article


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

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

To enroll in an upcoming Supreme Court Administrative Office (SCAO) Program click on a program title below then choose “Register” in the summary box. Complete the registration form as requested and click “Continue”.

Achieving Placement Stability for Children in Foster Care
November 9, 2011 (The Westin Southfield, Southfield, MI)


The Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Office posts numerous child welfare law trainings: Link to SCAO Trainings Page Webinars: Link to Webinars Page

The Child Welfare Policy Database provides statute and policy information on a range of child welfare topics, allowing visitors to access up-to-date information on individual State statutes and policies as well as compare their own State’s policies to other States.

The State Child Welfare Policy Database can be found at www.childwelfarepolicy.org and Information Gateway’s State Statutes Search can be found at www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/state.

Ashley Phillips

Marketing Outreach Coordinator
Child Welfare Information Gateway
A Service of the Children’s Bureau/ACF/HHS
Phone: 703.225.2235

March 2010 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 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) 832-9628
[email protected]

This and an archive of previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/blog/


Mar 8th, Detroit Free Press: A test of same-sex custody rights: Nonbiological parent fighting for parenting time with children she has helped raise. Free Press Story See Also: MLive Story

Mar 5th, Lansing State Journal: “Animals get quicker response than neglected children, principal says.” Principal Freya Rivers tells a harrowing story of neglect involving three children and an untold number of animals at a household near Lansing’s Bingham Elementary School.   Full column

Mar 5th, Allegan County, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A family lost their adult daughter, Lindsay Knight, in a vicious murder and watched as the killer was convicted, but they say that is only where the nightmare began.  Knight’s family says that was Lindsay’s wish that the grandparents get custody of her children, but instead the children, Breanna and Derek Junior, were put in foster care and eventually adopted out.  The grandfather says that being on the CPS registry for incidents in the 90s disqualified them for adoption even though a judge told him the records of those events should have been expunged.  Link to Text Article

Mar 4th, The Jackson Citizen Patriot: Jackson County District Judge R. Darryl Mazur said Christy Brown, 21, did not act as an “aider and abettor” in the death of her son, Cameron Russell and dismissed murder and child abuse charges against her.  Brown’s boyfriend, Ronald Woodard II, 23, will stand trial on the same charges.  Link to Story

Mar 4th, The Saginaw News: VASSAR, An incident Saturday involving a Pioneer Work & Learn Center runaway who police believe stole a car and skipped town has cost a staff member his job.  The report has residents of the small community concerned about the lack of a warning system to alert nearby residents if a youth flees the facility operated by Wolverine Human Services. It houses nonviolent, adjudicated (Delinquents) and foster care youths (Abuse & Neglect) 12 to 17.  “We don’t want runaways, and we don’t want fences,” Whitney said. “We don’t take violent offenders. Most of the residents are in drug treatment. The others are in foster care to escape impossible living conditions. We keep them safe and well fed.”  Link to Story
Commentary by C. Enright: Does anyone else see a problem with housing delinquents and neglected or abused kids together in the same residential facility?

Mar 4th, Farmington Observer: A Farmington Hills teen has been bound over to Oakland County Circuit Court on torture and child abuse charges in a case involving his infant son, who doctors said suffered 22 bone fractures in December and January.  One of the doctors being Mary Smyth who is a MiPSAC Board member.  Link to Story

Mar 3rd & 4th: National Public Radio broadcast two pieces on the impact of state budget cuts on child welfare practice.  “Short-Term Cuts, Long-Term Consequences For Kids”.  Discusses the implications of cutting funding for a program for at-risk parents.  Studies show that in the long term, such programs actually save money.  Another part of the story focuses on staff cuts at a Children’s Assessment Center where a one half FTE of two FTE interviewer positions and one of two social worker positions were cut because of budget constraints.  Link to Story
“State Budget Cuts Threaten Child Welfare Programs”  States facing big deficits are cutting programs to prevent abuse and protect children. This comes at a time when many on the front lines say they’re seeing a growing need.  They discuss the likelihood of increase or decrease as a result of the economic downturn, but don’t resolve it.  Link to Story Both stories include the program as broadcast and a written version of the broadcast.

March 3rd, The Muskegon Chronicle:  Jenna Ashcraft, 18, of Grand Haven had more than tears to shed after the funeral of her second cousin, 14-month-old Clayton T. Mead, who was killed last April by convicted murderer Bradley O’Neil in Roscommon County.  She took on a mission in memory of the toddler.  Ashcraft, a senior at Grand Haven High School, said she wanted to “break the silence” of child abuse. With the help of her marketing class at the Careerline Tech Center in Holland, the students raised more than $800 for the Child Abuse Council of Muskegon County.  Link to Story

Feb 27th, The Macomb Daily: A 25-year-old Commerce Township woman accused of stabbing her 13-month-old son several times with a butcher knife Feb. 4 has been found incompetent to stand trial. Link to Story

Feb 27th, Kalamazoo Gazette: Springer trial writes new rules for media coverage; live streaming of proceedings may be a first in Michigan.  The Springers were found guilty of first-degree child abuse and torture in the death of their daughter Calista, 16, in a February 2008 house fire.  Apparently, the Gazette provided the live streaming coverage of the trial.  Link to Story

Feb 27th, The Kalamazoo Gazette:  Calista Springer’s death could have been prevented.  Katie and Cristin told Calista’s story to trusted adults. They told the story again and again and again. Nothing was done.  The mistreatment of Calista was duly noted by her childhood friends, their parents, teachers and relatives in Centreville.  Over the years, there were at least 15 reports filed to CPS that something was amiss.  Link to Story

Feb 26th, The Grand Rapids News: Man tells police he threw body of missing Grand Rapids girl Jozlynn Martinez in trash after she died at home.  Police Chief Kevin Belk said Malmberg, the mother’s live-in boyfriend, told investigators Jozlynn Martinez died at the home on Monday night.  Malmberg told police Jozlynn’s body was taken to a commercial trash dumpster several blocks away from the home. Trash pickup area in the area was Thursday morning.  Link to Story

Feb 19th, The Daily Reporter: Lansing, State Rep. Kenneth Kurtz and Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Thursday participated in a bill-signing ceremony at the state Capitol in honor of Kurtz’s legislation to help foster care children.  Kurtz, a former foster care parent, said the new law allows children who are transitioning into foster care to stay in the same school regardless of whether the child resides in the district.  No more info in story.

Feb 19th, Battle Creek Enquirer: Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s latest budget proposal calls for hiring hundreds of workers to deal with rising demand for food assistance and other services, along with beefed-up child welfare staffing in Michigan.  The DHS’s overall proposed budget of $7 billion is paid for mostly with federal money. The department’s overall budget would rise by about 18 percent under the Democratic governor’s proposal at a time when funding for many other departments holds steady or declines.  The state must hire more child welfare workers as the result of a lawsuit settled in 2008. Other workers would be added to deal with the consequences of the poor economy in Michigan, which has led the nation in unemployment for nearly four consecutive years.  Link to Story

Feb 15th & 16th, National Public Radio: broadcast two pieces on Pope Benedict XVI’s summoning of more than two dozen Irish bishops to the Vatican for meetings to discuss Ireland’s massive clerical sex abuse scandal.  Pope Benedict XVI scolded Irish bishops over their handling of decades of clerics’ sexual abuse of minors at the end of an exceptional two-day meeting at the Vatican on Tuesday.  Feb 15th Story,   Feb 16th Story.  Both stories include the program as broadcast and a written version of the broadcast.
The pope also blamed the scandal on a weakening faith, but he did not address victims’ demands that he force some bishops to resign.

Feb 14th, Wood TV, Grand Rapids: New numbers released for 2009 show episodes of violent, spontaneous child abuse have spiked. In the statistics, which were released last week, it shows the number of outpatient evaluations for child abuse was 301 in 2008. In 2009, that number increased to 508.  As far as cases involving children coming to the hospital, the number went from 53 in ’08 to 88 in ’09.  As for the number of suspected child abuse cases forwarded to Dr. Debra Simms for a second opinion — she specializes in child abuse cases at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital — the number went from 81 in 2008 to 199 in 2009.  Deb Simms, MD is a MiPSAC Board member.  Includes a video interview of Dr. Simms.  Link to Story

Feb 13th, Midland Daily News: Study to identify gaps in Midland County youth services.  Issues identified, so far, include:
1.  One in eight women in Midland County receive less than adequate prenatal care.
2.  Midland County’s infant mortality rate is trending higher than the state average.
3.  The number of children in foster care has increased 19 percent in the past five years.
4.  10 percent of infants are born to mothers who have not completed high school.
5.  The number of Medicaid-supported births has risen 49 percent in the past six years.
6.  60 percent of parents with children under age 6 are in the labor force, and the majority of them utilize unlicensed child care.  Link to Story

Feb 11th, Battle Creek Enquirer:  The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved a bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, that would strengthen state review of child death cases.  The bill permits the state’s Children’s Ombudsman to provide a report on suspected child abuse or neglect to the Legislative Child Fatality Examiner when a child in state custody has died.  The measure is part of a package of bills that would create the Office of the Legislative Child Fatality Examiner.  The bill now goes to the Michigan House.  No more information in article

Feb 10, The Bay City Times: Appeals Court says child victims’ video testimony did not violate Midland County man’s right to confront accusers.  The defendant claimed he was denied his right to confront his accuser when the Circuit Court judge allowed the victims to testify via video.  “The state and federal constitutions guarantee a criminal defendant the right to confront the accuser,” the judges wrote. “However, that right is not absolute and must occasionally give way to considerations of public policy and the necessities of the case.”  The U.S. Supreme Court has said the remote testimony of child victims does not violate a defendant’s right of confrontation if the prosecutor demonstrates the procedure is necessary to further an important state interest. “Protecting child witnesses from the trauma of testifying in a child abuse case is sufficiently important to justify the use of a special procedure,” the Appeals Court wrote.  Link to Story

Feb 9th, Associated Press: A jury acquitted three former employees of an Ohio treatment center for troubled teens of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 17-year-old girl who suffocated and choked on her own vomit after being restrained face down on the floor. Link to AP Story In related news: On December 9, 2009, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced legislation to prevent the harmful use of seclusion and restraint on students. The Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act would help ensure the safety and security of both teachers and students by preventing and reducing the use of restraint and seclusion techniques in schools. The legislation, which was also introduced in the House of Representatives today by Congressman George Miller (D-CA), would also provide proper training for school personnel who impose these techniques, in order to ensure the safety of students and educators alike. To read the remainder of this article on Senator Dodd’s website, click here. To download a summary of The Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, click here. To download a copy of Senator Dodd’s floor statement, click here.


Infant mental Health Trainings:  Relationship Development in Pregnancy and Early Postpartum Period, presented by Priscilla Tait, MS, CNM, IMH-E®

April 1, 2010 – Session I:  “Relationship Development in Pregnancy and Early Postpartum: An Infant Mental Health Perspective”
July 29, 2010 – Session II:  “Domestic Violence:  Supporting Pregnant Mothers, Infants and Toddlers Living in Abusive Environments”
October 25, 2010 – Session III:  “Substance Use and Abuse in Pregnancy and Early Parenting:  Why Doesn’t She Just Quit?”   View flyer for registration details.

The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan is offering training on June 23-24, 2010, entitled: Investigating Child Exploitation.  Attendees will be introduced to investigative techniques and technical resources for the investigation of child pornography cases.  The presentation will include information regarding the forensic examination of digital evidence and the abilities of the examiners to provide data for investigation and prosecution.  Topics will also include using search warrants, offender typology, and interrogation strategies. Participants will also hear about sexting and the dangers children are exposed to on the internet.  Link to Investigating Child Exploitation Training
PAAM will also be holding several Forensic Interviewing classes throughout the year.  The seminars can be accessed through the PAAM website at: Link to Interview Trainings .


Feb 23rd, Medscape Today: What Rules Should Guide Imaging Decisions in Injured Children? Clinicians often find it difficult to decide whether computed tomography (CT) is appropriate in the evaluation of a child who has a blunt head injury. CT is an exquisite means of detecting potentially dangerous intracranial injuries, but it exposes particularly vulnerable populations to ionizing radiation and the potential for lethal malignant transformation. This dilemma has stimulated recent efforts to develop clinical rules that guide imaging decisions. Most of these efforts are ongoing and have yet to achieve conclusive results. However, based on the methodological approaches used in their development, these rules are likely to provide qualitatively similar benefits once they complete final validation.  Link to Article

Feb 24th, Medscape Today: Serotonin Deficiency in Medulla Implicated in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) may result from developmental abnormalities in brainstem control of autonomic function and breathing, as evidenced by abnormalities in SIDS patients of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) receptor binding in regions of the medulla oblongata implicated in this control. The goal of this autopsy study was to evaluate the association of 5-HT receptor abnormalities in infants dying from SIDS with decreased tissue levels of 5-HT and/or with levels of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2), its key biosynthetic enzyme.  Link to Article

The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) at Cornell University is pleased to announce the availability of the data for the study entitled:
Mental Health Service Use Of Youth Leaving Foster Care (2001-2003)
Investigators: J. Curtis McMillen, Ph.D.
[NDACAN Dataset #133]
Please visit the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect Web site for more information and ordering instructions: Link to Dataset There is no charge to obtain these data. The abstract for this study is included below. Abstract: The study was funded to explore the changes in mental health service use as older youth leave the foster care system. The data, however, examine many parameters of the lives of older youth in the foster care system, from their perspective. Four-hundred six youth in the Missouri foster care system were interviewed in person near their 17th birthday. They were re-interviewed when possible every three months until their 19th birthday. Eighty percent of the youth were interviewed at age 19. Thus, the study includes nine data points. Domains of instrumentation include psychiatric history, substance use, child maltreatment history, mental health service use, attitudes toward mental health service use, residential history, religious involvement, reading level, dating violence, trauma history, stress, perception of neighborhood, psychopathy, employment, legal involvement, childbearing, sexual activity, and much more.

Feb 24th, New Online Clearinghouse for State Child Welfare Policies: Child Trends, with support from Casey Family Programs, launches the State Child Welfare Policy Database to provide information on child welfare laws, procedures, and agency guidance for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The Database can help elected officials, administrators, advocates, practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders keep up to date with the policies that protect our nation’s most vulnerable children.  The site can be navigated by state or by topic.  You can learn about your state’s expenditures on child welfare services, policies for relatives and “kin” caring for children involved in the child welfare system, benefits and services provided to foster youth after age 18, and much more.  In addition to the traditional web version, the site is designed to be compatible with your mobile device, allowing for easily accessible information on the go.  For more information about child welfare resources available at Child Trends, please visit: www.childtrends.org/childwelfare.  Through program evaluations, data analysis, policy surveys, literature reviews, and research syntheses, childtrends seeks to inform policy makers and frontline practice.

The Child Welfare Information Gateway has a link set up to help compare state statutes, although it does not directly compare them itself.  Link to Comparative Table The CWIG State Statutes searchable online database contains 30+ titles in series that are organized under the categories of Child Abuse and Neglect, Child Welfare and Adoption. You can find information two ways:
Click on a title. Clicking directly on any of the titles below will take you to a brief description of the topic and will also provide access to a PDF of statutes on that topic for all the States and territories.
Search the database. To access the statutes for a specific State, select a State from the dropdown box, check the box for a title from the list, and click “Go” at the bottom of the page. You can select more than one State per search OR more than one title per search.
Search State statutes for issues related to child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption. Results will provide summaries of State statutes (and full text of laws, in some cases).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Child Maltreatment 2007 provides some information about state-specific definitions of abuse and neglect. The definitions can be found in the State Commentary section submitted by each State as part of the annual publication of Child Maltreatment.  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm07/index.htm


Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published Mar 4, 2010)
Case Name: In Re Beck
The Appellate Court considered the obligation of a parent to pay child support after that parent’s rights in the child had been involuntarily terminated.  Saying: “Had the Legislature intended that a termination of ‘parental rights’ would also include a termination of ‘parental responsibilities’, such as the responsibility of a parent to pay child support, it could have used specific language to convey that intent.”  The Court held: “In order to effectuate the statutory scheme by which the rights and responsibilities of parents and children are governed, and to avoid potentially detrimental or injurious consequences, we hold that, absent adoption, an order terminating a parent’s parental rights does not terminate that parent’s obligation to support his or her minor children. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s order requiring respondent to continue to pay child support despite the termination of his parental rights.”  Full Text Opinion

A Comment by C. Enright: Thanks to the many responses to this decision on the Michigan Children’s Law List:

  • Local Michigan courts have addressed this issue with widely varying results, county to county.  This opinion would be expected to render the practice consistent.
  • This opinion is controversial amongst attorneys and may be appealed further.
  • In this decision, there was already a support order issued in the divorce matter.  The question arises, would the rule apply in a case where no such order preceded the termination matter?  The same rationale would seem to apply.  But In Re Foster/Foster v Foster (226 Mich. App. 348 & 237 Mich. App. 259 respectively) may say otherwise, to wit that, “[O]nce the rights of Catherine’s (the child at issue) biological parents were terminated by the family division, third-party plaintiff’s rights derivative of the parental relationship were also severed.”  237 Mich. App at 263.
  • How would it be different if a family member other than the mother, say the sibling or parent of the parent adopted the child?  How would that be different from the bio parent continuing to parent the child?  The rationale would seem to apply in either case.  Might discourage relatives from adopting if payments were to cease upon adoption.
  • Courts in abuse/neglect matters often require parents to reimburse the DHS for foster care costs (MCL 400.115b(5)).  Would this rule apply to continuing foster care costs after termination?
  • What rules would apply for terminating the support obligation as the child ages out?
  • If parent(s) rights were terminated and support was ordered without prior Friend of the Court involvement, would the FOC manage the support obligation or would DHS or someone else?  What about taking into account the parent’s income as they do with divorce cases?  Would they use the same rules for determining support as in divorce cases or something else?  What if the custodial parent remarries?  Would that change or extinguish the obligation to pay?  What if the new spouse decides to adopt?
  • What if the parent(s) voluntarily relinquish their rights under the Adoption Code rather than the Child Protection Law?
  • If the terminated parent pays more than half of the support of the child, does he get the tax exemption for the child?  If so, how would he know he paid more than half?
  • What if the grounds for termination are that the parent was unable to support the child?
  • What if the parent is paying child support for other children?  Would they be taken into account as in typical Friend of the Court proceedings?
  • The case seems to raise many more questions than it resolves.
  • Reminds me of another “strict construction” disaster in DeVormer v DeVormer, a parenting time case.  The Appeals Court held that the bio father of a child was entitled to a presumption that having parenting time with his bio child even though he had been convicted of sexually abusing the child’s step sister.  As it says in the parenting time statute, it is presumed to be in the best interests of the child if both parents have parenting time.  An exception was if one parent was convicted of molesting ‘his’ child.  The Court held that the Statute only applied if the parent sexually abused his ‘biological’ child and thus was inapplicable in the case.  Of course if the mother had not fought the case and knowingly permitted parenting time with a convicted child molester, she would have been in trouble with the child protection law for failure to protect.  DeVormer seems to have been interpreted in a way that makes it inconsistent with the child protection law.  See below:

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished, Feb 18th)
Case Name: In re Williams
The conditions leading to adjudication were the fact respondent allowed a former boyfriend to babysit the minor child, resulting in the child being molested and contracting gonorrhea, and her medical neglect of the child.  The mother continued to have relationships with inappropriate men and deny them. She also exposed the child to the molester on at least two occasions.  She continued to have problems putting the child’s need to be away from inappropriate men ahead of her own needs or wants.  Full Text Opinion

October 2009 CA&N Media Articles, Cases 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
(989) 832-9628
[email protected]

Crimes Against Children Research Center of the University of New Hampshire has published a commentary on the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), which aggregates and publishes statistics from state child protection agencies.  The latest NCANDS report highlights a 12% decline in the rate of substantiated child maltreatment from 2006 to 2007, one of the largest year‐to‐year drops ever revealed by the system. But according to notes accompanying the report, at least 4 states (Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, and New Jersey) described major administrative and statistical changes in their systems that resulted in declines of 24‐60% in one year. In particular, a 60% drop in the number of victims reported by Florida, attributable to a new way the state categorizes cases, accounted for much of the national decline identified in the report.  Recalculated to exclude states with declines or increases of 20% or more, the report data showed that from 2006‐2007 there was no change in substantiated sexual abuse, an 8% decline in physical abuse, and a 1% decline in neglect.  Link to UNH Commentary

The ABA Center on Children and the Law announces the release of Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Futures: A Judge’s Guide.  This Guide is the result of a collaboration between the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Zero to Three National Policy Center.  It addresses the wide array of health needs of very young children in the child welfare system.  By sharing current research on physical health, child development, attachment, infant mental health, and early care and education, the authors provide tools and strategies to help judges promote better outcomes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who enter their courtrooms.  While the Guide is written for judges, the information it provides can be useful for both parents’ and children’s attorneys, guardians ad litem, CASAs, and other child advocates. The Guide can be accessed through its own webpage, which allows for download of the full PDF version, individual chapters, or chapter Practice Tips: Link to ABA Report.

The following article has been posted to Philanthropy News Digest: Resource Center Established to Help States Implement Foster Care Legislation  The nonpartisan Fostering Connections Resource Center will work to provide timely data and customized tools to state and local decision makers responsible for implementing the Fostering Connections Act  Link to Article

The ABA Center on Children and the Law, as part of the National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System (QIC NRF), recently released a book and training curriculum on Advocating for Non-Resident Fathers in Child Welfare Court Cases.
Both can be downloaded for free, and hard copies of the book are also available (shipping and handling charges will apply).  These two resources are based on the expertise of legal professionals across the country and include practical guidance on engaging non-offending, non-custodial fathers in their children’s cases.  The book is available at www.fatherhoodqic.org/book.shtml and the training curriculum is available at http://www.fatherhoodqic.org/curriculum.shtml.  For more information please contact Lisa Pilnik ([email protected]) or Jessica Kendall ([email protected]).

The first findings from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence have been released. They appear in an article in the journal Pediatrics and in a bulletin published by the US Department of Justice.  Link to DOJ Bulletin  or  Link to Pediatrics Article

New Study Finds Most States Fail to Adequately Protect the Legal Rights of Abused Children.  Second Edition of a State-By-State Report Card Shows Improving Grades in Some States; Michigan gets a C grade.

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished) October 7th
Case Name: In re Williams
The trial court correctly terminated the respondent-mother’s parental rights to the minor child based on her long standing drug addictions, inability to complete a drug treatment program, and lack of housing and employment. However, the trial court erred in permanently severing the respondent-father’s fundamental right to the care and custody of his child after proceedings conducted without the assistance of counsel.  The court held a trial court cannot “deny a respondent appointed counsel by imputing to the respondent income earned by people who bear no legal responsibility to contribute to the respondent’s legal expenses.”  At the termination hearing the DHS argued the father’s lack of “independent housing” and his insufficient income supplied grounds for terminating his rights. The court held it was fundamentally unfair to deny appointed counsel because a respondent does not qualify as indigent, while at the same time invoking his indigence as a ground for terminating his parental rights.  Court’s Opinion

Detroit News, Sept 30th: The Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, developed by law professors at the University of Michigan Law School, offers free legal assistance and support to keep children with family members and out of the foster care system. The office works in collaboration with Wayne County’s Department of Human Services. It is located on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, the center is targeting the Osborn neighborhood on Detroit’s east side, where more than a third of the children live in poverty. The community has one of county’s highest rates of children being removed from their homes.

The Future of Children is a collaboration of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.  The mission of The Future of Children is to translate the best social science research about children and youth into information that is useful to policymakers, practitioners, grant-makers, advocates, the media, and students of public policy.  The project publishes two journals and policy briefs each year.  They have just published their Fall 2009 Journal: Preventing Child Maltreatment.  It contains eight articles on various aspect of prevention.

Detroit Free Press, Sept 30th: “Lack of legal help keeping many Michigan parents, kids apart.”  Full story

Detroit Free Press, Sept 30th: “Report gives Michigan foster care overhaul mixed marks.”  Full story

Traverse City Record Eagle, Sept 30th: Editorial: “Red flags in family court.”  Dennis Mikko, until last month a referee in the 13th Circuit Court’s Family Division, allegedly had a stash of nude photos of children in a briefcase in his courthouse office.  Full editorial

The Michigan State Court Administrative Office, Child Welfare Services Division, through the Court Improvement Program, has been working on improving the quality of legal representation in Michigan.  As part of this project, we contracted with the ABA, Center on Children and the Law to conduct an independent study of legal representation for parents in Michigan and to make recommendations for improvement.  We are excited to announce that the report has been released!   The report is available online at under the Quality of Representation committee information.  Additionally, the report is available through the ABA, Center on Children and the Law, Parent Representation Project website, http://www.abanet.org/child/parentrepresentation/home.html.

The book, Growing Up in the Care of Strangers, came out this August.  The uniqueness of the book is that each of the authors went on to college and graduate school (5-6 got Ph.D.’s) and are currently devoting their lives to helping foster children (5 of them grew up in the MI foster care system).  The purpose of the book is to share their experiences, discuss how they were impacted and then based both on their own personal experiences and their experiences working with foster children, provide recommendations for the current foster care system.  A Review

On May 27-29, 2009, the Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, hosted its first National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the Summit was to explore the current state of evaluation practice in the field of child welfare, and provided a forum to discuss dynamic tensions, like those between theory and practice, rigor and flexibility, fidelity and adaptability, and evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence in the field of child welfare.  All of the materials provided to the Children’s Bureau by presenters at the Summit are now available to the public on the website of James Bell Associates. These materials include PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and resources.

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished) August 18th
Case Name: In re Toia
The trial court properly terminated both respondents-parents’ parental rights to the three minor children where clear and convincing evidence established the statutory grounds for termination. Conditionally affirmed and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to ensure compliance with the ICWA notice provisions and a determination whether the ICWA applies.  Full Text Opinion

MSU News, July 30th: While some 75 percent of the nation’s foster care children say they’d like to attend college, just 13 percent actually enroll – and of those, only 4 percent graduate.  Michigan State University has launched a program to attack the problem.  Foster Care Alumni Services is a comprehensive initiative that offers assistance to MSU students in an effort to help them remain in school and ultimately graduate. Services include community mentoring, scholarships, care packages and help lining up everything from student employment to housing to financial aid.  Link to Story

Detroit Free Press, June 10th: “WMU initiative leads to success for former foster kids.  Western Michigan University did something last fall that no other state school had — hand a free education to 51 former foster youths.”  Full story

Educational assistance for former foster youth: Western Michigan University plans to offer up to 50 former foster youths a place in its Seita Scholars program this fall. For information, go to http://www.wmich.edu/fyit/ or call 269-387-8362. Other schools — Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, for example, set aside financial assistance for former foster youths.  Wherever they attend school, alumni of the foster youth system also may be eligible for up to $4,000 per school year in an Education & Training Voucher, or ETV, in addition to other financial aid.  For information, go to the Michigan’s Foster Youth in Transition Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/fyit or Lutheran Social Services of Michigan at https://www.samaritas.org. An ETV coordinator can be reached at 877-660-6388.