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
Bill to Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Sue Perpetrator in Michigan
Feb 13, UpNorthLive.com: There is a new bill floating around Lansing that seeks to extend the age limit that a victim of sexual abuse can sue the perpetrator. “All the bill does is extend the statute of limitations for civil action against the perpetrator of criminal sexual child abuse for 10 years after they reach maturity,” said State Rep. Mark Meadows, D – East Lansing. Right now, victims in the state of Michigan are unable to sue after the age of 19. That limit would be pushed back to 28. Link to Article
Mission to Protect: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children
Feb 13, Midland Daily News: Protecting children, staff and volunteers is a paramount and constant mission for local groups providing youth activities. Link to Article
Questions to ask of programs
Adult behavior that raises concerns about sexual abuse
Sexual abuse warning signs
Mount Clemens Priest Suspended After Parishioner Charged in Sex Assault
Feb 12, Macomb Daily: The pastor of St. Peter Catholic Parish in Mount Clemens has been temporarily suspended from his priestly duties for failing to provide a safe environment on parish property, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit. Bishop Michael Bynes said in a statement: “There is no allegation of abuse against Fr. Cooney. But the Archdiocese does hold him accountable”. Both the victim and the defendant are parishioners at the church and apparently were caught in the act of having sex during a pancake breakfast after a Mass at the church in mid-December. Link to Article
US Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Vatican Dismissed
Feb 11, AP/Midland Daily News: Lawyers for a man who was sexually abused decades ago by a priest at a Wisconsin school for the deaf have withdrawn their lawsuit naming Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials as defendants, a major victory for the Holy See, which has long insisted the pope bears no liability for the actions of an abusive priest. Link to Article
U-M Leader: ‘Serious Failure’ in Child Porn Case
Feb 10, The Times Herald: The University of Michigan botched the response to child pornography found on a computer flash drive at a campus hospital, the school’s president said Friday, noting that a six-month delay in reporting it was a “serious failure.” An internal investigation determined that a hospital attorney aware of the incident decided after a month there was not enough evidence to summon police and closed the matter in June. The case was reopened by fall and charges were filed against a man who was a resident physician. The flash drive containing child porn was found in a staff lounge. The delay was a “serious failure on the part of our institution — there is simply no other way to describe it,” U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement accompanying the report. Link to Article
Details of Snyder’s Budget Plan
Feb 09, AP, Detroit News: Highlights of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s $48.2 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts in October:
- K-12 schools would receive a 1 percent funding increase compared to the money received in the current budget plan. Much of the additional money is set aside for schools that can seek “best practices” bonuses by offering dual enrollment or advanced placement courses, offering online or “blended” learning, and other practices. Another portion would be set aside for bonuses for school districts that can demonstrate academic achievement in math and reading for 3rd through 8th graders and in several subjects at the high school level. Districts would get $179 million toward teacher pension costs, similar to help they’re receiving this year.
- About $12.5 million would be added to this fiscal year’s early education spending with part of the state budget surplus. About $115 million would go toward early education in the next fiscal year.
- Increases funding for operations to Michigan’s 15 public universities by 3 percent. The increase is tied to some improvements in graduation measures and also to limiting tuition increases to 4 percent or less.
- State aid to community colleges would increase by 3 percent, with money distributed based on degrees earned in high-demand fields. Link to Article
Foster Care Gap: State Will Tap Federal Funds to Aid Youths Ages 18-21
Feb 08, Detroit Free Press: Soon, Michigan will tap into federal funds that will extend support to young adults in foster care until their 21st birthdays. These services are critical, coming at a time when at-risk young people either are getting a foothold on life or are in danger of slipping into the public welfare system. Each year, more than 500 foster youth age out of Michigan’s foster system, some at just 18, with no family support. A new state law is part of a federal push to improve outcomes for these young adults. In Michigan, it will mean three additional years of financial help, counseling and life-skills training for youth who age out at 18. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act became law in October 2008, and was considered by some to be one of the most significant changes to national foster care policy in a decade or more. In addition to making it easier to keep foster youth with relatives and improve adoption rates, it bolstered support for older youth. One of those provisions set aside federal funds for states that extend care to youths until they turn 21, provided those young adults are working or going to school. In Michigan, legislative fiscal analysts have estimated that extending care would add $13.8 million to the budget, though more than half would be reimbursed by federal money. Still, the state didn’t have a lot of choice. It’s under a federal court agreement to drastically improve outcomes for its foster youth. Link to Article
Mt. Morris Couple Accused in Child Abuse and Pornography Case Involving Infant
Feb 08, Mlive.com: Neighbors of Dan and Alisha Hall, charged Tuesday with sexually abusing their infant daughter and possessing hundreds of child pornography images, said they kept their distance from the couple. Daniel and Alisha Hall of Mt. Morris were arraigned Tuesday in Genesee District Court. Police believe Daniel Hall sexually abused his six-month-old daughter while Alisha Hall photographed the abuse. Link to Article
Grandfather, Mother sentenced for Coercing Girl to Recant Allegations That Grandfather Molested Her
Feb 08, Macomb Daily: A 71-year-old man and his adult daughter used shopping, a movie and potential loss of his financial support to coerce his 11-year-old granddaughter into recanting her accusation that he molested her in a Utica motel. They were sentenced to two years probation each after they pleaded no contest to obstruction of justice in exchange for dismissal of witnesses bribery or intimidation charge. The sentence displeased the girl’s father, a 38-year-old Lincoln Park man whose name is being withheld to protect his daughter’s identity. His daughter is receiving psychiatric care. He said he would like to have seen the grandfather behind bars. Link to Article
Department of Human Services Mentor Earns State Honor
Feb 08, Morning Sun: Selene Wadhawan, who has worked for the Michigan Department of Human Services for 12 years, has mentored many youth. Wadhawan, a children’s services supervisor at the DHS office in Mt. Pleasant, recently won a state award for her efforts in mentoring foster youth. Michigan DHS Director Maura Corrigan telephoned Wadhawan with the news late last month, and she has the award on display in her office. Wadhawan, who founded the Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative youth board in Isabella and Midland counties, was the first recipient of the Outstanding Mentor Award, which recognizes a DHS employee who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to mentoring foster youth. Link to Article
Detroit Schools’ No. 1 Mission: Getting Kids to Class
Feb 8, NPR: Ask Detroit teachers about their biggest challenge, and many will say, “You can’t teach kids who don’t come to class.” Last year, the average Detroit public high school student missed at least 28 days of school. Now, as part of its effort to get parents more involved, the district has launched a major initiative to improve attendance. The effort includes parent workshops and attendance agents charged with pushing parents to send their kids to school every day. Link to NPR Article
Detroit To Parents: Time To Get Involved In Education
Feb 7, NPR: In Detroit, officials say they are trying everything they can to revive the city’s public school system, from replacing dilapidated buildings to hiring new school leaders. Detroit Public Schools is also focusing on a neglected piece of the education equation: parents. The effort to involve parents in public education in Detroit focuses on a lot of little things, like “the homework corner” in Myesha Williams’ house on Doris Street. “The homework corner is awesome!” Williams says, beaming. With eight children — five still in school — Williams’ home is packed tight. But unlike many families in this city, Williams has set aside a special corner to help her kids focus. The Detroit Parent Network, a local nonprofit working with the school system, has outfitted Williams’ homework space to look like a classroom, complete with a neat bookshelf, a whiteboard and framed pictures. The idea is that this home will serve as a model that neighbors will emulate. Link to NPR Article
RESOURCES WITH TIME LIMITED VALUE
Weiss Advocacy Center to Host Lectures About Child Abuse
Feb 12, Flint Journal: Flint, Michigan: The Weiss Advocacy Center‘ 2012 Speaker Series will feature presentations about child abuse and its effects, and how to recognize child predators.
Feb. 27, John Micsak will give a presentation on the long-term effects of abuse on a child’s brain, and how those can sometimes lead to behavioral issues “This is the Brain. This is the Brain After Abuse.”.
March 26, Dr. Edwin Gullekson will discuss how to recognize physical and behavioral signs of abuse that are most common in children who are abused “What does Abuse Look Like?”.
April 16, Clayton Township Police Chief Mike Powers will discuss how to recognize pedophiles and how they lure parents into trusting them. “What Do Predators Look Like?”
From the Foster Youth In Transition DHS Website:
2012 Michigan Teen Conference! Take Charge of your Journey Youth ages 14 – 21 who are in foster care or independent living are invited to the annual teen conference at Ferris State University on June 19-20. Request YIT funds now for youth registration fees. Click here for cost and registration information.
FREE EVENT: COLLEGE GOAL SUNDAY!!
If you are a high school senior, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the end of February for the following school year! College Goal Sunday is being held at over 35 locations across the state and youth can come complete the FAFSA with the help of professional financial aid administrators. Go to http://www.micollegegoal.org/ to find the location near you! Don’t miss out on being eligible for college funding! University of Michigan – Dearborn campus also offers a foster youth specific Collage Goal Sunday. Click here for more information.
Upcoming SCAO Off-Site Programs
Review the list of programs below. Click on each program title to review a summary of the program and featured faculty. Enrolling in an Upcoming Off-Site Program: To enroll click on a program title below then choose “Register” in the summary box. Complete the registration form as requested and click “Continue”.
Based on a True Story: Best Practice for Child Welfare Professionals : Wednesday, Mar 14 at 9:00 AM EDT
Self-Care for Child Welfare Professionals: Avoiding Burnout : Friday, Mar 16 at 9:00 AM EDT
Impacting Development: Considerations for Child Welfare Professionals About the Developmental Consequences of Abuse and Neglect : Wednesday, May 9 at 9:00 AM EDT
Testifying in Court for Non Lawyers : Thursday, May 24 at 9:00 AM EDT
Child Welfare Advanced Appellate Training : Thursday, Jun 21 at 9:00 AM EDT
The ICWA “Qualified Expert Witness” Testimony to Protect the Best Interests of the Indian Child : Wednesday, Aug 8 at 9:00 AM EDT
Upcoming SCAO Webinar Programs
Click on the program title to review a summary of the program and featured faculty. Enrolling in an Upcoming Program: To enroll please click on a program title below then choose “Register” in the summary box. Complete the registration form as requested and click “Continue”.
Appeals by Leave: What Child Welfare Attorneys Need to Know : Tuesday, Feb 21 at 12:00 PM EST
The 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Washington DC
April 16-20, 2012 is sponsored by the Children’s Bureau’s Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) and features child welfare leaders and experts including; practitioners, policy makers, cutting-edge researchers, and advocates. Participants will have a unique opportunity to learn from these individuals: influence and shape practice, policy, and research; and network with professionals dedicated to the well-being of our nation’s children and families. Link to Registration Page
RESOURCES WITH ONGOING VALUE
From the Foster Youth In Transition DHS Website:
The FYIT web site was the result of a recommendation made by the Statewide Task Force on Youth Transitioning from Foster Care in 2006. Over 100 members from public and private organizations that care about improving services to foster youth participated. Youth representatives were part of the Task Force and acted as a lead for each of the six subcommittees that consisted of the State Court Administrative Office, Child Welfare Services Division; the Governor’s Task Force on Children’s Justice; the Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Institute; the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman; and Children’s Charter of the Courts of Michigan. The site provides information on a variety of issues important to current and former foster youth, as well as, links to other sites that share information on how to develop supports, find services, get answers to important questions and keep you posted on what’s new.
The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)
The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) is a way for youth who experience foster care to share their experiences so that services can be improved. Hearing back from youth allows DHS and the community to better understand how foster care impacts young people and how they can change policies and improve resources to make it better. Your participation matters! It makes sure Michigan does not make decisions about you, without you!
A Handbook for Youth In Foster Care – Now Available!
Recent changes in financial aid expand college opportunities for foster youth. See how these changes may affect you.
Child Abuse Evaluation & Treatment for Medical Providers
Provides a single, comprehensive source of child abuse information that offers tools and resources with which to diagnose and manage child and adolescent abuse victims. It is a resource for medical providers who do not have a background or expertise in child abuse pediatrics and are striving to develop best practice standards for their patient care setting. The website is a book and is organized by chapters. You can access information in three ways: use the Table of Contents, the A-Z Index, or enter key words in the search box. This website should not take the place of consultation with a child abuse medical expert or careful case review with a multidisciplinary team. Link to Site
YOUNG ADULT VOLUNTARY FOSTER CARE
Extending Foster Care to Age 21 – On Adoption Day, Nov. 22, 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law the Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care Act (Public Acts 225 through 230 of 2011) that will allow Michigan foster youth to voluntarily remain under state care until age 21 if they are in job training, in college, employed or disabled. Extended benefits are made possible by the Federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which gave states the option to receive matching federal funds to extend financial assistance through federal Title IV-E funding to eligible foster youth. The Michigan Department of Human Services is awaiting approval of the state plan from the federal government, with the program launch planned for April 2012. The Q&A below provides an overview of the program: Link to DHS Info on This Program
MICHIGAN APPELLATE COURT CASES
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Swiss
The court found no clear error given respondent’s negative history as to parental rights (his parental rights to two other children were previously terminated), “his predilection to engage in criminal behavior resulting in multiple terms of imprisonment and reflecting an inability to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law,” the nature of his criminal acts – “actions pertaining to narcotics trafficking and intimidating/assaultive behavior, his current state of incarceration and the length of sentence absent identification of a family member or relative who could act as the child’s temporary caregiver, and given the fact that respondent chose to continue his criminal ways and risk imprisonment instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to fully participate in services after the petitioner-DHS first became involved.”, all played a role” in the termination of his parental rights, not incarceration alone. Contrary to respondent’s arguments, Mason was distinguishable and did not require reversal. Full Text Opinion.