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
Ohio Man Sues Camden Diocese Over Alleged Abuse, Using Repressed-Memory Claim
Jan. 28, Philadelphia Inquirer: An Ohio man who alleges he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in the early 1970s but repressed all memory of the assaults is using the “late discovery” feature of New Jersey’s child endangerment law to sue the Diocese of Camden. New Jersey law gives sexually abused minors only until age 20 to file suit against their accusers, unless they can demonstrate they repressed memory of their abuse, according alleged victim’s lawyer.
“Her client suffered “traumatic amnesia,” she said. The alleged perpetrator, 75, was accused in the 1990s of sex abuse by at least four other males. Although he denied the allegations, the diocese in 2002 paid settlements to several of his accusers as part of an $880,000 lawsuit involving 15 priests. Peter Feuerherd, spokesman for the Camden Diocese, said the priest was removed from ministry in 1990 and “lives under close supervision in a treatment facility outside the diocese.” The alleged victim’s suit charges the diocese with having “fraudulently concealed” its knowledge of Shannon’s alleged predation of young boys, and knowingly exposed other victims to the priest. Like repressed memory, fraudulent concealment can also “toll,” or pause, the statute of limitations in civil sex abuse cases in New Jersey. Link to Article
City of Albion Competing for $200,000 State Grant to Push Forward Community Plan
Jan 26, Jackson News: Albion is competing for a $200,000 state grant, and one of the big steps toward securing it took place last week at Crowell School. About 60 community members heard data on risk factors that affect the city’s youth through a presentation by the Substance Abuse Prevention Services (SAPS), Albion Community Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (ASAPC) and the Policy Prevention Board (PPB). Attendees could give feedback on the data presented, which will then be integrated into a three-year community plan to address specific risk factors affecting Albion locally. That will help the city of Albion compete for the $200,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Human Service’s Bureau of Juvenile Justice. The funds would be used to implement the plan, which officials hope to submit along with their grant application, April 27th. Link to Article
Home Births Grow More Popular In U.S.
Jan 26, NPR/All Things Considered: The number of women delivering babies at home in the United States has increased significantly, according to the latest government data released Thursday. Home births increased by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009. The upward trend is being welcomed by some advocates of home births and midwives, but it’s also raising concern among some doctors. Births at home still remain pretty uncommon. Only 0.72 percent of births in 2009, or 29,650, were at home, up from 0.56 percent in 2004, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Link to Program and Transcript
Adoptees Using DNA to Find Family
Jan 26, Diane Rehm Show/NPR – Audio only: Adult adoptees are turning to DNA tests and social media to find biological family members and trace their roots: balancing privacy with the need to know. Guests: Deborah Riley executive director, The Center for Adoption Support and Education, Inc.; Bennett Greenspan CEO, Family Tree DNA; Kimberly Leighton Assistant Professor of Philosophy at American University. Link to Program Audio
Michigan Man Gets 25 Years For Role In Child Sex Ring
Jan 25, CBS Detroit:- A Southern California federal judge has sentenced 34-year-old Joshua Boras, a Lapeer man, to 25 years in prison for his role in an international child exploitation group. Prosecutors say Boras was affiliated with the “Lost Boy” online bulletin board — which, according to court documents and proceedings, was dedicated to men who have a sexual interest in young boys and was established to provide a forum to trade child pornography. In addition to his participation in Lost Boy, Boras filmed his sexual abuse of a minor boy and distributed these images to some of the site’s members. According to court documents, law enforcement discovered the Lost Boy bulletin board after receiving information from Eurojust, the judicial cooperation arm of the European Union. Eurojust provided U.S. law enforcement with leads obtained from Norwegian and Italian authorities indicating that a North Hollywood, Calif., man was communicating with an Italian national about child pornography and how to engage in child sex tourism in Romania. Acting on the information from Europe, the FBI executed search warrants that led to the discovery of the Lost Boy network. Investigators say the group had 35 members in the United States, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The Internet site was shut down three years ago and 15 defendants have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial. Link to Article
Kids Count in Michigan Data Book: Health Matters
Jan 24, Michigan League for Human Services: The Kids Count in Michigan Data Book: Health Matters finds that child abuse and neglect in Michigan jumped 34 percent over the past decade while nearly half of public school children statewide now qualify for free and reduced price lunches. Included are profiles for 83 counties, the city of Detroit and the Upper Peninsula. Read full report
As He Prepares for College, Michigan Teen Carries Baggage Few Students Do
Jan 24, Detroit Free Press: When he was just 9, Marcus Buggs became a man. It’s not that he wanted to. He had to. Up until that point, he was living what he says was a typical childhood in Flint. It wasn’t the best environment. There were drug dealers and thieves — the kind of place where you can get into trouble easily. But Marcus had his family. Even if his father was dealing drugs and his mother had her own issues, they were around. And then everything changed. It happened on his ninth birthday, the day he became a man. Marcus watched his uncle shoot his dad, pumping a bullet into his chest. He lost his father. He lost his mother a few weeks later. Not to death, but to prison. And right then, he lost his childhood. Marcus became the adult, caring for his sister and later three more siblings, shouldering most of the responsibilities as they bounced around between a foster home and two separate grandparents’ homes. Thrust into adulthood far too early, Marcus could have gone either way. For a while, he went the only way he knew, getting kicked out of school and starting fights. But with some help from a principal who refused to give up on him, Marcus went the other way. He’s 18 now and getting ready for college. Link to Article
10 Years On, Clergy Abuse Scandal Still Reverberates
Jan 24, NPR, Talk of the Nation: The Boston Globe broke the story of sex abuse within the Catholic Church’s Boston diocese, and a systematic cover up, in 2002. Since then, hundreds of victims have come forward with their stories. After resistance, the Church changed course, but many complain it hasn’t gone far enough. Link to Program/Transcript
Catholic Church Corrupt To Its Core, Says Survivor
Jan 13, Tell Me More/NPR: We want to focus on a story that changed the way many Americans view the Catholic Church. It’s been 10 years since the Catholic sex abuse scandal at the Archdiocese of Boston was first reported by the Boston Globe. The story was filled with detailed descriptions of how priests had abused numerous children over many years, and how top leaders in the church covered it up. In the decade since the report was published, thousands of people across the country have come forward, to share their own stories of the abuse suffered at the hands of priests. We want to turn to a man with a unique perspective on this issue. Bob Hoatson served as a priest for decades but in 2003, he revealed that he had been abused by Catholic brothers as a teen. He now runs a nonprofit for survivors of clergy sex abuse, called Road to Recovery. Link to Article
RESOURCES WITH ONGOING VALUE
ABA Practice & Policy Briefs
The ABA Center on Children and the Law has announced that its latest Practice & Policy Brief — Psychotropic Medication and Children in Foster Care: Tips for Advocates and Judges — is now available from the Child Welfare Information Gateway in both hard copy and pdf versions: (under Research and Reports)
Other ABA Practice & Policy Briefs address:
* Advocating for Very Young Children in Dependency Proceedings: The Hallmarks of Effective, Ethical Representation (2010)
* Visitation with Infants and Toddlers in Foster Care: What Judges and Attorneys Need to Know (2007)
* Healing the Youngest Children: Model Court-Community Partnerships (2007)
Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Futures: A Judge’s Guide (2009), produced in collaboration with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Zero to Three, explores infant brain development, caregiver attachment, medical and mental health, and permanency planning strategies to ensure the health and well-being of very young children who enter the child welfare system.
All can be downloaded from the Center’s website.
Free hard copies and bulk orders of the Practice & Policy Briefs are available through Shante Bullock at [email protected] Free hard copies of Healthy Beginnings are available from the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 (ask for product code 3490003B; shipping and taxes apply).
MICHIGAN APPELLATE COURT CASES
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re McKinney/Booker
The Legislature has not defined the criteria for determining the best interests of a child in the context of a termination proceeding, but case law indicates that a trial court may consider a variety of factors including the parent’s past history, the age of the children, any inappropriate parenting techniques, and any continued involvement in domestic violence. See In re Jones, 286 Mich App at 131. A trial court may also consider the strength of the bond between the parent and child, the visitation history, and the parent’s compliance with treatment plans. See In re BZ, 264 Mich App 286, 301; 690 NW2d 505 (2004); In re AH, 245 Mich App 77, 89; 627 NW2d 33 (2001). Also relevant to the best interests determination is the child’s need for permanence and the length of time the child may be required to wait for the parent to rectify problematic conditions; this inquiry includes consideration of the child’s age and particular needs. See In re McIntyre, 192 Mich App 47, 52-53; 480 NW2d 293 (1991). Full Text Opinion
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Headen
Appeal from Jackson County
Respondent-father appeals as of right from the trial court order terminating his parental rights to the minor child under MCL 712A.19b(3)(b)(i), (g), and (j). We affirm. The conditions that led to the adjudication involved serious physical abuse of an 11-week old child. It was undisputed that the minor child was physically abused. He sustained multiple injuries, including a right radial buckle fracture, a right ulnar corner fracture, a right hematoma on his head, multiple rib fractures, and a right femur fracture. He also had failed to thrive. “Medical evidence showed that some of the fractures had already begun to heal, proving that the child was abused on more than one occasion.” The minor child’s mother acknowledged that she may have caused some of the more recent fractures. However, the identity of the perpetrator of the earlier physical abuse while the child was in his mother and father’s custody and care was not conclusively established. The trial court reasonably concluded that respondent, although he may not have directly inflicted the injuries, was culpable because he failed to adequately safeguard the child. Termination of a parent’s parental rights under “is permissible‚ even in the absence of definitive evidence as to the identity of the perpetrator, where the evidence does show that the respondent or respondents must have either caused or failed to prevent the child’s injuries.” “Neither parent could explain the cause of the child’s earlier injuries, including two broken arm bones and additional broken ribs.” The trial court heard credible evidence that the mother roughly handled the minor child by forcibly grabbing him from respondent’s arms on at least two occasions while the parents were verbally arguing. The trial court found that “the minor child had been abused on more than one occasion and, had respondent taken appropriate action to remove the child from the dangerous situation, one or more of the injuries could have been prevented.” The court reasonably concluded that his failure to act resulted in physical injury to the minor child. Full Text Opinion