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
Staff Removed At LA School During Abuse Probe
Feb 07, Associated Press/at NPR; The entire staff at a Los Angeles elementary school is being removed while authorities investigate horrific allegations of sexual abuse by two of the school’s teachers, one of whom is accused of blindfolding children, taping their mouths and photographing them in a classroom. Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said Monday night that more than 120 staff members at Miramonte Elementary School — everyone from the principal and teachers to the cafeteria workers — were being replaced because a full investigation of the allegations will be disruptive and staffers will require support to get through the scandal. Link to NPR Article
Cardinal: Pope Merits Thanks On Abuse, Not Attacks
Feb 06, Associated Press/at NPR; A top American cardinal on Monday defended Pope Benedict’s handling of sexual abuse cases by clergy, saying he should be praised not criticized, as advocates for abuse victims demanded that the Vatican release its secret files on pedophile priests. Cardinal William Levada told a Vatican-backed symposium on safeguarding children that Benedict had been “instrumental” in implementing standards to crack down on pedophile clergy as well as supportive of U.S. bishops’ efforts to fight the abuse. Before becoming pontiff, Benedict held Levada’s job as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church office ensuring doctrinal purity and, in recent decades, also shaping the Holy See’s policies on handling abuse cases involving clergy. Link to NPR Article
State Policy Blocks Waterford Township Couple From Foster Care.
Feb 06, Oakland Press: Gabrielle and Ivan Lima started out a year and a half ago with hope in their hearts of providing a home to foster children and finally adopting one or more of their own. But today, the room they fixed up for a baby and toddler on the main floor of their ranch-style home is now home to foster kittens, which they are caring for on behalf of the Oakland County Pet Adoption Center until they can be adopted. The Limas said they find themselves in an ironic situation because they have been reading stories about the dire need for foster parents and they have the needed qualifications. Yet, they can’t be approved because they don’t have an egress window in their fully finished basement as required by Michigan Department of Human Services. They said they understand the need if the children’s room was in the basement instead of on the main floor of the home.
In response to the couple’s concerns and allegations, Dave Akerly, spokesman for the DHS said he could not legally comment on a particular case. But he agreed with the couple that an egress window would be required in this kind of case. Having or not having an egress window doesn’t disqualify you unless the basement is being used for a bedroom and/or a children’s play area, he said. “If you are spending time there, there has to be a way out other than the normal stairs,” Akerly explained. Link to Article
Midland Daily News – Feb 06: Every parent’s worst nightmare: A coach who betrays trust with your child It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.
Midland Daily News – Feb 06: When coach is a predator, it shocks a community
Robert Bopp had spent much of his adult life coaching boys.
Midland Daily News – Feb 06: Law officials: More than background checks are needed to root out sexual predators
In light of the recent news about coaches sexually assaulting young athletes, Midland County Prosecutor Mike Carpenter has very specific advice for sports organizations.
CDC: Child Abuse, Neglect Cost United States $124 Billion
Feb 4, (WWJ) – The total lifetime estimated financial costs associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) is approximately $124 billion, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal. The study looked at confirmed child maltreatment cases, 1,740 fatal and 579,000 non–fatal, for a 12–month period. The lifetime cost for each victim of child maltreatment who lived was $210,012. That’s comparable to other costly health conditions, such as stroke with a lifetime cost per person estimated at $159,846 or type 2 diabetes, which is estimated between $181,000 and $253,000. The costs of each death due to child maltreatment are even higher. Link to WWJ Article, Link to CDC website and CAN Journal Article.
Authorities Probe Video Showing Questionable Parenting Style
Feb 3, WNEM: A YouTube video that shows parents feeding their child is at the center of an investigation. The kid can be seen screaming as his mother puts spoonfuls of food in his mouth.
A detective with the Sanilac County Sheriff’s Department said the boy was 2 years old at the time the video was shot. He said a relative shot the video. The Sanilac County prosecutor will review the report from the Sheriff’s Department. He has not said anything about formal charges. “When I got a chance to witness the video, I was appalled,” said CAN Council Child Abuse and Prevention Director Vera Harrison. Still, the video is the topic of much debate. By late Friday evening it had already garnered nearly 63,000 views on YouTube. Link to Article/Video
Woman Arrested for Alleged Child Abuse, Torture
Feb 3, The Detroit News: A 34-year-old Oceola Township woman was arrested Friday on first degree child abuse and torture charges for the abuse of her 3-year-old stepgrandson. Police said Sara Rae Walters caused more than 60 injuries to the boy, including subdural hematoma, which is a collection of blood on the surface of the brain. The boy also suffered superficial lacerations and contusions. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Department began an investigation in October after the boy was admitted to University of Michigan hospital Pediatric Intensive Care unit. Walters faces life in prison for the abuse and torture charges. She is in the Livingston County Jail. Bond was set at $200,000 cash or surety. No more info in Article
Mom Accused of Prompting 11-year-old to Steal from Macomb Township Kroger
Feb 03, The Voice: A 29-year-old mother is accused of sending her 11-year-old daughter into the Macomb Township Kroger with a shopping list and the intention of her not paying, according to a Macomb County Sheriff’s Department report from Jan. 27. The mother, Kimberly Ryan Swift of Macomb Township, waited in the vehicle with her two other children, ages 5 and 8, as the 11-year-old loaded up with the cart with items and then walked out without paying. Swift was then taken into and held at the Macomb County Jail; Child Protective Services was also notified and the three juveniles were turned over to family members. Swift was arraigned and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and retail fraud. Link to Article
Investigation of U-M Resident Physician Was Not Handled Correctly, Officials Say
Feb 03, Ann Arbor Journal: A delay of about six months between when a U of M resident physician was reported to possess child pornography and when the police investigation began is unacceptable, according to university officials. Procedures for how this type of activity is reported are being reviewed. The delay is attributed to the case not being properly forwarded to university police for investigation. A resident physician found child pornography on a USB drive in the Pediatric Emergency Department in May, according to published reports. She reported the illegal image she found on the device to supervisors, hospital security and Office of the General Counsel. The case was initially dismissed due to lack of evidence. A hospital security official came forward with the case in November. University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the university acknowledges allegations first reported in May were not addressed correctly. “We are absolutely committed to correcting that,” Fitzgerald said. Link to Article
Stepgrandmother Says Stevens Sported ‘Huge Smile’ About an Hour After His Son Died
Feb 01, Jackson Citizen Patriot: As Deborah Anderson walked through the hospital, about an hour after her stepgrandson died of a serious head injury, she passed by the baby’s father, Adam Stevens, and was struck cold by the “huge smile” on his face. “It was totally out of place for what had just happened,” Anderson testified Wednesday during Stevens’ trial. Stevens, 29, is accused of felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the August 2010 death of nearly 3-month-old Kian. The injuries that killed Kian were inflicted by another person, the pathologist who performed the autopsy testified. “It is not an accidental injury,” said Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen, professor and director of autopsy and forensic services for the University of Michigan Department of Pathology. Jentzen and Dr. Bethany Mohr of the University of Michigan Health System’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital said Kian died of abusive head trauma. Link to Article
Michigan Father Fights Law to Gain Custody of Daughter
Jan 30, Click-On Detroit: A Hartland man is fighting to change a 1956 Michigan law which he says prevents him from seeing his daughter. The Paternity Act states that if a child is conceived during a marriage the child is automatically presumed to be a product of that marriage. DNA testing proves Quinn is the father, but the child was conceived while her mother Candace Beckwith was married to another man. The legally recognized father is now in an Ohio prison for drug trafficking. The mother, apparently, was also implicated. Still, says Quinn, “I have no standing whatsoever to claim paternity rights for my daughter.” The girl is now living with her mother in Kentucky. “This law that was supposed to make sure that a child born out of wedlock had a father in their life has literally stripped her of any father in her life,” Quinn said. The Michigan Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would allow a judge in cases like this to give consideration to the biological father. Quinn is confident the House will approve the bill this year. Link to Article
Sex Slaves Nationwide; Hundreds Exploited as Modern Day Slaves in West Michigan
Jan 29, WOOD-TV: An estimated 2400 children are living as slaves in West Michigan, according to the US Department of State. They’re tricked, kidnapped or sold into human trafficking rings. Police continue to find them and non-profit organizations continue to work toward rehabilitation. “We’re getting victims so it’s not so much a question of if it’s happening,” Andy Soper with Wedgwood Christian Services said. Link to Article
RESOURCES WITH ONGOING VALUE
Child Welfare Outcomes 2006–2009: Report to Congress is the tenth in a series of reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The publication is designed to inform Congress and professionals related to the child welfare field about national and State performance on several measures of outcomes for children served by child welfare systems throughout the country. The outcomes address the safety, permanency, and well-being of the children, and focus on widely accepted performance objectives for child welfare practice.
Child Welfare Outcomes 2006–2009 is solely available in electronic format. You can find the full report, along with a 12-page Executive Summary brochure, at the Children’s Bureau’s website: www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cwo06-09
Report data also can be found on the new Child Welfare Outcomes data site, which makes the latest data available for you to view in a variety of ways according to your needs: http://cwoutcomes.acf.hhs.gov/data
For more information, contact Child Welfare Information Gateway at [email protected] or 1.800.394.3366.