September 2008 CA&N Articles 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]

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published)
Case Name: In re Roe: September 25th
Court of Appeals Reversed Termination of Parental Rights
The court held the proper standard of proof for determinations under § 1912(d) of the ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) is the default standard applicable to all Michigan termination of parental rights cases – clear and convincing evidence. Further, in an issue of first impression, the court held the DHS “need not show temporally concurrent ‘active’ efforts with each proceeding under the ICWA.” Rather, “formal or informal services provided prior to the current proceeding may meet the ‘active efforts’ requirement of § 1912(d) of the ICWA.” Where there is clear and convincing evidence the provision of additional services would be futile, this finding can meet the requirements of § 1912(d).
The DHS and the Tribe correctly noted the trial court mentioned there “had been a case service plan” and “efforts to rehabilitate the [mother] were unsuccessful.” But the trial court did not make these statements as part of findings concerning the requirements of § 1912(d) of the ICWA. Rather, the trial court made these remarks in the context of its finding the DHS had proved the statutory grounds for termination under § 19b(3)(i). There was nothing in the trial court’s opinion even suggesting it was aware it had to make findings under § 1912(d) of the ICWA. Because the trial court did not make the requisite findings under § 1912(d) of the ICWA, it lacked the authority to proceed with the termination of respondent’s parental rights. Reversed and remandedFull Text Opinion

Oakland Press, September 24th: “Man to serve at least 40 years for child sexual assaults in Oakland County.” | Full story

Detroit News – Sep 24  Romulus woman heads to trial in baby’s death
Police testified today that a 27-year-old, charged in the death of her boyfriend’s infant daughter, gave officers three stories about what happened before indicating the child hit her head against the couch and fell on the floor.  Police allege shaken baby syndrome.  Detroit News Article

Detroit Free Press, September 24th: “Michigan’s foster children may get three more years of help from the federal government — to age 21 — and aunts, uncles, grandparents and other relative caregivers may be in line, too, for some financial aid.” | Full story

Detroit News – Sep 22nd: Preacher dismisses child abuse claims
LITTLE ROCK, Ark; Six teenage girls were taken into state custody for alleged sexual abuse at Tony Alamo’s religious compound in Fouke AK.  Detroit News Article

Detroit Free Press, September 22nd:
 “Western Michigan University helps 51 foster kids who have aged out of the system without being adopted with college costs and support.” | Full story

Court: Michigan Supreme Court
Case Name: In re Ross, September 17th
Michigan Supreme Court Reversed Ct of Appeals Reversal of Termination of Parental Rights
In an order in lieu of granting leave to appeal, the court reversed the Court of Appeals judgment (August 17, 2008) and reinstated the trial court’s order terminating the respondent-mother’s parental rights. The court concluded the Court of Appeals “misapplied the clear error standard by substituting its judgment for” the trial court’s, and rendered a decision “contrary to the clear and convincing evidence supporting termination of” respondent’s parental rights pursuant to §§ 19b(3)(c)(i), (g), and (j). The court remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings not inconsistent with the court’s order.
Full Text Opinion


Midland Daily News – Sep 17th

The case against a man charged with using a stick to assault a child was bound over to circuit court based in part on the testimony of the 8-year-old victim.  Police officer trained in child forensic interview protocol questioned child to establish grounds for arrest.  Eight year old testified in open court to establish case for transfer to Circuit Court.  MDN Article

Detroit News, September 17th: “Detroit Medical Center was not overpaying Wayne State University doctors for care of Medicaid patients, an independent expert said in a ruling that may help settle a dispute between the medical center and the university.”  This was included here because DMC/WSU provides medical care for foster children with Medicaid money.  Full story

Muskegon Chronicle September 15: A 23-year-old Grand Haven man has been charged with first-degree child abuse after medical authorities reported treating a 4-month old boy for a fractured skull last week.  Muskegon Chronicle Article

Northern Express – Sep 15th

When Jessica Edwards decided to take her two-year-old son to the emergency room last November, her abusive boyfriend vowed revenge. He’d do everything in his power to take her son away from her, along with their unborn child.  Incarcerated father agreed to court jurisdiction in child protective proceeding against mother.  Northern Express Article

Flint Journal, September 15th:
“Botched adoption sparks outrage; Genesee County judge threatens to jail Whaley Children’s Center officials ‘next time.'” | Full story

West Bloomfield Eccentric – Sep 14th: Prosecutor now defendant over sex abuse case
In a story following up on the two previous posts, the parents filed a lawsuit against the West Bloomfield Police Department, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office and 22 other individuals and organizations involved in the original case involving the Wendrows’ 15-year-old autistic daughter.

“Parents cleared in sex case file suit: Our autistic kids suffered, they say.”  Full story

Detroit Free Press, September 13th Editorial on same case: Persecuted family may face a steep climb to justice.” Prosecution relied on facilitated communication and other improper interview techniques to get testimony from children. Full column

Flint Journal, September 10th: “Linden man becomes 200th person nabbed in Internet sting by attorney general’s office.” | Full story

Kalamazoo Gazette, September 10th:
“Anthony Springer said ‘no neglect or abuse’ was involved Feb. 27 when his 16-year-old daughter died in a house fire while chained to her bed, according to a court document filed Tuesday.”  Two other children remain in foster care.  | Full story

Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, September 7th:
“No indecency charges filed against 6-year-old.” Includes commentary on the wisdom of prosecuting a six year old for sex offenses by our own Frank Vandervort| Full story

Lansing State Journal, September 5th:
“Former school counselor to stand trial in student sex case.” | Full story

Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, September 5th:
“A young couple whose four-week-old son was found by police with a pacifier taped to his mouth will not face child abuse charges.” | Full story

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Clemons August 28th
Court of Appeals Reversed Termination of Parental Rights
The appellate court held reversal of the trial court’s order terminating the respondent-mother’s parental rights was warranted because the deprivation of her constitutional right to counsel seriously affected the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of the judicial proceedings, she was also deprived of her right to be tried by an impartial decision maker, and there was no clear and convincing evidence supporting termination under § 19b(3)(f). Further, the lack of a lawyer-GAL to ensure the child’s rights and best interests were protected also warranted reversal. 
Full Text Opinion

Kalamazoo Gazette, August 22nd:
Motorists with young children should be keenly aware of Michigan’s new child-restraint law.” | Full story

Grand Rapids Press, August 22nd:
“A bill package aimed at streamlining communication and boosting accountability between Protective Services and Friend of the Court agencies has jumped a legislative hurdle.” | Full story

See also: AP/Saginaw News, September 17th: “Senate OKs child abuse assistance which requires DHS protective services to coordinate with local Friends of the Court.” | Full story

Detroit Free Press

  • August 21st: Rape Charges Dropped Against Former Teacher

A former Oak Park kindergarten teacher accused of raping two young boys is a free man today after prosecutors dropped the case against him.  Livingston County Assistant Prosecutor Pamela Maas said, “The evidence as it exists after the conclusion of two jury trials indicates that it is not possible to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” article


Guidelines Updated on Care for Sexually Assaulted Teens
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued an update to it’s 2001 guidelines on care for teens who have been sexually assaulted.
Medscape Medical News 2008

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Couillard, August 11th
Appeals Court held testimony by Protective Services worker about statements made to the worker by children were admissible as evidence in a termination hearing pursuant to Michigan Court rules.  Children told PS worker that they often saw their parents engaged in sex acts at the shelter they were staying at.  The trial court considered this neglect sufficient to warrant termination.  Full Text Opinion

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