Child Welfare in the News

AR: Volunteers sought to aid child welfare 
The Sentinel-Record – July 25, 2016
About 40 percent of children in Arkansas’ child welfare system don’t receive the assistance they need, according to Justin Buck, executive director of Garland County Court Appointed Special Advocates.

AZ: Restored KidsCare Program Taking Applications (Includes audio)
Public News Service – July 26, 2016
The reinstated KidsCare program provides health insurance at low or no cost to as many as 30,000 Arizona children.

CA: The death of a grandchild and how Child Protective Services restricts vital information (Opinion)
Sacramento Bee – July 24, 2016
This journey, from the devastation of learning about the death of my grandson to outrage over the recent effort by the California Department of Social Services to restrict the ability of the public to have access to important information, began in January 1999.

CA: ‘This is a safe haven’: Stockton group home for LGBT foster youth is Valley’s first – July 23, 2016
“My mom said she didn’t want me living with her anymore,” said the girl, who cannot be identified publicly because she is a juvenile and is in the foster-care system. “She didn’t want me to live there anymore because I’m 17 and she’s tired of taking care of me. So I’m here.” But the girl’s story, as wrenching as it is, carries with it an extra layer of complexity. Someday, the girl said last week, she wants to be a man. Someday she plans to transition. So when it came time to find the right group home, the task was especially challenging.

CA: New Monterey County director of child welfare: conversation has to change
Monterey Herald – July 23, 2016
There are several challenges facing the department of child welfare in Monterey County, including difficulty filling vacant social worker positions and finding families who want to become foster parents. Lori Medina, who recently took over as director of the Family and Children’s Services Branch of the Monterey County Department of Social Services, wants to change the way the department is perceived besides addressing those issues.

FL: Heroin’s toll seen as rolls of foster children grow
News Chief – July 23, 2016
An unprecedented number of children in Manatee County are being removed from their homes by the Department of Children and Families, largely because of the spike in heroin- and opiate-related abuse in the area.

GA: After years of cutbacks, state of Georgia hiring again
Atlanta Journal And Constitution – July 25, 2016
Agency officials say the new staffers are designed to help cut down on long lines at driver’s license offices, to reduce backlogs at crime labs, to cut caseloads for overworked child protective services staffers, to give the state the manpower to investigate police shootings, to provide more teachers in schools with growing enrollment, and to improve the system of signing up Georgians for government benefits.

IN: Background checks weed out bad teachers
Lafayette Journal Courier Online – July 23, 2016
When a background check company conducted rechecks for an Indiana school with about 1,000 employees, more than 40 teachers had criminal histories, including four with drug or theft felonies. Also: New law requires deeper background checks for new school hires:

KS: Contractor has begun review after sexual harassment lawsuit
Associated Press – July 25, 2016
A Kansas foster care and family preservation contractor said it has begun an internal review of allegations raised in a federal lawsuit that one of its caseworkers sexually harassed and coerced a mother seeking to regain custody of her children.

KY: We should protect foster kids’ religious freedom (Opinion)
Lexington Herald-Leader – July 25, 2016
The Bevin administration is re-embroiling the state in a court fight that was triggered 18 years ago when Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children fired an employee because she posed with her lesbian partner in a photo exhibit at the state fair. The employee’s discrimination complaint was dismissed early on. But the state, the Baptist-supported agency that was renamed Sunrise Children’s Services and three Kentucky taxpayer plaintiffs have been arguing ever since in federal court about how to safeguard children in taxpayer-supported foster care from religious coercion and proselytizing.

MD: Building Trust and Support for Homeless Youth in OST Programs
Youth Today – July 25, 2016
At the after-school coaching programs run by the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, the staff never shines a spotlight on the fact that many of their participants are homeless. Often the moment comes when the participants draw their chairs into a circle after a day of trust-building exercises. They talk about experiencing homeless, the foster care system or deep poverty.

MI: The Orphanage: Part 1 – The Past (Includes video)
TV 6 – July 25, 2016
Just over a hundred years ago, the Holy Family Orphanage opened its doors to Upper Michigan children, and for roughly 50 years, 15 nuns looked after about 150 children, at any given time.—Part-1-The-Past-388196152.html

OR: Social Workers Say What It’s Like To Deal With Foster Kids Living In The Office 
Oregon Public Broadcasting – July 25, 2016
“Sometimes we’ll have babies that will come in, and you know, luckily there are a lot of people who want to hold babies. But if you have a super fussy baby it makes it hard for everybody to work. Because there’s babies crying or toddlers crying. Or they’re trying to run away and do things that really aren’t safe,” she said.

US: Bogus ‘sex offender’ labels are ruining lives (Opinion)
New York Post – July 25, 2016
The US Bureau of Justice reports: “The single age with the greatest number of offenders from the perspective of law enforcement was age 14.”

US: Child Welfare Ideas from the Experts, #1: Federal Runaway Prevention Regulations in Foster Home Licensing 
Chronicle of Social Change – July 25, 2016
Washington wants to amend a recently signed federal law to “restrict the renewal of a foster home license” for any placement from which multiple youth have been displaced due to “alleged safety concerns and maltreatment by a foster parent.” Her hope is that this would cut down the number of youth who run away from foster care placements every year.

US: ProPublica Exposes Racial Bias in Predictive Analytics
Chronicle of Social Change – July 25, 2016
Although these measures were created with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal justice. They may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society. The fad that so concerned Holder is, of course, predictive analytics; the same fad spreading through child welfare. Propublica article: Machine Bias: There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks:


Europe: ‘Deplorable’ child migrant response raises trafficking risk: report
Thomson Reuters Foundation – July 25, 2016
Children who flee poverty and war zones without their parents are falling prey to traffickers and smugglers once they arrive in Europe because of a disjointed response by governments, a group of British parliamentarians said on Tuesday.

Romania: More than 100 institutionalised children, victims of abuses and exploitation in 2015
Nine O’Clock – July 25, 2016
“According to the information received from the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption (ANPDCA), 101 cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation were registered in childcare institutions in 2015, based on the data sent by the General Directorates for Social Care and Child Protection (DGASPCs),” the Labour Ministry stated for Mediafax.

United Kingdom: Rise in reports of sex crimes on youngsters with 143 more cases reported compared to the previous year
Basildon Recorder – July 26, 2016
Sex crimes against children are on the rise in Essex, according to new crime statistics released last week. There were 143 more cases reported to police in the last year compared with 2014-2015.