child welfare in the news

recent news articles

  • AZ: U.S. Supreme Court asked to weigh Havasu lawyer's case
    Havasu News - Jul 20, 2017 -- Two La Paz County children could be the subject of a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court. The children, ages 15 and 17, were the center of a 2016 custody dispute in which the father, a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, sought to sever the parental rights of his children's mother. While many Arizona courts would render such a decision in accordance with the children's best interests, CRIT maintains a higher standard for revoking parental rights, according to Lake Havasu City attorney Brad Rideout, who has advocated on the father's behalf since 2012.
  • CA: Palo Alto schools focus on sexual misconduct as reports rise
    Mercury News - Jul 20, 2017 -- As more complaints of sexual misconduct against students are being logged, the Palo Alto Unified School District is working to make "immediate, systemic improvements" to how the cases are handled, Board President Terry Godfrey said in a letter to the community.
  • CA: Parents trying to control kids can lose custody
    Springfield News-Sun - Jul 20, 2017 -- The state can take wayward children away from their parents even when they are doing their best to control their kids and the kids aren't delinquents, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
  • CO: Foster homes needed in Mesa County (Includes video)
    KJCT - Jul 20, 2017 -- There are nearly 300 kids currently in foster care in Mesa County, and experts say we need more homes to keep up with those numbers. A recent study shows that Central Grand Junction, those in the 81501 zip code, only have four foster homes. Clifton doesn't have any.
  • CT: CT Voices for Children touts early childhood education program effectiveness
    New Haven Register - Jul 20, 2017 -- Connecticut's high levels of average educational attainment compared to the rest of the nation isn't a coincidence, argue officials with the policy advocacy group Connecticut Voices For Children, but because of financial investment in educational programs. To slash or shutter early childhood care and preschool programs in pursuit of savings is a myopic strategy that will cost the state later down the road, said Connecticut Voices for Children Executive Director Ellen Shemitz in a statement.
  • DC: Orphans Visiting D.C. Are Hoping This Will Be Their Summer Of Love (Includes audio)
    WAMU - Jul 21, 2017 -- During Kidsave's Summer Miracle events, host families and other parents interested in adopting can meet the orphans and interact with them and learn more about the Kidsave program.
  • FL: Foster Parents Help Family Torn Apart By Addiction Reunite (Includes video)
    WUSF - Jul 20, 2017 -- As Health News Florida reported last week, the opioid crisis in Manatee and Sarasota Counties is putting a strain on their foster care system. But the situation isn't entirely bleak. Now we'll hear from one mother whose relationship with her son's foster parents helped her reunify her family and overcome her addiction.
  • HI: The Search for Peter Boy, Part 7: The Mistakes (Includes video)
    Hawaii News Now - Jul 21, 2017 -- There are many who say Peter Boy's death could have been avoided - that he was not just the victim of abusive parents, but of a social services safety net that failed him. The question: Should the state Department of Human Services, specifically Child Protective Services, also be held accountable in Peter Boy's death?
  • IA: Foxhoven's Yankton Upbringing Plays Into Work Ethic, Values
    Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan - Jul 20, 2017 -- Jerry Foxhoven has lived his passion for helping people throughout his entire professional career. The Yankton native was recently given an opportunity to accomplish this on a large scale by being named director of the Iowa Department of Human Services in June.
  • ID: Let's put that surplus to work for Idaho (Opinion)
    Coeur d'Alene / Post Falls Press - Jul 20, 2017 -- Child welfare services, including child protection, is in need of additional staff and resources to protect abused and neglected children in Idaho. The Department of Correction probation officers often have caseloads significantly higher than national standards, thus lessening the supervision of some criminals and increasing the crime risk to the community.
  • MD: Report highlights progress, areas for improvement in area's foster care system
    Frederick News-Post - Jul 20, 2017 -- The annual report on foster care published last week details foster care across the region based on data reported from counties in Maryland and Virginia, as well as D.C. Frederick County experienced a 33 percent decrease in the same time frame, the report stated. There were 94 children in the county's foster care system as of Dec. 31, compared with 140 in 2008. Kim Smith, Frederick County's foster care program manager, credited the decline to more preventive measures that help keep families together, which in turn reduces the need for children to be placed in foster care.
  • MI: DHHS supervisor demoted amid faked-records allegations (Includes video)
    Lansing State Journal - Jul 20, 2017 -- A state supervisor accused of manipulating records to make the state's child welfare agency appear in compliance with a federal court order has apparently been demoted.
  • MN: Help wanted: Drug use, policy changes up need for foster parents (Includes video)
    St. Cloud Times - Jul 20, 2017 -- The number of foster parents isn't keeping up as the number of children in protective services grows. Most of that growth in Benton County is due to drug use among parents. Half of the children in Benton County foster care last year were there because of parental drug use. That trend continued through the first half of 2017, according to county data.
  • MO: Governor reverses cuts to foster-care families
    Associated Press - Jul 20, 2017 -- Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday said he's reversing cuts to foster-care families that he had earlier approved, saying the proposal to cut their compensation had been "a mistake." Cutting aid to families who care for foster children "was never our intention," Greitens wrote in a letter he sent to foster-care families. Greitens said he's now undoing a 1.5 percent funding cut those families faced.
  • NJ: DYFS is in the past: New NJ child welfare agency improving, monitor says
    WKXW - Jul 21, 2017 -- According to the latest report by federal monitor Judith Meltzer, who was assigned to oversee those efforts, progress continues to be made to improve what is now the Department of Children and Families. Her report finds for the third consecutive monitoring period, the Department of Children and Families has reached a higher level of child welfare performance.
  • NM: Teen sexually abused by foster parent files lawsuit against CYFD
    KRQE - Jul 20, 2017 -- An Espanola teen, sexually abused by a foster parent in 2014, is now going after the Children Youth and Families Department and the center who employed the man. The lawsuit against CYFD, United Behavioral Health, Agave Health and others alleges boys had reported abuse in the past, but they were dismissed or inadequately investigated.
  • NY: NYC Foster Care Agency You Gotta Believe Says Farewell to Director Susan Grundberg
    Chronicle of Social Change - Jul 20, 2017 -- For the past four years, Susan Grundberg has worked to help foster youth find permanent families and parents while leading the non-profit organization You Gotta Believe (YGB).
  • RI: Call For Independent Investigation Of School Sexual Abuse Reporting Gains Traction
    Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR) - Jul 20, 2017 -- A resolution calling for an independent investigation into the handling of sexual abuse allegations at Henry Kizirian Elementary School moved forward in the Providence City Council Monday. The council's education committee amended the resolution, placing the Providence Police Department in charge of the proposed investigation.
  • TX: Child abuse increases with start of school, advocates needed
    Athens Daily Review - Jul 20, 2017 -- Backpacks, pencils and notebooks are filling up the aisles in stores all over Texas, reminding us that a new school year is just around the corner. The beginning of the school year can be an exciting time for most children, but it can also lead to more reports of abuse and neglect as faculty, staff and other parents notice signs of maltreatment children may have endured during their time away.
  • TX: County ramps up outreach in local communities
    Community Impact News - Jul 20, 2017 -- State officials have been working to improve child protection and foster care in Texas ever since a federal judge declared the system broken in December 2015, citing overloaded case workers and children sleeping in offices due to lack of beds. In Harris County, officials have been reaching out to churches to try to build new partnerships with the goal of filling a variety of needs. Each year more than 29,000 children are involved with CPS in Harris County.
  • TX: In Texas, So-Called 'Pro-Life' Protection Doesn't Apply to Trafficked Youth (Opinion)
    Rewire - Jul 20, 2017 -- Many Texas legislators proudly stand upon their "pro-life" platform, claiming they are protecting human life through harsh restrictions on reproductive health access. But, as a whole, Texas lawmakers' concern for vulnerable groups doesn't extend beyond the abortion clinic-and it certainly doesn't extend to young people hurt by sex trafficking.
  • TX: Large number of CPS cases in Taylor County related to drugs (Includes video)
    KTXS - Jul 20, 2017 -- A Taylor County Welfare Board said they are not only seeing an increase in child abuse cases, but also children testing positive for drugs. Board member Sunshine Ridenour said Child Protective Services sees more than 60 percent of children under the age of 5 testing positive for drugs.
  • TX: Rainbow Room, a place of hope for children, in need of help
    KIIITV - Jul 20, 2017 -- Kiii Anchor Rudy Trevino shared the importance of the Rainbow Room. It's a nonprofit organization that comes to the rescue, and now it's in need of help itself. The place is volunteer organization that focuses on the time between when a child is removed from an abusive situation and placed in foster care.
  • VA: Colombian Orphans Seek Adoptive Families in Loudoun
    Loudoun Now - Jul 10, 2017 -- Through a program called Summer Miracles, the volunteer-driven organization Kidsave pairs the children with host families throughout the nation for one month. The goal of the program is to provide the children with a carefree summer vacation and, ideally, connect them with families looking to adopt.
  • US: ACLU sues for draft of Trump religious liberty order
    Hill - Jul 20, 2017 -- The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration for records on an executive order President Trump reportedly planned to release targeting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The ACLU said the order would have also allowed child welfare agencies that receive federal funding to put religious doctrines above the best interests of the children in their care.
  • US: Child Welfare Ideas from the Experts #1: Reducing Frequency of Foster Care Placements
    Chronicle of Social Change - Jul 20, 2017 -- The Chronicle of Social Change is highlighting each of the policy recommendations made this summer by the participants of the Foster Youth Internship Program (FYI), a group of 12 former foster youths who have completed congressional internships. Today we highlight the recommendation of Alexis Arambul, a senior at Washington State University.
  • US: Russian Ban On U.S. Adoptions Becomes Embroiled In Trump Controversy (Includes audio)
    National Public Radio - Jul 20, 2017 -- Americans have been banned from adopting children from Russia since 2013. NPR's Robert Siegel and Matthew Rojansky, director of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, discuss the history of the ban and how it's still a factor in the U.S.-Russia relationship today.
  • US: Democrats urge swifter action from Trump on opioid addiction
    Associated Press - Jul 19, 2017 -- Twenty Senate Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have written to the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy urging him to "consider important initiatives that could help deliver faster relief to millions of Americans."
  • Israel: Israel Should Allow Adoption by Same-Sex Couples (Opinion)
    Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - Jul 19, 2017 -- In short, the government is saying that social prejudice could negatively affect children of same-sex couples. But perpetuating discrimination in the name of child welfare is an untenable approach. Barring children from being adopted into loving, supportive families on spurious grounds is hardly in the best interest of the child.
  • AR: Incoming Arkansas drug czar to have more powers
    Arkansas News - Jul 19, 2017 -- Arkansas' new drug director will be responsible for administering about $24 million in drug abuse and prevention treatment grants that previously were under the control of various Department of Human Services divisions, the agency said Wednesday.
  • AZ: Goldwater Institute asks U.S. Supreme Court to provide equal rights to Native American children
    Southern Arizona News-Examiner - Jul 19, 2017 -- In this case, two Arizona teenagers are being subjected to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law that sets different rules for child welfare cases involving Native American children.
  • CA: Senator Harris Calls for Reform of Criminal Justice Policies that Impact Incarcerated Women
    Los Angeles Sentinel - Jul 19, 2017 -- When I looked a little closer at the case, I realized that this person, this woman, had young children. And I realized that, of course, no one, if they are innocent, should be held in jail, and certainly not over the weekend. But for this person in particular, I realized also that it would mean that by not being able to go home, it is very possible that she could have lost her job. It is very possible that if her children were unsupervised, that Child Protective Services would come and pick them up. And all that would happen to her life if she had to stay in jail over the weekend.
  • CA: Watchdog Group: Medicaid's Child Psychotropic Drugging Needs Greater Oversight (Press release)
    Citizens Commission on Human Rights International - Jul 18, 2017 -- The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) applauded the recent Department of Justice health care fraud crackdown but says greater oversight is needed of Medicaid billing of psychotropic drugs prescribed children, which could reduce their use and increase protections.
  • CO: Digital Counties Survey 2017: Winners Focus on Knowing When, How to Introduce New Tech
    Government Technology - Jul 19, 2017 -- This year, the theme among the five first-place winners is not so much about a shiny, new technology as much as it is about knowing when and how to introduce it. One project he said Douglas County officials are excited about is the possibility of using predictive analytics to better serve child welfare and human services functions of the county. As it stands, the county is collaborating with the state of Colorado and academic partners to determine if and how such a tool could be utilized realistically.
  • IA: Surprising numbers of kids at risk for toxic stress damage
    Clinton Herald - Jul 18, 2017 -- Research suggests persistent stress in young children can become toxic, causing brain changes that can interfere with learning and lead to disease in adulthood. It's unknown how many children and adults have been harmed by toxic stress but data show that many live in circumstances that experts say put them at risk.
  • IL: New details emerge of former DCFS head's controversial contracts, hires
    Chicago Tribune - Jul 19, 2017 -- Weeks after former state Department of Children and Family Services Director George Sheldon resigned and took a job with a Florida nonprofit, new details are emerging about insider contract deals and allegations of Sheldon and his top aide's mismanagement during his tenure at the scandal-tainted agency.
  • IN: Caught on camera: State worker accused of distracted driving after removing kids from dangerous home (Includes video)
    WTHR - Jul 19, 2017 -- The Indiana Department of Child Services removed two children from their home to protect them for possible abuse. Those kids say what happened next put them in even greater danger - and they took pictures to prove it. The photos, exposed by 13 Investigates, have triggered a state investigation, and DCS is now trying to determine if one of its employees jeopardized child safety by violating department policy and state law.
  • NC: Children in Foster Care in NC Surpasses 11,000 (Press release)
    Children's Home Society - Jul 19, 2017 -- In response to the increasing needs of children in North Carolina, Children's Home Society is implementing an aggressive four-year strategic plan and realignment that will allow it to double the number of adoptions completed and the number of children served by family finding and enhanced foster care to permanency programs. CHS will triple the number of children served by child specific recruitment, designed to find permanent homes for children who have been in foster care the longest.
  • NJ: L.A. Parker: Children need and deserve a voice in the discussion (Opinion)
    Trentonian - Jul 19, 2017 -- Having a voice, a say, an opportunity to participate matters, especially during teen years. Even as adults, at our jobs and in relationships, we desire to be heard.
  • NM: Suits: Española teen knowingly placed in care of sex abuser
    Santa Fe New Mexican - Jul 20, 2017 -- An Espa�ola teen who endured three months of sexual abuse by a foster parent in 2014 has filed state and federal lawsuits against New Mexico's child welfare agency, several of its employees and a state-contracted behavioral health firm, saying they knowingly placed him in the care of a man who was accused more than a year earlier of sexually assaulting foster children.
  • NV: Helping youth transition from foster care (Video)
    KVVU - Jul 18, 2017 -- Myesha Wilson, of Olive Crest, discusses the changes happening at the nonprofit organization.
  • OK: Foster kids in state may soon receive vouchers to attend private schools
    Lawton Constitution - Jul 20, 2017 -- The change represents the first time that a state school voucher program, the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program, has been expanded beyond students who are disabled or have special needs. It could foreshadow future efforts to open the program up to more children.
  • TX: Broken System: Federal judge's 2015 ruling reveals disturbing details of Texas foster care system (Video)
    KSAT - Jul 19, 2017 -- State lawmakers have tried several times to fix the Texas foster care system, often with disappointing results.
  • TX: Drug cases overloading Abilene CPS workers
    KTAB/KRBC - Jul 19, 2017 -- Abilene's Child Protective Services office currently has the highest number of cases per worker in the State of Texas, most of which are drug related. The Head of the Child Welfare Board addressed Taylor County commissioners during budget hearings last week, saying Abilene's CPS office has 455 children in their custody, and 40% of those children have been placed with relatives because Taylor County is low on foster homes.
  • TX: No place to run (Includes audio)
    Center for Investigative Reporting - Jul 15, 2017 -- In Texas, the foster care system is failing the vulnerable children it's meant to protect, leaving many without a safe place to live. Foster children often end up on the streets or in jail, which is one of the few places where they can receive treatment services.
  • VA: The life of a drug-addicted baby: Difficulty breathing, restlessness, seizures
    Southside Daily - Jul 19, 2017 -- Why is this newborn, who just months old, fighting to merely exist? His birth came with an addiction stemming from illegal substances his mother used while he was in utero. He's experiencing what thousands will grapple with this year across the Commonwealth - opioid withdrawals.
  • WI: State refused to produce child-separation data, even after counties did
    Marshfield News-Herald - Jul 19, 2017 -- A state agency would not release county data to explain why children are removed from their homes in Wisconsin, information that eventually showed that parental drug abuse is a growing factor.
  • US: Opioid Treatment Funds In Senate Bill Would Fall Far Short Of Needs
    National Public Radio - Jul 20, 2017 -- Addiction treatment specialists warn that $45 billion is far from enough to address a crisis that has escalated across the United States in recent years, killing tens of thousands of people. There also would be ripple effects from that drop in funding, Smith says - grandparents taking care of grandkids, bankruptcies because of treatment costs, and more work for each county's department of children and youth services. Smith also worries that less treatment would mean more people would be desperate to support their habit.
  • US: The international adoption rate has plummeted in the US (Opinion)
    TRT World - Jul 20, 2017 -- International adoptions have decreased annually from their global apex in 2004, when 22,989 children were adopted internationally by US parents, according to a new report from the US State Department. Last year, 5,372 visas were issued; a mere 23 percent of the total from 2004.
  • US: Beyond open data: Insights through analytics
    GCN - Jul 19, 2017 -- More important than making data itself available, the authors argue, is recognizing the challenge of melding data into analytics. The book also looks at applications in transportation, public health, child welfare, prescription drug abuse, fraud prevention, and it methodically lays out both the depth of missed opportunities and the possibility of a brighter future.
  • US: USA Gymnastics hires new director of safe sport, in-house counsel amid sexual abuse scandal (Includes video)
    USA Today - Jul 19, 2017 -- USA Gymnastics on Wednesday announced the hiring of a director of safe sport and an in-house legal counsel, filling positions created in response to a sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the organization for nearly a year.
  • US: Case Management Instead of Jailing Asylum-Seeking Mothers, Children for Profit (Opinion)
    UT News (University of Texas in Austin) - Jul 18, 2017 -- It is time to end the imprisonment of mothers and children who seek asylum protection in the U.S. after fleeing violence in Central America and other troubled countries.
  • Australia: Indigenous community calls for greater say in ACT foster care system
    Newsgrio - Jul 18, 2017 -- The ACT Government recently announced a review into the Territory's foster care system, to address the fact it has the highest rate of Indigenous kids in care in the country. Ms Walker said the Government needed to work with the community before families were separated.

related series

Fatal Care: A Special Series from the Edmonton Journal-Calgary Herald

The Alberta government has dramatically under-reported the number of child welfare deaths over the past decade, undermining public accountability and thwarting efforts at prevention and reform. A six-month Edmonton Journal-Calgary Herald investigation found 145 foster children have died since 1999, nearly triple the 56 deaths revealed in government annual reports over the same period.

Read more at the Edmonton Journal-Calgary Herald.

Private foster care system, intended to save children, endangers some

private foster care LA image

Extensive multi-part series examining foster care privatization, federal fiscal incentives, and more. By Los Angeles Times journalist Garrett Therolf. Dec 2013

Read on LA Times . . .

Drugging Our Kids | San Jose Mercury News

drugging our kids

A Bay Area News Group investigation reveals that children in California’s foster care system are prescribed unproven, risky medications at alarming rates. This series exposes the pharmaceutical industry’s close ties to favored foster care providers, and this series led to recent legislative hearings.

Read on San Jose Mercury News

Handle With Care: In this exclusive six-part series, Leader-Post reporter Barb Pacholik examines Saskatchewan’s child welfare system.

handle with care

Within months of her apprehension by Social Services, Karen Rose Quill’s life ended — one of roughly 500 children and youth who have died in Saskatchewan’s complex and overburdened child welfare system in the past two decades. A quarter of the kids were in Social Services’ care when they died, the remainder in receipt of its services within the year prior. According to overall numbers from Social Services, about 40 per cent of those young lives ended by natural causes, but an equal number were preventable deaths, victims of homicide or accidents, like Karen.

Read on Leader-Post . . .

Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

npr icwa series

Nearly 700 Native American children in South Dakota are being removed from their homes every year, sometimes under questionable circumstances. An NPR News investigation has found that the state is largely failing to place them according to the law. The vast majority of native kids in foster care in South Dakota are in nonnative homes or group homes, according to an NPR analysis of state records.

Read series at NPR.

Failing the Disabled: How Minnesota isolates and marginalizes thousands of adults with disabilities

Disabled in Minnesota Series

Set up to be safe havens, some group homes for the disabled have become remote “prisons,” where residents are vulnerable to violence and neglect. Thousands of disabled Minnesotans languish on waiting lists for crucial services even as millions of dollars remain unspent.

Read series at the Star Tribune.

Ontario Children’s Aid officials seek court order to seize kids from orthodox Jewish group

lev tahor children

MONTREAL—Ontario Children’s Aid authorities have launched a legal battle to seize custody of 14 child members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor and send them into foster care in Quebec. As of December 2013, the situation was unresolved, and had grown into an international incident.

Read more . . .

Manitoba – Mennonite Families Still Reeling from Child Removals

Between January and June of 2013, child protection officials raided a Mennonite community in Manitoba, removing between 40 and 50 children from 15 families, placing them all in foster care. Since then, their parents and community leaders have been negotiating with Children and Family Services officials hoping to have the children returned.

Read more . . .

Child Protection: The Hard Truth
News Focus: Delonna Sullivan

Delonna Victoria Sullivan was “apprehended” without a court order on April 5, 2011. She died in foster care only six days later. Hospital and autopsy records showed that the 4-month-old had been dosed with Tylenol and cough medicine. Her family seeks justice to this day.

Read more . . .

Saving Arizona’s Children

foster care saving children image

A year ago, Arizona’s broken child-welfare system and the children it’s supposed to protect were the focus of intense debate, with politicians and experts searching for solutions to intractable problems.

Read on Arizona Central . . .

Seeking a Safe Haven: An Albuquerque Journal Special Report

safe haven image

Thousands of children are abused or neglected each year in New Mexico. A Journal investigation found some children are kept in abusive families too long, while others are sent to foster homes where new abuse occurs. Critics say problems are getting worse, while Child Protective Services promises to strengthen the net.

Published in 1997, yet it remains relevant.Read on Albuquerque Journal . . .