child welfare in the news

recent news articles

  • AK: Alaska tribes and state sign historic document on tribal child welfare
    Alaska Dispatch News - Oct 19, 2017 -- They hope the child welfare system will transform into something better if tribal services operate parallel to state services. That is what happened with health care when Alaska tribal organizations took over U.S. Indian Health Service hospitals and clinics. And the tribal organizations will be able to serve non-Native children too.
  • AR: Cooper-Anthony advances justice and healing for children scarred by abuse
    Catholic Health World - Oct 19, 2017 -- When a child walks through the door at Cooper-Anthony, he or she is greeted by an advocate who will assist the child and family with any questions or resources they may need. If an abuser is prosecuted, the advocate sometimes accompanies the family to court as support. Law enforcement investigators, medical providers, child advocates and mental health counselors come together at the center, so the abuse victim is spared the stress of having to go to an emergency room, police stations and other unfamiliar locations. The sensitive, centralized approach reduces the risk of further traumatizing the child, said Karen Wright, a licensed professional counselor who directs the center.
  • CA: & GA: Director who steered DFCS through crisis leaving for Calif. post
    Georgia Health News - Oct 19, 2017 -- Bobby Cagle, who as DFCS director is credited with stabilizing the long-troubled state agency, is departing for a child welfare position in Los Angeles. He is being replaced by the agency's chief of staff, Virginia Pryor, who will be interim DFCS director, the governor's office announced this week. Cagle will depart to lead the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services on Nov. 10.
  • CA: NorCal 6-year-old awarded $8.4M for unreported child abuse (Includes video)
    KCRA - Oct 19, 2017 -- A paralyzed 6-year-old boy and his adoptive mother won an $8.4 million lawsuit in Amador County against multiple defendants, including Sutter Health and the boy's biological family. A jury found that a doctor and other hospital staff failed to report child abuse when the boy came into the emergency room at Sutter Amador Hospital in Jackson when he was just 7-weeks-old.
  • CO: DHS acknowledges problems with background checks for child welfare caseworkers
    KUSA - Oct 19, 2017 -- A report from city auditor Timothy O'Brien states "Denver Human Services can't show that all its child welfare caseworkers have passed background checks or prove that two new policies are effective." In a sample of 60 caseworkers reviewed by the auditor's team, 57 percent had "missing or incomplete" documentation of background checks, the report says.
  • DC: Almost half of D.C. children have suffered a traumatic experience, according to federal survey
    Washington Post - Oct 19, 2017 -- In the District, 47 percent of children and teens have experienced a traumatic event, such as the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has been suicidal or who has a drug or alcohol problem, according to new federal data. In the Maryland and Virginia, the rate was 41 percent.
  • FL: Opioid Crisis Forces Grandparents to Raise Their Grandkids (Includes video)
    NBC News - Oct 20, 2017 -- As the opioid epidemic forces increasing numbers of children into foster care or otherwise out of their parents' custody, grandparents like the Krietemeiers are stepping in. Those grandparents face the daunting task of caring for young, vulnerable children while navigating courtrooms and complex child welfare systems, often with little financial or social support - all while coping with their adult offspring's addiction.
  • FL: Privatized foster care a failure in Florida (Commentary by H. Talenfeld, Florida's Children First)
    Miami Herald - Oct 20, 2017 -- When Sens. Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden, the chairman and ranking member respectively of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, released findings from a two-year investigation into foster care privatization, it did more than reveal "abuse, neglect and system failures at every level." It confirmed what Floridians have known for years, though Florida did not respond to senators' request for information. As implemented in Florida, privatized foster care is an experiment that has failed.
  • IA: To prevent full-blown opioid crisis, Iowa needs overdose of vigilance (Includes video)
    Des Moines Register - Oct 19, 2017 -- Drug overdoses reduce overall life expectancy in this country. They strain police departments, human services systems, hospitals and paramedics. And they devastate families. Iowa's capital city is "definitely seeing a rise" in overdoses, said Lt. Tony Sposeto, with the Des Moines Fire Department's emergency medical services team. In 2016, these first responders administered 191 doses of Narcan, a drug used to reverse an opioid overdose. The first nine months of this year, they used it 202 times.
  • IN: Legal yet controversial drug puts child's custody in jeopardy (Includes video)
    Tristate - Oct 19, 2017 -- Jaelah's mom Lelah says Jaelah used to have upwards of 30 seizures per day, but when she took her in to get the condition checked out, the family doctor said nothing was wrong. After a trip to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, Jaelah was diagnosed with myoclonic seizures, but her new treatment, a drug with many known side effects called Keppra worried her parents almost as much as her condition itself. That's when the family sought out a second opinion, and an unorthodox treatment called Charlotte's Webb, an oil derived from hemp, but they say the hospital then took action, calling in child protection services.
  • ME: Our View: Keeping families together could help with Maine drug fight
    Portland Press Herald - Oct 20, 2017 -- As opioid addiction reaches epidemic proportions in Maine, it's forcing hundreds of children a year into state care. But what if there were a way to keep kids with their mothers and fathers in a safe environment while the adults stay clean and get an around-the-clock role model on good parenting? There is - it's called "shared family care."
  • WI: Corrections secretary: juvenile prison safe despite assault
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Oct 19, 2017 -- Wisconsin Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher declared the state's juvenile prison complex safe Thursday, a week after a teacher there was knocked out by an inmate and days after another assault occurred. "I think Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake, with the training that's involved and the type of the activities that we do with working with our youth, that it is a safe place for staff and offenders and we will continue to do the best in programming that will allow these young people to come back to their communities in a respectful and responsible manner," Litscher told reporters.
  • US: Appeals court temporarily halts order allowing abortion for teen immigration detainee
    Politico - Oct 19, 2017 -- Acting with unusual haste, D.C. Circuit panel sets oral arguments for Friday. A federal appeals court in Washington has temporarily halted a judge's order requiring the federal government to allow a pregnant, 17-year-old immigration detainee in Texas to get an abortion. A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order Thursday setting an unusually hastily scheduled oral argument session on the case for Friday morning. It also put on hold part of a lower court judge's order that told officials to make arrangements for the teen to receive an abortion on either Friday or Saturday of this week.
  • US: Inside the FBI operation to rescue kids from sex trafficking
    WVNS - Oct 19, 2017 -- The FBI is cracking down on what it calls a national epidemic of kids caught up in sex trafficking. FBI agents and local police have been carrying out a nationwide sweep since last week to rescue children involving FBI field offices from all 50 states. It's called Operation Cross Country - part of a national initiative called Innocence Lost. So far, 84 kids have been recovered and 120 alleged traffickers have been arrested this year. Among the areas being targeted is Baltimore, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues.
  • US: International Adoptions Drop to New Low as Evangelical Funding Spikes
    Christianity Today - Oct 19, 2017 -- Americans adopted 5,372 children in the year ending September 2016, down from a 35-year low the 12 months before. The number of foreign adoptions annually has fallen to less than a quarter of the totals during peak years over a decade ago, with 22,884 adoptions recorded in 2004.
  • US: Senate Finance Investigation A Possible Precursor to Renewed Family First Push
    Chronicle of Social Change - Oct 19, 2017 -- The ultimate indictment of this system is there is so little oversight that the government can't even confirm the gaps that caring advocates tell us are getting worse. What's even more outrageous is that efforts to fix flaws in the system have been held up by stonewalling in the United States Senate.
  • US: Senate Foster Care Bill Would Incentivize Kin, Monitor Private Providers and Child Fatalities
    Chronicle of Social Change - Oct 19, 2017 -- Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee introduced a bill Wednesday that would incentivize kinship placements in foster care, establish national child welfare standards on worker caseloads, and require better assessment of both child fatalities and the performance of private providers.
  • Australia: Private tutors, sports coaches face legal obligation to report child neglect
    Melbourne Age - Oct 20, 2017 -- Private tutors, sports coaches and dance teachers could be placed under a legal obligation to report children feared at risk of neglect or abuse under an overhaul of the child protection system being considered by the NSW government.
  • United Kingdom: 'The denial of austerity's impact on social services is truly shocking'
    Community Care - Oct 20, 2017 -- Ray Jones writes about how ministers and companies ignoring the impact of austerity is placing the blame on directors.
  • United Kingdom: Thousands of children 'tormented' with suicidal thoughts call helpline, NSPCC says
    GetWestLondon - Oct 19, 2017 -- "I keep getting bad thoughts and hearing voices in my head. They tell me that I'm not good enough." These were the words of a young girl who called NSPCC's Childline service in a desperate plea for help.

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 . . .