child welfare in the news

recent news articles

  • AK: Preventing human trafficking of homeless youth by building connections (Includes audio)
    Alaska Public Media - May 19, 2017 -- Josh Louwerse is the youth engagement coordinator at Covenant House Alaska, Anchorage's only homeless center for youth. He's very aware and cautious of assumptions people make about where people are most at risk.
  • CA: CDCR's Office of Correctional Safety hits streets in Merced County gang raids
    Inside CDCR - May 19, 2017 -- The former military base was bustling with activity as nearly 500 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel hit street gangs in pre-dawn raids, nabbing more than 50 Sureno gang members. One of the co-investigating agencies was CDCR's Office of Correctional Safety (OCS). According to the district attorney, the Child Protective Services (CPS) agency was very involved in the operation.
  • CA: Don't criminalize foster youth (Opinion)
    San Francisco Chronicle - May 19, 2017 -- California's shelters for abused and neglected children are supposed to be temporary refuges for the state's most vulnerable population. Instead, a Chronicle investigation has found that some of the state's county-run shelters for foster children are serving less as refuges and more as incubators for the criminal justice system.
  • CA: Foster Youth Share Tough Transition Challenges at University of San Diego
    NBC San Diego - May 19, 2017 -- Foster youth explained the immense challenges facing teenagers who age out of the foster care system at the University of San Diego Friday. "Right now, this time of year is a very difficult time for foster kids that are transitioning out of foster homes and into the real world. I know how scary it is and I was there," said San Diego Councilmember Lorie Zapf at the event.
  • CO: Major Colorado foster kids jump due to heroin epidemic
    Pueblo Chieftain - May 20, 2017 -- Just five years ago, U.S. Social Services agencies were observing a slow but steady decline in the number of children in foster care, having seen nearly a 6.5 percent drop from 2009 to 2012. But in 2013, those figures suddenly began to rise: 3,800 more children entered the foster-care system in that year alone and by 2015, the most recent year with available data, the number of children in foster care had risen by more than 30,000 kids - a 7.7 percent increase over the four-year span.
  • FL: State Officials Begin Divvying Up Federal Opioid Grant Funding (Includes audio)
    WUSF Public Media - May 18, 2017 -- State officials will use the federal dollars to fund six new positions working with child protective services, drugs to counteract overdoses and prevention outreach programs. Nearly $4 million will go the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association to purchase a drug called Vivitrol that helps people in recovery stay clean by blocking the effects of opioids.
  • IA: Adoption Investigator: Kids Sometimes Placed In 'Least Bad of All the Bad' Situations (Includes video)
    WHO TV - May 18, 2017 -- In October, West Des Moines 16-year-old Natalie Finn died of a heart attack due to starvation in her adopted home. Just last week, 16-year-old Sabrina Ray was found dead in Perry. She weighed just 56 pounds. Pearce said, "Those of us in the adoption world need to get together and ask each other 'how can we solve this?'"
  • ID: The Community Builder Moves Forward with Homeless Youth Housing Project (Press release)
    Community Builder - May 20, 2017 -- The Community Builder, moves forward with youth transitional housing project in Nampa to provide safe and stable living for Nampa's homeless youth. The vacant building at 8444 Dearbourne Rd. formally Scism Elementary, a Nampa School district property will become the home of Idaho Youth Cares transitional living for unaccompanied youth age 16-17.
  • ID: Our View: Follow these fixes for Idaho's broken foster system
    Magic Valley Times-News - May 19, 2017 -- Over the past several weeks, we've featured a three-part series on Idaho's ailing foster-care system. It probably comes as no surprise to readers that Idaho's system is in trouble - that's the case in states across the country. But it's the depth of Idaho's problems that's truly stunning.
  • KS: Legislature right to examine the state's foster care system (Opinion)
    Hutchinson News - May 19, 2017 -- The state of Kansas can no longer ignore some of the problems that have long plagued the state's foster care system - and this week the House of Representatives passed a measure to attempt to restore accountability to the system that cares for some of the state's most vulnerable children.
  • MD: Baltimore police, prosecutors seek help from child witnesses to crime (Includes video)
    Baltimore Sun - May 19, 2017 -- The Police Department and state's attorney's office will announce Monday that they are partnering with trained interviewers at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center to question children who have witnessed violence or other crimes. The idea is both to help children deal with the trauma and to solve the crimes.
  • ME: LePage, Mayhew and their restriction-happy stewardship of DHHS (Opinion)
    Bangor Daily News - May 19, 2017 -- Gov. Paul LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew want a waiver to add more restrictions to MaineCare access. Thankfully, there is some talk about the cost of such proposals as evidenced in other states, and there were hearings this week for public comment.
  • MN: Need for foster parents is great statewide
    Worthington Daily Globe - May 19, 2017 -- Across the state, there is a desperate need for foster parents, notes Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. In the past three years, the number of children in the state's foster care system on an average day has increased by 51 percent, from approximately 6,200 in 2013 to 9,400 in 2016.
  • MN: Rural Minnesota leader: Lawmakers, please support County Program Aid (Opinion)
    Grand Forks Herald - May 19, 2017 -- Counties work to administer programs of the state. They are the local delivery system for critical and costly state-mandated programs related to mental health, child protection, family services, public safety, corrections and other areas.
  • MN: State Senate slows drive for tougher penalties for female genital mutilation
    Pioneer Press - May 19, 2017 -- "It's an important issue. We are very concerned about that. We want to make sure in the Senate we get it right," said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. Gazelka, a Republican from near Nisswa, said the Senate wants to explore the issue completely with its experts on criminal penalties before it passes the measure onto Gov. Mark Dayton.
  • MN: Work conditions of human services employees gets House attention (Press release)
    Minnesota House of Representatives - May 19, 2017 -- Policy provisions addressed in HF696/ SF359*, sponsored by Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar) and Sen. Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids), would include child and adult foster care background studies and planning and case management requirements for home and community-based waivers. The changes are intended to address workforce shortages and employee retention, Baker said.
  • NC: Bill proposes complete makeover of social services
    Bladen Journal - May 21, 2017 -- As of late, the word "crisis" is being used to describe the foster-care situation, and rightly so, according to a recent report submitted to the 2017 North Carolina General Assembly. More than 12,000 children are wards of the state, a number that has seen a 25 percent spike in the last five years. The report revealed that 30,000 children enrolled in public schools are homeless and prompted action on the part of some lawmakers.
  • NC: 'Raise The Age' bill to keep teens out of adult court passes NC House 104-8 (Includes video)
    Raleigh News & Observer - May 17, 2017 -- House Bill 280 would allow a 16- or 17-year-old who commits certain crimes to be tried as a juvenile - not as an adult. North Carolina is the only remaining state that automatically prosecutes people as young as 16 as adults. Violent felonies and some drug offenses would still be handled in adult court.
  • NE: Programs for addiction, mental health facing cuts
    Associated Press - May 21, 2017 -- Dubas, a former state senator, said she understands the budget predicament but argued that the cuts will ultimately cost the state more. Parents who don't get treatment for a drug addiction or mental health problem are more likely to lose custody of their children, putting additional strain on Nebraska's child welfare system, she said.
  • NJ: Child-welfare agency doing better job protecting kids, monitor says
    NJ 101.5 - May 22, 2017 -- Fourteen years ago, the state Division of Youth and Family Services, DYFS, was placed under the supervision of a federal monitor after a series of shocking and disturbing incidents came to light about child abuse and neglect. The overhaul of the state's child welfare system has been ongoing ever since, and officials say great progress has been made.
  • NV: Altered bill on rape kits moves through Nevada Legislature
    Las Vegas Review-Journal - May 19, 2017 -- SB169 will continue moving forward with a provision making it a crime for employees and volunteers with child welfare agencies to have sex with minors 16 or 17 years old and under the agency's care.
  • OH: Opioid crisis straining children's services in Ohio, Butler County
    Journal News - May 19, 2017 -- The opioid epidemic is overwhelming children's services providers in both Butler County and Ohio as the public health crisis deepens throughout the state. Of the 375 children in the care of Butler County Children Services, 161, or 43 percent, come from families where drugs were cited as the reason for the removal of the children, Bill Morrison, interim executive director of Jobs and Family Services, said. Of those, 101, or 63 percent, came from parents addicted to opioids, he said.
  • OK: City of Wagoner proclaims Foster Care Month
    Tulsa World - May 19, 2017 -- Child Welfare Specialist Beth Passmore said one of the biggest parts of her job is to raise awareness of children in need to the possible foster parents that are out there. Passmore is a Foster Care Services Recruiter at the Wagoner County Department of Human Services Center.
  • OK: Creating better opportunities for Cherokee families to foster
    Muskogee Phoenix - May 19, 2017 -- Cherokee Nation has a strong Indian Child Welfare program, and we have always emphasized the importance of protecting our children. The month of May is Foster Awareness Month nationwide, and it's important to highlight the work of our tribe's child welfare workers and so many caring Cherokee foster parents.
  • OR: 'Unable to get the results we need,' Oregon child welfare director resigns
    Oregonian - May 19, 2017 -- Lena Alhusseini did not offer any explanation for her resignation, which she emailed to Department of Human Services Director Clyde Saiki on Wednesday. But in a statement on Saiki said Alhusseini acknowledged that during Alhusseini's tenure, "we have not been able to get the results we need to achieve" in improving basic child welfare practices and outcomes.
  • PA: Wolf administration discusses heroin and opioid epidemic effects on children and families
    Progress News - May 20, 2017 -- "Governor Wolf's administration has been consistently supportive of providing resources to combat the many challenges that come with the heroin and opioid epidemic facing the commonwealth, including its impact on children and families," Dallas said. "We are committed to the safety and health of all Pennsylvania children and by collaborating with private partners we are better able to keep our kids safe."
  • TN: How to help foster children without fostering
    Tennessean - May 19, 2017 -- When a child comes into foster care, the Department of Children's Services does not operate alone. The network of public and private supports is vast - judges, advocates, health practitioners, law enforcement, teachers, foster parents, volunteers, nonprofit agencies, schools and churches.
  • TN: Program teaches East Tennessee foster children how to ice skate, life lessons (Includes video)
    WATE - May 19, 2017 -- "Some of us are lucky. We have our moms. We have our dads and some of us never met our mom or dad for whatever reasons. These kids are athletes just like any other kid, but they just don't have the means," said LaBorde. Lessons don't cost anything and so far there are roughly 60 children who are part of the Skate for Our Future program. The approach boils down to life on and off the ice.
  • TX: Religious-refusal foster care bill heads to Gov. Abbott's desk
    Austin American-Statesman - May 22, 2017 -- Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, who presented House Bill 3859, said it would protect the free practice of religion while keeping essential faith-based organizations in the child-welfare system, which is plagued by a shortage of homes for children who had been abused or neglected.
  • TX: Doctors worry as Texas lawmakers OK vaccine restrictions
    Associated Press - May 19, 2017 -- Texas would restrict emergency immunizations given to children removed from troubled homes under legislation that worries doctors and is a victory for vaccination opponents.
  • TX: Katy-area foster care system seeing placement deficit for children
    Community Impact Newspaper - May 19, 2017 -- The number of foster children in need of homes in Fort Bend and Harris counties far outnumbers the number of foster families with rooms available between the same county lines, according to data from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
  • UT: Foster care shortage; so many children, not enough homes
    St. George News - May 21, 2017 -- More children are being placed in the state's care than ever before, and a shortage of foster parents means there are more children than homes to place them in.
  • WA: New Parenting Program Helps Incarcerated Parents Connect With Their Children
    Corrections Connection - May 22, 2017 -- Suarez is a recent graduate of Parenting Inside Out program at the Washington Correction Center for Women (WCCW). Parenting Inside Out is a series of classes to help incarcerated parents reestablish contact with their children while they're behind bars and learn effective parenting skills to use after release.
  • WA: New department would save foster youth -- and money (Opinion)
    Yakima Herald Republic - May 20, 2017 -- Child protective service investigations and foster care placements are proxy for the hospital emergency room. Juvenile justice has a small tool kit beyond incarceration. What kinds of outcomes can we expect for our most under-resourced and vulnerable children and families if all we provide consistently is the emergency room? Today, those outcomes are unacceptable.
  • WI: Social Services discusses unborn child abuse judgment decision
    Lakeland Times - May 19, 2017 -- Vilas County Social Services met Tuesday to discuss how the recent unborn child abuse judgment decision will affect the services they can provide and the actions they can take involving pregnant women. On April 28, a federal court in Wisconsin ruled a state law allowing the detention, forced treatment and incarceration of pregnant women as unconstitutional.
  • US: Ex-Arizona social services head joins Trump administration
    Associated Press - May 22, 2017 -- The former head of Arizona's social services agency had landed a job with the Trump administration. Clarence Carter is working as director of the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Family Assistance. The office oversees nearly $17 billion in annual welfare grants to assist families in states, territories and on Indian reservations.
  • US: Parental Drug Abuse Sent More Than 85,000 Kids Into Foster Care In 2015
    Daily Caller - May 20, 2017 -- After steady declines between 2009 and 2012 U.S. Social Services agencies experienced a sharp increase of children in need of foster care. Officials blame drug abuse, particularly addiction to painkillers and heroin. Drug addiction is now the second leading cause for removal from parental custody, following child neglect, which social workers note is often exacerbated by drug use in the home, reports the Associated Press.
  • US: America Needs to Do More to Support Mothers in Prison (Opinion)
    Vice Magazine - May 19, 2017 -- Studies show helping moms stay in touch with their kids behind bars is good for inmates and their families. So why aren't we doing more?
  • US: Reps. Granger, Lawrence & Sens. Blunt, Klobuchar Introduce Vulnerable Children and Families Act (Press release)
    Congresswoman Kay Granger - May 19, 2017 -- The measure would help more children living without families or in institutional care find permanent homes by enhancing U.S. diplomatic efforts around international child welfare and ensuring that intercountry adoption to the United States becomes a more viable and fully-developed option.
  • US: The big squeeze on human needs programs continues (Opinion)
    Hill - May 19, 2017 -- Many Democrats and Republicans breathed a sigh of relief when, last month, Congress finally passed and President Trump signed the budget bill for the current 2017 fiscal year. But a broader, more historic view of funding for our nation's crucial human needs programs is considerably less rosy.
  • US: The Deportation Fears of Immigrants With Disabled Children
    Atlantic Monthly - May 19, 2017 -- As the Trump administration promises to deport a broader range of people, parents like Rafael and Sonia increasingly are seeking help to stay in the country so they can tend to very sick children, according to interviews with doctors, lawyers and others who work with immigrants. And these professionals say they are struggling to come up with sound advice.
  • US: There Are 58,000 Slaves in the United States Right Now
    Inverse - May 19, 2017 -- The Global Slavery Index (GSI) offers the following recommendations for the U.S. to curb slavery: Improve the provision of appropriate housing for child trafficking victims, Increase screening of at-risk persons for human trafficking ...
  • US: Caring for immigrant youth fleeing Central America
    Crain's New York Business - May 18, 2017 -- "It made us think, Wow, how many kids have we seen whose situation we didn't fully understand and we never thought of referring to lawyers?" he said. "Pediatricians and family medicine doctors might be seeing youth who have this way of winning legal relief. But if you don't ask the right questions, you won't know."
  • Europe: Still Stuck in Greece and Italy: EU Members Not Meeting Migrant Relocation Quotas
    EU Bulletin - May 19, 2017 -- The EU Parliament said that EU countries must fulfill their obligations to accept asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, giving priority to unaccompanied minors. The Parliament further said that Malta and Finland were the only member states on track to reach their target and that relocation measures must be extended until the reform of the "Dublin" asylum system. The EU Commission was also urged to consider infringement procedures. Most member states still lag behind their targets and two are still not participating in the scheme at all.
  • International: Traffickers and smugglers exploit record rise in unaccompanied child refugees
    Guardian - May 17, 2017 -- A record increase in the number of refugee and migrant children travelling alone has left many exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation at the hands of traffickers and opportunists. At least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in 80 countries in 2015-16, a rise of almost 500% on the 66,000 documented in 2010-2011, according to a Unicef report published on Wednesday.
  • Pakistan: Crack down on men trading young daughters to settle debts and disputes
    Public Radio International - May 15, 2017 -- The sentence ordered by the council was one of the hundreds of incidents known as vani that are estimated to occur annually in central Pakistan. Also known as swara and sangchatti, the 400-year-old custom involves fathers offering girls as young as 1 for arranged marriages to repay debts and settle tribal feuds and vendettas. Human rights workers are concerned that the practice of vani is on the rise - an assessment based on local police records, regional media reports and direct work with victims. But there's hope that a new civil mediation system approved this year by the Pakistani government could help.
  • Serbia: Unaccompanied minors among stranded migrants in Serbia
    Associated Press - May 18, 2017 -- A report by the U.N. children's agency published on Wednesday warned that more than 300,000 children like Ullah have been migrating alone worldwide over a two-year period, in a dramatic escalation of a trend that has forced many young refugees into slavery and prostitution.
  • United Kingdom: Facebook accused of failing to protect children after 'alarming' policies on moderating child abuse revealed
    Mirror - May 22, 2017 -- Facebook has been accused of failing to protect children, after a trove of documents leaked by The Guardian newspaper revealed the social network's policies on dealing with child abuse. According to Facebook's internal moderation manuals, videos of non-sexual child abuse shared on the social network will not be removed, but marked as "disturbing".

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 . . .