Autistic Child Abused ON School Bus

Austin School Bus Monitor Accused of Abusing Autistic Child

http://bcove.me/0nl0g02m

AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin parent is pressing charges against a former school employee who’s accused of abusing his child with autism.

The father of two boys at Austin ISD’s Kocurek Elementary said a former bus monitor abused his six-year-old son who has autism. Now the school district police are investigating.

Juan Carlos Fontanez looks out for his younger brother, Jean Paul. “I thank God every day because he’s a special kid,” said their father Luis Fontanez. Fontanez said about two weeks ago Juan Carlos came home upset, saying their bus monitor put tape over Jean Paul’s mouth and sat on him to hold him down. “The first day, I asked my son ‘are you telling the truth? Because someone can get in trouble. Somebody can end up in jail.’ Then he start crying, crying and he said ‘Dad, I am telling the truth.’ So in that moment I trust him.”

Like many autistic children, Jean Paul often repeats words. His big brother claimed the bus monitor put tape on his mouth to keep him quiet and told him not to tell his parents. “He didn’t deserve that, that way. It made me sad, you know?” The family moved to Austin from Puerto Rico several years ago to get Jean Paul better treatment and therapy. Fontanez used to work as a driver on the special needs bus and says he knows the woman who watched over them during the ride. “I never expected that from her.”

Fontanez tells us she confessed the abuse to officers and he’s pressing charges. An Austin ISD spokesperson said the employee has since resigned. Fontanez said from now on he and his wife will be driving the kids themselves.

This is the second incident AISD Police are investigating involving a student at Kocurek Elementary. They tell us parents came forward with allegations about another staff member and, per protocol, that employee is on leave. School district staff said once both of these investigations are complete, they will release more information.

Brown Recluse Kills Alabama Boy

Branson Riley Carlisle Dies At 5: Spider Bite

Over the weekend, a 5-year-old boy named Branson Riley Carlisle of Albertsville, Alabama passed away after being bitten by a brown recluse spider that is often found in the Southeast and in Alabama.
The boy’s parents, Jessica Carlisle and A.J. Mays, rapidly took him to the Marshall Medical Center. But throughout the night, his condition worsened and he was transferred to Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, where he died.

Carlisle and Mays also brought the spider to the hospital, where it was identified as a brown recluse spider, according to Claudette DeMuth, director of marketing at Marshall Medical Center. DeMuth said in a statement:hat the cold weather has caused spiders to come inside.

Ann Slattery, who is the director of Regional Poison Control Center Children’s of Alabama, said that it was a good thing that Branson Riley Carlisle’s parents brought the spider to the hospital, so they could determine the specie.

According to the University of California Riverside researcher, Rick Vetter, the brown recluse that killed little Carlisle, doesn’t spin a web, its defense is to bite.

The author of “Spiders of the Eastern United States: A Photographic Guide,” shared: “They come out at night after all the lights are off and creep around.They live in houses, especially old ones.They come out at night after all the lights are off and creep around. They also like hiding in piles of old clothes or newspapers or old woodpiles.” He explained that the brown recluse spider venom is called a cytotoxin and it causes the skin and what’s beneath to erode. The venom can also cause the breakdown of red blood cells. Vetter added: “Usually what happens the skin becomes dead and the tissue around the bite blisters up.Sometimes the doctors will have to 

the area leaving a cavity. Normally it’s a highly localized thing. The symptoms often start with itching 15 to 20 minutes after the bite. Sometimes the site looks like a bullseye with a blister and a bruise around it.”

Slattery said that last year, there were 89 calls about suspected brown recluse bites, but in the majority of cases, it was some other condition. She also revealed that after 32 years on the job, this is the first death caused by a brown recluse bite to her knowledge.
In 2004, a family of 4, living in Lenexa, Kansas found 2,055 brown recluse spiders in their house in 6 months. While the spiders crawled on the walls, the carpet, in the sinks, and bathtubs, none of the family members or pets were bitten.

Branson Riley Carlisle was laid to rest on Wednesday.

Family Homelessness

What Is Family Homelessness?

Every year, hundreds of thousands of American families become homeless, including more than 1.6 million children. These families are hidden from our view. They move frequently, and many are doubled-up in overcrowded apartments with relatives or friends. Others sleep in cars and campgrounds or send their children to stay with relatives to avoid shelter life. Once in shelter, despite the efforts of dedicated staff, life can be noisy, chaotic, and lack privacy. Homelessness increases the likelihood that families will separate or dissolve.

Family homelessness is caused by the combined effects of lack of affordable housing, unemployment, limited access to resources and supports, health and mental health challenges, the challenges of raising children as a single parent, and experiences of violence. As the gap between housing costs and income continues to widen, more and more families are at risk of homelessness. Even a seemingly minor event can trigger a catastrophic outcome and catapult a family onto the streets.

Families experiencing homelessness are under considerable stress. Homelessness is a devastating experience that significantly impacts the health and well-being of adults and children. Often, members of homeless families have experienced trauma. These experiences affect how children and adults think, feel, behave, relate, and cope.

http://www.familyhomelessness.org/facts.php?p=tm

More Homeless Children in California

2014-11-26-HomelessChildrenInUS-1Child Homelessness on the Rise in U.S.

The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation’s high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence.

Titled “America’s Youngest Outcasts,” the report being issued Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness calculates that nearly 2.5 million American children were homeless at some point in 2013. The number is based on the Department of Education’s latest count of 1.3 million homeless children in public schools, supplemented by estimates of homeless pre-school children not counted by the DOE.

The problem is particularly severe in California, which has one-eighth of the U.S. population but accounts for more than one-fifth of the homeless children with a tally of nearly 527,000. Carmela DeCandia, director of the national center and a co-author of the report, noted that the federal government has made progress in reducing homelessness among veterans and chronically homeless adults. “The same level of attention and resources has not been targeted to help families and children,” she said. “As a society, we’re going to pay a high price, in human and economic terms.”

Child homelessness increased by 8 percent nationally from 2012 to 2013, according to the report, which warned of potentially devastating effects on children’s educational, emotional and social development, as well as on their parents’ health, employment prospects and parenting abilities. The report included a composite index ranking the states on the extent of child homelessness, efforts to combat it, and the overall level of child well-being. States with the best scores were Minnesota, Nebraska and Massachusetts. At the bottom were Alabama, Mississippi and California.

California’s poor ranking did not surprise Shahera Hyatt, director of the California Homeless Youth Project. The crux of the problem, she said, is the state’s high cost of living, coupled with insufficient affordable housing. “People think, ‘Of course we are not letting children and families be homeless,’ so there’s a lot of disbelief,” Hyatt said. “California has not invested in this issue.” Hyatt, 29, was homeless on and off throughout adolescence, starting when her parents were evicted when she was in 7th grade. At 15, she and her older brother took off and survived by sleeping in the tool sheds, backyards and basements of acquaintances.

“These terms like ‘couch surfing’ and ‘doubled-up’ sound a lot more polite than they are in practice,” she said. “For teenagers, it might be exchanging sex for a place to stay or staying someplace that does not feel safe because they are so mired in their day-to-day survival needs.”

Near San Francisco, Gina Cooper and her son, then 12, had to vacate their home in 2012 when her wages of under $10 an hour became insufficient to pay the rent. After a few months as nomads, they found shelter and support with Home & Hope, an interfaith program in Burlingame, California, and stayed there five months before Cooper, 44, saved enough to be able to afford housing on her own. “It was a painful time for my son,” Cooper said. “On the way to school, he would be crying, ‘I hate this.’”

In mostly affluent Santa Barbara, the Transition House homeless shelter is kept busy with families unable to afford housing of their own. Executive director Kathleen Baushke said that even after her staff gives clients money for security deposits and rent, they go months without finding a place to live. “Landlords aren’t desperate,” she said. “They won’t put a family of four in a two-bedroom place because they can find a single professional who will take it.” She said neither federal nor state housing assistance nor incentives for developers to create low-income housing have kept pace with demand. “We need more affordable housing or we need to pay people $25 an hour,” she said. “The minimum wage isn’t cutting it.”

Among the current residents at Transition House are Anthony Flippen, Savannah Austin and their 2-year-old son, Anthony Jr. Flippen, 28, said he lost his job and turned to Transition House as his unemployment insurance ran out. The couple has been on a list to qualify for subsidized housing since 2008, but they aren’t counting on that option and hope to save enough to rent on their own now that Flippen is back at work as an electrician. Austin, due to have a second child in December, is grateful for the shelter’s support but said its rules had been challenging. With her son in tow, she was expected to vacate the premises each morning by 8 a.m. and not return before 5 p.m. “I’d go to the park, or drive around,” she said. “It was kind of hard.”

The new report by the National Center on Family Homelessness — a part of the private, nonprofit American Institutes for Research — says remedies for child homelessness should include an expansion of affordable housing, education and employment opportunities for homeless parents, and specialized services for the many mothers rendered homeless due to domestic violence. Efforts to obtain more resources to combat child homelessness are complicated by debate over how to quantify it.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development conducts an annual one-day count of homeless people that encompasses shelters, as well as parks, underpasses, vacant lots and other locales. Its latest count, for a single night in January 2013, tallied 610,042 homeless people, including 130,515 children.

Defenders of HUD’s method say it’s useful in identifying the homeless people most in need of urgent assistance. Critics contend that HUD’s method grossly underestimates the extent of child homelessness and results in inadequate resources for local governments to combat it. They prefer the Education Department method that includes homeless families who are staying in cheap motels or doubling up temporarily in the homes of friends or relatives.

“Fixing the problem starts with adopting an honest definition,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the nonprofit First Focus Campaign for Children. “Right now, these kids are sort of left out there by themselves.”

Lesley’s group and some allies have endorsed a bill introduced in Congress, with bipartisan sponsorship, that would expand HUD’s definition to correlate more closely with that used by the Education Department. However, the bill doesn’t propose any new spending for the hundreds of thousands of children who would be added to the HUD tally.

Shahera Hyatt, of the California Homeless Youth Project, says most of the homeless schoolchildren in her state aren’t living in shelters. “It’s often one family living in extreme poverty going to live with another family that was already in extreme poverty,” she said. “Kids have slept in closets and kitchens and bathrooms and other parts of the house that have not been meant for sleeping.”

To read the full report and find out where your state ranks, please visit  http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/

Best of the Best

The Jump Team of Operation Underground Railroad

They are the best of the best. They train hard, work hard and take their job very seriously. They are the Jump Team of Operation Underground Railroad and they rescue children from sex traffickers.

Former U.S. Navy Seal “Dutch” Turley is the team leader and his number one job is keeping everyone safe. “I’m in charge of the security of the team,” he says. “If you’re in a bad situation you haven’t done the first couple steps.”

Those steps include forming a chain of command and creating accountability. You also need to make sure you’re never alone. You need to watch out for each other and blend in. Of course you have to do your homework too. For O.U.R. that includes gathering intelligence, working with local law enforcement and understanding how the traffickers are organized and move children.

In only six months O.U.R. has rescued 59 children. Perhaps the bigger miracle, however, is that it is all made possible with donations from people and groups who believe in what they are doing. “We are growing so fast,” says Turley. “We are forming more Jump Teams so we can go on more missions and save more children.”

While serving in the Navy Seals “Dutch” was a “breacher” someone who deals with explosives, blasting open doors or breaking barriers. Working with O.U.R. is a bit tamer but he’s always prepared should anything go wrong. In fact, everyone is. No one goes on a mission without training, even celebrities.

Actress Laurie Holden, best known for her roles in the movie The X-Files and the television series The Walking Dead, is also a human rights activist and went with O.U.R. on a recent mission to Colombia. Her job consisted mainly of helping the rescued children feel safe and relaxed. It sounds easy but in a tense situation where traffickers are being arrested it can be quite the challenge.

Jump Team training is ongoing and consists of hand to hand combat and handgun instruction. But the most important training, according to Turley, is mental. “You have to understand your enemy from a mental perspective. We try to do it as often as we can,” he says. “We cover the mentality of the situation.”

For a tough guy, Turley has his soft side. He says there are many outstanding moments working with Operation Underground Railroad. “It’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life, to save these children (long pause). I’m kind of at a loss for words.” He really is one of the best of the best.