Evergreen Couple Charged Due To Daughter’s Malnourishment

6-year-old girl weighed just 25 pounds when taken to hospital

Denver, Colorado – An Evergreen couple have been charged with child abuse in connection to their 6-year-old daughter’s “long-term malnutrition.”

Jason Matthew Barton, 40, and Katherine Clark Barton, 36, face a felony charge, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, after their daughter was admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado weighing 25 pounds, according to the Jefferson County district attorney’s office.

That weight — 25 pounds — is of a typical healthy 2-year-old child, prosecutors said.

The girl’s parents, according to an arrest affidavit, had locks on the refrigerator and pantry.

The couple claimed the child struggles with a form of autism, which impacts her eating habits, and that she may have a “gluten allergy,” the affidavit said.

The couple said the girl was having a hard time adjusting to Colorado since the family’s move from North Carolina three years ago, and to kindergarten. They removed her from kindergarten class before the school year was finished.

Concerns about the girl’s weight were reported to Jefferson County Human Services on June 1. The couple took the child to the hospital June 10, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation two days later.

The staff at Children’s likened the girl’s appearance “to that of concentration camp victims,” according to the affidavit, and medical workers could not determine any “psychological or medical” reasons why the girl was so severely underweight. The staff did determine that she is not autistic.

The Bartons told investigators they used locks at home because the child was “stealing” and “hoarding” food.

The child is now in custody of Jeffco Human Services. The Bartons are free on $25,000 bail. Their next court appearance is July 21. 

West Manheim Township Couple Sexually Abused Two Children

York County, Pennsylvania – A couple from West Manheim Township are accused of sexually abusing two children under the age of 13 during a two-year period.

Robert Greiner, 27, was charged on Saturday with conspiracy to commit rape and related offenses. His wife, Holly Greiner, 29, faces one count of rape of a child and related charges. Both were arraigned that night, and Robert Greiner remains in York County Prison on $75,000 bail.

Holly Greiner, who’s out on $50,000 bail, declined to be interviewed when reached on Sunday.

West Manheim Township police said their arrests came after an investigation into child abuse on Fuhrman Mill Road near Oakwood Drive.

During an interview with police at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Holly Greiner admitted that she and her husband sexually abused the children during a period of several years, according to court documents. On one occasion, she said her husband texted her photo – which was reportedly deleted – of a child performing oral sex on him, the documents state.

It is unclear when the couple is due back in court. 

NH Law Gives Agencies Broader Power

Law gives agencies broader power to enter homes where child abuse is suspected

CONCORD, NH — A bill that gives social service agencies broader powers to enter homes in cases of suspected child abuse was signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan on June 11, 2015.

SB 244 was introduced by state Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, after the death of a 3-year-old girl in Nashua last November raised questions about state oversight and child abuse reporting.

Brielle Gage was killed in November following assaults over a two-day period, allegedly at the hands of her mother, Katlyn Marin, 25, of Nashua, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the case.

Court records showed the girl, along with her four brothers, were initially removed from Marin’s Nashua home in the spring of 2014 after allegations of child abuse first surfaced. But all of the children were eventually sent back home despite a pending second-degree assault charge pending against Marin for allegedly beating her 8-year-old son with a studded belt.

Boutin worked with a friend of Brielle’s family, along with New Hampshire Kids Count and other child advocacy groups to develop the legislation, which also creates a commission to investigate how child abuse reports are handled and to recommend changes.

The new law says that upon notification that the safety of a child may be endangered, the court “shall”, upon finding probable cause, order a home visit for further investigation. The existing law gave the court broader discretion in making that decision

The new law also states that the child “shall not be returned” to the home unless the court finds that there is no threat of imminent harm and that the parent or parents are actively engaged in efforts to address the circumstances that led to the removal.

The commission will include government representatives, state agencies and nonprofits like Kids Count and the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

The law calls for an interim report from the commission on Nov. 1, and a final report by June 30, 2016.

“We must always be working to do everything that we can to prevent child abuse and neglect so that every child can secure their fundamental right to be safe, to be cared for and loved, and to seize his or her vast potential,” said Hassan after signing the bill into law. “Senate Bill 244 helps ensure that all of our children have this opportunity, giving state officials another tool to help prevent child abuse and neglect.”

Hennepin County screens out Child Abuse reports to reduce caseload

Outside report found that Hennepin County workers screen out most cases.

Minneapolis, MinnesotaHennepin County’s child protection agency has been ignoring child abuse reports to reduce caseloads and control its budget, a leader of a national child welfare group told the County Board on Thursday.

Dee Wilson, a director of child welfare services for Casey Family Programs, also told the board that the county’s most common response to a child abuse report is to screen it out, meaning that a family is never visited and services never offered. Neglect cases are also given low priority, rarely get investigated, and then are often closed without doing anything to help children, a stark contrast to many other child protection agencies, Wilson said.

Wilson and other members of the organization spent months studying Hennepin’s system and released a report critical of the agency last week. Wilson’s presentation Thursday offered a more harsh assessment than what was written.

The county’s child protection chief rejected Wilson’s most startling claim, that reports of abuse were rejected for convenience. The county follows state statutes and guidelines when considering how to handle a report, said Janine Moore, area director of children and family services.

“We have never made decisions based on caseloads,” Moore said.
Moore said about 30 percent of families reported for neglect are offered services, while the rest of the reports are either screened out or closed without helping the children.

County Commissioner Marion Greene, who heads the board’s Human Services committee, said Casey’s presentation was a “call to action.”

“Today dialed up the urgency,” Greene said. “We have got to change the way we protect kids.”

Hennepin County’s child protection procedures differ from state and nationwide practices in other key areas, Casey leaders told the board. There is no specialized criteria for what to do when abuse of an infant is reported, and the percent of those cases accepted to protect the children is far lower than national averages.

“If there is a call for children under 1, that is cause for major concern,” said David Sanders, a Casey executive and former manager of Hennepin County’s child protection agency. Sanders cited a California study showing that the most frequent predictor of infant death from abuse is being reported to child protection.

The county also does far worse than the rest of the state and country when it comes to children being removed from their homes and then returned within a month. What that likely shows, Sanders said, was that children should have been kept in out-of-home care longer or never removed in the first place.

Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said that was one of his biggest concerns about Hennepin County’s system.

“They get the trauma of being removed from a home, but not much is done to help that situation,” he said.

Casey has done similar research with other child protection agencies numerous times, Wilson said, but he was “puzzled by the degree of difficulty” it took to do the Hennepin County report.

Though they were granted anonymity, social workers still feared retribution from leadership if it was discovered they were participating in the Casey study, Wilson said.

“You have a very fractured and fragmented staff,” Wilson said. “There was a lot of fear and anxiety.”

Moore said the child protection managers have never threatened to retaliate against any workers for participating in the study. She said workers may have been afraid to complain about caseloads because they didn’t want to be perceived as unable to do the job. She blamed much of the low morale of the workforce on media scrutiny.

Congress needs to reform funding for Child Abuse, Neglect

Oklahoma  —  It’s encouraging to see that despite budget challenges, Oklahoma is making it a priority to invest in the needs of our state’s abused and neglected children.

But wouldn’t it be better if the need weren’t so great, for children in state custody or for the elderly and disabled? Some good news is that reform in Washington could move us closer to helping at-risk-youth by investing in prevention.

Federal funding shortchanges prevention efforts that could help parents manage financial distress, mental health, substance abuse, and other abuse and neglect risk factors. Today, the federal government pays $4 on foster care for every $1 on prevention.

Federal foster care funding itself is insufficient, covering less than half of eligible kids. Underfunding of prevention efforts will only drain this already shallow funding pool.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is developing legislation to invest in prevention. His plan would allow federal funds to help at-risk kids before they enter foster care, and it directs increased investments to prevention initiatives with proven track records of effectiveness.

The likely result: stronger families, safer children and better value for taxpayers.

Foster parents offer a wonderful gift to children facing terrible circumstances. However, getting ahead of the problem means investing in prevention. If Oklahoma wants better outcomes for kids, Oklahoma’s leaders in Congress must reform funding for child abuse and neglect.