NC Mother Arrested For Child Abuse… Again

.jpg photo of mother arrested for child abuse again
Paulette Gibson, 27

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A North Carolina mother has been arrested for child abuse for the second time in two years.

WJZY reported that Paulette Gibson, 27, of Charlotte, is accused of whipping her 10-year-old daughter with a belt, causing injuries to her back and face.

It happened in August at a family member’s home, according to police. The suspect has since been charged with misdemeanor child abuse.

The suspect was also arrested and charged with felony child abuse causing serious bodily injury in August of 2014, according to records.

Gibson was jailed under a $2,000 bond and has court planned for next month. It remains uncertain who currently has custody of the child.

Officials: Preventing Child Abuse Is Community Effort – Pt #2 of 2

.jpg photo of victim of Child Abuse
Juan Joseph Hinojosa Gonzalez

by Krista Torralva of the Corpus Christi Caller Times

Corpus Christi, TX  –  Too often, after a child has died at the hands of his or her parent; an aunt or uncle will cry out about abuse they witnessed.

By then it’s too late.

PARENTING TIPS

Keys to Successful Parenting

  • Spend a few minutes every day doing something with your children.
  • Ask your children for their opinions.
  • Ask your children for help with simple tasks.
  • Never tell your children that they are bad. Instead, tell them the behavior is bad.
  • Discipline your children for bad behavior when you are calm. If you need to address the behavior while you are angry, remember that you are angry and that people have a tendency to go too far when angry.
  • Make rules you can and will enforce. If you say five more minutes of TV, don’t give them ten more minutes.

Spend Time with Your Kids

  • Do simple activities at home with your children. Giving your time and attention to your children is a gift they will remember for a lifetime.

Eat Meals Together at Least Once a Day

  • Mealtime can be a time to give advice and support as well as talk about one another’s lives.  The “Eat Healthy” section of Your Texas Benefits website includes cost saving tips, recipe planning, information on exercise and other resources to help make your mealtime a great bonding experience.
  • Talk about the good things and bad things that happened that day.

Spending Time Together Can Be Simple

  • Enjoy one another’s company at home. Play a board game or work on a puzzle together.
  • Doing chores together can be fun. Have your child help fold laundry or dry dishes.  Name colors while folding or see who can fold the fastest.

Family Time Builds Memories and Values

  • Talk with your children about what is important to you.
  • Tell them what you liked to do when you were their age.
  • Spend time with each child one on one. Read aloud or make up a story together with your family or friends as the characters.

Outdoor Activities

  • Go outside and play with your kids. It’s good for you and for them.
  • Play in the grass or leaves.
  • Go for a nature walk.
  • Have a scavenger hunt.
  • Go to the library to find books about the season, upcoming holidays, or your child’s favorite animal.
  • Start a new family tradition, like going to the zoo or a local festival, or baking something together.
  • Monitor what your child watches on TV. Make sure shows and movies are age appropriate.

Source: Prevent Child Abuse Illinois. www.preventchildabuseillinois.org

Dealing with Stressful Situations
Children can become more difficult to deal with when they are sleepy.  Make sure you set a bedtime routine and understand how to manage a whiny child or a child who talks back.

Helping with Bedtime Struggles

  • Soothing baby. Set a bedtime routine to help babies fall asleep. Always place babies alone and on their backs to sleep.  Remove toys and loose blankets from the crib.
  • Help your children unwind. Start talking in a quieter voice. Turn off the TV, computer, and video games at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Set a routine. Help kids follow a pattern of bath time, brushing teeth, and story time. Give hugs and say good-night in a fun way. Leaving a night light on can help children feel more at ease.
  • Keep kids in bed. If children cannot sleep, tell them to stay in bed and sing a song, cuddle a stuffed animal, or remember a happy time.

Wipe Out Whining

  • Whining can be frustrating and hard to listen to. Be patient and use these tips to help stop or prevent it.
  • Look first for an obvious physical cause like hunger, thirst, being tired, uncomfortable clothing or shoes, position, or even illness.
  • Show the difference between a whiny voice and a normal voice. Ask your child to tell you which voice is more pleasant.
  • Stay calm. When children know whining will upset you, they might not stop.
  • Ignore whining by limiting eye contact and talking.
  • Make sure children have contact with children their own age. It can be tiring for a child to keep up with older kids.

How to Manage Kids Talking Back
It is common for kids of all ages to talk back. Stop back talk with these suggestions:

  • Give choices: “Do you want grapes or an apple for a snack?”
  • As soon as back talk happens, tell your child it is not OK: “We don’t talk that way. Please speak nicely.”
  • Praise good behavior: “You were quiet and helpful at the store!”
  • Provide appropriate consequences.  Give a time out.  The length of time out needs to correspond to age the child (three minutes for a 3-year-old, four minutes for a 4-year-old).  Or withhold privileges like watching TV or going to a friend’s house.

Simple Things You Can Do When You Feel Stressed
When you feel overwhelmed, take a break and try one of the following:

  • Take a deep breath and count to 20.
  • Phone a friend.
  • Take a walk outside.
  • Ask for help.
  • Take time out and leave your children with a responsible adult.
  • Put your children in a safe place and leave the room.
  • Catch up on sleep.
  • Be aware of your body language and try to change it so that you are more relaxed.

Source: www.HelpandHope.org

Officials: Preventing Child Abuse Is Community Effort – Pt #1 of 2

.jpg photo of victim of Child Abuse
Juan Joseph Hinojosa Gonzalez

by Krista Torralva of the Corpus Christi Caller Times

Corpus Christi, TX  –  Too often, after a child has died at the hands of his or her parent; an aunt or uncle will cry out about abuse they witnessed.

By then it’s too late.

The Child Protective Services case worker interviewing the family member can’t do anything to save the child.

It’s a familiar scenario, frustrating to the department and court. After two recent child deaths — an infant who was shaken to death and police arrested the father, and a 2-year-old dying of a head injury police believe the mother’s boyfriend caused — court and department officials are pleading with the community to watch out and report child mistreatment.

“I would really like it if the community would… step in and intervene versus worrying about not wanting to get involved or (saying) ‘That’s not my business.’  Children are their business,” said Tara O’Connell, a CPS Services Program Administrator.  “Children should not just be the business of child protective services.  Everybody should stand up for the children of our community because they can’t stand up for themselves.”

Between Sept. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2014, the department determined 20 children in Nueces County died as a result of abuse or neglect and 977 across the state died.

Danger may not be as obvious as a parent slapping or kicking their child.  Warning signs can include a parent speaking negatively of their child, calling them names, seeming detached from the child and unaware of the child’s age or school grade.

“That’s a sign they might not be very bonded with their own child and sometimes that leads to abuse and neglect,” O’Connell said.  “So it’s important that when people see something, if it makes them uncomfortable, that they reach out and figure out what kind of help they can get them ahead of time.”

County Court at Law No. 5 Judge Timothy McCoy suspects part of the reason neighbors or family members don’t report suspicious activity is because they have a misunderstanding about the department and court’s role.  The purpose is not to take a parent’s children away forever, he said.  Many times, parents just need training or counseling and the court has a host of programs, he said. Substance abuse is a problem in most of the cases and there are programs to help curb drug and alcohol usage.

“We don’t break up families.  Our intent and goal is to reunify families and that’s the law,” McCoy said.  “Punishment is second to rehabilitation.”

CPS had custody of 441 children — enough students to fill Sanders Elementary School — as of Sept. 7.  Most of the children are under 10 years old and more than 100 are under 3 years old, according to CPS data.  Those numbers include pending cases, meaning some of the children may return to their parents. In other cases, the department and court tries to place the children with other relatives or family friends to maintain as much familiarity as possible, O’Connell said.

Between Sept. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2014, 45 percent of the children that exited the department in O’Connell’s 19-county region were returned to their parents.  Of those who were not, 75 percent went to live with a relative.

“Even though their mom or dad may have done things to them that are not OK, it’s still a dramatic change so we want to get them back to someone they know and someone they’re familiar with as soon as possible,” O’Connell said.

Not speaking about specific cases, the abuse is often perpetrated by a parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend, O’Connell said.

Lionel Pena, who has been charged with capital murder in the death of 2-year-old Juan Joseph Hinojosa Gonzalez, was dating the boy’s mother.  The siblings of 6-year-old Xadrian Martinez, who died last year, told investigators their mother’s boyfriend beat him and slammed him against a refrigerator.  Both the boyfriend, Albert Villarreal, and the mother, Nancy Martinez, are jailed awaiting separate capital murder trials.

“It’s really important that people who are parents if they start spending time with someone and they notice this someone has violent tendencies, they get angry very easy, they should not leave their children at home alone with them,” O’Connell said.

Parents can seek help themselves if they recognize signs of struggling with parenting.  The Department of Family and Protective Services launched a website in 2012 with tips for parents to cope with stress or find help in their community.  The website, www.helpandhope.org, has been viewed about 1.5 million times since it’s June 2012 launch, agency spokesman John Lennan said.

BY THE NUMBERS

2010

Nueces County

  • Child population 87,455
  • Confirmed victims 1,307

Texas

  • Child population 6,584,709
  • Confirmed victims 66,897

2011

Nueces County

  • Child population 97,714
  • Confirmed victims 1,256

Texas

  • Child population 6,663,942
  • Confirmed victims 65,948

2012

Nueces County

  • Child population 88,188
  • Confirmed victims 1,107

Texas

  • Child population 7,054,634
  • Confirmed victims 64,366

2013

Nueces County

  • Child population 88,215
  • Confirmed victims 1,004

Texas

  • Child population 7,159,172
  • Confirmed victims 66,398

2014

Nueces County

  • Child population 88,260
  • Confirmed victims 1,308

Texas

  • Child population 7,266,760
  • Confirmed victims 66,572

Source: Department of Family and Protective Services