Kentucky Officials Site Drug Use For Increase

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Court Appointed Special Advocates For Children Logo

County sees rise in Child Abuse, Neglect cases

HARDIN COUNTY, KY  –  Hardin County has seen a recent increase in cases involving child abuse and neglect, with a significant amount of those cases related to substance abuse, officials say.

Family Court Judge Pamela Addington has presided over family court cases for more than 13 years.  She said from mid-June 2004, when was elected to the bench, to December 2004, she handled 423 neglect and abuse cases.  For the whole year in 2005, that number was 739.

In 2015, there were 810 cases and in 2016, there were 860.  This year, Addington and fellow Family Court Judge Brent Hall, who has been on the bench for 10 years, are on track to have more than 900 abuse and neglect cases combined, Hardin County Attorney Jennifer Oldham said.

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 14, Addington said she and Hall have had 759 child abuse and neglect cases.

In 2016, total family court filings reached 2,698 cases.  Addington said the total cases of what they have done this year already is more than 2,000 and “we’re just a little over halfway point.  We’re probably going to be really closely double.”

“We’ve had a significant amount of cases,” Addington said.

Hall said Hardin County’s numbers for Family Court filings have increased more than any other county in the state of Kentucky.

“Our numbers for family court filing have gone up.  We’re the highest in the state as far as increase,” he said, noting the state average for increase is about nine percent, while Hardin County is about 40 percent.  “It’s a huge increase in the case load.”

Assistant Hardin County Attorney Dawn Blair said she suspects a large contributor to the increase in family court filings is substance abuse.

“My gut is drugs,” she said, noting nearly 70 to 75 percent of all cases have substance abuse involved.

Oldham agreed.  She said officials are “finding at the heart of many of our cases is drug use, drug addiction.”

Hall said “you can’t parent well and be on drugs.”

“We’ve known it has been the majority of our cases for a lot of years,” Hall said.  “It’s sad.  Our case numbers are going up because, probably, our drug numbers are going up.  … It’s really disheartening to see our numbers go up like this.  It’s really disheartening to see the same faces over and over again.”

Ashely Purcell, a local foster parent, said since March 2016 she has had 13 different children in her home, with the stay ranging from 48 hours to much longer.

“The majority of children we’ve had in our home were because of addictions,” she said.  “I know from everything I’ve read, the drug addiction and opioids, meth all of it is just on a horrible rise and it is our children ultimately paying the price for it.  And whether they are born being exposed to it, drugs, or addicted or born in an environment around it, they are still victims of drug use because it affects them long-term.”

Blair said the impact of drugs on children is well documented.

“There are all kinds of studies on adverse childhood experiences. Those have all shown to have negative impact on kids in the long run,” Blair said.

With the rise in these cases, it also means there is a rise in the number of children who are entering the foster care system.

David Vice of CASA of the Heartland said although the number of children being removed from homes has gone up, on pace to exceed last year’s total, the number of social workers, CASA volunteers or attorneys representing those cases has not increased.

CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings.

At 18, children have the choice to leave the state’s care or recommit to the state.. If they choose to recommit, they have the option to stay in a foster home or live in a dorm or apartment. .If they recommit to the independent living program, they still have rules to follow, which includes maintaining enrollment in school or employment. .They are able to stay in the independent living program until they turn 21.

“A lot of kids will do that and go and those are the success stories we love to hear about,” Blair said.

Hall said of those who emancipate themselves with no permanent place­ment, within a year, about two-thirds will be dead, homeless or in jail.

One way to potentially help keep families together and possibly avoid those statistics is family drug court, Oldham said, noting no county in Kentucky has family drug court.  She said the ultimate goal is to “reunify families and get people clean.”

Oldham said local officials are looking into revenue options to start a family drug court in Hardin County. .According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, it “is a juvenile or family court docket of which selected abuse, neglect, and dependency cases are identified where parental substance abuse is a primary factor. .Judges, attorneys, child protection services, and treatment personnel unite with the goal of providing safe, nurturing, and permanent homes for children while simultaneously providing parents the necessary support and services to become drug and alcohol abstinent. .Family dependency treatment courts aid parents in regaining control of their lives and promote long-term stabilized recovery to enhance the possibility of family reunification within mandatory legal time frames.”

Oldham said she expects a family drug court to cost about $200,000 a year.

With this drug court, Oldham said “when children are in foster care because their parents are drug addicted,” they would have something “set up for actual treatment and actual monitoring through intensive drug screening and intensive management to get these families back together.”

“Right now, we have the concept, but need the money,” she said.

Blair agreed, saying family drug court would be “phenomenal,” in addition to more money for social services.

“The more barriers we can remove to help these families become self-efficient, the better off we’re all going to be,” Blair said.

Why Does CPS Have Greywind Child – Pt 2

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Law Enforcement searching the Red River.

Large police presence right outside of Harwood

8:09 PM, August 27, 2017
HARWOOD, ND  –  Valley News Live is in Harwood where there’s a large police presence, close to the bridge that connects North Dakota and Minnesota.

This comes as police have been searching for days for 22-year-old Savanna Greywind.

She disappeared August 19th, Greywind was 8 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.

Since then, a newborn baby was found in the apartment building where she was last seen.

Also, two people, Brooke Lynn Crews and William Henry Hoehn, have been arrested, charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

UPDATE:  Police confirm that the body of Savanna Greywind has been found near the Red River, near Harwood.
Updated Sunday 10:44 PM, August 27, 2017

Why Does CPS Have Greywind Child

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William Hoehn faces Conspiracy to Kidnap charges in this case.

Man facing charges in Greywind case convicted of Child Abuse in 2012

FARGO, ND  –  We’re learning new details into one of the people currently in jail after refusing to cooperate with a Fargo Police investigation into the disappearance of Savanna Greywind.

William Hoehn faces Conspiracy to Kidnap charges in this case, but was also convicted of Child Abuse back in 2012.

According to court documents in the case out of Grand Forks, Hoehn told investigators that his son was acting normal when he picked him up from daycare in early January.  No issue with the boy’s head were observed that day.  The boy’s mother, documents say, went to work that afternoon, and a few hours later Hoehn called her crying, saying that the boy had a swollen head.

Documents say he asked her if he should take the boy to the emergency room.

Hoehn does just that, doctors finding “a diagnosis of multiple fractures” on the boy’s skull.

Several doctors say in the documents that swelling would have occurred within hours after injuries such as these.

The boy was in Hoehn’s care that day.

William Hoehn faces up to 20 years in jail for this charge if convicted and given the maximum penalty.

‘100 PERCENT PREVENTABLE’

.jpg photo of Director of Child Advocacy Center
Denise Valdez, director of Kids Talk

Child Abuse death cases on the rise in Indiana

A 1-year-old child died because of acute alcohol intoxication and extensive burn wounds.  The child had burns over 11.5 percent of the body, and a blood alcohol level of 0.145 percent.  The child also suffered from malnutrition.  It was determined the child was burned about one month before death.

A 1-year-old child died as a result of a ruptured stomach with chemical peritonitis, fracture of the cervical spine and extensive scalp hemorrhages.  The mother admitted whipping the child with a belt four to five times per day for the past month because of behavioral issues.

A 22-day-old child died from positional asphyxia with a contributing factor of acute mixed drug intoxication.  The child’s mother fell asleep in a reclining position on a couch while breast-feeding the child.  When the mother awoke, the child was unresponsive with her face between the mother’s chest and arm.

ANDERSON, IN  –  These clinical descriptions represent the life stories of three Indiana children who died of abuse or neglect in 2015.

And 74 other similar accounts are contained in the Indiana Department of Child Services Annual Report of Child Fatalities for Indiana fiscal year 2015, released this month.

The 77 deaths covered in the report are abuse and neglect cases that child service officials could “substantiate,” out of 258 fatalities the department reviewed.

About half the deaths were traumatic — beatings and gunshot wounds.  Head trauma was the main cause of death in abuse cases.

One-third of the children died as a result of neglect.  Unsafe sleep practices leading to asphyxia were the primary cause of death in this category, and the misuse of drugs and alcohol were frequent contributing factors, according to the report.

What’s more concerning: The number of substantiated child abuse/neglect fatalities in Indiana keeps rising, from 34 in 2012, to 49 in 2013, to 66 in 2014, to 77 in 2015.

Of the total fatalities in 2015, 32, or 42 percent, were attributed to abuse.  Forty-five (58 percent) were attributed to neglect.

In other key findings:

  • In the case of abuse, 85 percent of victims were less than 3 years old.
  • In the case of neglect, 73 percent were less than 3 years old.

“This finding demonstrates a consistent trend (nationally and in Indiana) that young children are at the highest risk of abuse and neglect,” according to the report’s executive summary.

Another disturbing trend revealed in the fatality report: Abuse and neglect is often inflicted by a child’s biological parents.

  • 84 percent of neglect fatalities and 68 percent of abuse fatalities were caused by a biological parent.
  • 10 percent of neglect fatalities and 26 percent of abuse fatalities were caused by a parent’s intimate partner or another relative.

The report also showed the most common stress factors associated with child deaths were insufficient income and unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence.

“Each one of these deaths was 100 percent preventable,” said Mary Beth Bonaventura, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, in a statement.

“Our infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable of all our children,” Bonaventura added.  “Younger children demand active supervision, attention, care and patience — which may be difficult to give if someone has low or poor parenting skills, or is dealing with multiple stress factors, including substance abuse.”

Data complied by the Indiana Youth Institute provides context for Madison County’s struggle with neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse, especially if you contrast the community with affluent neighbor Hamilton County.

Hamilton County’s population in 2015 was about 309,700, and Madison County’s was about 129,300.5

Though Hamilton County’s population was 2.4 times larger than Madison’s, far fewer cases of neglect were reported there: 259 compared to 729 in Madison County. Reports of physical abuse were also lower, 20 in Hamilton County versus 68 in Madison County.

The recently released Department of Child Services report notes that of the 77 deaths in Madison County, DCS officials had prior contact with only four of the children.

Behind these numbers are families and children struggling to cope with poverty, mental illness and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, Madison County child advocates say.

“A lot of people gloss over violence in the home,” said Denise Valdez, director of Kids Talk.  “We need to look at why there’s violence in the home.  There are so many factors.”

Kids Talk interviews victims of child abuse and neglect and provides information to local law enforcement.

Valdez believes education is a key element in changing the behavior of abusive or neglectful parents.

Valdez also believes humans are born with an innate sense of right and wrong.  While many people might not be prepared for the job of parenting, the episodes documented in the fatality report unmask a disturbing pathology.

“I think people who do that have some deep psychological issues that need to be addressed,” she said.

Efforts are afoot in Madison County to advocate for victimized children, but there are so many of them and too few resources.

“We’re just overwhelmed with the number of cases,” said Annette Craycraft, executive director of East Central Indiana CASA.

Currently 400 people are on the agency’s waiting list for services.

CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates.  Its volunteers advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in the welfare system.  Working with children who have been abused, the volunteers are often the first to see trends and behaviors that affect the well-being of kids.

Like Valdez, Craycraft believes education can help change behavior. After reading this year’s fatality report, she said, “The thing that really stood out is that a lot of these deaths could have been prevented.”

Craycraft believes Madison County’s medical community does a good job of providing information to new parents about safe sleep practices, but it’s hard to know what happens when couples arrive home.

For children who are older, Craycraft believes community mentors and organized programs such as those at the new Anderson Township Trustee Girls and Boys Club can help break cycles of violence.

But until whole communities become truly aware of the needs and come together, the fatalities will mount, and there will be more sordid stories like these three.

• In the case of the 1-year-old burn victim, no medical treatment was sought.

The mother’s boyfriend initially told investigators the child was burned accidentally when water he was heating for a sibling’s formula fell from the stove on the child.  Later, the boyfriend told investigators the child was accidentally burned in bath water that was too hot.

Both caregivers said the mother was not home when the injuries occurred.  The child’s mother was charged with criminal neglect of a dependent and false informing.  The mother’s boyfriend was charged with criminal neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing.  Both criminal cases are pending.

  • In the case of the 1-year-old who was whipped, both the mother and father and were charged with murder, neglect of a dependent and battery.  Both are awaiting trial.  The Department of Child Services found that the death was caused by physical abuse, medical neglect, malnutrition and environmental conditions attributed to both parents.
  • The 22-day-old’s mother tested positive for benzodiazepines and Tramadol at the time of death, and an autopsy found the child had both pseudoephedrine and nortramadol in her system.  The child’s pediatrician was aware the mother was breastfeeding, but was not aware she was taking Tramadol.  No criminal charges were filed in the case.

Father, Mother Charged With Felony Child Abuse

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Indifference will never stop Child Abuse

Dirty, injured boy asks neighbor for food;
parents charged with Child Abuse

WASHINGTON, DC  –  The parents of a 10-year-old boy face felony charges after their son knocked on a neighbor’s door to ask for food in Prince William County.

The boy was injured and was wearing dirty clothes, police said.

The neighbor, who lives on Aden Road in Nokesville, called police Tuesday afternoon.  Officers determined that the boy had left his home more than a mile away earlier in the day, Prince William County Police Officer Nathan Probus said.

The parents are accused of forcing their son to kneel on sharp objects for long periods of time and burning his hands on a hot stove as a way to punish him.

The boy was taken to a hospital, and was in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Walter Enrique Flores-Chiquillo, 35, and Barbara Margarita Ramirez Del Cid, 28, both of Nokesville, were arrested Wednesday on felony child abuse charges.  Both were being held without bond.

Additional charges were expected to be filed in the case, police said.