KS CPS Bold Step Sent To Senate

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Gina Meier-Hummel, acting secretary at the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Kansas House unanimously passes bill to release information after Child Abuse deaths

In a final vote Thursday morning, the Kansas House unanimously passed legislation that would require the state to release information after a child dies of abuse or neglect.

The chamber voted 124-0 in favor of the bill.  It now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers will decide whether to accept the House version.  If they don’t, the bill would be sent to a conference committee to work out any differences. After that, each chamber would vote again.

Child advocates say if the bill becomes law, the most vulnerable children in Kansas will be better protected.

“Absolutely it’s a step forward,” said Lori Ross, a long-time advocate in Missouri.  “Transparency is necessary for the child welfare system to continuously improve.  … I’m so thrilled they haven’t dropped this.”

The House action comes after several high-profile deaths in the recent years. Frustrated lawmakers, as well as child advocates across the state, have said more must be known about these cases so the system improves and other children are protected.

The Star has fought for years to obtain records and information after several horrific child deaths, including the 2015 death of Adrian Jones, a Kansas City, KS boy whose body was fed to pigs.

In a months-long investigation into the secrecy that permeates Kansas government, The Star found in late November a pervasive effort inside DCF to avoid transparency, hiding behind privacy laws and internal procedures — even instructing employees to shred notes taken in meetings where the death of a child was discussed.

Under the bill, SB 336, DCF would be required to release within seven business days the age and sex of the child, date of the fatality, a summary of previous reports to the agency and findings, as well as any department-recommended services provided.

Also, if a child dies while in state custody, the bill requires the DCF secretary to release the age and sex of the child, date of the fatality and summary of the facts surrounding the death.  This section relates directly to children who die in foster care and the death is considered an accident.

Since Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel took over the troubled agency in early December, she has vowed to be more transparent.  She worked with lawmakers on the bill and she and Gov. Jeff Colyer have been pushing for its passage.

As the bill went through the committee process there were heated moments as troubles with the child welfare system were discussed.  Lawmakers said this week that Meier-Hummel is providing the leadership that the state currently needs.

After Rep. John Carmichael commended the Judiciary Committee in a Wednesday hearing for its work with the legislation, he turned his attention to discussing Meier-Hummel.

“I also want to express to the current secretary of DCF my admiration for her first bringing the bill,” the Wichita Democrat said.  “And second, for responding frankly and candidly to sometimes difficult questions in the Judiciary Committee.”

AK Sees Increase In Child Maltreatment

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Alaska Sees Increase In Child Maltreatment.

Expert: “Dramatic” increase in Child Abuse cases in southeast Alaska

JUNEAU, AK  –  Social workers’ caseloads for child neglect and abuse have dramatically increased in southeast Alaska.

Erin Walker-Tolles, executive director of Catholic Community Service in Juneau, testified before the House Finance Committee earlier this month, KTOO Public Media of Juneau reported on Sunday.

Walker-Tolles asked for more funding to deal with a 59 percent increase in referrals to her nonprofit’s child advocacy center, which deals with cases of children who might be victims of abuse and neglect across the southeast.  The number of children referred to the center went up from 97 in 2016 to 154 last year.

“It’s dramatic, it’s pervasive and, from what we’ve heard from the other CACs, it is statewide,” Walker-Tolles said.

Program Manager Susan Loseby said she’s not sure what caused the increase.
“I would hope that more kids aren’t being abused,” she said.  “It’s just that more people are reporting what they suspect as abuse.”

Either way, the center needs more workers, Loseby said.

The center has three full-time employees and three on-call nurses who perform medical examinations.  Walker-Tolles and Loseby are asking for $77,000 to hire and train an additional staff member.

“Ethically it’s the right thing to do,” Walker-Tolles said.  “And if you want to talk about money, honestly it’s a cost-savings to the entire community and the state.  If these kids are able to heal, be safe, grow up, go to college or school or find a vocation that inspires them and contribute to the economy, instead of falling into despair, failing school, not having job opportunities.  The outcomes can be pretty grim.”

Loseby said working with children who have been abused and even raped takes a significant toll on staff, especially when they’re constantly on call.

“It’s a lot to digest, hearing all of the disclosures that children are making and then working with the families who are also in trauma,” she said.  “It has, of course, increased the hours that we work, it has decreased the time that we can take off to heal and get the respite that we all need.”

Room Below The Basement – Dedicated To Frank

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The LIEBSTER Award

The Blues, A Blessing, and The Liebster Award

I had enough, I’m done, and I turned and walked away.

“What the.. ?  Oh this is real good”, as I looked at the dark hallway, “now they’re sure going to think you’ve lost it.”

“Hee-hee”

“Now I know I didn’t imagine that”, as my eyes searched the hallway, I realized there was a big, heavy door, that was locked and chained only a few feet from me on my right.  I moved as quietly as possible and leaned closer to the door…  something touched me on the right shoulder and as I jerked around, a hand was reaching for my throat!

My eyes bugged out of my head like binoculars and my jaw hurt from  trying to scream;  all the while water was flying all over the bathroom as I was attempting to back-paddle away from the cut-off hand.

Just as I saw the broomstick holding the glove up, I heard Frank’s laughter.

I was sitting straight-up in bed, looking around and wanting to cry, but I couldn’t help but bust out laughing, and shaking my head, “That Frank is in for it when I see him.”

When we were young boys, we never missed an opportunity to scare or surprise the other, or even our friends.  We never missed “Thriller”, “The Twilight Zone”, or any of the long list of scary movies, and the above good memory was after we watched “The Hand”, and Frank caught me in the bathtub.

Needless to say, Frank got my attention and reminded me that I still had an unfinished job to do:  To make this world a better place for all the Children!

So with that said, I dedicate this to Frank.

The Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which the Rules are simple as follows:

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  4. Ask them 11 questions.
  5. Let them know you have nominated them.

Acknowledge the blog who nominated you.

What if We all Cared?

Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.

1.  Where were you born?

Sweetwater, Texas

2.  What has been your favorite pet and why?

Dog, because they are so loyal and great companions.

3.  Do you work . . if so, where (being a full-time mommy counts as work btw)?

I am retired, although I work very close to full time or even more at times as a Child Advocate, supporting Veterans, and senior citizens.

4.  If you could go exploring anywhere where would that be?

The Great Barrier Reef

5.  Your biggest regret?

Lynn Klinkscales

6.  How many siblings do you have?  What are your thoughts on that number?

Two, and it is as good a number as any, I had an Uncle and Aunt that had 15 Children.

7.  What decade do you really belong in?

Right where I am at.  I started out with The Killer-Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Buddy Holley, Otis Redding, B.B. King, lived through The Beatles, lived with The Rolling Stones(Since they still make music), Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Ozzy, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Daniels, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Social Distortion, Bon Jovi, Rammstein, Slipknot, Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakum, Volbeat, etc..

8.  Would you rather live in the Arctic or Antarctic Circle?

If I had to, I would pick the warmer climate, and the one with land to walk on so I could get back to Texas, so The Arctic.

9.  What is your favorite artistic medium?

Tools, Paint, original parts, and custom parts to build War Horses(Ford Mustangs) and HOGs(Harley-Davidsons).  But also woodworking tools, and good wood.

10.  Camping or hotels?

Both, I’m a farm boy and love the out-of-doors, but I also love being around people and the big city at times also.

11.  Favorite school subject?

History

Nominate 11 other bloggers.

https://madisonelizabethbaylis.wordpress.com/

https://itsgoodtobecrazysometimes.wordpress.com/

https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/

https://thebrokenchainblog.com/

https://motherofangelsweb.wordpress.com/

https://happyparents126061427.wordpress.com/

https://speakingtruthinlove.wordpress.com/

https://pintowski.wordpress.com/

https://thelittlemermaid09.wordpress.com/

https://wisewoman2016.wordpress.com/

https://missfostermama.com/

Ask them 11 questions.

1. How many languages can you communicate in writing?

2. Favorite place to visit.

3. How many pets do you have?

4. Who is your hero?

5. Olympics or Professional Sports

6. Name 5 forms of communication.

7. How often do you read a real, printed, hard-bound book.

8. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone and mailed it?

9. What are 33, 45, 78, referring to?

10. How many times have you been in love?

11. What was your greatest victory?

Let them know you have nominated them.

AMBER ALERT – San Antonio TX Called Off

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AMBER ALERT – San Antonio, Texas called off.

Missing Texas toddlers named in Amber Alert found safe

SAN ANTONIO, TX   –  An Amber Alert for missing twin toddlers who authorities fear were abducted in San Antonio was canceled Thursday afternoon after U.S. marshals found the twins safe.

Kinsley and Kolby Hernandez, 3, were found in Florida.

Details of their disappearance were not released.

The Amber Alert, issued just after midnight Thursday morning, said authorities believed the children were “in grave or immediate danger.”

Leslie Hernandez, 38, with whom the twins were believed to be, was in custody Thursday afternoon.

AMBER ALERT – San Antonio TX

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AMBER ALERT – San Antonio, Texas

AMBER ALERT:  Police searching for 2 abducted San Antonio children

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  An Amber Alert has been issued for two children that police say were abducted in San Antonio.

Police are looking for Kinsley and Kolby Hernandez.  The 3-year-old children are believed to be with Leslie Hernandez, who police say is connected to their abduction.

Leslie is driving a silver 2010 Chevy Suburban with Texas license plate JGG-2909.

The children are both described as being Hispanic, standing at 3 foot 3, and weighing 38 pounds.

Leslie, 39, stands at 5 foot 8, weighs 215 pounds, has red/brown hair and brown eyes, and a yellow butterfly tattoo on her shoulder.

If you have seen them, you are asked to call police.