Category Archives: Neglect

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.

Calif. toddler dies after being left in hot car

.jpg photo of vehicle child died inside
3-year-old Kiara Li was left in this hot vehicle

I’m sorry, but I will never agree with this.  YES IT WAS FOUL PLAY, IT WAS MURDER!!!!  How does any parent “forget” anyone of their Children, much less one that totally depends on their Father and Mother.

Police in California say a 3-year-old girl died when her parents accidentally left her in a hot car after a family outing.

The family had returned home from the outing around 1 p.m. on June 21 and went inside to take a nap, according to CNN affiliate KABC.

The child’s parents and other siblings all believed that 3-year-old Kiara Li exited the vehicle at the same time as everyone else, Pomona police said in a news release.

Four hours later, they noticed Kiara was missing, according to the affiliate.

The child’s parents then discovered her unconscious inside of the vehicle.

Kiara was transported to Pomona Valley Hospital in grave condition. She never regained consciousness and later died as a result of the incident, police said.

Investigators said their findings are consistent with this being a tragic accident and do not suspect foul play. 

A Short History of Child Protection in America

Child Protection History — ABA
John E.B. Myers*

I. Introduction

The history of child protection in America is divisible into three eras.  The first era extends from colonial times to 1875 and may be referred to as the era before organized child protection. The second era spans 1875 to 1962 and witnessed the creation and growth of organized child protection through nongovernmental child protection societies.  The year 1962 marks the beginning of the third or modern era: the era of government-sponsored child protective services.

II. Child Protection Prior to 1875

It was not until 1875 that the world’s first organization devoted entirely to child protection came into existence-the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  Prior to 1875, many children went without protection, although there has never been a time when children were completely bereft of assistance. Criminal prosecution has long been used to punish egregious abuse. In 1809, for example, a New York shopkeeper was convicted of sadistically assaulting his slave and her three year-old daughter.

In 1810, a woman was prosecuted in Schenectady for murdering her newborn child.3 Although the woman admitted to several
people that she killed the baby, the jury found her not guilty, probably because she was insane.  In 1869, an Illinois father was prosecuted for confining his blind son in a cold cellar in the middle of winter.  Defense counsel argued that parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit, but the Illinois Supreme Court disagreed, writing that parental “authority must be exercised within the bounds of reason and humanity.  If the parent commits wanton and needless cruelty upon his child, either by imprisonment of this character or by inhuman beating, the law will punish him.”  In 1856, the first rape conviction in California history reached the state supreme court.  The victim was thirteen years old.  From 1856 to 1940, the majority of rape appeals in California involved child victims.

Prosecution was not the only remedy before 1875.  As early as 1642, Massachusetts had a law that gave magistrates the authority to remove children from parents who did not “train up” their children properly.  In 1735, an orphan girl in Georgia was rescued from a home where she was sexually abused.  In 1866, Massachusetts passed a law authorizing judges to intervene in the family when “by reason of orphanage or of the neglect, crime, drunkenness or other vice of parents,” a child was “growing up
without education or salutary control, and in circumstances exposing said child to an idle and dissolute life.”  Whether or not a statute authorized intervention, judges had inherent authority to stop abuse.  Justice Joseph Story wrote in 1886:

For although in general parents are intrusted with the custody of the persons and the education of their children, yet this is done upon the natural presumption that the children will be properly taken care of ….  But whenever this presumption is removed, whenever (for example) it is found that a father is guilty of gross ill treatment or cruelty towards his infant children …. in every such case the Court of Chancery will interfere and deprive him of the custody of his children….

Before the spread of nongovernmental child-protection societies beginning in 1875, intervention to protect children was sporadic, but intervention occurred.  Children were not protected on the scale they are today, but adults were aware of maltreatment and tried to help.