Harris County Sheriff: ‘We cannot let
a health pandemic become a
Child Abuse pandemic!’
HOUSTON, TX – With children spending all their time at home, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is urging adults to be more vigilant about the children around them and to keep an eye out for signs of abuse.
“The number one reporters of child abuse are teachers,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote in a tweet. “But kids aren’t seeing them right now. Neighbors and other family members, PLEASE pay close attention.”
We cannot let a health pandemic become a child abuse pandemic! The number one reporters of child abuse are teachers, but kids aren’t seeing them right now. Neighbors and other family members, PLEASE pay close attention. Learn more at @Childhelp & the National Child Abuse Hotline
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) March 23, 2020
“It’s the time to be proactive (about child abuse) because we may be in this for the long haul,” Gonzalez told KPRC 2 in an interview.
“If you hear what sounds like painful screaming, things like that, that would be a red flag,” Gonzalez said. “You see clear bruising or things like that, anything like that… make sure and call the authorities and let us know, because we need to know.”
The Texas Department of Family Services offers educational videos and other materials to support parents and neighbors on its website.
“Right now the children aren’t seeing their teachers,” Gonzalez said. “It behooves all of us to step up, as neighbors, as family members, and keep a close eye, and make sure that we’re paying attention to anything out of the ordinary.”
Suspected Child Abuse can be reported to local authorities, or using the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).
If you see or suspect Child Abuse, please call 911 immediately!
Protect Your Children From Predators:
The Secret Password –
please pass it forward!
By: Kait King
I am very proud to introduce Ms Kait King, a true Writer Extraordinaire.
I don’t mind telling everyone that I have been Blessed every way possible, since starting that little one page gift to Google+ and all it’s users 5 years and 7 months ago, and Ms Kate King is one of those Blessings, a very large Blessing to be exact.
I met Ms King shortly after I opened our website. I can tell you what I remember from back then: Ms King was a very good writer, and well educated. But I was glad that I wasn’t standing in front of her, because I was humbled to tears. This very special Lady was as good a Parent and Mother, as any that has ever walked this earth… and I stand by my words today. There was only one thing that struck me as odd, she was working on a project with the name of “The 3 Pigs”.
You can continue to read the whole original story on Ms Kait King’s site, The Writer’s Blogk, by selecting the link immediately following this short excerpt. . Thank You all for reading, and when you are finished reading this unforgetable story, please do as Ms King wishes: Please Pass It On!
A copy of a letter I sent to all of the primary schools to save children – simple and super effective! Please pass it on
My son is 29 years old now and it has always amazed me at how many parents through those many years, and even now, who have no idea about the concept of the Secret Password.
I used to work as a National Intelligence Support Officer for the police.
Texas children access the Internet all the time — using social media, instant messaging, apps on their smartphones and chat rooms. But dangerous child predators lurk online, too. They’re trying to gain children’s trust for evil purposes.
Recent studies show that 1 in 7 young people have experienced unwanted sexual solicitations online — and 1 in 3 have been exposed to unwanted sexual material online.
The Child Exploitation and Fugitive Apprehension Units, formed and overseen by the Office of the Attorney General, work relentlessly to keep our children and communities safe by arresting sexual predators/child pornographers and bringing them to justice.
The resources below are intended to help Texas parents protect their children’s safety — especially online.
10 -17 – Age range of children most often targeted by child predators online
527 – Arrests for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas
704 – Convictions for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas
Questions & Answers About Cyber Safety in Texas
How can I help fight back against online child predators?
Knowledge is power. Educate yourself — and your children — about cyber safety. Talk to your kids, nieces and nephews, and any adolescent who has access to the Internet about staying safe on the Internet.
Tell them: If they receive any inappropriate contact online, talk to you immediately. It’s OK. They won’t get into trouble. You’re there to help protect them.
As technology evolves, so do the tactics used by child predators. They may use social media, smartphone apps, chat rooms and more — all in an attempt to secure the trust of your children and convince them to meet in person.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has an online program that teaches kids and adults how to be safe online. Visit them at netsmartzkids.org
What is “sextortion”?
Sextortion is a tactic used by online predators to blackmail, groom, entice, coerce, lure and extort their victims into complying with their demands for sexual photos and videos.
These images are used by predators and, often, shared with other predators online. A single victim’s image might be shared with thousands of other predators.
Sextortion predators pose as the child’s peer (or someone of similar age) to gain their trust and illicit images. The predator will often threaten to share the victim’s photos online unless they receive more images.
If you suspect a child has been targeted for sextortion, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. You can also simply dial 9-1-1.
What challenges does law enforcement face?
When it comes to finding, arresting and convicting online child predators, law enforcement agencies face several challenges. These include:
Staying connected to what’s happening on the Internet both locally and across the globe
Advances in technology (and the tactics that child predators use)
The size and scope of the network of child predators who share images and tips with each other online
The sheer amount of potential leads to follow: The FBI recently reported that on just one anonymous Internet network, Tor, 1.3 million sexually explicit images of children were discovered
What is the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU)?
Introduced in 2003 in order to address the limited resources law enforcement has to fight back against such a large, growing threat as Internet child predators, the CEU investigates and responds to complaints of child pornography online.
The CEU is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Internet Crime AgainstChildren (ICAC) Task Force.” The Texas Attorney General’s CEU is one of three ICAC Tasks Forces Texas — the other two being the Dallas and Houston police departments.
Which laws protect children online?
The primary law to help protect children online is the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).”
This law aims to protect children’s personal information on websites (and other Internet services, including apps) that are aimed at children under 13 years old. The law also applies to any general audience website that knows it is collecting personal info from children that age.
COPPA requires these sites and apps to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use, or disclose a child’s personal information.
Additionally, there are other federal and state laws that address cyber safety for children. These include:
Electronic communication providers and remote computer service providers must notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline if a user commits a child pornography offense. (U.S. Code 2258A)
It is illegal to solicit anyone under the age of 17 (minor) — or anyone the offender believes to be under the age of 17 — online for sexual contact or to have sexually explicit communication. (Texas Penal Code 33.021)
It is illegal to possess or promote child pornography. (Texas Penal Code 43.26)
How You Can Help
Here is a collection of helpful resources from around the Web that will help you protect your children online.
WARNING! An upcoming Marvel Studios movie will include a homosexual superhero and a same-sex kiss in the film The Eternals, set to hit theaters on November 6.
One Million Moms needs your help to make sure as many people as possible are aware of Marvel pushing the LGBTQ agenda on families in the upcoming superhero movie The Eternals, which will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios.
1MM wants parents to be forewarned so they are not caught off guard with this upcoming Marvel film. This would surprise most conservative families since it would be unexpected so 1MM needs your help in getting the word out to as many people as possible.
Marvel has decided to be politically correct instead of providing family friendly programming. Marvel should stick to entertaining, not pushing an agenda.
Please share this with your friends and family to make sure they are aware of the gay superhero character in The Eternals and not blindsided by it. As moms, we all want to know when Marvel is attempting to desensitize our family by normalizing the LGBTQ lifestyle.
Medical Professionals – Trauma: How to address Child Physical Abuse
Arne H. Graff, M.D., is the division chair of Child Abuse Pediatrics at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota. His desire is to equip providers for potential child physical abuse (CPA) cases, helping them feel as comfortable as possible and removing the fear of reporting. He offers perspective on CPA and what trauma professionals’ responsibilities are in this scenario.
How did you get into the child abuse field?
While I was working in North Dakota, a physician at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo talked me into working with him in a volunteer clinic. While there, I ran into enough child abuse cases that I realized I needed to get out of it or get better. So I did a fellowship in child abuse pediatrics.
Is child abuse common in Minnesota?
Around 84,000 reported cases of child maltreatment are reported each year in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services and documented in the Child Maltreatment Report for 2017. Minnesota has as high an incidence as some other states, like California, but doesn’t see as large of numbers due to population differences between Minnesota and the other states.
There are about 1,500 identified maltreatment deaths in Minnesota each year, but this is assumed underreported due to the difficulty in identifying many of the deaths as clearly caused by maltreatment. In Rochester, Minnesota, and the immediate region, we have around 400 reported maltreatment cases each year.
(1,500÷365=4.1 Child Maltreatment deaths per day just in Minnesota, so how can so many distort the numbers by saying there has ever been 5 Child Maltreatment deaths each day in the last 100 years and possibly the last 150 years)
Which children are at highest risk of abuse?
A young child or infant is at highest risk.
Are any children overlooked for abuse?
Yes — teenagers. I don’t want us as providers to just focus on little kids. Teens have a similar CPA pattern as other children. It’s important you consider whether abuse is occurring if you see a 15-year-old with an injury that doesn’t align with the history. Don’t assume because they’re teenagers, they aren’t experiencing abuse.
Who abuses children?
People who have access to children hurt children: parents, child care providers, grandparents and school personnel. Anyone has the capacity to hurt children.
That said, it’s important to know that 82% of abusers are ages 18 to 44, and 80% of CPA is inflicted by parents, according to data from Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Is denial of mechanism of injury common in these cases? If so, any advice?
Since we don’t know how often abuse is missed, we can’t guess at how often it’s denied. Personal experience is that even with serious injuries, denial is common. Considering that one of the caregivers may not have knowledge of events that occurred with his or her partner, denial can be a normal answer. Therefore, asking about domestic as well as pet violence is important, and also interviewing caregivers separately. By emphasizing mandated reporting requirements and indicating concern about their child, we hopefully will maintain a working relationship with the family.
Any tips for assessing a child’s injury?
Every injury presented must be consistent with the child’s medical history and developmental ability. If it doesn’t line up, ask why. It doesn’t mean there’s abuse occurring, but it does mean something’s going on that doesn’t make sense.
Our job is to consider the injury’s cause — medical, accidental and then nonaccidental trauma — as well as medical history and mechanics. It’s not our job to immediately assume, if we don’t like how it looks, that somebody’s abused the child. We have to start with ruling out other options, especially with a nonverbal child.
In 30% to 40% of cases we see, we have to say we can’t determine if an injury was abuse or accidental, and we need to consider potential options for the injury.
How should I determine which tests are needed?
First, it’s important to know that exams have limits. You can’t determine abuse simply by physical exam. However, being financially responsible means to not shotgun and do every test available.
If you need to consult on a potential CPA case, my colleague Donald (Chris) C. Derauf, M.D., and I are available 24/7 every day for curbside consults at no cost. We do 300 to 400 of these a year. You may call us through the MATC to discuss what you’re seeing in a case, and we can advise on screening. We are your resource and encourage people to call and bounce things off us.
How do I figure out who did it?
You and I don’t care. It’s not our job. Our primary role is to prove it’s not abuse and look at accidental injuries or other conditions that may have caused the injury. Also, our job is not to rule out people who may have abused the child, or determine reason or intent — leave that to the legal system.
How can I help stop CPA?
If you can recognize CPA early through a sentinel event — a case where injuries in children nonmobile or under age 4 can’t be explained by a simple accident, such as significant bruising to the head or neck — you can make a difference. For these children, consider the injury to be caused by someone. Bruising in a nonmobile child should be a red flag if not immediately explained by multiple people.
Sentinel injuries, without witnessed accident, carry high risk of further injury or death. According to an article by Sheets and others in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics, 27% of kids who’ve been seen by a provider and demonstrated to have had a sentinel event will return with serious injuries or dead.
What’s my responsibility?
These are critical steps for providers in potential CPA cases:
Identify other possible injury causes.
Recognize these things are serious. Once considering CPA as a potential cause, you are a mandated reporter. It doesn’t have to be proved, just suspected. You can’t simply write in your notes that you’re concerned and not report. You must contact child protective services about a safety plan and tell them why there’s concern.
Conduct testing in a timely manner; it’s important for safety and complete diagnosis.
Remember multiple types of abuse can coexist. Do a complete exam for neglect; don’t just focus on a bruise.
Don’t send the family home until all test results come through, or the child potentially may be going into an unsafe environment. While you’re doing your work, child protective services (CPS) will develop a safety plan. We can’t send the family out until this plan is finished and documented by the physician.
Make a complete description of the injury, including photos.
Any suggested approach with the family if CPA is suspected?
Since it’s not our role to decide who did it, I usually use this approach and advise providers to consider it. I say to the caregiver present: “With this type of injury, without a known medical problem causing it or a witnessed accident, I am concerned someone may have hurt your child. Because of this, I am a mandated reporter and have already spoken with child protective services. They will want to talk with you about safety plans for your child. I also want to recommend some tests that may better tell us why the injury occurred and if there are other injuries present we cannot see on the exam.”
It’s important to help families understand that just because the child looks happy and OK, it doesn’t rule out other injuries.
Any pitfalls you’d suggest avoiding with CPA?
We fail to recognize our blinders. If you’re homeless or a minority, statistics say CPA cases are overreported, according to a 2011 publication in Journal of the National Medical Association. However, studies indicate if you’re white middle class and present with an infant to the emergency room, people don’t even think about abuse. Also, if we know members of the family personally, there’s a tendency to say, “They are nice people. They wouldn’t do this.”
If we think there might be abuse, we need to get CPS involved, period. Letting our biases influence who we report puts kids at risk. Remember, reporting may help services be put in place to assist the family.
Which patients who’ve survived potential CPA need transfer for further work-up?
The work-up needs to be completed at the time the concern is raised. Depending on the child’s age, it may include:
A dilated eye exam by an eye expert, to be completed within 48 hours
A skeletal survey immediately and again in two to three weeks
A head CT if under age 1 or obvious head trauma
If testing can’t be completed, transfer to a larger center is indicated. If testing can be done and a safety plan put in place, the child may be evaluated at the local site only and be watched overnight or be sent home, depending on tests and exam.
Resource: MayoClinic.org This publication can be seen HERE complete with links.