Tag Archives: StopChildAbuse

TX Doctor Believes In This System

.jpg photo of Chaplin for Child Advocate
Melissa Zenteno, a chaplain at One Safe Place.

Texas doctor seeks to stop Child Abuse
before it can happen

FORT WORTH, TX  –  A Texas doctor believes a modeling system that’s successfully identified neighborhoods, streets and even specific businesses where shootings and other crimes are likely to occur can help stop child abuse and neglect before it happens.

Dyann Daley started a nonprofit this summer to help communities create maps that can zero in on areas as small as a few city blocks where such maltreatment is likeliest to happen, helping prevent it and allowing advocacy groups to better target their limited resources.

“This approach is really focused on prevention,” said Daley, a pediatric anesthesiologist.  “Because if you know where something is going to happen, then you can do something to stop it.”

Unlike the common hot spot mapping approach, which identifies high-frequency areas of child abuse and neglect based on cases that have already happened, Daley’s risk terrain modeling approach identifies other factors that indicate an area is fertile ground for abuse so that efforts can be made to head it off.  Such prevention not only can save lives, but also can help at-risk children avoid the often lifelong harmful effects of maltreatment, including a likelihood of alcohol and drug abuse, depression and anxiety, and higher risk of aggressive or criminal behavior.

“Hot spots tell you where past crimes have occurred but don’t explain why,” said Joel Caplan, one of two Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice professors who created risk terrain modeling. Caplan said mapping of hot spots assumes that crimes will continue to occur in the same location.

Risk terrain modeling was initially used to understand why shootings were happening repeatedly at certain locations.  Caplan said that such modeling has since been used in a variety of areas, including traffic planning and suicides, but that Daley’s work is the first he knows of applying it to maltreatment of children.

The modeling has helped police departments across the country identify areas to target and strategies to use to reduce certain crimes.

Caplan said a project in Atlantic City, N.J., found laundromats, convenience stores and vacant properties were high-risk locations for shootings and robberies.  Interventions this year included police regularly checking in at the convenience stores and city officials prioritizing efforts to clean up vacant lots and board up vacant properties near those convenience stores and laundromats.  He said results for the first five months show a 20 percent reduction in violent crimes.

“It gives us an idea of which risk factors we should focus on if we want to make the biggest impact, and that’s something you can’t do with hot spot mapping,” Daley said.

Daley adapted the modeling for Fort Worth as executive director of the Cook Children’s Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment, a post she left in May before starting her nonprofit, Predict-Align-Prevent Inc.

After using the model to analyze 10 known risk factors for child abuse and neglect, she found the most predictive risk factors for child maltreatment in Fort Worth were incidents of domestic violence, runaways, aggravated assaults and sexual assaults.

Perhaps surprisingly, when poverty was removed as a factor, the model’s predictive accuracy improved, said Daley.  She added that the most influential risk factors might change depending on the city, especially for rural versus urban areas.

The next step is determining what prevention strategies work. Daley said success will be measured by reductions in child abuse and highly correlative risk factors including violent crime, domestic violence and teen pregnancy.

Officials at the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment will spend the coming months coordinating a plan for specific interventions in Fort Worth.

“We’ve got the maps, and we think we know where the risks are increased in our specific community.  The big question that has to be answered is: What are you going to do about it?” said Larry Tubb, senior vice president of the unit that oversees the center.  He said strategies could include neighborhood watch groups and early childhood development centers.

David Sanders, an executive vice president at Casey Family Programs, called Daley’s work “incredibly promising” and said it now needs to be paired with research on what interventions work.

“There are a couple of interventions that seem to impact communities, but we just don’t have enough,” he said.

Daley distributed the mapping information to a variety of Fort Worth groups, noting that the prevalence of churches made them a good starting point for prevention efforts.

At the Tarrant Baptist Association, leadership director Becky Biser inserted pins into a map on the wall to mark churches of all denominations in high risk areas, helping assess what churches are doing and what more can be done.

“For me, a picture says a lot. … It’s in a lot of people’s neighborhoods,” Biser said.

Melissa Zenteno, chaplain at One Safe Place, which helps victims of domestic violence, has been talking to pastors about her organization’s services.

Some experts have concerns about the mapping approach, especially regarding interventions.

Neil Guterman, director of the violence prevention program at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, said he fears that the mapping could lead to disproportionally intervening in marginalized communities in coercive ways.  He said he could see its merits, though, if it’s used the right way.

“If the tool is married with supportive strategies that we know can actually help and make a difference, then that would be very helpful,” he said

San Antonio Students Not Indifferent

.jpg photo of students taking pledge against Child Abuse
San Antonio Students at KIPP University Prep Not Indifferent

Students pledge to put an end to Child Abuse

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  Kids chained up like dogs.  A toddler, sexually abused and beaten to death.

Those are just two of the horrific cases of child abuse in our area we’ve reported on in the past few weeks.

A group of local teenagers says, no more  –  they’re pledging to put an end to child abuse.

Hundreds of students at KIPP University Prep gathered Friday afternoon to recite a pledge written by their peers.

“I pledge to protect the innocence of all children in my world;  to support efforts to end child abuse in my community;  to believe a child, intervene and report if I suspect child abuse,” they said in unison.

Students wrote the pledge after learning about the epidemic of child abuse in Bexar County.

“One in four girls is going to get abused, and one in six boys is going to get abused,” KIPP freshman Destiny Urdiales says.

“Last year in the state of Texas there were 171 deaths because of child abuse,” KIPP senior Jamila Guajardo says.

“They don’t have a voice and they’re being abused,” KIPP senior Ray Morales says.

Through the pledge, students are taking it upon themselves to give those victims a voice.

“Oftentimes we sell teenagers short,” KIPP school leader Abby Morton-Garland says.  “And they have such an ability to impact our world and impact our communities.”

Their words made an emotional impact on State Senator Carlos Uresti (D – San Antonio).

“I’m so proud of them,” he said.  “This is the kind of stuff that chokes me up.  That makes me happy when I think about the work that I’ve done as a Senator on this issue.”

Right now, State Sen. Uresti is focusing on how to keep caseworkers at Child Protective Services on the job.  He’s working on legislation to raise salaries and spend more money on prevention and education.

“At a minimum we have a 20% turnover rate with our caseworkers,” State Sen. Uresti says.  “Over five years, generally speaking, there’s a 100% turnover rate.  There’s not a business in this country that can operate like that.”

A broken system, but the students’ pledge brings renewed hope the next generation will make sure our children are protected.

“They are the future of this whole world and if they can make a difference, even one by one, it will change everything,” Urdiales says.

Volunteer Gave Children Cell Phones To Record Themselves

.jpg photo of Maryland School
The odd thing is how organized the “Club” was.

MD teacher’s aide gave kids phones to record themselves, sources say

WASHINGTON — The former Prince George’s County teacher’s aide accused of making child pornography reportedly gave cellphones to elementary school students to record themselves, sources say.

Deonte Carraway, who volunteered at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary, gave cellphones to at least several students to videotape themselves, a source close to the investigation tells NBC 4.

Carraway, 22, is accused of taping children ages 9-13 performing sex acts at the school and other places.

Police say he had dozens of videos and admitted making explicit videos of children.  According to police, 17 victims have come forward.

Carraway was arrested Feb. 5 and is charged with 10 felony counts of manufacturing child pornography, child sex abuse and second degree sexual offense.  He’s being held on $1 million bond.

NBC 4 reports changes are being made at the school.

The school now has a School Resource Officer and is installing 26 cameras inside the school.  Visitors also have to show identification, and a new acting principal has been announced since Principal Michelle Williams was put on administrative leave.

Say YES To Winston’s Law In Alabama

abama District Attorney
District Attorney Randall Houston

Child Abuse Legislation ‘Winston’s Law’
Gets Start In Legislature

Featured on My Brother’s Keeper, December 15, 2015

Alabama  –  District Attorney Randall Houston hopes that an early start in the effort to strengthen punishment in aggravated child abuse cases makes all the difference.

He recalls how it took three years for a bill to change the boating under the influence law to work its way through the Legislature.  He pursued that bill after a series of fatal boating under the influence accidents occurred in his circuit.

“We hope Winston’s Law can make it through the House and Senate quickly this session and go on to the governor’s desk for his signature.”  Houston, who represents Autauga, Chilton and Elmore counties, said.  “We have picked up strong support for the bill.”

Named for the now 5-year-old boy who is at the center of a high-profile Elmore County child abuse case, Winston’s Law would make aggravated child abuse cases where the victim is 6 years old or younger a Class A felony.  Reserved for the most serious crimes in the state, Class A felonies have a punishment range of 10 to 99 years to life in prison.

Aggravated child abuse is now a Class B felony, with a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison.

The District Attorneys Association of Alabama and Child Protect have endorsed the bill.  Rep. Paul Beckman, R- Prattville, and state Sen. Clyde Chambliss Jr., R- Prattville, are sponsoring the bill.

In September Winston was found unresponsive in the back of Scott Hicks’ vehicle in the parking lot of the Bay County, Fla., courthouse, where Hicks went to clear up some unrelated warrants.

After deputies found Winston in the vehicle, Hicks, 38, was charged with aggravated child abuse.  He remains in the Bay County Jail.  The investigation shows that the abuse occurred in Elmore County.  His mother, Hallee McLeod, 29, was recently indicted by the Elmore County Grand Jury on charges of aggravated child abuse and chemical endangerment of a child.  Hicks and McLeod, boyfriend and girlfriend, are both Wetumpka residents, Houston said

She remains in the Elmore County Jail under bonds totaling $300,000, jail records show.  She could not be reached for comment and courthouse records show she doesn’t have an attorney.  Houston said Hicks will face similar charges in Elmore County, when the charges against him in Florida adjudicated.

Hicks was a co-owner of Spa Rejuvenate which had locations in Prattville and Montgomery.  McLeod was the manager of the Prattville location.  The Alabama Board of Message Therapy suspended the business license for the Prattville location and entered a non-renewal order for the license at the Montgomery location after the couple’s arrest.

At the time Sheriff Bill Franklin called the physical abuse Winston went through “the worst I have seen.”

“It certainly is the worst I have seen, where the child lived,” said Houston, a veteran prosecutor.”

Winston is now with his father, Joey Crampton, and making a “remarkable” recovery.

“Winston is in a loving, supporting environment and from all signs is doing much better than any of us could have ever hoped,” Houston said.  “He has several more medical procedures that he is facing, and he may well face emotional troubles given the horrific abuse he went through.

“But now he is doing very well, and for that we are all very thankful.”

If passed, Winston’s Law will not be in effect for his case, since McLeod and Hicks were charged before the law was enacted.

“If anything good can come out of a bad situation, it is ensuring that justice is for everyone going forward,” Crampton wrote on the Facebook page JusticeForWinston.  “If we can have a law that protects people, humanity, children especially, that to me is what justice is about.”

KY In Top 10 Worst States For Child Abuse

.jpg photoof Child Abuse tips
Kentucky is in the top 10 worst states for Child Abuse

LOUISVILLE, KY  –  A new report shows fewer children in Kentucky died from abuse and neglect last year, but the state remains among the top 10 worst states for child abuse.

In 2007, the state led the nation in child abuse deaths.

Doctors said education and legislation both helped that decrease, but there is still room for improvement.

The latest report from the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services shows 10 children in Kentucky died from abuse and neglect, and another 32 suffered life-threatening injuries.

“It can break every socioeconomic barrier, so it can be in any family and any household,” Dr. Erin Frazier said.

The number is down significantly from 2007, when Kentucky led the nation in child abuse deaths with 41.

Health professionals said education is one reason for the decline.

“(An) article in Pediatrics that shows a 50 percent reduction in abusive head trauma when families are educated on new babies before leaving the hospital,” Frazier said. “Thus, we’re seeing less deaths and also we’re seeing an increase in reports.”

According to the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the leading cause of death is abusive head trauma or shaken baby syndrome in children less than 1-year-old, which Frazier said, usually coincides with the time when babies cry the most.

“Babies cry, and sometimes, they cry a lot, and parents can’t always soothe baby, and that’s OK,” Frazier said.

Frazier said strides in legislation with the passage of two House bills mandating training on child abuse have taught people what signs of abuse might look like and what to watch for, prompting them to do something earlier.

“Children don’t die from first time of abuse. It tends to be a cycle of abuse over and over,” Frazier said.

Hospitals throughout Louisville, including at Norton Healthcare, already offer training on new babies, which Frazier thinks is an idea that should spread to every facility in the state.

Frazier also cautioned parents to do research before leaving their child with someone.

If a child is being abused, report it by calling 1-877-KY-SAFE-1 (1-877 597-2331).