MONDAY 30 JULY
UK: Companies urged to give teens
a taste of working life
BUSINESSES are urged to help young people in care get a foot on the career ladder by offering them work placements. Leicestershire County Council has 400 children in its care and is calling on companies to think about providing work experience or paid short-term jobs for teenagers. Children and young people in care have very different lives from those who live with their own families and are some of the most vulnerable in society. As their corporate parents, the council works hard to ensure that they don't miss out and are provided with opportunities to help them fulfil their potential. This includes providing young people with work experience, apprenticeships, access to computers and support with learning to drive and sport.
UK: Child safety points 'common
New mandatory standards for the protection and welfare of Ireland's most vulnerable children are common sense, it has been claimed. The 27 new points will make a difference to the lives of thousands of youngsters in care, the health watchdog said. Pat McGrath, chairman of the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), said all of society had failed children too many times. Child protection services have also been criticised in a string of damning reports in recent years, which highlighted chronic system failures in cases where children suffered abuse, neglect or ultimately died. "In the past too many people could say they didn't really know what child protection was," said Mr McGrath. "These (standards) are not written in legalese, not written in bureaucratic speech. They are written in plain English and they make common sense. And with the launch of these standards nobody can say in the future 'I didn't really know what child protection meant'."
Texas: CASA volunteers sought for
CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates — is seeking more volunteers to help children in the foster care system, said Michelle Heflin, the agency’s new director. The agency needs volunteer advocates for 40 percent of the area’s foster children. “CASA volunteers can make the difference between a child being placed in a permanent home and languishing in the system until they age out,” Heflin said. East Texas CASA serves Gregg, Rusk and Upshur counties and has volunteers for about 60 percent of the children in foster care in this area, she said. “This organization has been successful in helping children in foster care, but our work won’t be done until every child in the system has a CASA,” Heflin said.
UK: Fostering services in
Redbridge rated as 'adequate' by Ofsted
FOSTERING services in Redbridge have received an adequate Ofsted rating. The Ofsted report noted the council showed "significant shortfalls" in completing assessments of foster carers within deadlines, training of foster carers and attendance of children at review meetings. Three out of the four areas inspected received an adequate rating. The fourth area, safeguarding children and young people, received a good rating.
Ofsted said: "There are some significant shortfalls. The manager is aware of these shortfalls and plans are in place to further develop the service.
Florida: Our foster kids need
It is now nearly a month that has gone by since news broke about teenagers in foster care group homes in Miami and in Jacksonville being exploited for prostitution. If you missed the story, the facts are almost too horrible to believe. In the Miami case, underage girls in a group foster home were being recruited by adult men to become part of a prostitution ring. In the Jacksonville case, a 16-year-old girl was recruited by a pimp while she was walking on her way back to a foster group home. She was then advertised in publications as a “private massage specialist.” The 16-year-old then tried to recruit other teenage girls in foster care to join the prostitution ring. The state and society as a whole have a special responsibility to foster children.
Alabama Children’s home needs
It’s often said that home is where the heart is, and the local United Methodist Children’s Home is looking for a few good parents. "We need foster parents,” said Keri McCo-llough, a social worker for the non-profit. “Chil-dren come to us through the Department of Human Resources.” McCollough said some of the children come from abusive homes, while others have developmental issues, like ADHD. “We’re looking for people to take these children into their own private homes,” she said. “But our ultimate goal is reunifications with families.” McCollough said a social worker visits the children on a weekly basis to check on them. “We teach basic living skills, behavior education, personal hygiene, and work on parenting skills,” she said. Additionally, McCollough said biological parents with drug abuse issues have the opportunity to seek treatment to combat their substance abuse.
Michigan: Scholars to share
stories with Congressional panel
Four Western Michigan University students who have transitioned from Michigan's foster care system to lives as successful college students will share their stories Monday, July 30, with members of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth at an event in Saginaw, Mich. During the third stop on the caucus's four-city national listening tour, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp of of Midland, Mich., chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and member of the caucus, will host colleague and co-chair of the caucus, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass of California, for the event that begins at 8 a.m. at Saginaw's Horizons Conference Center and Temple Theatre. The event is being scheduled in conjunction with Casey Family Programs, a Seattle-based foundation that focuses on foster care issues. WMU students who are part of WMU's famed Seita Scholars program are among a number of people who will address the lawmakers during the event. Seita Scholars Program Director Chris Harris also will provide an overview of the University's successful effort in a panel session designed to "highlight best practices."
Illinois: Project to help
juveniles make successful transition
The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission on Tuesday announced the start of a demonstration project to reduce the recidivism and improve the outcomes of juvenile offenders. The project will provide intensive reintegration services to help youth transition back into their home communities. The Commission will dedicate $1.5 million in federal funds to this demonstration project, which will concentrate on youth returning to neighborhoods on the West Side of Chicago and in Madison and St. Clair counties in the Metro East Illinois region of St. Louis. These communities have historically had among the highest rates of youth incarceration in Illinois. The Commission's "Youth Reentry Improvement Report," issued in December, found that more than half of the youth released from state prisons return to state prisons in three years or less, and the report made a series of recommendations to improve public safety by reversing that trend.
UK: Haven Cottage children's home
rated as 'outstanding' by Ofsted
CHILDREN, parents and staff from a Boston children's home are celebrating after being rated as outstanding by Ofsted inspectors. Haven Cottage in Kitwood Road were awarded outstanding across the board, from leadership and management to quality of care. Ofsted inspector Janice Spencer said: "The quality of care in the home is outstanding and staff work extremely hard to offer excellent care and young people make significant progress." Manager Theresa Clarke said: "We are absolutely delighted with the result as it reflects the hard work, effort and commitment from the staff at Haven Cottage. "It was brilliant that we managed to keep up the effort from last year's report and hope to continue the good work in the future."
FRIDAY 27 JULY
Maryland ranks 10th in child
well-being, national study says
Fewer Maryland children are living in high-poverty neighborhoods than a decade ago, but the lingering economic slump has left more parents without a steady paycheck, theAnnie E. Casey Foundation reported Wednesday. The Baltimore-based charity ranks Maryland 10th in the nation for overall child well-being in its 2012 Kids Count Data Book, which analyzed nationwide research and statistics on children's economic well-being, education, health, family and community. Becky Wagner, executive director of Advocates for Children and Youth, said the report shows that the state has made "good, solid advancements," but Maryland must keep working to close the remaining gaps. Wagner's nonprofit group collects the Kids Count data for the state. "Maryland's children have a right to the basics — quality education, access to healthcare, and safe and economically secure households," Wagner said in a statement.
UK: Children’s care home could
Moves to close a Stannington children’s home were to be put to councillors yesterday (Thursday). Plans have been put forward by Northumberland County Council to close the Kestrel and Kingfisher House units at Netherton Park over fears they do not come up to standard. And the authority has warned that if no action is taken it will face a £1.2million annual loss in residential services as its current model relies on selling beds to other councils, which have withdrawn from placements. Service Manager Karen MacDonald has reported that the number of young people accommodated at Netherton Park is no longer appropriate if the service is to achieve the required outstanding grade in inspections and significant funding is needed to maintain the fabric of buildings as some areas are in a state of disrepair. She adds that the home is isolated from the wider community and the high number of adolescents on one site can create challenges in managing bullying and violent behaviour.
Ireland: Independent inspection
to be carried out
on Child Protection services
An independent inspection will be carried out on Child Protection services will for the first time to ensure they are providing adequate care and protection to vulnerable children. The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) will be in charge of ensuring services meet new national standards published yesterday. The investigation follows scathing reports that have highlighted failures in child protection and welfare services, including the deaths of children in State care. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the move, combined with wider reforms in child and family services, was an opportunity to redefine the State’s commitment to children. “Things would have been so different had children been visible and listened to in the past."
Nebraska: State curbs fees to
child welfare contractor
Nebraska's last private child welfare contractor will get less money this year to care for abused and neglected children in the Omaha area. Starting July 1, the state began paying the Omaha-based Nebraska Families Collaborative by the case instead of a fixed amount per month. The change, according to a World-Herald analysis, means the difference between a potential $65 million for the year and an estimated $58 million under the new contract. Thomas Pristow, state children and family services director, acknowledged that the new payment method may not mean as much money for the collaborative. But he said the rates were based on the actual costs of child welfare cases, which can include providing foster homes, parenting classes, counseling and other services.
Oklahoma: Panel approves plan to
overhaul state foster-care system
A plan to overhaul Oklahoma's child welfare system has been approved by an oversight panel, which was put into place as part of the January settlement of a federal class-action lawsuit. The settlement required the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to create an improvement plan to address 15 concerns in its foster-care system. Implementation will occur in stages through 2017. The plan, called the Pinnacle Plan, received final approval Wednesday. In a written statement, the monitors stated the plan "articulates a bold new vision for the improvement of the Oklahoma child welfare system." The monitors sent back a first version for revisions in May. The major changes were moving up deadlines, eliminating shelter use by young children by the end of the year and targeting recruitment of more workers.
Ireland: Public may be able to
have children put in care
A new proposal could allow concerned members of the public to bring court proceedings to have children put in the care system. It is one of a series of recommendations in the latest report by the government special rapporteur on child protection. At present only the HSE can bring cases over children at risk but under the proposal any person could take District Court proceedings in ‘exceptional circumstances’. The government special rapporteur on child protection Dr. Geoffrey Shannon explains his reasoning behind the plan. “Lets say there’s alcohol abuse or drug abuse and the HSE haven’t intervened, and let’s say for example a grand-parent expresses concerns (and) those concerns remain unaddressed – it’s in that context that a proposal like this I think would be enormously beneficial and would ensure the safety of a child in that context” he said.
India: Govt comes out with draft
national policy for children
Ensuring survival, health and nutrition as an inalienable right of every child and special care for kids caught in sectarian violence are some of the features of the government's Draft National Policy for Children, 2012. The Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry, which has revised the National Policy for Children for the first time since it was adopted in 1974, has now put the draft policy, which defines any individual below the age of 18 years as child, in public domain inviting views before it is finalised. As per the draft policy, the state would take special protection measures to secure the rights and entitlements of children in difficult circumstances, in particular but not limited to, children affected by migration, displacement, communal or sectarian violence, civil unrest, disasters etc. Children of women in prostitution, children forced into prostitution and other abused and exploited children, those affected by HIV/AIDS, children with disabilities would also be eligible for state protection by the state.
New Delaware Law Helps Foster
Identity theft has become an issue for children in the foster care system. But Delaware legislators are hoping a new law will curb the problem. Gov. Jack Markell signed House Bill 269 on Wednesday afternoon. The law mandates the state to run credit reports for foster children when they turn 16. Foster child Lakeisha White had her identity stolen. "Not every foster parent is the same and you never know what you're going to get. But by having this law there's really no way anybody can get their identity stolen from them," she said. Markell said foster kids usually don't find out their credit has been stolen until it's too late. "Then to find out you have your identity stolen, incredible," he said. "And so for these young people who are in foster care or aging out of foster care, they don't have the same support network and we want to make sure we try and help them."
70th anniversary of Warsaw ghetto
Korczak and children remembered
Poland marked the 70th anniversary of the first deportations from the Warsaw ghetto in 1942 with a memorial march through the city. Hundreds from Poland’s Jewish community and other Poles gathered at Umschlagplatz, the site in Warsaw where Jews were loaded onto trains bound for Treblinka. They then walked as a group to a former Jewish orphanage named after Janusz Korczak, a Jewish educator who had the chance to escape the Holocaust, but instead chose to die with the children under his care. Participants carried colorful ribbons bearing the first names of children who died in the Holocaust and tied them to a fence at the orphanage. The event was organized by the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, which wanted to pay homage to all those who were transported from the Warsaw ghetto, while also focusing especially on Korczak and the suffering of children.
WEDNESDAY 25 JULY
Smoking Banned In and Around
Children Care Centers and Playgrounds in Melbourne
Recently, strict laws have been introduced by the Melbourne City Council stating that smoking is no more allowed in and around Melbourne playgrounds and childcare centres. Associations in favor of this law are QUIT Victoria, the Heart Foundation, the Cancer Council and Australian Medical Association. This recent law introduced last week bans smoking from all those areas which are frequently used by children. Anybody found breaking the law would be charged with a fine of $141 and he could be ordered to butt out by a council officer also. As said by a council spokeswoman, there would be highlighted signs all over the playgrounds and parks to alert smokers about this modification in the law. As said by a council spokeswoman, there would be highlighted signs all over the playgrounds and parks to alert smokers about this modification in the law. She added, "Council is currently visiting each site to consider surrounding areas to determine the boundaries for the smoke-free ban".
Ireland: Private foster care firm
paid €19.4m over three years
ONE FIRM received €19.4 million from the Department of Health for providing private foster care services over the past three years, new figures show. According to figures released by the Department of Health, the UK-owned Fostering First Ireland Ltd received €19.4 million between 2009 and 2011. The figures show that last year the Dublin-based firm received €7.7 million for providing care to 132 children and €6.5 million in 2010 for providing care to 146 children. Furthermore, €29 million has been paid to four private foster care companies over the past three years by the State. According to the department, a second firm, Five Rivers Ireland Ltd, received €7 million in fees over the past three years, which included €3.5 million for the care of 153 children last year. Orchard Children’s Services received €1.8 million, while Oakland Residential Services Ltd received €677,000 in the past three years. The most recent accounts for Fostering First (Ireland) Ltd to the Companies Office reveal the firm trebled its pre-tax profits from €147,000 to €467,000 in the year to the end of December 2010.
UK: Extra money put aside to help
children with the move from primary
to secondary school
19 Sheffield schools will be opening their doors this summer to help some of the most disadvantaged pupils in our area with the big step up from primary to secondary school. Many pupils find the move to a bigger school and a more challenging curriculum daunting. This can lead to falling results and they often never catch up again. To help pupils who are especially vulnerable to falling behind, those on free school meals or looked-after children, Liberal Democrat Leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg has launched the first Summer Schools programme. “"I’m proud of this £50m worth of extra brain training that will give tens of thousands of disadvantaged pupils across the country a flying start at secondary school, including here in Sheffield," said Mr Clegg.
New Zealand: Teen on indecency
charge supposed to be 'under care'
A 16-year-old Invercargill youth who faces an indecency charge in the Splash Palace swimming pool changing rooms was supposed to be under the care of Child, Youth and Family staff at the time. The teen reappeared in the Invercargill Youth Court last week on charges of performing an indecent act and making an intimate visual recording in the swimming pool changing rooms on Elles Rd. A police summary of facts says the 16-year-old was in the changing rooms at Splash Palace on July 7. Two boys, aged 13 and nine, were changing in the cubicle beside the teen when he put his cellphone under their cubicle and took videos and photos of the two young boys changing, the summary says. The boys and other people in the changing rooms saw the teen masturbating and authorities were called, the summary says. When questioned by police the teen said: "It's something I choose to do."
US: End of Casey Foundation
program a loss for foster children
When your life is already in chaos, more chaos is likely to follow. But the Annie E. Casey Foundation says it won't let that happen to the children affected by its decision to close Casey Family Services this year ("Casey foundation ends foster care program," July 16). Given the foundation's outstanding record of serving the most vulnerable children over the last 36 years, I trust it will do everything possible to maintain stability for the kids in its program. Casey's decision to remain committed to increasing adoption through increased awareness, education and technical assistance is laudable. But for many children adoption is not necessarily the best outcome. For teen mothers and older children, for example, building a path to self-sufficiency is a more realistic goal. What concerns me is that at a time when there are thousands of children in Maryland's foster care system, we are seeing established programs like Casey's disappear and resources for foster children are shrinking rather than expanding," said Susan Burger of Baltimore.
UK: One in 12 Middlesbrough
children living with drug addicts
ONE in 12 children in Middlesbrough could be living with parents addicted to crack cocaine, heroin or alcohol. Latest figures show more than 2,250 of Middlesbrough’s 36,000 young people are living with parents hooked on the Class A drugs. And with almost 700 under-18s in the care of alcoholic parents, the findings of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel are just the “tip of the iceberg,” warns chairwoman Jeanette Walker. Latest figures - for the period from 2008/09 - show 2,275 under-18s in the borough are living with at least one parent receiving controlled drug treatment - known as Tier 3 care - to deal with serious addiction. In addition, there were 680 children living with a parent treated as an alcoholic. But Hemlington councillor Ms Walker warned that, while the number of adults in treatment for drugs and alcohol may have come down in Middlesbrough in recent years, there were many children living with parents with problems who are not in treatment. “Lots of children are hidden from view,” she said.
Australia: Push for single
parents to accept 'informal' care for their children
SINGLE parents forced on to the dole and made to look for work from January next year will be asked to "consider" informal arrangements such as care by family or friends, or allowing an older child to be "unsupervised for a time", if formal childcare cannot be found. The federal government is hoping to save close to $700 million over four years by moving single mothers from the more generous parenting payment to Newstart when their child turns eight, from January next year. In a submission to the Senate inquiry into the welfare changes announced in the budget, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations writes that parents will be told to consider this option to get them into paid work. “However, if the parent decides that this is not appropriate, then they do not have to take or remain in the job,” the submission says.
Czech Senate rejects foster care
The Senate, the upper house of the Czech parliament, rejected an amendment that is to support foster care and lower the number of children in institutional care Friday. Left-wing senators, who command a majority in the upper house, criticised the legislation saying it would disintegrate the current functioning system, turn foster care into a market activity and basically destroy institutional care. A total of 27 senators voted against the bill, nine supported it and seven senators abstained from the vote out of those present in the 81-seat upper house. The legislation will return to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, for reappraisal. Deputies are to vote on it again at their September session. The amendment reckons with the professionalisation of foster parents whose remuneration would also rise. It would be classified as a salary and not a welfare payment. Under the amendment, facilities offering immediate aid to children in need would receive less money from the state, but parents should pay them more. "The aim is to create conditions for children to stay in their families or in an alternative family environment," Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromir Drabek (TOP 09) said.
Nebraska: Omaha child care
centers stripped of state accreditation
State officials have cut off payments to two Omaha child care centers after a state audit discovered “flagrant discrepancies” that led to overpayments to the centers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Department of Health and Human Services employees began calling the parents of children enrolled at Wise Kids on 5829 Northampton Blvd. and Kids Ark Learning Center at 4411 N. 61st Street to inform them the two centers are no longer approved by the state. DHHS authorizes subsidies for the care of poor parents who are employed, looking for work, undergoing medical treatment, incapacitated or enrolled in vocational or educational training. State Auditor Mike Foley says his office, in cooperation with the FBI, examined the billings of the two centers which serve 240 children. Foley sent a 98-page management letter to DHHS and the Nebraska Department of Education. The same owners operated both centers. The audit accuses them of systematically over-billing for child-care services never provided.
MONDAY 23 JULY
Australia: Foster-care system
under threat as demand soars
The number of people willing to be foster parents in the ACT is plummeting at the same time as the number of young people needing care is soaring. Youth Coalition of the ACT director Emma Robertson said finding carers, and keeping them in the system, was a huge issue. ''It's a system trying to do its best on a shoestring budget,'' she said. The latest official figures show a 35 per cent increase in the number of children in care in the capital over the past five years. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Child Protection Report also found more than twice as many families left the foster-care system in 2010-11 than joined it; 53 homes stopped looking after young people, while 24 signed on. At one agency, 87 per cent of potential carers who registered for training last year reneged on their commitment. Barnados' carer support program manager Lauren Morun said only 13 per cent of people who signed up for training lasted the course in 2011. ''Last year we had about 150 people that started training,'' she said. ''The number approved by the end of the year was about 20.'' Ms Morun said agencies needed to demystify the system and abolish the negative stereotypes of foster children to increase the number of volunteer families. ''They get scared away,'' she said.
Canada: Computer System Endangers
Problems with a recently launched computer system are putting children in dangerous situations. The problems service workers are finding have prompted BC's children's advocate to speak out. A technological platform aiming to improve information sharing between government ministries in British Columbia is failing some children. Software glitches are putting vulnerable kids in more dangerous situations. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, has expressed concern over the Integrated Case Management System (ICM) computer system that was launched in the spring to connect multiple government departments. She has urged remedial action to prevent harm and assist staff. “I cannot be confident that child safety can be assured,” said the children’s rights watchdog, whose office has been swamped by calls from child protection workers experiencing problems with the ICM.
UK: New questionnaire will help
protect vulnerable children
A new method in which children score a series of twenty statements relating to their wellbeing hopes to be able to gauge an accurate picture of the lives of potentially vulnerable children. Through discussions with children in care and/or living away from home, Dr Roger Morgan, the Children’s Rights Director for England, has created a questionnaire based on the things that young people might say about themselves. Twenty statements such as ‘I know what is happening next in my life’, ‘I get bullied’, ‘I am getting all the help I need’ and ‘I get lonely’ are listed and each is given a score. Children complete the questionnaire by ticking all of the statements that are right about them. During focus discussion groups, children and young people were asked what they thought the definition of happiness was. They thought happiness had a lot to do with being satisfied with how things are for you. One group said happiness wasn’t one thing, but could depend on lots of different things for different people. Another group suggested that it could be to do with doing different things with other people, from sex to laughing a lot.
Australia: 'People in care feel
left out', stigmatised
For Amanda Tarlington, one of the worst aspects of out-of-home care was the sense of isolation. The 22-year-old Canberran was placed in respite care when she was young before spending several months in a local refuge as a teenager. She said when she returned home, there was no further support for herself or her family. ''It's like they dropped me off home and that was it, they didn't want anything to do with me,'' Ms Tarlington said. ''They didn't ring to ask how I was going, they didn't refer me on to anybody. I was left to fend for myself. ''I just wanted someone to talk to, someone that wasn't my mum,'' she said. Ms Tarlington now works with foster care children through the CREATE Foundation, to break down the stigma she herself felt as a child in the system.
UK: Child services ‘failing’
ANOTHER area of Blackpool’s children’s services looks set to fall short of national standards. Councillors have been warned that following a damning inspection of child protection services, the town’s adoption and fostering services could be next to come under scrutiny. Director of Children’s Services Sue Harrison told a special meeting of the council’s executive: “The situation is likely to trigger an inspection for looked after children, fostering and adoption. “That is not looking good as the things we hadn’t done for children are the same across fostering and adoption – record keeping is not great and statutory visits have not been made. “There is a likelihood we’ll get inadequate for that inspection as well.”
Pennsylvania: Access to foster
care to grow for older youth in Bradford County
Faced with increased homelessness and joblessness among young people, the Pennsylvania Legislature is expected to pass legislation this fall that would give more children the option of remaining in foster care after they have turned 18, according to officials from Bradford County Human Services Department. "This is a good thing for young people," Bradford County Children & Youth Services Director Elly Smith said Friday at a public hearing on Bradford County Children & Youth Services' plans for the 2012-13 fiscal year and its budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year. "We'll be better able to give them a good start in life." "The federal government has identified that the fastest-growing (segment) of the homeless population is youth. There's nothing out there for them. There are no jobs," Bradford County Human Services Director Bill Blevins said, explaining why the federal government is pushing for giving more older youth the option of remaining in foster care. Children & Youth Services places children in foster care or in a residential facility for a number of reasons, such as behavioral issues or being subject to neglect or abuse.
Australia: Childcare Minister
Kate Ellis canes Coalition on childcare plans
THE battle over childcare has intensified, with Childcare Minister Kate Ellis accusing the Coalition of trying to build "baby farms" and reduce the quality of Australian child care for kids in the early years of their development, declaring she is "disgusted" by Tony Abbott's plan to reconsider parts of Labor's national reforms. It comes after The Australian exclusively reported that if elected, an incoming Coalition government would meet state and territory childcare ministers, as well as representatives of the sector, to reduce the red tape that is "driving up the cost of care". "Is the Coalition's vision for Australian child care really to have children packed into rooms with less staff, low qualified workers, longer hours, cheaper with dirtier conditions?" Ms Ellis asked. "Many parents may actually see this more resembling 'baby farms' than critical early childhood services". "In contrast, we understand that with more Australian children in care than ever before and a compelling body of evidence showing that 90 per cent of a child's brain development happens in these critical years, we want to give our children the best start in life.
Cambridgeshire leads the way in
improving fostering and adoption
is leading the way in tackling a national problem of improving the time it takes for looked after children to find a loving, stable and supportive home. A groundbreaking meeting between the local Judiciary and the Coram-Cambridgeshire Adoption Partnership was held this week, Wednesday, July 18. This event was the first of its kind in the region, and was jointly hosted by HH Judge Plumsted and Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke. It brought together the key figures responsible for overseeing the process of care proceedings for children who are unable to live within their family homes. Representatives from the Judiciary, Coram, Court guardians (CAFCASS), social care and the council’s legal team discussed how joint working can help reduce timescales for looked after children.
Florida: Local foster homes in
too-short supply for traumatized kids
Last month, Daytona Beach hosted the 16th Annual Florida State Foster Adopt Parent Association Conference. During the event's press conference held on June 22, Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins introduced a new initiative, "Fostering Florida's Future." The initiative focuses on recruiting and licensing an additional 1,200 foster homes statewide to meet the current demand of children entering Florida's foster care system due to abuse and neglect. The weekend-long event served not only to educate foster caregivers about important trends in child welfare, but was also a sobering reminder of the need for more foster homes to care for abused and neglected children in our state. Today, Florida has approximately 8,000 children residing in foster care, which includes children who live in foster homes and group homes. In addition, there are more than 20,000 children who have been removed from their families and reside with relatives and friends. Florida is in the midst of a major foster home recruitment effort. The focus of this effort is on a Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI). QPI has raised the bar for the foster care system, treating foster parents as professionals, who are team members and advocates for children.
New Jersey Foster Care System is
Improving, But Not Enough
New Jersey's child welfare system continues to get mixed results in its decade-long effort to better protect abused children. The state’s child protection and foster care system has been under court –ordered federal monitoring for more than 10 years after several children died when they were not removed from their homes or harmed while in foster care. The federal monitor, Judith Meltzer, filed an update this week that noted some successes and failures. The state has reduced the number of children in foster care by 44 percent over the last eight years. That was one of the primary goals of the reforms. But Meltzer noted that the state still fails to provide case management to many of the children in its system. The court-appointed monitor found caseworkers only made 55 percent of the visits they are expected to make when a child is first placed in a foster home.
UK: The dozens of children who
are reported missing every month
AN average of 58 children are reported missing to the police every month in Derby. Figures published by the city council reveal that numbers were at their highest in November 2011, when 70 were reported missing. During the 12 months from April 2011 to March 2012, 699 instances of missing children were reported to the police and passed on to the council's children and young people's service. A child is considered to be missing if they have been gone for at least 24 hours and the incident has been reported to police. Most of them either return voluntarily to their own homes or children's homes, or are picked up making their way back to other areas they may come from. Kevin Murphy, the council's principal education welfare officer, is not comfortable with the situation because he said that, any time a young person went missing, even if for a few minutes or hours, they could be in a risky situation. He said: "It's a real dilemma for children's home staff because they can't lock them in. If they did, the Office for Standards in Education would come down on them for restraining them."
FRIDAY 20 JULY
Vancouver: Latest report on kids
BC's Child and Youth Representative has released her latest report into critical injuries and deaths among children and youth in care. Since February, 119 critical injuries and 41 deaths have been reported, and reviews are underway in the case of 71 injuries and 14 deaths. Those reviews will determine whether a full-scale investigation is needed if the nature of the injury or death is considered suspicious, self-inflicted, or if there's any question about neglect or abuse.
New Zealand: Abused CYF children
now safe — Minister
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says children who were abused under the care of Child, Youth and Family are now safe. Ms Bennett revealed on Tuesday a report she had commissioned shows 71 children were abused while in the agency's care in the year to June 2011 - 30 of them by their caregivers. However, she has stopped short of ordering a review of the cases. Ms Bennett told Parliament that collecting that data would require an overhaul of the IT system at CYF. Acting CYF chief social worker Nova Salomen says the department is doing the best it can with the information available on children in its care. Shetold Morning Report checks are in place to ensure children and caregivers are monitored, and she believes the department is doing the best it can with that information.
UK: Halton Borough Council’s
fostering service scores well in Ofsted report
Borough Council’s fostering service has been rated as good by Ofsted. The service, which is based on Midwood Street, Widnes, was found to be above average in all four areas of inspection, including outcomes for children and young people, quality of service, safeguarding, and leadership and management. The inspection was carried out under the Care Standards Act 2000 to assess the effectiveness of the service and to consider how well it complies with the relevant regulations and minimum national standards. The service provides a range of placements for children in care, both short and long term.
Texas: Staggering numbers, the
need for foster care in the valley
Right now, there are about 35 children needing foster care in the valley per week. Aside from the growing issue, there is also a lack of foster parents for the number of kids needing a new home. Jennifer Mayers with the Benchmark Family Services in McAllen came to Action 4 Sunrise to tell viewers more about the foster care program.
Ireland: 113% increase in the
number of Irish children taken into care
New figures released by the court services in Ireland today show that the number of children who are taken into care by Health Service Executive (HSE) court applications dramatically increased in 2011. The latest figures the Court Service released show that the number of children taken into care -- on the grounds that their households were not adequate on safety and welfare grounds -- averaged 43 a week with a total of 2,300 children brought into care in 2011. An increase of 113% from the year beforehand (as also reported by RTE News and Inside Ireland respectively). The Irish Independent pointed out in its report on these HSE figures, that, in Dublin, children living only a few miles apart have drastically different odds when it comes to the possibility of having to be taken into care. Per 10,000 children under 18 in Dublin North Central the statistics indicate that 156.8 of them were placed into care. In North Dublin however the figure is 24.1 per 100,000!
US: Massachusetts Gov. to attend
summit for children in foster care
It was reported that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick would be speaking at an opening ceremony for a Department of Children and Families foster youth summit. He would be joined by Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby and DCF Commissioner Angelo McClain at the summit's Thursday morning opening ceremony in Westborough. Sponsored by DCF, the summit will allow Massachusetts foster youth who are 16 and older the opportunity to meet each other and participate in workshops, like financial literacy, dating relationships and finding your voice through hip-hop. The event will bring foster children from across the state together to share their stories and participate in activities.
Staffordshire, UK: Startling rise
MORE than 500 children in Stoke-on-Trent have been referred to social services each month this year. The figure has doubled from 250 a month in November last year and quite frankly is startling. And more than 80 per cent of those referrals are deemed worthy of follow-up action. In the last two years, the number of children formally in care has risen from an average of 400 to 450 since 2010. The huge rise in the number of vulnerable children needing care or protection comes in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy. The 17-month-old suffered months of abuse as agencies in Haringey repeatedly missed chances to intervene. The publicity given to the case led to growing awareness of the hidden harm youngsters were suffering if living in households where there is domestic violence or drug or alcohol addiction.
Arizona: No foster places:
Children sleeping in CPS offices
A Child Protective Services office morphed into a children's shelter this weekend. Because there weren't enough beds in Pima County foster and group homes, eight or nine children ended up staying in a CPS office. Child Protective Services has also had to place kids outside of Pima County because of the bed shortage. This combination has led many to say Pima County and Arizona are facing a foster-care crisis. Outside agencies have organized supply drives, seeking bottles, snacks, toothbrushes, diapers and other items for kids stuck in offices until homes open up for them. "In the most simple form, there's way more kids coming into the system than there are placements," Sam Dyer, Casa de Los Niños' foster-care program supervisor, told me.
UK: Foster carers teaching young
mums how to parent
Independent fostering agency Park Foster Care has been helping young parents — usually mothers — to develop their parenting skills by placing them, and their children, with specially trained foster carers. The aim is to keep the family together and stop the children from going into care. The Cheshire-based organisation has been running the programme for about 18 months. Although two placements collapsed within the first month – with the mothers returning to their partners and leaving their babies in foster care – the latest two have been very successful. The team learnt from the first two placements and altered the programme model to, initially, focus more on meeting the mother’s needs. Both placements involve young mothers with two children. Six foster carers are trained, and have the room in their homes, to work in this way. During the process they have a supervising social worker who supports them while the mother has an assessing social worker. The programme consists of a 12-week assessment: the first stage involves building relationships primarily between the foster carer and the parent and this, in turn, supports the parent to develop their relationship with their children. After developing the relationship they can move into the next stage: developing parenting skills.
US: Virginia anti-gay adoption
law takes effect
LGBT activists remain concerned that a new Virginia law that allows private adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective parents based on religious or moral beliefs could subject gays and lesbians to what they describe as unnecessary discrimination. Senate Bill 349, which became known as the “conscience clause,” took effect on July 1 after Gov. Bob McDonnell signed it into law earlier this year. Gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) told the Blade that SB 349 only reinforces current regulations that “made it easier to discriminate” against prospective parents based on their sexual orientation. “Equality Virginia still believes this constitutes state-supported discrimination, as these agencies are using state funding to perform a public function,” added James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. “We are most concerned about LGBTQ youth in the foster care system, since agencies can place these children in harmful situations such as ex-gay therapy, as long as doing so is in accordance with the agencies’ beliefs.”
WEDNESDAY 18 JULY
Taiwan: Govt asked to up child
The chairman of a government-appointed committee that promotes child welfare has urged the government to set aside 50,000 baht per province to fund Children and Youth Council operations. Prominent child rights activist Wallop Tangkananurak made the call yesterday at the "How to Solve Teenage Problems _ Sex, Drugs and Brawling" seminar held by the Thai Journalists Association. The seminar aims to seek ways to solve increases in the most pressing teenage problems. Mr Wallop, who is also secretary-general of the Children Creation Foundation, said he would like the government to earmark more funds to support the promotion of more creative activities for youths and to support the operations of the Children and Youth Council in each province. "Currently, the council in each province receives only 5,000 baht and that is not enough," Mr Wallop said. "The government must give them 50,000 baht.
UK: Children’s centres merge
under costs savings plan
THE CHILDREN’s Centre at Hailsham’s Dunbar Drive will merge with Hailsham East Children’s Centre under plans by the county authority to save around £130,000. The Dunbar Drive building in Hailsham will continue to be used by East Sussex County Council as a venue for Children’s Centre services, as a social care resource Centre and to support children in care. Children’s Centre services would continue on the Dunbar Drive site and the Diplocks Community Centre which is in a ‘far more appropriate location’, said County. County’s Cabinet report (July 3) said that out of 35 Centres the management of four pairs will be merged including Hailsham, saving £130,000 - helped by not recruiting extra staff for the merged Centres and with a premises costs saving of £25,000. Cllr Nick Bennett said: “All families who currently receive services from our Children’s Centres will continue to do so, and the vast majority of centres will not be affected in any way by these proposals.”
New Zealand: Dozens of children
abused in CYFs care
Official figures show dozens of children have been abused when in the care of Child Youth and Family. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says she asked for the situation to be reviewed in 2010 when she learnt national data on children abused in CYF care wasn't being kept. She confirms that review found 71 children had been abused. "No abuse of children is tolerable or acceptable in this country. It is less than one percent. I would like it to be zero percent, but unfortunately in today's world that is not possible." Green Party MP Holly Walker has demanded assurances of the Social Development Minister after official figures showed 71 children were abused in CYF care between July 2010 and June 2011. "Can she assure the House that not one of them has suffered further abuse in care since." Paula Bennett says 13 of the 71 cases resulted in court action, but the others, even though abuse was substantiated, weren't at a level where police could take a prosecution. But she says she's been told all the children are now safe.
Jordan: 'Abuses at children's
villages committed by children,
not covered up'
Abuses that took place in the SOS Children's Villages were committed by children and discovered by the association itself, according to the administration. "These violations, which may be considered felonies, occurred between 2001 and 2002 and were committed by minors [aged between nine and 12]," Reem Habayeb, the SOS chairperson, told The Jordan Times recently in response to a report issued last month by a committee entrusted with investigating abuses in care centres. The committee cited cases of abuse that were "deliberately hidden and ignored by the administration" and referred the association's file to the prosecutor general. "As much as we respect the committee's work and any effort that supports the welfare of our children, it should have been explained to the public that the abuses were committed by children and not by adults working at the villages," Habayeb said. She added that the committee did not discover any violations on its own, but rather relied on the findings of a study that had been conducted by the administration.
Malaysia: 65 street kids remain
under centre's care
A total of 1,396 street children were picked up throughout the state and placed under the care of Rumah Perlindungan Ehsan here, over the past five years. According to statistics, 1,327 children had been released since 2007 to May this year, while 65 were still under the protection centre managed by the Sabah/Labuan Special Task Force. State Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun revealed this during the state assembly sitting yesterday. To a question by Datuk Louis Rampas (BN-Kiulu) on whether the government would train street children as workers, Azizah stressed her ministry, through the state Welfare Service Department, was not involved in training street children.
Seattle: Insurance to cover
autism therapy for kids of public workers
Children with autism whose parents have health insurance through the state's Uniform Medical Plan may be covered for an intensive type of therapy, under a settlement announced Monday. A class-action lawsuit was filed in King County Superior Court in 2010 against the state's Health Care Authority (HCA) on behalf of several children with autism and autism-spectrum disorders. There are more than 860 members of the class, according to the lawsuit. The settlement spells out details of the autism benefit for future coverage through the Uniform Medical Plan for current employees of the state and some school districts and local governments.
UK: Blackpool Council social
worker delays 'risked harm to children': Ofsted
Vulnerable children in Blackpool were left "at risk of harm" because social workers did not act quickly enough to help them, a report has found. The findings are in a report by Ofsted which rated child care services provided by Blackpool Council as inadequate. Council leader Simon Blackburn said he was shocked by the mistakes and admitted services had fallen short. He said children's services now had a new senior management team. The report looked at how well the council and other organisations work with children and young people and followed an unannounced inspection in June.
US: Casey foundation ends foster
care program after 36 years
About 30 foster children in Baltimore stand to lose their social workers — for some the one constant in lives prone to turmoil — as the Annie E. Casey Foundation begins a new mission intended to extend its reach. The Baltimore-based foundation will close its Casey Family Services, a 36-year-old program that oversees the care of 400 foster children in seven states. Casey says the move will free up $18 million to $20 million a year to help increase adoptions and help other organizations that assist foster children. The end goal is to improve child welfare across America by reaching a greater number of children, said Norris West, spokesman for the organization. He said Casey is committed to ensuring that the lives of the children affected are not disrupted. "We think Casey Family Services has done an extraordinary job; there is no question that it is going to be missed," West said. "We understand that this will feel like a loss." From now on, West said, the Casey Foundation will work with state agencies, foster parents and the new providers, instead of providing the direct service itself. The children involved are expected to stay with their current foster parents, but the parents will be transferred to different providers and many will have new case workers.
UK: More power for Ofsted to
inspect children's services
Ofsted’s remit to inspect services for looked after children will be enhanced by collaborating with the Care Quality Commission. It is also planned that Ofsted will play a greater role in child protection by working with all agencies providing services for children. From 2013 Ofsted will join up with the Care Quality Commission to provide a seamless inspection of looked after children’s services. Proposals have been published for a new inspection programme for children in care. The new inspections will have a strong focus on ensuring that the most careful decisions are made about children’s placements, their safety and welfare. The proposal is to create a dedicated inspection programme for looked after children and care leavers replacing the current separate inspections for looked after children’s services, local authority adoption agencies and local authority fostering services. Working with the CQC, Ofsted proposes that unannounced inspections will be carried out within a two-week period. Inspectors will meet and talk directly with children who are in care and care leavers, carers, adopters, practitioners and staff, and, where possible and appropriate, birth families.
North Dakota:sees foster home
The need for foster parents in this area is growing more serious, said Wayne Piche, family services supervisor for Grand Forks County Social Services. “We’re always searching for homes.” Of the 49 foster homes in the county, about six to eight are available to accept children, he said. The department has 143 children in its custody. The homes are either full, having taken in the number of children they’re licensed to accept, he said, or the families are on vacation, caring for sick relatives, taking a break from foster care or have other things going on in their lives. Foster parents who have adopted children in their care may leave the foster care program. As of June 30, there were 71 foster homes in the region — Grand Forks, Nelson, Walsh and Pembina counties. There were 104 such homes in January 2008.
MONDAY 16 JULY
DCYF Shuts Down Newport County
Child and Family Group Home
A group home on Maple Avenue in Middletown, operated by Child and Family of Newport, has been shut down after the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families (DCYF) discovered violations last Friday. Keith Taveras, Vice President of Institutional Advancement with Child and Family, said although they have not received a complete report from DCYF, the violations were issues with the facility. He said many were minor changes that have already been fixed. “In no way shape or form were any children in any health or safety danger,” said Taveras. Taveras said the nature of a group home requires continuous maintenance since the children might kick in the walls and windows. He said he was not aware that the home was out of compliance before the inspection.
Pennsylvania's implementation of
federal law allows youth to remain
in foster care until age 21
Pennsylvania’s implementation of a federal law will provide financial incentive for adoption, saving the state millions of dollars in foster-care expenses each year and cementing a home for thousands of foster youth statewide. Gov. Tom Corbett, at the recommendation of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, included in the 2012-2013 budget the full adoption of the 2008 Fostering Connections Act. Full implementation will save the state $5.5 million in 2012-2013 and an estimated $26.3 million in 2016-2017, PPC figures report. “The administrative costs involved with foster care don’t exist with adoption or guardianship,” PPC Spokesman Michael Race said. He listed personal attorneys, court appearances, caseworkers and private provider agencies among the foster-care costs not associated with adoption or legal guardianship.
Ireland: Cost of private foster
According to figures provided by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, private firms are being paid more than €1,300 per week per child to provide private foster care. She said 251 children were in private foster care at a weekly cost of €342,265, or a weekly cost of €1,363 per child. She confirmed that 360 children were placed in private foster care last year at a cost of €12.8 million. Last night Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis, who lodged a Dáil question on the issue, described the costs as “huge”. The €12.8 million paid to private companies represents a 34 per cent increase on the €9.5 million paid to private firms that cared for 304 children in 2010. Ms Fitzgerald said: “Private foster companies provide services to separated children seeking asylum and to the emergency out-of-hours placement service. The HSE retain the approval authority of the foster carer in all cases.”
Florida: Children’s Home Society
get grant for aged-out foster youth
Children’s Home Society of Florida, Treasure Coast Division, has received a $15,000 grant from the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. The grant will provide individualized educational opportunities to cover tuition and costs for a broad range of certified programs and driving school for disadvantaged youth who have aged out of the foster care system. The youth take part in the Transitional Living Program which provides residential and outreach services, case management, life skills training and temporary, safe housing in order to promote independence and prevent homelessness. The primary goal of the program is to prevent homelessness and break the cycle of abuse and neglect that have been part of these youth’s lives. The Youth Transition Center (YTC), a key residential component of the program, is the only facility of its kind in the Treasure Coast region. YTC staff is on-site 24/7 and on-call 24 hours a day. Since October, Children’s Home Society (CHS) has extended the Transitional Living Program beyond serving former foster youth to include a general population of homeless, disadvantaged youth through the Street Outreach Program. “We are truly thrilled Scripps is investing in the success of our youth and committing to make a difference in their lives,” says Jan Swink, executive director of Children’s Home Society, Treasure Coast Division. "Providing these services is a critical milestone in each youth becoming independent.”
'Culture of abuse' at India's
children's care homes
A series of sex-abuse scandals at orphanages and shelters has sounded alarms over the management of children's homes in India, many of which operate with little or no public oversight. Criminal charges against staff at a number of homes have highlighted what activists say is a pervasive culture of violence that begins with carers abusing their wards and ends with older children assaulting younger children. In a case that attracted national media attention, a post-mortem examination on an 11-year-old girl who died of vomiting and diarrhoea in a home in Delhi last December showed that she had also been repeatedly sexually abused.
Utah wants fewer children placed
in foster care
Utah wants fewer children placed in foster care and is boosting efforts to provide better in-home services, state officials said this week. The changes were prompted by a 2011 state legislative audit that found a 38 percent increase in statewide foster care placements over the previous decade.The same audit showed a 40 percent decrease in support for families to keep children in their own homes over the same period. Brent Platt, director of Utah's Division of Child and Family Services, told the state's Child Welfare Legislative Oversight panel that it needs to shift resources so more children can remain safely at home. Rep. Merlynn Newbold, R-South Jordan, said the approach is encouraging. One of our goals as a Legislature is to keep families together whenever possible," said Newbold, chairwoman of the panel.
New Zealand: Iwi challenged over
State care of children
A Waikato Tainui leader is challenging his iwi to take over the care of Maori children from the State. On TVNZ’s Marae Investigates programme this morning, Maharaia Paki, the younger brother of King Tuheitia said there are 200 Tainui children in State care and he believes they should be in iwi care. "At the end of the day we need to participate in the process as well and if you’re going to leave CYFs on their own they’re going to struggle and we’re going to get the results we see.” said Mr Paki. Mr Paki told presenter Mirama Kamo that Tainui have the ability to ensure none of its tamariki are in State care. “It’s going to take a little while to build that capacity in order for us to do that well and its about recruiting amongst our own people, training and saying that instead of the young people being pushed to institutions and strangers we will take care of them. If we look at the 68 Marae in Tainui, if we recruited 68 carers from each of those Marae we’d have 68 carers.”
UK Virgin Care to run children's
services in Devon
Virgin Care has been named preferred bidder to run the £44m children’s services in the area served by NHS Devon and Devon County Council. They put the services out to tender after the transforming community services programme, requiring primary care trusts to divest their provider arm. Virgin was selected ahead of two consortiums involving NHS mental health trusts. The PCT said in a statement that it believed appointing a “single accountable organisation” provided the “best opportunity to maintain and strengthen the integration of the services”.
New Zealand: Parents deny
daughter life-saving transplant
An Auckland girl suffering a rare kidney disease has been put into the guardianship of the High Court because her Jehovah's Witness parents will not consent to her receiving a life-saving kidney and liver transplant. The 2-year-old girl, whose name and identifying details are suppressed, has had her kidneys removed and is being kept alive by dialysis. Because of her precarious health, she is at risk of infection and doctors believed she needed to have an urgent kidney and liver transplant or she would die from infection. Jehovah's Witnesses allow transplants but the faith is strict in rejecting the inevitable blood transfusions that would accompany such an operation. They believe blood that leaves the body must be disposed of and not consumed or transfused.
Ireland: Companies get €1,300 a
week per foster child
Private companies are enjoying a multimillion-euro bonanza for providing foster care to children, figures show. According to figures provided by the Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald, private firms are being paid more than €1,300 per week to provide private foster care for each child in their care. According to Ms Fitzgerald, at present there are 251 children in private foster care in the State at a weekly cost of €342,265, or €1,363 per child. The minister confirmed that 360 children were placed in private foster care last year at a cost of €12.8m. Last night, Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis, who lodged a Dáil question on the issue, described the costs as "huge" and called for complete state control over all children in foster care.
UK: Praise for foster services
CARE provided by East Renfrewshire council’s fostering and adoption services has been given the thumbs up in a recent inspection. Both services, provided by East Ren’s Community Health and Care Partnership (CHCP) were under scrutiny during an unannounced visit by the Care Inspectorate in March. The teams – fostering, which recruits and supports carer families and adoption, which helps families with the process of taking in a child – were awarded three ‘very good’ and one ‘good’ ratings. Inspectors noted that both “had a very stable, experienced staff team that provided a very good standard of support and advice to foster carers, applicants going through the assessment process and to adoptive families”. The inspection documents note very few improvements needed for either service, pointing out administration tasks such as file audits, and suggesting that work could be done on the presentation of evidence gathered from care consultations.
FRIDAY 13 JULY
Caribbean: Regional Officials
Seek Solutions to Youth Issues
Senator Malaka Parker and other Caribbean ministers with oversight for Youth, Child Protection and Social Development are currently attending the 23rd meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in Guyana. Held under the theme, “Charting our future: an integrated development agenda for children and youth,” the main objective of the July 10 to 12 meeting is to arrive at a regional approach to protect children and youth. According to Senator Parker, who is the for Parliamentary Secretary, in the Ministry of Health, Social Transformation, Consumer Affairs & Local Government, the COHSOD conference will address issues such as early childhood care and development; children and migration; and youth employment and development. The forum will also seek to diagnose the vexing problem of violence against children in the Caribbean. “These issues will strike a chord in the chorus for an integrated development agenda that can chart the future of our children and youth and provide for them a safer and more enabling environment in which they can grow and develop,” a release said.
Delaware officials eye extending
foster care to age 21
A newly formed working group is meeting to discuss whether Delaware should extend its foster care program to age 21. The group scheduled to meet Thursday was formed in response to a House resolution signed last week by Gov. Jack Markell. The resolution directs the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families to submit an analysis and recommend- ations for creating a developmentally appropriate foster care program for youth up to age 21. The report is due by Sept. 17. The resolution was introduced upon the recommendation of an advisory council of young people who have experienced foster care in Delaware. According to the resolution, youngsters who age out of foster care at 18 often face hardships in finding housing and jobs, obtaining health care and finishing their education.
UK: Children in care sent to
Sefton, Isle of Man, but true figures unknown
Vulnerable children in care from other parts of the country are being sent to Sefton and housed in private children’s homes. But councillors today admitted that the true numbers of those being housed across the borough were unknown, with the council still powerless to find out. The extent of the problem was revealed at a meeting last week when Birkdale Lib Dem Cllr Simon Shaw asked how many young people were placed, on an out-of-area basis, in residential homes. Under current legislation, placing authorities are under no obligation to tell the host authority that they are placing children, or where they are placing them. Cllr Moncur told the Visiter:“We don’t know what we don’t know. The figures are clearly a fraction of the true number, but up until now, there has been no statutory obligation for placing authorities to tell home authorities where children are placed.
US: Utah wants to help more kids
at home and reduce foster care placements
Fewer Utah children would be placed in foster homes under an ongoing effort to strengthen in-home services provided by the Division of Child and Family Services, a sought-after change in the state's care of children. A state legislative audit in 2011 revealed a 38 percent increase in Utah foster care placements during the previous decade. The audit also showed that the number of families that received in-home support that enabled children to stay in their homes decreased by 40 percent over the same time period. Those troubling numbers prompted a change in approach. DCFS director Brent Platt Wednesday came before the state's Child Welfare Legislative Oversight panel to tell lawmakers that the state is shifting some resources and developing tools to identify the best services for children who can safely remain in their own homes.
Australia: Obese kids taken from
Authorities in Victoria are now using concerns about extreme obesity as justification for removing children from the care of their parents. The Department of Health Services has removed at least two children from their parents' care this year over the issue. Associate Professor John Dixon, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, says the number is expected to rise in the coming years. "We've got to understand that as the waistlines of our kids grow, we're going to have these extreme case of obesity," he told News Breakfast. Professor Dixon says sometimes removing the child is the best option.
UK: Ofsted announces tougher
inspections as senior figures resign
Ofsted has announced more rigorous inspection of services for looked-after children, as details emerge of the resignations of two children’s services heads because of “inadequate” ratings in its most recent round of safeguarding checks. The inspections body has published details of a new form of unannounced, two-week inspection of services for looked-after children and care leavers, which it will carry out alongside the Care Quality Commission from April 2013. During the new inspections, details of which are out for consultation, inspectors will look at a sample of cases, assessing each child’s experience from entering care to leaving care. They will also focus on children placed in care homes far from their home, asking how the councils placing and hosting them are meeting their needs. Last week Duncan Clark resigned from his post as director of learning and children’s services at Kingston upon Thames RBC, after the authority’s safeguarding services were rated as inadequate.
Minnesota: Two Harbors foster
parents lose license after spanking
A Two Harbors couple’s child foster care license was revoked because the foster mother spanked a foster child in violation of state rules, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Kirk and Beth Schield were issued a license to care for up to four foster children in their home on Dec. 1, 2010. The revocation was announced in a letter to the Schields dated July 6 and was posted on Tuesday on the department’s website. No criminal charges were filed. The Schields have the right to repeal the revocation. Kirk Schield is pastor of Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Two Harbors. He told the Lake County News-Chronicle on Wednesday that they will appeal and hope to have their license restored soon. Schield said he and his wife received the state’s letter on Monday. Sara Byrns, former track and Nordic ski coach at Two Harbors High School, coached the Schields’ children during her tenure and called the couple “loving and caring.” Byrns said they volunteered in various capacities for her sports teams, including helping out at home competitions and chaperoning trips.
New York: State report exonerates facility in
Corey Foster case
A state Office of Children and Family Services investigation has found that a Yonkers rehabilitation center did not abuse a teen who died in its care in April. Corey Foster, 16, died of cardiac arrest while being subdued, according to an autopsy report released by the family on Tuesday. The Westchester County district attorney's office is still determining whether to file any charges...
WEDNESDAY 11 JULY
Canada: Inundated with mental
health cases, CHEO looks for solutions
Children facing a mental health crisis are arriving in the emergency room at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario twice as often today as they were two years ago, leading the hospital to look for more creative ways to offer help. “We’ve seen some staggering increases over the last two years,” said Karen Tataryn, CHEO’s regional director of children and youth mental health services. “Not only are we having more children and youth coming to emerge, but the severity of their symptoms is causing them to be admitted too.” Of the 2,637 youth and children seen at the hospital in 2011, staff are recording high levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal behaviour, Tataryn said. “Each year has been an increase over the previous year. So we’re not too sure what to expect now. It’s not easing up.”
Australia: Guard terrorised in
youth prison slashed in neck
A GUARD was slashed to the neck and a colleague held hostage for hours during an attempted escape from a Melbourne youth prison. Four teenagers are under police investigation over the escape bid, which left the injured officer in hospital and the hostage traumatised. The guards union said the pair were too inexperienced to be rostered alone in the high-security unit. The group of inmates at the Melbourne Juvenile Justice Centre, in Parkville, had been playing basketball with staff when they turned violent last Thursday. They put the female guard in a headlock and stole her belt, which was carrying access cards, keys and a radio. The male officer was slashed to the neck with a makeshift knife. The inmates barricaded themselves in a gym, sparking hours of negotiations during which they demanded cigarettes and to be taken to an adult prison.
UK: Doctors should report child
abuse suspicions 'on a hunch'
Doctors must report concerns about child neglect or abuse even if they only have a 'hunch' something is wrong, new guidance has said. Doctors seeing adults must always be suspicious of child abuse and neglect even though they may never have met the child, the General Medical Council has said. Mothers with post natal depression and other serious mental health issues, people with alcohol problems, and drug addicts warrant further questioning about the welfare of children in their care, it was said. All doctors have a responsibility to be aware of child protection issues and should report concerns even if they simply have a 'hunch or feel uneasy', Sir Peter Rubin, chairman of the GMC said.
South Dakota: Aberdeen getting $4
million child care center
Construction is beginning on a $4 million child care center in Aberdeen. The 25,000-square-foot YMCA Youth Development Center will provide child care services for children from infancy through the sixth grade. Aberdeen Family YMCA Executive Director Steve Graf tells the American News (http://bit.ly/MadYoX ) that it should be ready in about a year. The building will have a gymnasium, an indoor playground and in-floor heating. It will be able to serve about 350 children. Officials have raised about $3.4 million so far through donations and grants.
UK: London council loses control
of child protection
A London borough has been stripped of its responsibility for child protection after a damning official report. Duncan Clark, director of children’s services at Lib-Dem Kingston has stepped down and his department taken over by Nick Whitfield at neighbouring Tory Richmond council. The unpublished Ofsted report, seen by the Standard, found the department as a whole “inadequate” — the lowest possible rating. The borough is the first in the capital to have been forced to give up control of safeguarding children. Kingston will lose responsibility for children in care, social services, adoption and keeping children safe in local schools. The Lib-Dem local authority leader described the “poor” rating by inspection Ofsted watchdog as a “terrible shock”.
India: Now, health card for every
inmate in child care institutes
The Haryana government has decided to issue individual health card to each inmate of child care institutions (CCI) within a month. The state has come out with the new plan of issuing heath cards to all the inmates in orphanages to ensure they get medical facilities. The decision was taken by the Haryana chief secretary, P K Chaudhery, after presiding over a meeting convened by women and child development department. The new step is in sync with the recommendations of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Chaudhery said that an individual health card would ensure regular health check-ups of the inmates and follow up treatment regarding specialized health services. In each district, the police have already appointed child welfare officers in each police station. Now, in each locality, the names of these child welfare officers along with their mobile number would be sent to the women and child development department.
UK: Services for Redcar and
Cleveland youngsters backed by Ofsted
SERVICES for vulnerable young people in Redcar and Cleveland have given good and adequate rating by inspectors.
The overall effectiveness of services for looked after children was rated as good by Ofsted inspectors. And they said that safeguarding services for vulnerable youngsters were adequate. Councillor Joan Guy, Redcar and Cleveland Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services and education, said the inspectors had recognised many examples of effective working in the borough. The Ofsted inspectors found the borough’s Children and Young People’s Trust (CYPT) had “high aspirations” for youngsters and always took account of young people’s views. They said robust action had been taken by the council to address a shortage of in-house foster carers. Children and young people reported feeling safe in their placements and praised the quality of their care in a recent survey. The report said children were also performing well academically. The number achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C was “consistently above similar authorities and the national average”
Australia: Childcare care costs
will grow faster than a toddler
On the most recent figures, childcare fees are increasing at a rate of close to 11 per cent a year. And the cap to the rebate, set at $7500 a child a year, is increasingly being breached, so some parents are paying more than 50 per cent of the fees out of their own pockets. At the same time, there is increasing frustration about the inflexibility of formal long-daycare. For women with demanding and out-of-hours work schedules, these centres simply do not provide the services they need. Yet other options are unavailable or unaffordable. (Nannies, for instance, do not attract any fee assistance as they do not provide an approved service.) Family daycare is shrinking in relative terms. The federal government's assistance for childcare fees takes two forms. The first is the Child Care Benefit, which is directed at low-income families. The second is the Child Care Rebate, which is not means-tested and covers 50 per cent of out-of-pocket childcare expenses (after the benefit is received) up to an annual limit of $7500 a child. The rebate is available only for "work-related reasons".
Scotland: One child put into care
NEARLY one child every day in Edinburgh is being taken from their parents over fears they are at risk of harm, figures revealed today. A total of 266 children were removed from their homes under “place of safety warrants” during the last year as the number of cases hit what is believed to be their highest level yet. Meanwhile, child protection orders (CPOs) soared by 46 per cent between last April and March, increasing from 61 to 89, thought to be the largest figure for a single year. CPOs involve the most serious cases where there is “urgent danger” of neglect and usually see the child, often a newborn baby, taken into foster care. Council chiefs, who apply for the orders, said increasing “substance misuse” among parents in the Capital, particularly heroin, was partly responsible for the rise along with their focus on intervening early when children were at risk. Among the most common reasons for the orders being granted are youngsters falling victim to violence and physical neglect. Parents with drink and drug addictions, mental health problems, and histories of offending or domestic abuse are also cited as factors.
UK: More potential parents in
Lincolnshire urged to adopt siblings in care
Adopting a child can be a life-changing decision – and when it comes to sibling groups, even more consideration is needed. But Lincolnshire County Council has said it has run out of adopters for sibling groups and is urging more potential parents to come forward. When children are placed in to the care of the authority, more often than not it is due to neglect and abuse. This can affect two, three or four brothers and sisters. Whenever possible, the county council tries to keep these siblings together, but if suitable parents cannot be found they have to be separated. One adopter, from south Lincolnshire, gave a new home to a group of three siblings with ages ranging from a baby to an 8-year-old. The woman, who wishes to be known as Mrs Jones to protect the identity of her children, told the Echo that giving a new home to the trio was the most rewarding experience of her life.
MONDAY 9 JULY
Seattle Children's Home and Navos
combine their programs
for mental health care
Seattle Children’s Home and mental health care provider Navos officially merged their organizations this week in an effort to better serve youth affected by mental illness.
The two Seattle-based nonprofits have been working together since 2009 to serve troubled children in the region. In 2011, Navos started providing administrative support for Seattle Children's Home. The organizations are focusing on creating a less institutional and more holistic approach to mental health care for youth.
Canada: 22 more IWK youth-care
employees to lose jobs
The IWK Health Centre is letting go 22 more youth-care workers. Thursday’s announcement comes just four months after the hospital laid off 22 youth-care workers. “It’s a really devastating hit to the youth-care workers,” said Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union spokesman Neil McNeil. The union was told of the pending layoffs on Thursday. The IWK is reworking its mental health services and moving away from in-patient treatment in favour of a service carried out in clincs and delivered by psychologists, psychiatrists and other clinical mental health staff.
UK: Shock over £6.5m children's
care bill in Dorset
DORSET council taxpayers are footing a bill of more than £6.5million to send children to residential care in other areas. The 89 children have to be placed at specialist schools and residential centres which can cope with their needs. Bournemouth council placed 26 children in care outside its boundaries in 2011-12 at a cost of £2.7million. Dorset County Council made 44 such placements at a cost of £2.4m. And the Borough of Poole placed 19 children at a cost of £1.45m. The figures include children taken into care as well as those with disabilities or special needs. The children involved are in costly residential schools, specialist centres and children’s homes. http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9800438.Shock_over___6_5m_children_s_care_bill_in_Dorset/
Australia: Program expanded to
help troubled youth
VICTORIA'S most vulnerable children are suffering high rates of health problems, poor sleeping and low self-esteem, with the system designed to protect them largely failing. These insights are contained in a report prepared for the Department of Human Services that draws striking comparisons between the health of Victorian children in typical residential care and those who are part of a new program. But in a move welcomed by social welfare campaigners, the state government has acted on the report and is set to expand the new Therapeutic Residential Care Program. Victoria has about 450 youths in residential care, the most serious form of care in the state, with 54 of them monitored for the report. The youths were divided into two groups, one of 38 that took part in the program and another group of with less complex problems that did not. The findings reveal the poor mental health of young people in residential care, with about four out of five of all youths in the study consistently reporting low or very low self-esteem before they enter the program.
Former juvenile offenders in
Wyoming can catch ‘Second Wind’
About 62 young adults who have been in trouble with the law will now have an opportunity to study for a career at Central Wyoming College, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The college in Riverton will use the $1.2 million grant over a 30-month period for the Second Wind Project. The project provides work and life skills training with the goal of keeping more teens and young adults from becoming re-offenders, according to the CWC website. The program is based on national statistics indicating that about 70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system who don’t receive intervention end up in the adult system within three years, according to Lynne McAuliffe, the college’s dean for workforce and community education. Statistics show intervention reduces that number to about 30 percent. “They’ve found that if you can provide some type of intervention in the 18- to 21-year-old age category, you truly can change the course of their life and keep them out of the adult system,” said McAuliffe, who is also the author of the grant proposal.
UK: Children in care to benefit
from pioneering team in Bristol
A TEAM of social workers in Bristol have set themselves up like a doctor's surgery to speed up decision-making for children in care. The practice, called Vista, which is the only one of its kind in the south west, will benefit up to 150 children or young people in the city, giving them a bigger say in the decisions made about their care. Services are designed to be more streamlined and less bureaucratic. Cabinet Councillor Clare Campion-Smith, said: "Children in care often tell us they feel frustrated by delays to decision making on their behalf and can't always talk to someone they know when they want to. "This new pilot will help social workers maintain contact with the same child from when they come into care to the point where they leave and will enable them to manage more responsive working hours. "And social workers will be able to make more immediate decisions when funding is involved, rather than referring decisions to managers."
Ireland: Court hears teen in care
abroad carried out ‘extreme violence’
The High Court has heard an Irish adolescent placed in care in Scotland has been dealt with by police after he assaulted staff at the care facility. The case was one of a number heard on the court’s weekly Minor’s List — many of which involve placements of Irish children and young people overseas. Senior counsel for the HSE, Felix McEnroy, outlined how local police in Scotland had used discretion when dealing with the youth. A number of violent incidents are understood to have taken place involving the teenager, with the court being told "one of the assaults was a serious enough affair" and there had been "extreme violence visited on staff". Mr Justice George Birmingham said the incidents were "shocking", particularly given the young age of the child.
Georgia: Youths graduating from
‘life coaching’ program
Graduates of a program aimed at helping teens with their transition from foster care will get a new laptop computer today, thanks to the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation. The 25 youths ages 15 to 19 will have completed a “life coaching” program through the nonprofit organization, which helps improve the outlook for young people who are in foster care. The graduation is at noon at Macon State College. At the ceremony, each graduate will receive an orange duffel bag with a computer. Sam Bracken, founder of the program, will be guest speaker at the graduation. Bracken was homeless at age 15, but he earned a football scholarship to Georgia Tech and later became a successful executive. He co-authored the book “My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change.” His success story is a basis for the program.
Australia: Parents get joint
custody in girls-in-hiding case
Four young sisters at the centre of an international custody dispute will be allowed to stay with their mother in Queensland during weekdays while the matter is sorted out. The girls have been living in Australia with their mother for the past two years. In May, they failed to board a flight back to Italy to be with their father who held joint custody. The girls went into hiding but were later found by police on the Sunshine Coast and placed into foster care. Today, the Federal Court granted their mother custody during the week. Their father, who has travelled to Australia, will be allowed to have the girls on weekends until the matter goes to the High Court next month.
Thais impressed with Japanese
approach towards young inmates
Young inmates at remand homes can become socially acceptable people, too, when they are raised by "parents" who understand them. This was the message at the first meeting of the Asia-Pacific Council for Juvenile Justice (APCJJ). In Japan, married couples, who are government officials working for juvenile justice-related agencies, have taken on the responsibility of being their adoptive parents. Each of the couples has to take care of about 12 young offenders. Thai officials found this case study of juvenile justice, presented recently at the APCJJ meeting, interesting. "Living together as if they are part of the same family, each couple treats them as their own children, the parents teach them life skills and also the youngsters are given education. So, after graduation, they will be ready to live with people in society peacefully," said Tawatchai Thaikyo, director-general of the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection (DJOP). "Such rehabilitation is successful and interesting as it helps foster suitable behaviour in them," he said.
FRIDAY 6 JULY
Jamaica: Gov't to spend $1.5
billion on children in state care
THE Ministry of Youth and Culture plans to spend over $1.5 billion dollars on interventions for the well-being of the nation's children. Speaking this morning at the Jamaica House Press Briefing, Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna, said that her ministry will be working with The Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) to improve the living conditions of children in state care. "When we first got in I realised there was a significant problem with the children's homes, there wasn't enough space," she said.
A total of $658 million will be spent on public and private children homes, $292 million is to go to places of safety and $75.3 million for maintenance grants to children in foster care
Scotland: Bill aims to improve
A CONSULTATION on new laws to increase childcare entitlement and improve services for children and young people has been launched. The proposed Children and Young People Bill includes provisions to increase the amount of flexible, early learning and childcare to a minimum of 600 hours a year for three and four-year-olds and looked-after two-year-olds. The bill also provides measures to improve the care system and a requirement for public bodies to deliver policies and services that focus on improving children’s wellbeing. Launching the consultation on the bill yesterday, children’s minister Aileen Campbell said: “I want to put in place the best and most flexible package of family support in the UK to help Scotland’s parents, children and our wider economy. “This legislation will boost our ongoing efforts to strengthen the rights of the child, making Scotland a nation where the rights of children and young people are not only recognised but rooted deeply in our society and across our public services.
UK: Tougher Ofsted checks catch
Councils have been taken by surprise by tougher inspections of children’s services departments that have caused a spike in the number found to be failing. Local Government Chonile has learned that five out of 24 councils whose safeguarding and looked-after children’s services have been inspected in the past four months have been found inadequate. In four of the five cases, council chief executives and the Children’s Improvement Board had been unaware of any serious problems and were surprised by the verdicts. The figures have not all been published by Ofsted, but have emerged from draft inspection reports and have been confirmed by senior figures in children’s services. The figures have prompted claims that the regulator has introduced more thorough inspection practices, and have been met with concern by chief executives of councils that are due to be inspected shortly.
South Africa: Many Western Cape
children in foster homes
About 20 000 children in the Western Cape are in foster care because of abuse, neglect and their parents' drug use, it was reported on Wednesday. Cape Town Child Welfare CEO Niresh Ramklass told the Cape Times that poverty was not helping the already bleak situation. “It is quite stark. It would be best if children were not taken from their homes, but if we don't have a proper social net to protect our children, they will be lost. Many of them will die,” he said. He said drug use, especially among young mothers, was prevalent in the province. “Drugs, tik in particular, play a huge role the breakdown of family cores. “They have broken down young mothers' abilities to nurture their children. They spend most of their time at tik houses and have no time to feed or wash their newborn babies.” Children were kept in foster care for an average of two years while parents attempted to get their lives back on track. Over 100 000 children were in foster care nationally
Canada: Toronto task force split
on future of daycare
Nearly a year after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford appointed a task force to find “alternative sources of funding” for the city’s cash-strapped daycares, the committee is limping across the finish line with a slim report, recycled recommendations and a major disagreement over whether the city should get out of the child-care business. A draft copy of the task force’s report, which is scheduled to be released on Thursday, makes clear that the chair, councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, is alone in advocating that the municipal government hand over to the province and school board the operation of 53 city-run daycares and the administration of nearly 900 others by 2018. “[Offering child care through schools] will create the necessary partnerships that will enable a system to work for all families with either single or multiple children throughout all stages of development and age groups,” according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail.
Ireland: State to tighten
childcare rules and cut risks to young people
STRICTER regulation of creches and preschools is being planned to reduce risks to young children, the Irish Independent has learned. A new plan is being drawn up by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs that is expected to lead to updated legislation on the screening and monitoring of childcare facilities. News of the strategy for early childhood care and education facilities comes after an investigation in yesterday's Irish Independent highlighted concerns about the neglect and ill-treatment of children in some creches. Problems included chronic understaffing -- with one case where 20 children were being looked after by just two staff, when the ratio should have been one adult to every five. Other issues uncovered included a lack of background checks on staff responsible for youngsters, and cases where children were injured because of inexperienced carers.
US: Foster Kids Do Much Better
Under Approach Developed by Colorado University School of Medicine
Foster kids who receive mentoring and training in skills such as anger management, healthy communication, and problem solving are less likely to move foster homes or to be placed in a residential treatment center, and more likely to reunify with their biological families, according to a study by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers. Many programs nationwide have tried to help foster children achieve better placement outcomes by working with parents and making system-wide changes. This study, published in Pediatrics, focused on something new -- improving child well-being. These latest results are especially powerful and promising because there are few evidence-based programs for children in foster care.
UK: Children’s Minister to brief
care professionals on coalition plans
Our local authorities are under huge financial pressures, adoption rates are falling and the number of children taken into care is now at a 24 year high. The coalition government has set itself the heady challenge of completely overhauling the way in which some of the country’s most vulnerable people are cared for in England and Wales. According to data from the Guardian, the trend of the number of requests to take children into care is definitely upwards. As part of this effort Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Tim Loughton MP, will address delegates at a unique event next week when healthcare analysts Laing & Buisson bring together a number of the country’s biggest players in the childcare sector. Looked After Children Matter will explore and debate the ways in which services for children in care can achieve excellence, and most importantly in this time of shrinking government budgets, to what degree these services can be provided by the voluntary and private sector.
UAE to have its own SOS
A special village for orphans, abandoned children and those of unknown parentage is being built in Umm Al Qaiwain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the lines of the world famous SOS Children's Villages. The ministry of social affairs said the village, officially named "The Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Social Care Village", is being constructed and funded by the Khalifa bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation. The village aims to meet the psychological, spiritual, mental and social needs of children who were deprived of families, the ministry said. Children of unknown parentage will be provided with foster families and integrated into the community. The project to help up to 300 children is made up of a cluster of high quality residences, each of which can accommodate up to six children.
Canada Student brings her foster
care experiences to international summit
Dawn Lamothe knows what it's like to be in a foster home. And she wants to take her positive experience and help others achieve the same. Lamothe, 21, was one of 30 youth from around the world at the International Summit on Youth Care in Washington, D.C., last week. The delegates looked to ways to help youths transition from foster care to independence. They also discussed a trans-national child welfare system. Lamothe and her group — five other youths from Canada, the United States and South Africa — focused on identity and culture. “It would allow youth in care to learn from older youth in the area,” Lamothe says. She used the example of her group member from South Africa who lives in an orphanage with 300 other youth and one social worker. “The kids are already looking to the older kids,” she explains.
WEDNESDAY 4 JULY
New Zealand: Rise in youth crime
National child and youth crime rates are falling, but the number of young people apprehended last year in Taupo was higher than in 2010. The total number of youth apprehensions in the Taupo area last year was 4806, up from 4551 the previous year. In 2011, a total of 229 offenders aged 10 to 13 were apprehended, up from 208 in 2010, and 618 youths aged 14 to 16 were apprehended last year, up from 521 in 2010. Though the numbers of some offences, such as sexual assaults and disorderly conduct, are falling, offences such as burglary are increasing, with 135 youths aged 14 to 16 apprehended in 2011, up from 70 in 2010. But Taupo Police youth services co-ordinator Sergeant Mark Bond is confident the number of youth offenders will drop significantly this year due to the implementation of New Zealand Police's Prevention First strategy.
UK: Vulnerable children housed in
street with 15 sex offenders, warns childrens' minister
Fifteen known sex offenders are living in the same street in a seaside town as a number of children's homes, the Government's Children's Minister Tim Loughton has claimed. Local authorities from other parts of the UK are sending vulnerable children to live in residential homes in the street in Margate, Kent, revealed minister Tim Loughton, speaking on BBC Radio Kent. Mr Loughton said the children in the street "are not safe and need to be moved". "It is the responsibility of the corporate parents, the local authorities. They need to ask 'is the area where that home located safe?" said the minister. Referring to the Margate street, he added: "It can't be a good place to place these children." Some 243 children from outside the area have been rehoused in the town.
Ireland: Application to return
14-year-old to US refused
An application for the return of a 14-year-old child to the US was refused on the basis that the child objected to being returned and was of an age and level of maturity where his views should be taken into account. The child was born in 1997 and the parents of the child, both US citizens, were married in 1999. They divorced in August 2003 and the boy lived with his father in the US from then until November 2005, when the father was jailed and the child was briefly placed in care. He went to live with his mother in Missouri at the end of November 2005. In February 2006, custody was awarded to the mother in the state of Maine, to which she had moved. Under this order, the father was to have supervised contact and to be given 30 days’ notice of any intention on the part of the mother to relocate. In February 2010 the mother and child moved to Ireland with her second husband and younger child because the husband was deported from the United States.
Canada: Tories slash funding for
youth justice programs across Canada
The Conservative government has slashed 20 per cent of federal funding for youth justice programs in Canada, cutting $35.6 million used to supervise and rehabilitate young offenders, Torstar News Service has learned. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson made no mention of the drastic cut Wednesday in a news release that trumpeted “continued support” for the Youth Justice Services Funding Program. It is a key federal initiative that has directly transferred money to provinces and territories to deliver services to troubled youth ever since the original Young Offenders Act was passed in 1985. Instead, Nicholson said only that starting next spring, the Conservative government will “continue” to fund the program at $141.7 million annually. However federal justice officials confirm that’s down from $177.3 million now spent on the program, a level that’s been stable for the past several years. It is a significant programming cut, one that was not detailed in the federal budget document, directly hits the provinces, and represents more than half the $60 million in savings that the federal budget indicated the Justice Department must find next year. VAlthough the Conservative government has been loath to outline program cuts and did not publicly announce the reduction, it notified provinces and territories privately in correspondence this week.
Nebraska's Foster Care Overhaul
An overhaul of the watchdog agency that monitors Nebraska's foster care cases has taken effect. The new Foster Care Review Office announced Monday that it has replaced the 30-year-old Nebraska Foster Care Review Board. The board was created as a watchdog for the Department of Health and Human Services, to address concerns that too many children were being taken from homes and kept as state wards for too long. But critics say board members had conflicts of interest, because some worked for child welfare agencies that receive funding from the department. The new law by Omaha Sen. Bob Krist dissolved the board and created a new office and advisory committee. The law bans committee members from having a financial interest in the child welfare system.
US: California bucks trend by
rejecting new limits on 'solitary'
At the first-ever congressional hearing on the subject of solitary confinement, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois recently observed that it’s not always “the worst of the worst” who are subjected to the practice. Mentally-ill inmates, immigrants and juvenile offenders are put in solitary as well. And perhaps, said a series of witnesses at the hearing, the time has come to rethink the issue. Many states are now doing just that. But the debate is not devoid of its own unique politics. In California, for instance, a bid to require every-four-hour mental-health evaluations of minors who are “segregated” from other wards died a quick death this spring — even though the Golden State’s legislature is one of the nation’s most liberal and the measure was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times. The legislation failed by one vote to move beyond the seven-member state Senate Public Safety Committee. Three of five Democrats voted for the bill, including the Senate’s top leader, Democrat Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento. But two Democrats and the committee’s only two Republicans voted against it.
Fiji: Young top jail count
YOUTHS make up more than half the prison population in the country. According to statistics provided by the Fiji Corrections Services, out of the 1375 inmates, 819 fall in the youth category. Spokeswoman Ana Tamani said youths were 21 to 35 years of age. She said majority or 340 of those offenders were between the ages of 21 to 25, there were 288 people aged 26 to 30, while 191 were 31 to 35 years. She said 141 juveniles between the ages 16 to 20 were also in prison. Mrs Tamani said the youths were in prison for different offences. Speaking to students, parents and guardians of Nuku District School at Naselai on Friday, Yellow Ribbon Project official Jale Vosadrau said the majority of youths in the prison system were jailed for marijuana-related offences.
Working to Improve Foster Kids'
Moving from one family to the next in the foster system doesn't leave much opportunity for building relationships with individual foster families. A new program aims to help this. A recent paper described the process of converting a successful family relationship-building program for eighth graders into a modified version that can be used to address the disconnect between foster teens and their foster families. Heather Storer, a doctoral student in the University of Washington's School of Social Work, led a study exploring whether a social program aimed at preventing non-foster teens' risky behaviors could help foster teens as well. The 10-week program is aimed at strengthening family bonds and functioning by having parents talk about their hopes and expectations for their child and what the child's strengths are. This kind of communication and family functioning is an area where foster children and their foster families often struggle the most.
Illinois: Advocates praise
Quinn’s plan to close juvenile prisons
Juvenile justice advocates are praising Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to close two youth prisons this year, but the fate of the lock-ups in Murphysboro and Joliet remains in limbo. Under Quinn’s plan, which became law Saturday w`hen he signed the new state budget, the youth centers will be shuttered, with offenders being moved into the state’s remaining six juvenile prisons. Groups backing the move said 18 other states have closed more than 50 juvenile facilities since 2007 to free up money to rehabilitate youth in their own communities. Consolidation of the youth prison system will drive down the cost of a system where the annual cost has recently risen to close to $100,000 per bed. That drains away money that could better be spent on rehabilitation of our youth and helping them transition safely back into their communities,” said Paula Wolff, senior executive of Metropolis Strategies, a Chicago-based civic organization.
MONDAY 2 JULY 2012
South Australia to offer support for wards
People who leave state care will be able to take advantage of a one stop place for support and counselling from today in South Australia. Minister for Education and Child Development Grace Portolesi says Relationships Australia SA will offer social work support to younger people as they leave care and older people who were in care as children who require extra support as adults. Relationships Australia SA will provide free information about community services, advocacy, referrals and support including access to education, support to locate family, housing advocacy and access to counselling.
UK: £9m plan to tackle
Liverpool’s children in care crisis unveiled
A MULTI-MILLION pound blueprint designed to stop the number of Liverpool children in care smashing the 1,000 mark was unveiled today. The radical five-year £9m plan includes recruiting hundreds of new foster carers and stepping up early intervention in a bid to stem the growing number of children ending up in care. Liverpool currently has 968 looked-after children in foster care or other placements, either as a result of court proceedings because they are at risk of harm or with the agreement of their parents. As in other areas, the figure has risen steadily since the tragic death of Baby Peter in Haringey in 2007 and is up 11% compared with 2008. Figures show it costs the council more than £25m per year to care for looked-after children in Liverpool.
Study ranks Fla child welfare
system fourth in nation
Florida’s child welfare system is among the top five best in the country for children, according to the 2012 Right For Kids Rankings report released June 29. If more states in the country followed the model set by Florida and other top-performing states, the report says there would be 72,000 fewer kids in foster care and 19,000 more children adopted each year. The 2012 Right For Kids Rankings measures how well each state is serving its most vulnerable children, and celebrates top-performing states overall and in specific outcome areas. Florida ranked fourth overall in the national ranking, which makes state leaders proud.
Calgary: 11 children died while
in province's care last year
Child welfare officials must be more accountable to the public when children die while in the province's care - as 11 did last year - critics say. The province's Human Services Department released its annual report on Thursday, detailing the deaths and 17 additional cases where children required hospitalization after being injured while in care. Provincial legislation protects the identities of children in care, but the grandmother of one of the children who died last year said it also prevents necessary public scrutiny of the system. "No one is accountable," said Marilyn Koren, whose fourmonthold granddaughter died in care last year. Koren's family obtained a court order lifting the sweeping publication ban that normally govern child welfare cases. In addition to the children who died in care, 17 required hospitalization under several different circumstances.
Maryland Children's Home Breaks
Ground on Two New Buildings
After 90 years, some of the residential buildings on the campus of the Children's Home have become too old to use. The Catonsville residential facility, which provides short- and long-term care for children who have experienced trauma, broke ground Tuesday on two new buildings on campus. The new buildings will be home to up to eight children each and each will be 4,000 square feet. The buildings will have individual bedrooms for the children and a large common area. The total cost of the construction project is $1.7 million. The home received $400,000 in state bond funds, but is still raising funds for the project, said Director of Development Gail Lee.
Croydon council commended by
Croydon Council has been commended for its work protecting young people in its children’s services. Ofsted inspectors declared the local authority adequate overall for its children’s services while declaring its capacity to improve as good. Reduction in teenage pregnancy rates and providing early intervention services were praised while inspectors found that in all cases they examined children in the council’s care were being kept safe. Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “This report shows that we are moving in the right direction. It’s not a reason for complacency, but I am pleased that our looked after children have been found to be well cared for and that the safety of young people in general is managed well.”
US: Man donates to build SD
reservation foster home
A Michigan man has pledged to donate as much money as needed to build a 40-bed children's home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The Rapid City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/MGMV62 ) that officials involved in the project say the home would likely cost nearly $1 million. Officials say foster care is needed if children must spend the night away from their parents, which often happens when parents are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol when children are in the vehicle. The new home would be for children up to 12 years old because there already is an emergency home on the reservation for older children. Officials say the Michigan man funding the project wants to remain anonymous.
Idaho: Northwest Children's Home
helps children deal
with neglect & abuse
The Northwest Children's Home has been a sanctuary for abused youth in the Lewiston area since 1908. However, even after a hundred years of serving the Valley, Director of Development Erika Allen said they still fight misconceptions about what the center really does and the youth they rehabilitate. "A lot of people think that this is a lock down facility for kids who are criminals," said Allen. "We're not dealing with troubled youth we're dealing with children who've experienced child abuse." Allen said they're working with children who have experienced severe neglect and abuse, who require special 24 hour therapy and care. Once they've spent about six months to a year at the center, they graduate to different placement centers. Allen said the Northwest Children's Home is working to get misconceptions about the program cleared through community involvement and awareness.
Foster care youth celebrate
“Independence Day” has a different meaning for children in foster care — it represents the day they age out of the system. It's less about fireworks and fanfare and more about finding housing and forming a future. About 300 teens and young adults celebrated their recent or approaching transition out of foster care at the 13th Annual Independence Day Youth Conference at the University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus Friday. The transition can be disorienting to youths who might have experienced abuse and neglect, leaving them floundering to pay bills, find an apartment, buy a car, enter college or get a job, said UTSA Professor Harriett Romo, director of the university's child and adolescent policy research institute.
Idaho Child Welfare System No. 1
Idaho's state-run child welfare system was ranked No. 1 in the nation Friday by the Foundation for Government Accountability. The study judged all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 11 outcomes and 41 data measures, including:
• How quickly they reacted to abuse allegations
• Whether they made sure abused children were put in safe, permanent homes quickly.
• Whether foster care settings were supportive, safe, home-like and stable.
• Their work to reduce abuse and neglect
The state last year received one report every 69 minutes of child abuse, abandonment or neglect. There are about 1,300 foster children in Idaho, down from a high of 1,900 in 2007.
Trinidad & Tobago Caregivers:
Children’s homes pressed for space
Even as the police crack down on delinquent parents, the State may find itself faced with a bigger issue—finding children’s homes to put children who are taken away from their parents. With most homes funded by charity, Judy Wilson, who runs Rainbow Rescue, said there are not enough to accommodate the upsurge in children being referred. Checks with some of the homes in Port-of-Spain, South and Central revealed challenges with space, resources, staff and finance. Wilson said her home is among a minority, as it receives a government subvention, but generally homes depend on funding from charity causes and business organisations. “Space is the biggest problem. They remove children from their parents’ homes and they try to bring them to us.” She also complained about how long children have to wait for counselling appointments at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope. “When the children come to us, they have already gone through so much in their little lives that they are totally messed up.” Fr George Pritchell, in charge of the Emmanuel Community in Woodbrook, said their biggest issue is finance.
Scotland: Neighbours object to
children’s home plan
Plans to open a new children’s home in Lochaber have come under fire from neighbours. Nine Camaghael residents have lodged letters of objection to the plans from Belfast company Keys Childcare. A presentation was given earlier this week to Lochaber councillors who are preparing to consider the application, however residents remain unconvinced claiming that the chosen area is “unsafe”, the unit is “not in keeping” and it could devalue their properties.