WEDNESDAY 27 JUNE
280 to lose jobs as Casey Family
Casey Family Services, which provides therapeutic foster care services to about 400 children, is closing and laying off 280 employees. The Annie E. Casey Foundation announced Tuesday it will discontinue its direct services through New Haven-based Casey Family Services so the foundation can shift to making grants to child welfare agencies. The foundation said the new strategy will have the potential to affect thousands of children and families and to advance stronger practices across the field. The Baltimore-based foundation said it will move the majority of children and their foster families to other providers by the end of the year and will be open next year with a small staff to support any remaining cases. Employees affected by the closing will receive a generous severance, foundation spokesman Norris West said. Casey Family Services was created in 1976, and provides foster care services to children under state contracts in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. It helps find permanent homes for foster children as well as provide support to foster families, West said.
Scotland: Inquiry examines the
process of taking children into care
An inquiry into when children should be taken into care is being launched by the Scottish Parliament. The education committee will focus on the process of removing of a child from the family home and whether more children need to be removed sooner. At the moment there are 16,000 looked after children in Scotland. The MSPs will spend the next six months hearing evidence as well as taking the committee on the road. Children's charity Barnardo's Scotland believes there is too much emphasis put on parents' rights and not enough thought given to the impact which long-term neglect can have on children. Holyrood's education convener Stewart Maxwell believes there are a number of questions that need answered.
New Zealand: Youth crime rate
Child and youth crime rates continue to fall, but statistics show some serious offences are on the rise. Youths committed 3582 offences that went through the Youth Court in 2011, down from 3939 offences in 2010, according to Statistics New Zealand. Of those, 1812 were discharged and 786 were not proven, compared to 1872 and 822 respectively in the previous year. Homicides were down to six in 2011 from nine in 2010 and acts intended to cause injury offences fell from 537 to 516. Sexual assaults were up, however, from 72 in 2010 to 81 last year.
Missouri: Governor sign bills to
help foster care children and parents
Gov. Jay Nixon has signed three bills to support foster care parents and children, and to help support agencies that provide residential care and treatment for Missouri youth. The governor signed House Bills 1172, 1576 and 1577 on Monday, June 25, while at Epworth Children and Family Services in Webster Groves, where he was joined by leaders from Epworth, from Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, and from other foster care and youth care agencies, according to a press release. House Bill 1576 allows certain specialized state-licensed foster care parents to purchase the same state health insurance as state employees. “Foster parents throughout Missouri have opened their homes and hearts to children in need,” Nixon said in the release. “Some foster parents have received additional training and a specialized license to care for children with special needs. For these foster parents, caring for these children is literally a full-time job. That’s why we want them to have the opportunity to purchase the same health care plan as state employees.”
UK: Supporting West Sussex’s
Looked After Children
West Sussex County Council’s Corporate Parenting Panel has just completed a successful first year of action promoting the interests of the Council’s Looked After Children. It was set up to ensure the Council provides the correct level of support to Looked After Children, just as would be expected by natural parents helping young people with the challenges they face throughout their childhood. The Panel has a responsibility on behalf of the Council for taking an active interest in the development needs and improving the life chances of Looked After Children. It works together with officers and young people to have oversight of the services provided, and looks into any issues raised by the Children in Care Council. Chairman David Simmons said: "We have made considerable progress this year with a pledge to our young people agreed on what we will do for them as a Council, and greater overview of the service schools provide to Looked After Children and their educational achievement.
Florida: Cops bust foster child
Four South Florida men are accused of running a prostitution ring that preyed on children in foster care. Police and prosecutors arrested the men Monday as part of an ongoing investigation. They are charged with conspiracy, racketeering and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The Miami Herald reports the men used a teenage foster child as a recruiter. The men plied the girls with cash, affection and gifts. In turn the girls became prostitutes, bringing the ring $100 for every man they had sex with. From the $100, the girls were paid $30 to $40.
Tennessee children's well-being
The well-being of children in Tennessee has improved over the last few years, according to the latest Kids Count State of the Child annual report. But the full report does highlight several issues that still need attention. Rodger Jowers, regional coordinator of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, said an issue of special concern is infant mortality and low birth weight in West Tennessee. “Our babies aren’t getting the best possible start we can give them,” Jowers said. “There’s a higher concentration of increased infant mortality in West Tennessee.” Jowers said factors contributing to the problem are numerous, including history of tobacco use, obesity, poverty and the effects on toxic stress on mothers.
Scotland: £8m to support families
and stop children going into care
AN investment of more than £8 million is to be used to help stop children going into care and improve support for young families. Strengthening antenatal and early years services, particularly for vulnerable children and families, are among the council’s plans, which also include improving early access to antenatal services to support mothers-to-be to breastfeed, improve maternal and infant nutrition, and reduce harm from smoking, alcohol and drugs. The council also intends to increase the number of foster carers in the city by 150 over the next five years. Reducing the need for children and young people to go into care is a key objective, as well as improving support for youngsters looked after at home. There are currently around 400 children and young people in Edinburgh who are looked after at home, which means they are subject to compulsory care measures but still live in the care of their family.
Australia: Teens lay down law on
SIX Copperfield College students are planning to push for alternatives to jail time for juveniles in trouble with the law.
The Delahey students will debate the proposal during next month's YMCA Youth Parliament. Team spokeswoman Claudia Ralevski said the students believed there were more effective alternatives to the current justice system for children. "We believe the state should not implement criminal convictions against children, especially if it will ultimately have a negative impact on the rest of their lives in terms of schooling and vocational opportunities," she said. "Young children should not be put in a negative environment where they are detained and forced to have a criminal conviction for the rest of their lives." The group also wants the implementation of a statewide counselling program for young offenders.
UK: Vulnerable children sent too
far from home at risk of "sex-grooming"
VULNERABLE children in care are being sent too far away from their homes leaving them susceptible to "sex-grooming", says Kent County Council. According to a recent KCC survey, the county currently cares for 134 Greenwich children - more than any other local authority in the country. In total 1,267 non-Kent youngsters are placed in the county including 60 from Lewisham, 48 from Bexley as well as two from Scotland. KCC leader Councillor Paul Carter argues children in care should be kept within 15 miles of home in order to minimise trauma and avoid the risk of child sex-grooming. He said: "Children in care deserve a better deal and all councils must work much harder to provide placements that enable them to remain in their schools and with their friends, unless there is a threat to their safety.
Mixed messages on the value of
extra training for foster carers
Training programs for foster carers result in a wide range of outcomes for looked-after children and young people, a new review finds. While improving the skills of foster carers and others who work with looked-after children and young people has been widely seen as a key to improving care outcomes, the evidence produces mixed messages. Some programs delivered significant improvements in children’s emotional and behavioral development, while others had no effect. And there was no evidence that such training for carers improves the stability of children’s out-of-home placements. But the review discovered important differences between the UK and US that suggest avenues for further research. From an initial trawl of thousands of studies, only six were included in the final review. Three of the six were conducted in the United States, and three in the UK. Five were randomized controlled trials, and compared the impact of additional training and support to standard services for foster carers. The US-based studies reported significant improvements in the young people’s emotional and behavioral outcomes, but the UK studies demonstrated little or no impact. Neither nation produced evidence that additional training translates into increased stability of children’s placements with their foster care families.
FRIDAY 22 JUNE
BC: 'Glacial progress' in child
Children and youth advocate Adrienne Montani wasn't impressed Tuesday by a Statistics Canada report that child poverty rates are improving in B.C. "We're not the worst, we're the second worst," said Montani, provincial co-ordinator for First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition. "It's just such glacial progress." StatsCan reported a drop in B.C. from 11.8 per cent of the population - or 98,000 kids - living in poverty in 2009 to 10.5 per cent or 87,000 in 2010. The improvement means B.C., which had the worst rate in Canada for the previous eight years, is second worst in the country behind Manitoba at 11.1 per cent. No one factor is to blame. "It's a bunch of reasons," Montani, pointing to low wages, low social assistance, the lack of child care and its high cost, as well as the high cost of housing. Montani said spending money on children and families is a "sensible investment."
Ireland: Damning report lifts lid
on chaos of HSE care services
ABANDONED abroad by his mother as a toddler and imprisoned as a teenager, Young Person 19 was left to fend for himself on the streets after the HSE closed his file at the age of 18. Within months he was dead. Young Person 19 was one of 196 tragic deaths of children and young adults whose tragic plight was detailed in the shocking 400-plus page report of the Independent Child Death Review Group (ICDRG). The report, described by its authors as a "damning indictment" of Ireland's child protection system, unveiled a catalogue of failures by the HSE. The review, led by child law expert Geoffrey Shannon and Norah Gibbons who is a director for advocacy at Barnardos, investigated the circumstances surrounding the deaths of children and young people in care, aftercare, or known to Child Protection Services over a 10-year period. (See today's LINK).
UK: Child care price rise
PLANS to increase the cost of council-run child care have been rubber-stamped. Parents will have to fork out more money after Hartlepool Borough Council agreed to increase the amount they pay for their children to attend the OSCARs after school and holiday club sessions. OSCARs is an all-year round child care service operated by the council that is open to children aged between three and 16, extended to 18 if the young person has “additional needs” and is still in education. Independent councillor Cath Hill, portfolio holder for children’s services, agreed to increase prices from September this year. Officers say the price hikes are necessary to make sure the service is sustainable.
San Francisco might consolidate
its services for children
Francisco is home to 35,000 children under 5, and many of their parents rely on a patchwork of public programs for day care and preschool. The school district, three city agencies and a bevy of nonprofit groups offer options for all kinds of families — but navigating the system can be confusing. So last month, as part of his budget proposal, Mayor Ed Lee announced his intention to combine all city services for young children and their families into a single office, which would be created if the Board of Supervisors approves the mayor’s budget. “The thing we always hear from our families is how complicated the maze is,” said Hydra Mendoza, the mayor’s education advisor. “We’ve been having these conversations for a while about how we can combine our efforts, so families don’t have to go to different agencies.”
UK: Children in care homes 'let
Children’s minister Tim Loughton has accused some councils of “letting down” looked-after children and “failing to act as a proper parent”. He said there were “some serious weaknesses in the current system. Frankly, some local authorities and children’s homes are letting down children by failing to act as a proper ‘parent’.” Mr Loughton was responding to an all-party parliamentary group report, published on Monday, which described a “scandal going on in England involving children missing from care”. In response, the government said it would review children’s homes. David Simmonds (Con), chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said a range of issues needed addressing. He said that councils ran only a quarter of homes and local authorities had to rely solely on Ofsted ratings for independent homes.
Illinois child welfare agency
mulls cuts, layoffs
Already in open violation of a federal decree on child welfare investigations, the Illinois agency that oversees well-being of families faces new budget cuts that could lead to hundreds of worker layoffs and the elimination of services that have helped keep thousands of children out of foster care. The Department of Children and Family Services would see some $85 million in trims under the budget lawmakers passed last month to deal with the state's financial crisis. Several agencies are facing steep reductions and difficult decisions as a result, but DCFS Director Richard Calica said the budget cuts could be particularly painful for his department. Each year, it has contact with some 150,000 Illinois children and initiates about 63,000 investigations through a child-abuse hotline.
Jamaica: The lobby to ban
corporal punishment in home and schools
The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children in collaboration with the Global Movement for Children in Latin America and the Caribbean recently published their 2012 progress report. The report outlined the status of the movement to stop corporal punishment of children in the Caribbean. The lobby, a registered United Kingdom-based charity, with support from United Nations and human rights groups, monitors the progress of global governments to prohibit corporal punishment of children in homes, schools, penal institutions and in alternative care settings. The practice of corporal punishment is noted to be directly in conflict with "the equal and inalienable rights of children to respect for their human dignity and physical integrity". The lobby notes the colonial roots of corporal punishment stating that "as in much of Africa and Asia, corporal punishment of children was promoted and institutionalised across the Caribbean during the colonial period, in the context of military occupation and slavery, in the development of early school and penal systems, and in some Christian missionary teaching".
San Diego: Voices for Children
San Diego's foster youth is in desperate need of help. It is estimated that approximately half of the 6,000 children in San Diego’s foster care system each year have no one—no parent, no relatives, no family friends—to look out for the child's best interests. They are alone in a complicated system that can rob much of the joy out of childhood. In response to this crisis, Voices for Children Board of Directors met in September 2011 and dedicated themselves to Serve Every Child. Some of the Serve Every Child goals for the next five years include:
• Provide CASAs to 3,200 foster children by 2015, tripling the number of children served with CASAs;
• Increase the number of trained volunteer advocates to 1,400 advocates (almost three times the current group of CASAs);
• Increase the effectiveness of the CASA Program by developing programs to serve infants and toddlers, and teens preparing to
exit the system;
• Be a leader in the community in terms of advocating for improvements in the foster care system and raising awareness of the
plight of foster children in San Diego County.
Although the foster care system is filled with talented, committed and passionate professionals, it is also a system that is overwhelmed and overburdened.
Tennessee Governor extends foster
care to 21 to help teens transition to adulthood
Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday the money it costs to permit Tennessee young people to stay in foster care until age 21 is money well spent. "This is a wise investment in terms of cutting costs to the state, but also doing the right thing," he said. "We want to help wherever we can. I really think thousands of kids over the next years will have a different life because of this (legislation)." The governor traveled to the Blount County campus of Pellissippi State Community College to sign a bill that allows the Department of Children's Services to continue "Tennessee's Transitional Youth Empowerment Act of 2010" and removes the program's June 30 termination date. Haslam said the added annual cost to the state is $1.7 million. About $900,000 is the state's share and about $800,000 are federal dollars. Of the more than 8,000 children in state custody or foster care this year, about 60 percent are teens. In 2011, 813 aged out when they reached 18, he said.
Australia: MP says caring
grandparents need assistance
The West Australian Nationals MP Tony Crook says grandparents caring for their grandchildren should get the same entitlements as foster parents. Mr Crook raised the issue in last night's adjournment debate in Federal Parliament. He spoke of the case of a family in Albany in his electorate where grandparents are caring for a grandson, whose mother is battling substance abuse. "When my constituent heard of her grandson being left in a room with marijuana smoke, and being fed painkillers to be quiet she went directly to the house and rescued him," he said.
Mr Crook says he has raised the issue with both the Western Australia and Federal Governments. He says neither has offered appropriate support for so-called grandcarers. "I believe these grandcarers should be held in at least the same financial category as foster carers," he said.
WEDNESDAY 20 JUNE
UK: Report Finds 'Serious
Weaknesses' In Children's Care System
A new report on England’s care system has found “serious weaknesses” in the care provided for runaways, the children’s minister says. The report calls for an independent investigation into the homes system after an investigation by MPs found placing youngsters far from home could encourage them to abscond, leaving them then at risk of sexual abuse. Children's Minister Tim Loughton said "urgent steps" would be taken. Much of the criticism by the all-party parliamentary groups on children in care and on runaways and missing people focuses on homes where about 5,000 of the 65,000 of those in care are looked after.
American Diabetes Association
Applauds the Passage
of Louisiana Senate Bill 759
The American Diabetes Association is pleased to announce the passage of Louisiana Senate Bill 759, a key piece of legislation in the fight to keep children with diabetes safe at school. This bill, which was signed by Governor Bobby Jindal on Friday, allows school employees to volunteer to be trained to help children with diabetes with essential care tasks. These tasks include administering insulin, which is needed multiple times a day, and glucagon, a hormone needed in the case of dangerously low blood glucose levels. This bill also allows children, if they are capable to do so, to self-manage their diabetes while at school. "The passage of Senate Bill 759 is a major step forward for all children in Louisiana living with diabetes," said Eloise Keene, the Louisiana state advocacy chair for the American Diabetes Association. Keene's daughter has type 1 diabetes, and her efforts were instrumental in the bill's introduction and passage. "Now, children like my daughter will finally have access to the vital diabetes care they need to stay safe and healthy while at school."
UK: Police estimate that 10,000
"Looked After Children" go missing
from care each year
An inquiry led by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults and the APPG for Looked after Children and Care Leavers has delivered a devastating report on the failings of children's homes in particular and treatment of children in care in general. How many instances are there of children in the care system going missing each year? The Department of Education estimate 930, the police estimate 10,000. Quite extraordinarily the police are not told where children's homes are. The report says: "Barriers which stop the police from being informed of the names and addresses of all children’s homes in their area must be overcome." Ofsted say they would be happy to but that a change in the law would needed.
South Australia: Children in
crisis cost $37m
Taxpeyers are being hit with a $37 million bill to house children in emergency accommodation, as the number needing care rises. Accommodation includes serviced apartments and hotel rooms. Parliament's Budget and Finance Committee yesterday heard evidence from senior officials in the Education and Child Development Department, a new "super agency" created in October. It has control of functions including primary and secondary schooling as well as child protection. Families South Australia executive director David Waterford told the committee there had been an increase in the number of children in emergency care - 126 at the end of April, compared with 109 at the same time a year earlier. About half are being cared for in "interim emergency" accommodation, including holiday rentals.
Wales: Staff taken on in bid to
ease child services crisis
DOZENS of staff have been taken on to ease the crisis in children's services in Neath Port Talbot Council. Forty social services staff have been recruited and have already started work, with a dozen more recruited but yet to start, and another dozen vacancies still to be filled. It's part of an all-embracing action plan called the Children's Improvement Programme which will be launched next week. The plan follows an inspection last year by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW). This identified the development of the social services workforce as key priority to ensure the council could continue delivering a safe service for children and their families. As has been widely reported there have been issues such as record numbers of children in care, a high staff turnover and problems recruiting and retaining social workers, especially more experienced professionals.
D.C. child welfare law change
leaves some behind
A change in the District’s child welfare laws designed to help adopted children and those with legal guardians has left some without financial support. Before the D.C. Council passed emergency legislation in 2010, foster parents received subsidies of about $1,000 a month from the District’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) until their foster children turned 21, while guardians and adoptive parents received subsidies only until their wards turned 18. The new law eliminated the discrepancy, but only for adopted children and those in guardianships who entered the system after May 7, 2010, leaving those already in the system without support checks once they turn 18. According to the CFSA, 142 children with guardians have had their subsidies terminated since the law changed. About 800 families now receive subsidies from the city.
Are longer school days way to
better child care?
The Government is reported to be considering radical changes to the UK's system of child care provision to make life cheaper and easier for hard-working parents. Under proposals schools could stay open until 8pm and rules such as adult-to-child ratios could be relaxed for organisations offering child care. The idea is to increase child care flexibility and cut the red tape which keeps costs high. A commission will investigate the provision of child care and report back in the autumn. The UK is one of the most expensive places in the world for child care - with parents spending four times as much as their counterparts in countries such as Germany. Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We want to do all we can to reduce the cost of child care for parents, and make sure they can find and afford high quality nurseries, after-school clubs and holiday schemes for their children."
UC Merced student is a foster
care success story
Growing up, Portia Mira spent several years in the foster care system in Merced County. Many of the children and youth who grow up in the system come from broken homes, she said, "leading them to failure." But failure was not in her plans. "You can't go wrong if you stay in school," said Mira, 23, a senior majoring in biology at UC Merced. She is also an example of the success that foster children can have if they continue to pursue an education despite the challenges they face. She's not only a student, but a mother, wife and caregiver. Later this summer, she will begin to take responsibility for her younger sister, Akilah Kurpiel, when she turns 18 and emancipates from the foster care system. Akilah has special needs.
Atlanta foster care system
better, but still needs improvement
The metro Atlanta foster care system is improving its adoption rate and demonstrating strong oversight over its foster homes but still needs improvement, according to a report by federally appointed monitors. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that 84 percent of children ready for adoption in the second half of 2011 were adopted within a year. An additional 11 percent were finalized within 13 to 17 months. The report notes that this is the state’s best performance to date and the first time it has exceeded the 80 percent performance threshold. Georgia was required by a court settlement in 2005 to make big changes to its foster care system and establish benchmarks for progress. Federal monitors file a compliance report for the foster care system every six months. The most recent previous report, which covered the first half of last year, found that only 67 percent of children ready for adoption were adopted within 12 months.
Washington: Event celebrates
children reunited with families
after foster care
Families celebrated more than just nice weather on Saturday morning. The second annual Family Celebration Day champions families that have fought hard to win back their children from foster care. The event was held outside of the Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Center in Southeast D.C. It recognizes the hard work families have done to overcome many challenges in order to be reunited with their children. For them, it's been a tough road to becoming a family again. "It's a huge accomplishment," says Diane King, D.C. Superior Court's Family Court director. 250 families were invited to Saturday's event to be recognized for their success. "It's just our way to give recognition for the hard work the families have done," King says.
MONDAY 18 JUNE
Canada: Residential youth
facility has grand opening
Muskowekwan First Nation hosted the grand opening, Friday, for the 4 Directions residential youth facility. The coed facility provides 20 residential spaces for youth between the ages of 12 and 16 to receive stabilization and assessment services. The children and youth served by 4 Directions have experienced repeated breakdown in the foster care system and require stabilization before returning to the community. Social Services Minister June Draude said in a news release the new facility will help provide a stable environment for the youths. "So that these young people can get the education and programming they need to change their lives for the better," she added. Muskowekwan is located 1 1/2 hours north-east of Regina
Young Latinos Have Fastest
Growing Rate Of Diabetes, Study Says
A new study released by research affiliates with the American Diabetes Association found that the number of Latino children and youth under 20 years of age diagnosed with diabetes is growing at an alarming rate -- the fastest of any ethnic group in the U.S. While Type 1 diabetes is growing at an annual rate of about 3 percent, with a 23 percent increase in 8 years, in children and young adults, about 33 percent of Americans under 20 years of age now have Type 2 diabetes, a 21 percent jump in eight years, according to data collected between 2001 and 2009 by the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study. But the trend has affected Latinos the worst, according to researchers. "Rates of diabetes among Hispanic kids have outpaced other groups both in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes – something we’ve never seen before and indicative of something we should take seriously,” study author Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, a professor at the University of Colorado in Denver said while presenting his study findings, NBC Latino reported. And it's not just the kids. One in ten Hispanics over the age of 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Education Program.
Nebraska: Services for children
and youth with disabilities to be extended
The state has added services for children and youths with developmental disabilities at the end of the school day and between school sessions. The services would continue job coaching or job readiness training and also allow funding for children and youths to participate in summer recreation activities in their communities, said Jodi Fenner, director of the Department of Health and Human Services division of developmental disabilities. The activities are aimed at building social, physical and academic skills. Being able to learn and maintain skills throughout the entire year are important options for young people, Fenner said. The schools provide the services during the academic year and in summer school. “Helping children and their families live better lives is important to us, and we’re thrilled families will be able to benefit from these new services,” she said.
Indian residential school deaths
found by Ontario coroner
An intensive review of Ontario records has so far turned up more than 100 possible cases of previously unidentified child and youth deaths linked to Indian residential schools, the province's chief coroner said Thursday. The information was gleaned from close scrutiny of about 5,000 death records selected from an initial screening of 250,000 records going back to the 19th century. "It's staggering to think that families would not have known what happened to a child that was sent off to the residential schools," Chief Coroner Dr. Andrew McCallum told The Canadian Press. "There was a huge vacuum of information. What was fed back to the immediate family was highly inconsistent."
UK: Praise for care of vulnerable
kids in Tyneside
COUNCIL bosses have been praised for the way vulnerable children and young people are looked after in the borough. Ofsted inspectors say they were impressed that the council has maintained its level of investment in safeguarding services in the present financial climate. They spent two weeks looking at how the council protects children and cares for youngsters who are ‘looked after’ by the authority. They found looked-after children’s services to be ‘good’, and safeguarding services to be ‘adequate’, with ‘good’ capacity to improve. In particular, they commended the leadership of elected members and senior officers, and the level of ambition they have for the borough’s children and young people.
South Australia: $37m
accommodation bill for kids at risk
A State Parliamentary committee has been told emergency accommodation for children at risk in South Australia has cost about $37 million this financial year. The Opposition says it works out at about $300,000 for each child in care. Families SA spokesman David Waterford says the agency tries to put the children in similar types of accommodation. "Overwhelmingly they've been accommodated in rented apartments and then holiday units or furnished apartments ... we'd very rarely use hotels or motels," he said. Opposition frontbencher John Gardner said SA had slipped to last among the states in its handling of such cases. "In 2001 when the Liberal Party was in government, 99.9 per cent of children under guardianship under 12 years of age were in home-based placements, leading the nation," he said.
Ireland: Children six times more
likely to need help in certain areas
CHILDREN are six times more likely to be taken into care in some parts of the country than in others, new HSE figures have revealed. And in Dublin, children who live only a few miles apart face hugely different odds of being taken into care. The picture has emerged in a breakdown of the rate of children in care in 2010 in the areas of the country covered by 32 HSE local health offices. One of the widest differences is between the Dublin North Central and North Dublin areas, where there is a more than a sixfold variation. The rate of children being placed in care in Dublin North Central -- which includes Ballymun, Clontarf, Drumcondra and Beaumont -- is 156.8 per 10,000 children under 18 years. However, the rate in North Dublin -- which includes Coolock, Howth and Malahide -- is just 24.1 per 100,000. The HSE said the reasons for the variations were likely to be just "part of the explanation".
Metro Atlanta foster care system
A report by federally appointed monitors says the metro Atlanta foster care system is improving its adoption rate and demonstrating strong oversight over its foster homes but still needs improvement. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports 84 percent of children ready for adoption in the second half of 2010 were adopted within a year. An additional 11 percent were finalized within 13 to 17 months. The report notes that this is the state's best performance to date and the first time it has exceeded the 80 percent performance threshold. Georgia was required by a court settlement in 2005 to make big changes to its foster care system and establish benchmarks for progress. Federal monitors file a compliance report for the foster care system every six months.
Australia Wellington to have
indigenous foster care program
A foster program which keeps Aboriginal children in their own communities is set to be established in Wellington, in the state's central west. The organisation, AbSec, wants to introduce the service which would see up to 40 children, who are currently in care, placed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Ab Sec is investigating what training is available for staff and how the program can be operated. The Wellington Aboriginal Working Party says it would provide valuable support and education for Indigenous children. The Indigenous Community Development Officer, Mary Henderson, says the foster program would mean many kids can stay with their own communities.
FRIDAY 15 JUNE
UK: ITV News exclusive: Extent of
runaway children in care
ITV News has exclusively learned that over 5000 children in care in England ran away for more than 24 hours last year - that is five times more than the Government estimates. Many have been placed in homes 200 miles from their families. According to Department for Education figures, in 2011 there were 65,000 children in care in England and of those 930 went missing for 24 hours or more. But figures seen by ITV News, based on police data, suggest that figure could be as many as 5,000. Detective Inspector Philip Shakesheff, of West Mercia Police, says he is "shocked and alarmed" by the lack of children in care who have been recorded as missing by the Department for Education.
U.S. Child Born in 2011 May Cost
$234,900 to Raise
A middle-income family may spend $234,900 to raise a child born in 2011 to the age of 18, a 3.5 percent increase in a year, according to a government report. Expenses for child care and education, transportation and food represented the biggest jumps, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report obtained by Bloomberg News and being released today. Adjusted for anticipated inflation, a child in a middle-class family would cost $295,560 to raise, the department said. “It’s not just the cost, it’s the pressure,” said Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute based in New York. Competitive educational environments and an awareness of what it takes for children to succeed are prompting more spending, she said in a telephone interview. The typical two-parent middle-income family spent $12,290 to $14,320 in 2011 on each child, the study found. Households that make less spend less, USDA researchers said. A family earning less than $59,410 a year will probably spend $169,080 in 2011 dollars to rear a child, while parents earning more than $102,870 may pay $389,670, according to the study.
UK: Calls for talks with Boris
Johnson over “dumped” children
in care crisis
County Hall leader Paul Carter has demanded talks with Boris Johnson over the escalating crisis of London councils dumping vulnerable children in Kent. Staggering numbers of looked after children from outside of the county are continuously being placed in care homes or with foster carers in Kent, with figures reaching almost 1,300. Concerns are not only for the disruption caused to the youngsters – moved miles from familiar surroundings – but of the extraordinary pressure on resources, which already support more than 1,600 Kent-born children. Fears have also been raised over the ability of a London council, as the ‘corporate parent’, to safeguard such children, who are at particular risk of being exploited by sex-grooming networks. Cllr Carter has written to the Mayor of London demanding a summit of London councils and representatives from Kent.
Czech Republic: Chamber passes
legislation promoting foster care
The Czech Chamber of Deputies yesterday passed an amendment to the law on social and legal protection of children that lowers the number of children in institutions and supports foster care. The deputies returned remuneration to foster parents to the legislation. The bill was sent to the Senate. The opposition is against it, arguing that it is not good enough and creates a market from foster care. The foster grandparents who are in charge of a number of children and of a handicapped child are to be automatically remunerated. When it comes to the rest, their social situation will be assessed. The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry at first said since grandparents had maintenance obligation to their grandchildren, only those who really need the aid should be remunerated. The bill now also includes a benefit for the children after foster care ends and a state allowance for the services rendered within foster care.
Supporters, critics debate N.J.
bill linking foster care to religion
A bill that would make religion a determining factor in foster care and adoption placement has been slammed by critics who say it would limit the pool of families to care for children and could restrict parenting rights for gays. Strongly supported by an alliance of religious groups, the bill was inspired by the case of a Muslim boy from Paterson who is being raised by a Christian family — a theme that echoes to a time in the nation’s past of religious prejudice in adoptions. Orthodox Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders say the bill would lessen the trauma a child feels when removed from a home and show respect for his or her heritage. As difficult as foster care is for children, changing their religion makes it “even more traumatic,” said Josh Pruzansky of the Orthodox Union, an international Orthodox Jewish institution that represents more than 800 congregations in North America.
Michigan: Snyder signs bill with
new foster care guidelines
Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill that establishes stricter guidelines for placing children into emergency custody.
Snyder says in a release the law signed Tuesday ensures that only children facing "substantial risk of harm" or without other arrangements will be placed into foster care.
State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge sponsored the legislation that was inspired by the case of an Ann Arbor boy whose father accidentally gave him an alcoholic drink at a 2008 Detroit Tigers game. Officials took the boy who was 7 at the time from his parents and kept him for several days. Jones says children in an unsafe environment "absolutely need to be removed." But he says the Ann Arbor boy suffered a "traumatic experience that could have been avoided."
Removing the Barriers to Higher
Education for Homeless and Foster Youth
At this time of year we hear heartwarming stories about homeless kids who manage to graduate from college. Those kids are few and far between. Although many states have programs in place where youth in foster care who graduate on time and with decent grades are supposed receive support to go on to college, fewer than 3 percent of kids who have been in foster care make it into college. Of those who do manage to get accepted into college, only about 3 percent successfully graduate with degrees. A staggering 70 percent of the people in our prisons report having been in foster care or homeless shelters as children. Ironically, the cost of incarcerating a youth for a year equals the amount it would take for a year of education at many of our best colleges and universities. As part of the Atlanta-based Community Youth Opportunity Initiative designed to help youth in foster care, ODBF recently met with the leadership committee of the Georgia Board of Regents to present ideas about how to help break down the barriers that are currently preventing them from scaling the ivy walls.
Scotland: MSPs hear of young
Scots' struggles after leaving care homes
HUNDREDS of Scots teenagers are leaving the care system to sleep on bare floorboards in empty council flats. MSPs heard heartbreaking stories yesterday from youngsters struggling to make the jump from care homes to adult life. They said they left residential or foster care as soon as they could – some feeling “institutionalised” or desperate to break free from “rules, rules and more rules”. But after declaring themselves homeless at the age of 16 or 17, and without a penny to their name, they found they could not cope in their first flat. Holyrood’s equal opportunities committee heard from five people raised in care as part of a probe into the plight of kids emerging from the care system. Byron Caruthers, 20, from Ayrshire, said: “It’s naive to think you can look after yourself at 16 or 17. When that door shuts, it hits you all at once because no one has ever taught you essential skills like learning to cook or budget."
UK: Improvements needed after
for Somerset County Council
County Council's chief executive has described a recent Ofsted report into how well they look after children in care as "sobering" after being rated adequate. Inspectors spent two weeks investigating more than 80 case files of children with a variety of needs to check on two areas. Close attention was paid to how well children are safeguarded and how well they are looked after. The report – issued yesterday (June 13) and published in full on the Council’s website – assessed a total of 18 areas, rating 15 as “adequate” and one as “good”. Inspectors pointed to low numbers of care leavers entering further education, employment or training, and said that children do not have their health needs assessed promptly on coming into care. In these two areas, Somerset County Council and its NHS partners were found to be “inadequate”.
WEDNEDAY 13 JUNE
Canada: County CAS under review
A government investigation spurred the overhaul of procedures at Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society. Officials from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services recently drafted a number of reforms, including the need for improved documentation, at the Picton-based child welfare entity where three foster parents have been convicted in the past six months for sexually assaulting children entrusted into their care by the agency. The ministry wanted to do its own review to satisfy its concerns that “everything that should have been done, was done and to safeguard things for the future,” said Bill Sweet, the society's executive director. “They decided that they would launch their review and we co-operated fully with them and participated in it,” he said. The ministry-led team stepped in last December just weeks after penitentiary terms were meted out against a Bloomfield couple, two child predators who molested numerous children placed in their care. The third offender, a 72-year-old Bloomfield man, is awaiting a July 6 sentencing date in a Picton court.
Oklahoma: Tulsa judge wants
unified approach to child abuse
Oklahoma faces a significant problem: The lack of substance abuse and mental health treatment beds and programs for children and youth. Coordinating child welfare and juvenile justice programs would result in long-term savings, more efficient resource allocation and healthy children and families, the league states. The model would reduce costly treatments such as inpatient hospitalizations and detention. It would seek prevention of delinquency and intervention for repeat offenders. Tulsa attorney Gwendolyn Clegg welcomes the concept. "A lot of the kids in the juvenile system probably should be (deemed) deprived as well," Clegg said. "It's not like a kid just becomes delinquent all of a sudden. There are usually neglect or abandonment issues that have led to that. "It would be great to have a center like what Judge Fransein is talking about," she said. "Children are not getting the help they need."
Wales: "Grave concerns" over
troubled Pembrokeshire Council's
child safeguarding issues
Welsh Government ministers have today written to a troubled council expressing their “continuing grave concerns” over child safeguarding issues. In a joint statement, Education Minister Leighton Andrews and Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children Gwenda Thomas said despite the seriousness of allegations made against Pembrokeshire council, progress was “worryingly slow”. And in a fresh development, they hinted that other safeguarding matters had come to light since last year’s report into allegations of child abuse in the county’s education services. The Pembrokeshire Ministerial Board (PMB) – unveiled last October by the Welsh Government – found that at least 18 school rooms were being used to incarcerate children for “time out” purposes. They said the authority’s education service had failed to disclose their existence to the PMB and in March of this year, an allegation was made about a teacher at Meads Infant School tying a child’s hands behind his back.
Ohio: Missing children found safe
Two children, who have been missing since last week after their mother lost custody, were found safe late Monday, according to the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services. The children are in foster care, said Brian Gregg, agency spokesman. Cincinnati Police put out an alert over the weekend asking the public to help after the children’s mother, Gwendolyn Golder, 19, refused to turn them over to Job and Family Services when she lost custody. Golder remains at the Hamilton County Jail. She is scheduled to answer to a charge of contempt of court before a juvenile judge on Friday.
UK: Shocking extent of
Blackpool’s child neglect
That was the message from the head of Blackpool Council after shocking figures revealed the staggering number of neglected children in the resort. It came after children’s charity the NSPCC announced an alarming rise in the number of youngsters being left cold, hungry and alone. In Blackpool alone last year child protection plans were drawn up for 383 children – in some cases almost a third more than in similar sized North West towns like Blackburn, Bolton or Wigan. But Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn has pledged to overhaul the care system in the resort – in a move he hopes will improve children’s lives while improving service and driving down costs.
India: Lonely children prone to
Weight is an issue that is bothering city schools even more than studies these days. With at least 20% children in middle and high schools suffering from weight-related disorders, schools have started holding 'health audits' and getting parents involved in the back-to-health process. According to findings by most schools, a majority of students with unacceptable body mass indices are children of working parents. Such kids spend a lot of time with retainers who are unable to take proper care of their diet. The children miss their parents and try to make up for their loneliness with junk food, which leads to obesity and other lifestyle diseases. Obesity, in most cases, is a contracted lifestyle disease. There are, of course, incidences of thyroid imbalances or genetic disorders, but they account for no more than 5-6% cases," says dietician Kalpana Chowdhury, a specialist on child obesity. "It's an eating disorder and mostly happens when lonely children take to junk food to counter depression." Psychiatrist Amarnath Mullick tries to quantify this. "At least 50% of the kids with mind disorders that I know of are also obese.
Manitoba: Children's advocate
must go: Gerrard
LIBERAL Leader Jon Gerrard has called on Manitoba's children's advocate to resign over her comments Friday expressing doubt over the value of the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry. Gerrard told the legislature Monday it was "unacceptable" the province had a children's advocate who didn't support the accountability that would come from an inquiry into Phoenix's death. Gerrard called on Family Services Minister Jennifer Howard to demand Darlene MacDonald's resignation "and bring in a child advocate who advocates on behalf of the children instead of advocating on behalf of the child and family services authorities." Howard said MacDonald is answerable to the entire legislature and not just her office. "She's an independent officer of the legislature," Howard said. "He (Gerrard) was on the committee that appointed her as the children's advocate. And I do not believe that we fire people simply because we do not agree with them."
Spain: Ombudsman calls for
investigation into child protection
The Ombudsman, José Chamizo, has said that there are far too many children who have been in the care of the state for over 3 years and he has called for a new and detailed examination of individual cases of those children by the Delegation for Equality and Social Welfare of Almeria. There are many situations that could lead to a child being taken into a shelter by the state but following the recent denouncement by the local press of two such situations, where the children concerned have been in the hands of the authorities for seven and eleven years respectively, Chamizo agreed that it was time, once again, to take a detailed look at the child care situation. In respect of the two cases cited a spokesman outlined the family circumstances before confirming that all attempts to put the children into long term care had failed, despite the best efforts of the staff, and this was the reason for their extended stay in protected accommodation. Chamizo said that the aim of such centres is to do absolutely everything that they can to provide children with long-term residential placements in homes where they can receive the love and attention of two foster parents and that he has no idea why these placements have not been offered to the children concerned.
UK: 60,000 grandparents forced to
give up work to bring up grandchildren
An estimated 60,000 grandparents have had to give up work to bring up their grandchildren to stop them being taken into care by social services, a study suggests. Every year around 9,000 grandparents abandon their careers to look after grandchildren only to face a lack of support and recognition from the Government, according to the research. Unlike new parents or adoptive parents, working age grandparents and family carers are not entitled to paid leave from work or financial help from their local authority and are forced to rely on benefits or their own savings to make ends meet. Having stopped working, many grandparents find it impossible to get another job once their grandchildren have grown up, leaving them in poverty, the charity Grandparents Plus warns. The report, entitled Giving Up the Day Job?, found that 86 per cent of those who stop working to care for grandchildren are below retirement age.
Foster youth overcome the odds to
earn their degrees at UCLA
Marching with the thousands of students in UCLA's various commencement ceremonies this month will be a special group of 20 graduates who in past years might never have made it to the finish line: former foster youth. They're part of UCLA's Bruin Guardian Scholars program, which has helped them make their way through the sometimes rocky terrain of earning a college degree without the kind of family backing that most students take for granted. Their stories of overcoming the odds to earn a degree at one of the nation's top universities are inspiring, but similar tales are shared by other former foster youth at UCLA, who are among the few who have gone on to higher education. Data vary on the number of children who have been in foster care who attend college, but according to most estimates, the percentage is very low, even though an overwhelming majority express a desire to do so. Extending the eligibility for foster care from age 18 to 21, as California now does, has helped, because it has stabilized some living situations. But it is still difficult.
MONDAY 11 JUNE
Social Planning Toronto releases
ward-by-ward "poverty profiles"
Using 2006 census data, Social Planning Toronto—a group billing itself as "committed to diversity, social and economic justice, and active civic participation"—has released a raft of reports today about poverty in our city at the ward level. The list of ward reports is here (and Toronto's ward map is here, if you don't know which ward you live in). From the overall City of Toronto poverty profile: Almost one quarter of Torontonians are living in poverty, with the rates around one-third for children and youth. Racialized groups, newcomers, Aboriginal people, people with disabilities and lone parents face distressingly high rates of poverty, disproportionately affecting those most marginalized. Some sobering numbers from the profile, of demographics who live in poverty in Toronto:
• 46 per cent of recent immigrants (those who arrived in Canada from 2001-2006);
• 37 per cent of Aboriginals;
• 30.9 per cent of youth and 32.2 per cent of young children
UK: Inquiry as Leeds boy, 16,
An inquiry has been launched after a teenager was found hanged while in the care of Leeds City Council. Lee Robertshaw, 16, from Seacroft, Leeds, was found dead at the house where he was being looked after in Wakefield. Now an investigation is under way by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board, with Lee’s family demanding to know if his death could have been prevented. Jane Held, independent chairman of the board, told the YEP: “We’re deeply saddened to hear about Lee’s death and extend our heart-felt sympathies to his family. “We will be looking closely at the circumstances in liaison with the city council to find out what happened but unfortunately we’re unable to comment further until after the inquest has taken place.” Lee was taken into care in December last year.
Recommended practices for LGBTQ
youth in foster care
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and a coalition of child welfare advocates and experts have joined to issue "Recommended Practices to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living with HIV in Child Welfare Settings." "Recommended Practices" offers guidance to state and local child welfare agencies to ensure safe, appropriate care in the best interests of LGBTQ children in the child welfare system. ACYF Commissioner Bryan Samuels said: "We are pleased to have a coalition of child welfare experts provide practical examples of practices that every child welfare agency can use to better meet the needs of the LGBTQ youth in their care. I would have found this resource incredibly helpful when I was a child welfare agency director." LGBTQ young people in out-of-home care continue to be overrepresented and face a crisis of rejection, neglect and discrimination.
UK: Ofsted praise for borough's
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's safeguarding and looked after children's services are considered amongst the best in the country after an Ofsted report judged them to be good across the board. The inspection is intended to ensure that all the relevant services in an area that ensure the safety and well being of children are up to scratch. Inspectors noted that the Council and its local partners have a considerable history of achieving good outcomes for children who need safeguarding and protecting or who are looked after. They found an established culture of continuous improvement and a progressive attitude, supported by a strong political commitment and desire to build quality services. New demands on the services were said to be met with rapid and imaginative responses and the Council was seen to be continually searching for efficient use of its resources.
Tnnessee: KIDS COUNT report
reveals latest findings for White Co.
The latest edition of Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth’s KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee focuses not just on measuring child well-being but also on how we are Tennesseans are spending funds to improve the live of children. In fiscal year 2011, 45 percent of expenditures were from federal sources. If Basic Education Program funding for local education agencies is excluded, three of every $4 spent that year for services for children were federal. And when state monies required to “draw down” federal funding are combined with federal funds, the total equals $9 of every $10 spent by the state for services to children, excluding the BEP. Statewide, Tennessee recorded 90,000 children living with neither parent; total teen births, 10,378; teen deaths by accident, homicide and suicide, 228.
Caring for South Africa’s Most
South Africa is looking to improve the monitoring and administration of social assistance grants meant to help poor parents raise their children, among other purposes.
This fall, the impoverished region of Qwaqwa in South Africa will see improvements made to the foundation of their children’s futures. After a visit to one child-headed household and local daycare facility, Minister for Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, promised to construct an early childhood development centre in October. Minister Dlamini’s department has promised 10,000 new youth care givers in the years to come, but has also criticized social workers falling short of their duties to vulnerable child-headed households as well as mothers misusing government grants intended to aid them in raising their children.
UK: Child neglect cases reported
to NSPCC rise 30% in a year
There has been a sharp rise in reports of child neglect, which will increase pressure on already stretched children's services, according to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. New figures released by the NSPCC show that reports of neglect to its helpline have doubled ver the last two years to reach record levels. In the year to March 2012, counsellors working on the charity's 24-hour freephone service dealt with more than 12,000 calls about neglect – up by a third in the last year alone. In 8,600 of these contacts, the concerns were so serious that the charity required the involvement of police or social services. "More people than ever are contacting the NSPCC about child neglect," said Dr Ruth Gardner, head of the charity's neglect programme. "Some of this will be down to the public being more willing to speak out – and this can only be a positive thing – but there is clearly a worrying trend, not just in our figures, but from a range of agencies and bodies. More research is needed on why this sharp increase has occurred."
Kids In Last Month’s Amber Alert
Now In Foster Care
Three weeks ago the search began for two McKinney children who disappeared from their mother’s home, leading authorities to issue an Amber Alert. The kids were found within three days, and their father was arrested for kidnapping. But the mother voluntarily turned the two over to foster care just three hours after returning home. Their bedrooms still wait for the return of Camren and Kaitlyn Kuresh. The siblings last slept in their home three weeks ago when they crawled out of a window and joined their father on an out-of-state trip that led to his arrest for kidnapping. Michele Bisconti says her 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter have been programmed by her bitter ex-husband to hate their mother. “It’s called parental alienation, and not a lot of people know about it.”
Colorado Supreme Court hears two
cases about foster care
The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments in two court cases that could affect the rights of Colorado foster parents and the children in their care. During the hearing Thursday, held in the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the state Capitol, the state's high court heard both sides in each of the cases. Arguments in the first case centered on a decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling that a foster parent inappropriately cross-examined a witness in a hearing to terminate the parental rights of a 2-year-old boy.
Arguments in the second case focused on a 3-year-old boy who was placed in the Denver foster-care system just days after his birth. While the boy was living in his third home, the foster parents began making arrangements to adopt him. He was removed shortly after, when a contract worker became concerned about the mental health of the pre-adoptive mother. The Children's Law Center asked the Supreme Court to re-affirm the constitutional right of abused or neglected children in state care to a safe and appropriate home in a timely manner, Villafuerte said. Doing so could prevent children from "lingering" in the foster-care system.
FRIDAY 8 JUNE
Canada: Youth don't protect
Tech-savvy youth may think they understand privacy issues, but Canada's privacy watchdog says many teens don't know how to protect themselves online. "While the young show agility in using any new kind of digital communication and recognize the importance of protecting their privacy, they are also often unsuspecting about the potential privacy intrusions that can accompany novel technologies," Canada's privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, said in her annual report. Young Internet users tend to falsely believe their online space is private, that their activity is visible only to their friends and that once an item is deleted, it is wiped away forever. In reality, online communications are permanent, and many companies are trying to capture users' profiles and keystrokes to commercialize personal information and deliver individually tailored ads, the report said. "While a lot of effort is going into exploiting the personal information of children and youth for profit, far fewer resources are being expended in helping children and youth recognize the value of privacy protection," the report said.
NY: Children’s Home of St.
Lawrence County offers Foster Parenting Certification Training
A Foster Parenting Certification Training Program is set to be held in St. Lawrence County. The CHJC Foster Care Program provides temporary care for children unable to live with their birth families or guardians. The Foster Care Program allows children who may have been abused or neglected or have behavioral challenges and special needs, the opportunity to live in a family setting, attend public school, and be an active member of the community. “There is a growing need for certified foster families as the Children's Home receives referral calls on a daily basis,” said Victoria Peck, director of foster care for the Children’s Home of St. Lawrence County. “Some children need to be placed in homes without other children, it is important to keep sibling groups together, and therefore each referral requires a specific placement and with a growing number of referrals there is a growing need of resources.” Extensive training is offered to all Foster Parents, providing support for the needs of the entire family, 24-hour on-call services and crisis response is also available.
Ireland: State turns down 90% of
applications for renovation funds
Almost 90 per cent of childcare services that sought funding from the Government for urgent maintenance and renovation work on their premises have been denied funding. Of the 2,343 applications made to the Childcare Capital Programme 2012, only 290 applications were approved. Yesterday the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald announced that €6 million in capital grant funding had been allocated to the 290 childcare facilities. Funding priority was given to facilities most at risk of closure. Successful applicants received funding for roof repairs, dampness problems, sewerage problems, heating, windows, ventilation, sanitary or storage arrangements and security and safety enhancements.
UK: Children's services in
Cumbria 'must get better'
Inspectors have ordered improvements after finding services to protect vulnerable children and young people in Cumbria to be ‘inadequate’. The Care Quality Com-mission and Ofsted identified five areas as failing to meet minimum standards, including the overall effectiveness of safeguarding services. Weaknesses in the way health agencies contributed to keeping children safe were also flagged up. Among concerns were inconsistencies in meeting the needs of children and young people, insufficient assessment of risk and need in some cases and some staff not having suitable training. http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/9744054.Children_s_services_in_Cumbria__must_get_better_/
Combination Drug Therapy, Not
Exercise, Shows Short-term Potential to Benefit Youth With Type 2 Diabetes
According to a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes may be compelled to begin combination therapy or insulin injections sooner than expected. Using data from the Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY) multicenter, randomized clinical trial, the authors of the April 29 article found that monotherapy with metformin was associated with durable glycemic control in only about half of children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes who participated in the trial, whereas the addition of rosiglitazone, but not an intensive lifestyle intervention, was superior to metformin alone. "These results suggest that a majority of youth with type 2 diabetes may require combination treatment or insulin therapy within a few years after diagnosis," the researchers wrote.
Manitoba: Death sparks CFS
promise to improve contact
Manitoba child welfare officials are working to improve communication with their counterparts in Ontario following the death of a four-year-old girl nearly two years ago. The girl, who was living in Stuartburn, died in October 2010 after suffering repeated beatings. Her mother pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a Winnipeg court on Tuesday. She is to be sentenced later this year.
A court order bans publication of the name of the woman or her daughter as the girl's two siblings remain in care.
Family Services Minister Jennifer Howard received a report probing the girl's death from the Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA) in December. Her predecessor, Gord Mackintosh, had requested the review be fast-tracked shortly after the girl's death. Howard said Wednesday the report calls for improvements in training and staffing, which she said "are being addressed."
Another OCA recommendation is the need for improved communication between Manitoba CFS and Ontario. The four-year-old had spent most of her life in foster care in northwestern Ontario before being placed back with her mother. The family had moved to Stuartburn, 90 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, not long before the child's death.
UK: Child CT scans could raise
cancer risk slightly
Children who get several CT scans have a slightly higher chance of brain cancer and leukemia in later life, though the risk is still small and probably outweighed by the need to get the test, researchers reported. The use of CT scans has risen rapidly since they were introduced 30 years ago. For children, they're used to evaluate head, neck or spine injuries or neurological disorders. International researchers studied nearly 180,000 patients under age 22 who had a CT scan in British hospitals between 1985 and 2002. They followed those patients until 2008. They found 74 of them were diagnosed with leukemia while 135 had brain tumors.
Jamaica: Schools need more
counsellors to address child abuse, say specialists
An unacceptable ratio of guidance counsellors in schools is hampering caregiving for abused children. Speaking during a Gleaner Editors' Forum on children at risk yesterday, Salomie Evering, head of Clinical Services at The Mico CARE Centre's St Ann's Bay branch, revealed the current ratio was 600 students to one counsellor. "And that's at a 'good' school. It's ridiculous," said her colleague, Dr Claudine Hyatt, director of Mico's youth counselling centre. They said the desired ratio should be 30 students to one counsellor and there were many children to be reached. "There are many cases of abuse being reported, so that means that there are probably four times the numbers that are unreported. If it is unreported, it means these children are not getting the intervention they need," said Hyatt.
New abuse reporting requirements
in Georgia effective July 1
New child abuse reporting rules passed by the Georgia Legislature this session will go into effect July 1. Under the new guidelines, volunteers who work with children will be required by law to report suspected child abuse. The law changed the definition of "child service organization personnel" to include volunteers. People employed by or volunteering at a business or organization that provides care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs or shelter to children are included. The new provision was part of the sweeping criminal justice reform bill supported by Gov. Nathan Deal, Attorney General Sam Olens and others. Deal signed the bill into law last month.
UK: Social workers hid fact they
knew teenage mother was at risk from sex grooming gangs six years before she
was brutally murdered
Social workers knew for six years that a teenage mother, murdered for bringing shame on the families of two Pakistani men who had used her for sex, was at clear risk from predatory Asian gangs. Laura Wilson, 17, from Rotherham had been groomed by a string of British Pakistanis before she was stabbed and thrown into a canal to die for informing her abusers' families of the sexual relationships. Her killer Ashtiaq Asghar, who was 18 at the time, was given a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to murdering Laura in October 2010. But it has now emerged that Rotherham County Council's social services were well aware she was at risk and had received information about certain adults suspected of targeting her from the age of 11.
WEDNESDAY 6 JUNE
Ontario will subsidize adoption
of kids over 10
Ontarians who adopt or assume legal custody of Crown wards over age 10, or sibling groups of any age, are now eligible for on-going financial support from Queen’s Park. Starting June 15, adoptive parents with net family incomes below $85,000 will receive $950 per child, per month — or $11,400 annually. That is about 60 per cent of the average cost Children’s Aid Societies pay foster parents in Ontario. Monday’s announcement by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is a confirmation of last September’s original pledge to launch a provincial adoption subsidy program. It was thrilling news for a London, Ont., couple who are in the process of adopting three siblings under age 5 and were wondering how they were going to afford their care. “It is just wonderful to hear that our government is supporting us and other families who have chosen to stay in Ontario to adopt and not go international,” said the mom, a part-time nurse who can’t be named to protect the children. “To know we will have that financial stability is amazing.”
Lynn Croneberger Named SOS
Children's Villages - USA CEO
SOS Children's Villages - USA announced that Ms. Lynn Croneberger, CFRE, was named chief executive officer of the U.S. headquarters of SOS Children's Villages International. Ms. Croneberger will lead a Washington, D.C.-based team to raise the level of awareness and funding for the domestic and international work of this international non-governmental organization (iNGO). "I am honored to be joining an organization that directly addresses the complex needs of children and families at risk," Ms. Croneberger stated. "SOS Children's Villages has earned an incredible global reputation through raising children in their natural cultures with an emphasis on education and each child's long-term development. I admire the holistic solution of caring for children that SOS has developed over more than 60 years and look forward to helping those children who have been hardest hit by economic circumstances, war and disease."
Nebraska program reaches out to
former foster kids
A program designed to help Nebraska teens when they are released from the foster care system at the age of 19 is ramping up its efforts to reach more of those young adults. Project Everlast, funded in part by the state Department of Health and Human Services, provides a safety net for former foster children and can help them to find homes, a car, a job and even friends, youth adviser Joel Wallace told Omaha television station KETV. The TV report said a national study shows 25 percent of former foster youth will experience homelessness. The program has made all the difference for 19-year-old Akeeme Haoliburton, who spent much of his childhood in foster care. "I thought I was going to walk the streets and probably go to Minnesota and mooch off of my father," Haoliburton said. Instead, he has an apartment, is a youth volunteer with Project Everlast and plans to attend college in January.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Social
Services will not operate child welfare residential spaces
The Saskatchewan government says it's getting out of providing child welfare residential spaces. The province says it will partner with community-based organizations to support children and youth who are in care. It says those organizations already provide 95 per cent of the child welfare residential spaces in the province. The move was among the recommendations made by the Saskatchewan Child Welfare Review Panel in 2010.
The cost of defying Beijing’s
A Chinese couple has paid a record fine of 1.3 million yuan (Dh750,000) to avoid the country’s one-child policy and have a second baby. The unnamed couple from the southern city of Rui’an had a daughter in February after having a son in 1995. The authorities in the city said they had levied the enormous sum after deciding the couple could afford it. “They found the couple were rich in assets, and were either running or were shareholders in several businesses,” reported the City Express newspaper. “The figure stunned the couple, but they paid the fine,” it added. China has had a one-child policy since the end of the 1970s, enforced by the country’s network of neighbourhood committees and some 300,000 family planning officials. It has boasted in the past that the policy has been directly responsible for reducing its population by as many as 300 million to 400 million people, a claim that has been disputed by some academics. The policy has never been evenly enforced.
California: Rural lack of
specialized care for children
Specialized care continues to challenge families living in rural areas of California. There doctors with knowledge of complex conditions can be hours away, and coordinating care can require a day of travel or more for treatment. When a family faces particularly difficult situations – where a child has multiple ailments that require multiple specialists, the challenges increase exponentially. A trip from rural Yuba County to Sacramento is one hour each way, or to see a specialist in Palo Alto requires a six-hour round trip. A clinic at UC Davis Medical Center is open one day per month, so missing that appointment isn’t an option. Parents are forced – both by privacy laws and a lack of coordinated care – to serve in multiple roles such as parent, scheduler, care coordinator, and bureaucratic trailblazer to help navigate from one service provider to another.
UK: Experts fear Government
shake-up could mean special needs children in Manchester lose out
In the system’s biggest shake-up in 30 years, power will be passed from local authorities to the parents of children with special educational needs (SEN). The government will scrap the current system of statements – legal documents maintained by the local authority which outline the extra help a child needs – in favour of a coordinated approach from health, social care and education, with parents getting management of a lump sum to meet the needs of their child. But some SEN professionals fear that vulnerable children will suffer if parents are not supported and chose services that would not best benefit their child. A member of a north-west local authority SEN team who did not wish to be named said: “I think a lot of parents will spend it on things that the child will enjoy rather than benefit.
Illinois cuts are devastating for
In Illinois, cuts to the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program in SB 2455 have been proposed. Such cuts are devastating for working families and will be an economic strain for parents, negatively affecting their children’s education and development. Impacts of the proposed cuts in childcare to parent co-payments include an increase of 52 percent for every subsidized family, an increase of 350 percent for the lowest income families and an increase for a family of three at poverty level from $47 a month to $97 a month. Income eligibility also will be negatively impacted with a decrease in initial eligibility from 200 percent to 150 percent of Federal Poverty Level and a decrease in the income eligibility to enter the Child Care Assistance Program from 185 percent to 150 percent of Federal Poverty Level.
Newfoundland and Labrador aims to
give boost to foster care system
The Newfoundland and Labrador government is revamping the way it runs its foster care system, providing more money with less paperwork in the hopes of ending the practice of placing children in emergency care. Family Services Minister Charlene Johnson says there were 39 children in so-called “alternative living arrangements” as of last week. Alternative living arrangements are emergency staffed homes for children who could be placed in foster homes if one was available. Johnson says the government hopes the new “results based, not receipts based” initiative will end the practice altogether within two years. The province says it will spend $18.4 million over that time frame to recruit and retain foster families.
MONDAY 4 JUNE
Newfoundland and Labrador : Foster care changes announced
Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Charlene Johnson received a standing ovation from attendees of a conference focused on foster care, following her announcement of her department’s plan to improve foster care and eliminate the need for alternate living arrangements (ALA). But those who came to St. John’s for the Canadian Foster Family Association Conference will have to wait two years to see whether government’s $18.4-million investment in the new strategy merits the applause. Under the new system, four levels of foster care were developed based on the experience, training and skills of foster parents. “While there will still be an assessment of the child or youth’s needs, it will be for the purpose of matching them to a home that has the skills required to meet their needs,” said Johnson.
Australia: Child protection
funding to address 'appalling statistic'
ACT Public Advocate Anita Philips has welcomed $25 million in extra funding for vulnerable children after releasing a damning report of care and protection services. Ms Phillips has released the second stage of her report into how children in crisis are cared for, revealing a "plethora of problems". She reviewed the files of 100 children placed in emergency care over the last three years, and found children are still not getting the support they need. There was no evidence of early intervention before the children were removed from their families and placed in emergency care. Ms Philips says frontline staff need more support and guidelines. "I found serious inadequacies. There was a lack of guidelines that led people to make decision about young people and children coming into care. So that led to a reactive culture which meant all of the children came in as an emergency action, which means it got to the desperate stage," she said.
Canada: Coroner hopes residential
schools research can heal
Ontario's chief coroner handed over a gift of a small wooden turtle Friday in a gesture of reconciliation aimed at the victims of the notorious Indian residential school system. Dr. Andrew McCallum told "The Meeting Place" – a two-day conference in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – that he hoped the gesture would help see "spirits replenished." "By this gift, we acknowledge the troubled past we share and express our hope for the better future that we are working to build," McCallum told the gathering. "I hope that through the Truth and Reconciliation process, you are able to gain peace of mind and find forgiveness in your hearts."
UK: New minimum standards will
improve kinship care - Poots
HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots has announced the publication of new minimum standards for kinship care.
The standards specify the minimum requirements which Health and Social Care Trusts must meet when placing a looked after child in a kinship care arrangement. They also clarify the level of service that the children and families can expect to receive. The new Minimum Kinship Care Standards will benefit looked after children and their kinship carers by providing a consistent regional approach across Northern Ireland, ensuring that the child is at the centre of the kinship care process, and that both children and families are treated equitably no matter where they live. Mr Poots said: “Research tell us that a kinship placement can produce better outcomes for children and young people than may be achieved in other placements. The Minimum Kinship Care Standards recognises this and they strive to ensure that the provision of kinship care services are delivered consistently, effectively and efficiently, and are capable of achieving equity of services provision for all young people and carers.”
NY: Teenage group home slated for
closure in Argyle
The company that operates a group home for teenage boys in Washington County is shuttering the facility at the end of June, according to county officials. Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth, which took over operation of the Scot House several years ago from the Washington County Department of Social Services, is downsizing its therapeutic programs for youth in the foster care pipeline, county Social Services Commissioner Tammy DeLorme said. Washington County Social Services has placed just one local youth at the Scot House over the past six months, she said. “There are local people employed there,” she told the county Board of Supervisors Human Services Committee last week. DeLorme said she didn’t know how many jobs would be lost with the closure of the eight-bed, 24-hour facility. Repeated calls to Argyle Supervisor Bob Henke this week seeking further details went unreturned.
UK: False economies do more harm
to children in care
The practice of moving children in care to towns where low housing costs make it cheaper to run children's homes may make financial sense. But it has little else to recommend it. Indeed, the leader of Rochdale Council is so concerned about the huge number of privately run homes in his area – 41, compared with just nine in similarly sized Haringey, say – that he believes that children's safety is no longer guaranteed. Given that nine Rochdale men were recently convicted of the serial abuse of young girls, one of whom lived in a care home, such a warning has considerable force. Neither do the implications stop there, since there are as many as 21,000 children across the country being looked after outside their home area. Children in care are already the most vulnerable in our society. Shipping them away from home only leaves them even more exposed. The lessons from Rochdale cannot be ignored.
Foster care of children will be
implemented in Kyrgyzstan
“Foster care of children will be implemented in Kyrgyzstan,” deputy Minister of Social Protection Gulnara Derbisheva told 24.kg news agency. According to her, as of today, 11 thousand of Kyrgyzstan’s children live in boarding schools which conditions do not meet modern requirements. “Our agency has developed a program of optimization and transformation of boarding institutions. We plan to place children in foster families,” Gulnara Derbisheva said. She noted that within the program orphans and children with disabilities will be given only to foster families. That is contracts for upbringing children in professional families will be made. “We will provide a separate payment of funds both for children and families who will be paid about 18 thousand soms per month from the state budget,” the deputy Minister concluded.
Florida's foster children need
If you are a child in dependency court in Florida, the numbers are stacked against you. Only 8 percent of the 32,500 children who were placed in out-of-home care in fiscal year 2010-2011 had access to an attorney to represent them, according to Legal Representation of Dependent Children — A 2012 Report on Florida's Patchwork System, a joint report from Florida's Children First and the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Center on Children and Families. Some judicial circuits have no attorneys working for organized programs serving children; the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County has 18 — the only circuit where more than half (53 percent) of children have access to counsel.
Wales care case delays 'damage'
The time it takes the legal system to permanently remove children from their parents when they are considered "at risk" varies by more than six months in different parts of Wales. BBC Radio Wales' Eye on Wales programme said it found in some areas it takes more than double the 26 weeks recommended in a government review. Children's Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler said the delays damage children. The Welsh government said the delays were "unacceptable". Figures seen by Radio Wales' Eye on Wales show that some family courts in Wales conclude proceedings to remove children from families in 21 weeks, while others take up to 60 weeks.
UK: Lambeth services for children
in care "outstanding", inspectors rule
Children who have suffered domestic abuse and neglect are receiving “outstanding” care from the council, an inspection has ruled. Lambeth is the only council in England to receive the highest possible praise for its care of children from Ofsted inspectors, despite being 15th highest in Britain for child poverty levels. Inspectors graded children’s social care work as “outstanding”, saying it “significantly exceeded” minimum requirements. The investigation, which looked at the care of 495 children, involved visits to a number of organisations within the borough - including the council, NHS Lambeth, and three major NHS Foundation Trusts - to determine risks to vulnerable children. http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/topstories/9740484.Services_for_children__outstanding___inspectors_rule/
FRIDAY 1 JUNE
Children's advocate should be
For 25 years and more, the Philadelphia area has had a relentless advocate in Shelley Yanoff for improving the lives of children. As the longtime executive director of the nonprofit agency Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Yanoff’s contribution, as she prepares to step down from her post in the fall, can be charted readily in the critical initiatives she and her agency tackled. Whether lobbying state lawmakers for the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), taking busloads of protesters to Harrisburg to fight for more funding for child-welfare programs, schools, full-day kindergarten, or establishing free vision and dental exams for thousands of city kids, Yanoff has been a force to be reckoned with by policymakers in both parties
Minister Announces Extension in
the Growing Up In Ireland Study
Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has today announced an extension of Growing Up in Ireland, the National Longitudinal Study of Children. Minister Fitzgerald stated: "The Growing Up in Ireland study is providing us with essential and invaluable data about the life experiences of our children. I am delighted to announce that funding has been secured to collect data about children at one of the most important transitions in their lives, the start of primary schooling. "We know that a smooth transition is very important for children's future physical, emotional and cognitive development and this research will help us to identify the ways in which children can be supported at this time. Importantly, it will also allow us to address a range of central policy questions including the effects of school entry age on child outcomes and the impact of policy interventions, in particular the universal free pre-school.
Tasmania: Youth mental health
NEARLY 700 Tasmanian children and adolescents have visited emergency departments with mental illness and psychosis in the nine months to June this year, a Budget estimates hearing was told yesterday. Eleven adolescents were admitted to adult psychiatric units as the Health Department confirmed a specialist child and adolescent mental health centre would not be completed until 2016. Opposition health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff said it was a disgrace that a dedicated mental health facility had been delayed for seven years. "There is no doubt the number of children and adolescents coming to hospital with a mental illness is increasing," he said.
Illinois: Thumbs Up For Children
and Youth Work Course at BG
Students who graduate from Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln aiming to work with children and young people can now start their career with a professionally validated qualification. The BA (Hons) Applied Studies Children & Youth Work degree course has been validated by the National Youth Agency, which means that BG graduates will have both an academic qualification and professional recognition from the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers (JNC). “We’re delighted to have achieved the professional validation as it will stand our graduates in better stead in future,” said Rachael Fell-Chambers, a lecturer in Applied Studies at BG. “Having a qualification that’s recognised by the JNC is very important for anyone who wants to work with children and young people. Youth work providers often look to recruit staff who have JNC-recognised qualifications and there are different pay scales for JNC employees too.”
UK: Plan will aid vulnerable
A NEW plan has been launched which aims to give vulnerable children and young people in Renfrewshire a better start in life. The Adoption Services Plan aims to provide a safety net for the growing number of children and young people whose families are unable to look after them. It has been introduced by Renfrewshire Council. The authority says it has a constant demand for foster carers and adoptive parents and is currently running a recruitment campaign. Over the last three years the number of children adopted in Renfrewshire has risen from 11 to 18. Councillor Iain McMillan, convener of Renfrewshire Council's Community and Family Care Policy Board, said, "Every child in Renfrewshire matters. Every child has a right to a childhood where they feel loved and a right to grow up in a safe environment which helps them achieve everything they're capable of.
Report: More NE Minnesota
children living out of home
A new report shows northeastern Minnesota has a higher percentage of abused or neglected children and those living out of their homes than the rest of the state. The 2012 Kids Count report also says access to health care, food, jobs and child care is limited in many non-metropolitan regions of the state. Health-care shortages for primary care were noted in 62 counties, in 67 counties for dental care and 77 counties for mental health care. The report, sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, shows about 18 of every 1,000 children live in foster care, group homes or residential treatment centers in northeastern Minnesota. That's twice the statewide average. The Duluth News Tribune ( http://bit.ly/L7He0G) says the region also has the highest rate of abused or neglected children with about 6 out of every 1,000, also about twice the statewide average.
Scotland: Children in care
inquiry is planned
A Holyrood committee will investigate whether children in care who are in the family home would be better off if they were looked after elsewhere. Members of the the Scottish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee are to examine the issue. It follows on from an inquiry MSPs carried out into the educational achievements of children in care. Committee convener Stewart Maxwell said: "During the inquiry it became clear that there is a sensitive and difficult balance to be struck between supporting families at home and intervening to remove children from harmful situations. "That is why we have agreed to hold a further, detailed inquiry into this area." Scottish Government figures show that while 56% of school leavers gain five qualifications or more, this was only achieved by 4.7% of children in care who are looked after outside the family home. Meanwhile, just 0.5% of youngsters in care who remain in the family home leave school with a minimum of five qualifications.
Illinois: New agency takes over
for Catholic Charities
It’s been nearly three months since the Center for Youth and Family Solutions took over foster services contracts from Catholic Charities, and the transition has been smooth. “We worked hard for continuity with the families,” said Sheila Jones, foster care site supervisor for the Center for Youth and Family Solutions. After the state and several faith-based agencies, which had provided foster care, fell out in the wake of the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, the Center for Youth and Family Solutions was created as a new, independent nonprofit agency to address the need for foster care providers. Working in the same La Salle office as Catholic Charities and with much of the same staff of case workers and supervisors, the Center for Youth and Family Solutions has continued the work Catholic Charities performed for many years. “I feel blessed because we have a very, very veteran staff,” Jones said.