WEDNESDAY 30 MAY
New Zealand: Children in poverty
‘lost’ to education system
At least 1000 Auckland children are "lost" to the education system with 70 per cent of youth offenders not engaged with school at all, a new report reveals. Poverty is so bad some children are growing up sharing small homes with other families - one family to a room. The sad findings are contained in a report to Mayor Len Brown, called The Children and Young People of Auckland, which includes insights from a Youth Court judge, the office of the Children's Commissioner and youth panels and advocacy groups. It will be used to develop an action plan for Auckland's children and young people to be completed by the end of this year. The results of deprivation are acutely seen in the justice system, according to principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft, with most serious youth offenders from pockets of a "third generational, permanent underclass". "Those who appear in the Youth Court share distressingly similar characteristics and we must not shrink from naming them," he states.
Child and youth counselling in
Victoria given boost
B.C. Families in Transition will provide affordable, specialized therapy services to children in an additional 30 families this year, after receiving a $10,000 grant from the Telus Victoria Community Board. Families in Transition's child and youth counselling programs are the fastest-growing of any service the organization provides, but are also the most costly, according to executive director Richard Routledge. Specialists work with young people in such areas as art, music and play therapies, and are well-versed in family relationship issues. The Telus grant, along with funding from the United Way and the B.C. Gaming Commission, is expected to help B.C. Families in Transition assist more than 200 children and teens this year, and provide support to the adults in their families.
Nicaragua to Invest $20 Million
in Early Childhood Programs
for Poorest Children
Nicaragua will support cognitive, motor, and social development of children under age six in the country’s poorest communities with the help of a $20 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The program’s objective is to improve comprehensive care for some 80,000 children under age six in 37 of the country’s municipalities through awareness campaigns and training of parents. The campaigns will seek to foster nutrition, health, education, and proper care for the children. Another program objective is to involve the general population in promotion, access to services, and respect for rights of early childhood, as well as to improve the quality of care provided by public services. The program will also finance the repair of infrastructure and provide furniture and equipment for some 200 community centers.
South Africa: ECD centres invited
to register for funding
Owners of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in Mpumalanga have been invited to register their businesses so they can get funding from government. The invitation came from Health and Social Development MEC Clifford Mkasi during the provincial launch of Child Protection Week in Mbombela on Monday. "The registration of ECD centres will ensure that all eligible children have access to ECD services that are rendered by our department. We need all qualifying children to access these services," said Mkasi. The MEC said the department had already registered 46 205 children who are subsidised at the rate of R12 per child per day. He said the subsidy also benefitted orphans and vulnerable children as well as children with disabilities.
UK: Concerns over Cumbria
Services to protect vulnerable children and young people in Cumbria are inadequate, inspectors found. The Care Quality Commission and Ofsted identified five areas as inadequate including the overall effectiveness of safeguarding services. They also identified weaknesses in the way health agencies contributed to keeping children safe. Cumbria County Council said it was "disappointed" but that it had the right plans and people to improve. Inspectors spoke to children, young people, parents, carers, staff and managers during their visit in April as well as reviewing case files. Among concerns were inconsistencies in meeting the needs of children and young people, insufficient assessment of risk and need in some children's cases and some staff not having suitable training.
Ontario: Hamilton home for
mentally ill boys faces closure
The three-storey, 98-year-old ramshackle place on Canada Street with a tiny lawn and generous front porch is home to eight teenage boys struggling with mental health issues. They rely on what happens within those walls for help when nothing else has worked. This is Canada House. It’s the only residential care facility in Hamilton for teenage boys with mental health issues who are not in foster care. And it is in very real danger of closing. The annual operating cost of $175,000 is the problem. Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services can’t afford to operate it anymore. The service has had virtually no increase in ministry funding for years. Plus, the aging house needs $50,000 worth of repairs. Still, it seems a small price to pay for eight young lives. “We’ve been running on a shoestring,” says executive director Cindy I’Anson. “We need to update and modernize the house. If we had ongoing operating dollars, we would seriously reconsider closing.”
New York: More support needed for
As more of America's children are raised by relatives other than their parents, state and local governments need to do better in helping these families cope with an array of financial and emotional challenges, a new report concludes. Compared to the average parent, these extended-family caregivers are more likely to be poor, elderly, less educated and unemployed, according to the report, "Stepping Up For Kids", being released Wednesday by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. Yet despite these hurdles, child-welfare experts say children who can't be raised by their own parents fare better in kinship care than in the regular foster care system. "We urge state policymakers to make crucial benefits and resources available to kinship families so that their children can thrive," said the Casey Foundation's president, Patrick McCarthy.
Senator Carper calls for U.S.
look at mood-altering drugs
for kids in foster care
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware is calling on the federal government to develop guidelines on how states monitor drugs for depression, anxiety, and ADHD prescribed for kids in foster care.
A 2011 federal report revealed thousands of kids in foster care in five states were prescribed psychotropic drugs exceeding recommended maximum dosages. Hundreds were prescribed five or more drugs at once. "Instead of treating their underlying cause of their psychological problems, we're treating the symptoms," Carper said. "Not a good thing." Last week, Carper sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services calling for a summit of state and federal officials to develop oversight guidelines for foster care programs.
UK: Ofsted seeks to raise
standards in foster care
with improved inspection regime
As Foster Care Fortnight 2012 comes to an end this weekend, Ofsted has published an explanation of how its latest revisions to the inspection of fostering services places are intended to focus even more firmly on the welfare and safety of children and young people. From April, after consulting with children and young people, foster carers and professionals, Ofsted made further improvements to its arrangements for inspecting the fostering services that local authorities and independent agencies provide. One of the key changes is that inspectors focus much more on the views and experiences of those using the service and on the progress children and young people make. Ofsted says that its trained social care inspectors talk to social workers, staff, children, young people and foster carers to find out whether children and young people in foster care have been placed in suitable placements within good time and whether they are being looked after properly and making progress.
US: Are foster kids helped,
harmed by open hearings
A California judge's decision to open a county's child welfare hearings earlier this year has energized a debate among advocates in other states about whether greater transparency helps or harms the young victims appearing in family court. When a child is abused or neglected, there's a family court hearing to discuss the victim's future. In nearly 20 states, including Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois, those hearings are usually open to the public and there is a push among child welfare advocates to open them in other states. Efforts to open the courts in California, Kentucky and the District of Columbia have garnered attention recently. Proponents say transparency leads to better decisions by putting a spotlight on judges, exposes the blunders of child welfare workers and gives the public a better understanding of how the system works. "Confidentiality has done more to protect the system than to protect the children in the system," said Michael Nash, chief presiding judge of Los Angeles County's children's court. He ruled in January that dependency hearings in his county will be open to the public unless there is proof the child will be harmed.
MONDAY 28 MAY
Canada: Youth care workers at
risk in District 69
There was an emotional plea to save child and youth care worker positions during a special meeting to adopt the 2012/13 preliminary budget for School District 69 (Qualicum). After the board adopted the budget they took questions from the public and Thea Stavroff, a child and youth care worker was brought to tears when she spoke about the need for the positions in the schools. No final decisions have been made about cutting the jobs according to Gillian Wilson, director of instruction for the district, but she said there is potential for youth care workers to be eliminated. She said it will be based on need and currently they are looking into increasing counseling at middle schools. Superintendent Jim Ansell said job cuts in this area have nothing to do with budget cuts.
Brookings Institution: A Global
Compact on Learning
Education plays a significant role in development and the dividends that result from investments in education are immeasurable. Quality education generates greater economic growth, creates a lasting impact on public health, and leads to safer more stable societies. Over the past two decades, major progress has been made in providing education to millions worldwide. Numerous global initiatives, significant increases in donor funding, and collaboration between developed and developing nations have allowed children everywhere to enter school for the first time and stay in school throughout their childhood and adolescence. However, more needs to be done. Progress has been uneven and millions of children and youth still do not have access to good quality education. In addition, economic and gender-based disparities still prevent children from attending school and many who are in school are not actually learning the crucial skills they need for work and life. Getting into school is just a first step. It is time to refocus the global education agenda on learning through increasing access to good quality education for all. Accordingly, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings is proposing a new agenda to reinvigorate international efforts on education and to build on the previous success of getting more children in school. This agenda, referred to as the Global Compact on Learning, is a common set of concrete steps that, if taken, will help developing countries achieve a vision of learning for all.
Oregon: State Audit Finds
Unexplained Gaps in Children's
Mental Health Care
Oregon needs to do a better job at making sure that low-income children are getting the mental health services they’re eligible for. That's the finding of a new audit by the Oregon Secretary of State's office. The report applauds the Oregon Health Authority for bringing tens of thousands of additional children into the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan over the past three years. But auditors found that some groups of children were using mental health services at a disproportionately low rate. They include girls under age 13, and Hispanic youth of all ages. The audit also found unexplained gaps in mental health treatment for some children. Bill Bouska is manager of the children's mental health program of the Oregon Health Authority. He says the agency is working to better document treatment plans. "We want to make sure that that's taken care of. We also want to look at those kids that did have gaps, and when there are gaps, what happened? Was it just a lack of documentation? Was there really follow-up?"
India Juvenile Justice System
Ineffective: Enforcement Agencies
India's juvenile justice system has not been effective in safeguarding the rights of half a million street children in the capital, according to various enforcement agencies. This situation exists despite implementation of the landmark Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children) in 2000. Representatives of concerned agencies met on Saturday to take stock of the state of the juvenile justice system in the capital. Neera Malik, the state Child Welfare Committee(CWC) chairperson at Nirmal Chhaya(West Delhi) juvenile home complex, said, "23 years ago there were 45000 children on the capital's streets. Now there are as many as 5 lakh* and their condition has not improved at all." The major problem in the rehabilitation of the children is the failure to address the root causes of the plight of these children — lack of employment for the parents and education facilities for children. *(A lakh is a unit in the South Asian numbering system equal to one hundred thousand.)
North Carolina: Need great for
Robinson, the foster care and adoptions recruiter for the Cumberland County Department of Social Services, is continually looking for people willing to give shelter, care and love to someone else's children without receiving a lot of public support or recognition in return. "It's a great sacrifice to care for other people's children at the same time that you're caring for your own," Robinson said. "It's also a great sacrifice to care for children who may or may not have a lot of special needs. I don't think the community realizes how valuable these people are." These days, foster parents are dearer than ever in Cumberland County. The number of children placed in the foster care system has been undulating upward since October 2008, when it dipped to 507. At the end of April of this year, 648 Cumberland County children were in the foster care system - more than in any other county in the state
Arizona’s courts overloaded with
When the state of Arizona takes custody of a child because of suspected abuse or neglect, authorities ultimately have one goal: finding a safe, permanent home for the child. It’s up to the courts to decide whether to reunite children with parents or place them with relatives or an adoptive family, and experts agree it should happen as quickly as possible. The more time passes, the more likely the children will be traumatized by their experience with the child-welfare system. A recent increase in the number of foster children, with no corresponding rise in staff, has put mounting pressure on juvenile courts and made it more difficult to quickly resolve these cases. In Maricopa County, juvenile “dependency” cases, in which judges determine when or whether a child can return home, have increased by nearly 40 percent during the past three years. The flood of cases has lengthened the time children spend in foster care, led to waiting lists for court-ordered services aimed at helping families, and added to caseloads for attorneys representing the state, parents and children.
UK: Why social work students
should be registered
Registering students provides an essential protection to the people they meet on placements. Currently the General Social Care Council (GSSC) registers social work students as fit to practise before they qualify. This helps reassure employers and the people are working with that they will be fully conversant with the ethical and value bases of the profession they seek to join. The Health Professions Council (HPC), which is due to take over the regulation of social work later this year, has decided that it will not register any students of the 15 professions it is responsible for, transferring that task instead to the higher education institutes (HEIs) the students came from. Next month's meeting of the HPC expects to be discussing the implications of that decision knowing that the transfer of the registration will "place new requirements on social work education providers in England". At its June gathering the HPC will "consider transitional arrangements to effect this change".
FRIDAY 25 MAY
US: More relatives, friends
caring for kids: report
Dr. Howard Dubowitz, a Maryland pediatrician and researcher who specializes in child protection issues, knows how hard it can be to raise other people's children. Over the years while talking with grandparents and others who take on the role of guardian when parents struggle, "my heart went out to them -- they were trying so hard," said Dubowitz, trained to help treat children who have been abused or neglected. The number of youth living with relatives or friends instead of their parents has risen nearly 18 percent in the past decade as a growing number of grandparents take on caring for their grandchildren, an analysis of government data shows. More than 2.7 million children and teenagers have such "grandfamilies" or other alternative living arrangements, up from 2.2 million in 2000, according to a review of the U.S. Census Bureau's latest 2010 data by The Annie E. Casey Foundation released on Wednesday.
Canada: Troubled teen pleads
guilty to setting fatal St. John's fire
A troubled teenager pleaded guilty Tuesday to setting the fire that killed a man at a St. John's rooming house last fall.
Carlos Escobar Medina, 54, died when the home where both of them were living went up in flames on Nov. 27, 2011. Four others made it out alive. The 17-year-old accused, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to seven charges, including manslaughter. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August. The case prompted Newfoundland and Labrador's Child and Youth Advocate to launch an investigation into whether the system had failed the teen, who was 16 when he set the fatal fire. "The main question that I am seeking to answer is: Did the services provided by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services; the Department of Justice; the Department of Health and Community Services and Eastern Health meet the needs of this youth and were his rights to services upheld?" spokesman Carol Chafe said in a statement in December. That investigation is ongoing.
Trinidad: The children’s bill
2012 has been passed
Following a major marathon sitting of the senate yesterday, all six independents abstained when it was time to vote on the piece of legislation. However the opposition backed the government, giving the bill the special majority needed to move to the next stage. Earlier in winding up debate on the bill, Gender, Child and Youth Development Minister, Verna St. Rose Greaves made a passionate plea for support. She said the legislation is long overdue and has been the victim of petty squabbling. The minister also said her recently expressed position on same sex relationships and abortion has opened her up for licks. She said her relatives and close friends have also faced the wrath of people who are against her stand on sensitive issues.
New Hampshire: Number of N.H.
children in need of foster care has declined in recent years,
The number of children in need of foster care has declined significantly over the last five to 10 years. According to Maggie Bishop, director of the N.H. Division for Children, Youth & Families, there are currently 735 licensed foster homes in New Hampshire and fewer than 700 children in need of placement. Bishop said the steady improvement is due largely to the state’s increasing use of relatives for foster care. When a child is removed from its parents, the state first attempts to contact a close relative, like a grandparent or aunt, who is willing and able to care for the child. Staying with a relative is often less traumatic for the child and offers more hope and support for the parents, Bishop said.
Australia: Young carers'
true-life stories echo around the world
WHEN four Warrnambool teenage carers shared their private stories of struggle and triumph to a Canadian audience there were few people unmoved. Jayke Dorey, 18, Jakob Stennett, 16, Eloise Tindall, 16, and Jacob Bates, 19, recently returned from the first International Young Carers Congress at the Child and Youth Mental Health Matters conference in Vancouver. The four teens care or have cared for family members with a mental illness. Eloise said those who heard their stories found it quite confronting. "There were people who had to leave the room," she said. "Most people were crying. I think it's because we spoke about real issues. What we live with every day.
Northern Ireland: Four children
died in state care since 2009
FOUR children have died in state care in Northern Ireland over the past four years and there has also been at least one suspected suicide in the Western Trust’s Directorate of Women and Children, the Sentinel can reveal. The Sentinel has learned that since the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) was established in April 2009 it has been notified of the “unexpected and tragic death of a ‘looked after child’ on four occasions by local Trusts.” hree of the deaths occurred in 2010/11 and one occurred in 2011/12. The paper asked the Western Trust how many of the four deaths of ‘looked after children’ occurred within the authority but a spokesperson said it could not provide a number as this could lead to a child or young person being identified.
Minnesota: Two longtime adoption
Two adoption agencies with deep roots in Minnesota are planning to merge. Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, which has been operating in the state for 147 years, will merge with Children's Home Society and Family Services, which has been around for 123 years. Children's Home CEO Maureen Warren says the merger is the result of a steep decline in international adoptions, which generated about 70 percent of the agency's revenue. Lutheran Social Services chief executive Jodi Harpstead says her agency has a strong domestic adoption program, so merging with Children's Home makes sense. The Star Tribune says LSS matches about 100 U.S. children with adoptive parents each year.
UK Report: Manchester has more
children in care
than any other local authority
Manchester has more children in care than any where in the country. The city’s social services were last year responsible for 1,385 youngsters aged up to 18. The rate was far higher than anywhere else in Greater Manchester with almost 1.5 per cent of young people in foster care or children’s homes. Manchester council says their high rate of removing children from parents reflects levels of deprivation in the city – but children’s charities say this is only part of the story. The NSPCC says taking more youngsters into care may be a positive sign demonstrating staff are spotting and stopping abuse but it urges authorities to invest more in early support for families to try to prevent breaking them up.
WEDNESDAY 23 MAY
Manitoba: Province to provide
one-stop-shop for specialized services for children and youth
Construction is underway on a facility which will allow families to get integrated, specialized services for children and youth with special needs. This announcement was made by Premier Greg Selinger. “Our government understands the pressures families with special needs face on a daily basis. By bringing many agencies and services under one roof, it will help them save time and, with improved access through the co-ordination and integration of these important services, families will get the help they need quickly and conveniently,” said Selinger. Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY) is a partnership of Manitoba Health, Manitoba Family Services and Labour, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and various community service providers. Agencies that will be located on-site include the Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Society for Manitobans with Disabilities and Community Respite Services. “We want to make it as convenient as possible for families to access the specialized services their children need,” said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. “With so many services in one central location, this facility will help to support families dealing with a variety of challenges. Working together, everyone will benefit from this partnership, which will see agencies deliver vital co-ordinated services including on-site family supports like the Family Resource Centre as well as an early learning and child-care centre.”
UK: Protection of children
praised by inspectors
NORTH Tyneside Council’s work to support and protect vulnerable children and young people has been praised by government inspectors. The authority and its partners’ efforts have been given the thumbs-up by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) following an inspection in March. The assessment of the authority’s safeguarding and looked-after children’s services saw a dozen of the criteria they were marked on rated as good, eight graded as outstanding and two judged as being adequate. Inspectors rated the overall effectiveness of the services as good, with outstanding capacity to improve. The ratings put North Tyneside Council in the top ten of local authorities nationally for its work with children and young people.
Ireland: Romanian girl (17) tells
Children’s Court she has to beg
to feed her baby
A 17-year-old Romanian girl, who has been living in Ireland without her parents, has claimed that she had to beg to feed herself and her baby. The teenage mother-of-one has been in Ireland for almost six months while her own parents are still in Romania, the Dublin Children's Court has been told. The girl, who is residing with extended family members in Dublin, pleaded guilty yesterday (FRI) to obstructing members of the public while begging, at Johnson's Court, on April 11 last, on March 5 and also on a date in December. Judge Eugene O'Kelly said today that it was an aggravating factor that she was again arrested for begging on May 11 last, just 45 minutes after she was last before the court. The teenager also pleaded guilty to that charge and the court heard that health service workers had visited the girl's home and concluded that there were no child protection concerns for her.
Tennessee: Partnership Offers
Unique Approach To Foster Parenting
Each year over 7,000 children and adolescents are placed into foster care in the state of Tennessee. Each May, National Foster Care Month allows the opportunity to focus on the children and youth who are in foster care and what organizations and individuals in the community are doing for these children. The Partnership for Families Children and Adults program provides group home and foster home placement for neglected, abused, delinquent, and status offender youth through their Youth Services programs. The Partnership’s Youth Services staff maintain a close relationship with the foster family and provide ongoing support, regular interaction with caseworkers and 24/7 emergency response. In order to ensure the success of the placements and support foster families, Partnership has adopted an approach to working with the youth in their youth services program. The Partnership is the only provider in the Tennessee Valley region that is currently using the evidence based Circle of Courage model for kids. The Circle of Courage is a model of youth empowerment supported by contemporary research, the heritage of early youth work pioneers and native philosophies of child care.
UK: Concern for children in care
who go missing
A senior police officer has warned that some children who go missing while in care could be slipping under the radar. Det Insp Philip Shakesheff's warning comes after a teenager got caught up in a sex grooming network in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, while she was being looked after in care home paid for by Essex County Council. Det Insp Shakesheff, of West Mercia Police, said his research suggested that those who are in care are not always being monitored.
Florida: New foster homes will
A few new homes will soon rise in Ellenton, dedicated to helping meet the pressing need for foster care across Manatee and Sarasota counties. The homes are designed to accommodate six children and are the result of a partnership between Florida Baptist Children's Homes and the Guardian Angels of Southwest Florida. They likely could provide a haven for brothers and sisters who otherwise might face separation, according to Brena Slater, community development administrator with the Department of Children and Families. "I'm sure when they open, we'll have business for them," she said. "A lot of the removals we are doing are larger sibling groups. When we do remove sibling groups, the wonderful thing about Guardian Angels and Florida Baptist and the building of these homes is we can place children together."
Obese Ohio boy released from
protective supervision after weight loss
An Ohio court has apparently released a 9-year-old boy from the supervision of Cuyahoga County Children & Family Services after he lost more than 50 pounds while in foster care and while living with an uncle in Columbus. Additional information about the case appears in Issue 421 of this Update. The boy, who came to the attention of authorities in March 2010 when he was taken to a hospital with breathing problems, was released to his mother’s custody under protective supervision in March 2012. He has gained a few pounds, but because he continues to work out regularly at a YMCA and has been monitored by a Big Brother, and because his mother will evidently be able to access agency assistance for 90 days, the court determined that the child’s interest had been sufficiently protected.
South Sudan: Unaccompanied
children begin to arrive at SOS Shelters
As the first planes taking South Sudanese living in Sudan to the South Sudan capital of Juba began to land last week, we have been stepping up our facilities in the country to provide unaccompanied children with basic services including food, water, and healthcare. As a result of ongoing conflict between the two countries, earlier this year, the Sudanese government declared that all South Sudanese living in their country must leave and return south. Hundreds of unaccompanied children are amongst the 500,000 refugees estimated to be travelling to South Sudan. According to the International Organization for Migration, a further 17,000 refugees, including many unaccompanied children, are currently living in four transit camps in Renk, a town in South Sudan’s northeast, near the border with Sudan. They are expected to be transported from Renk to other destinations within South Sudan including Juba and Malakal in the coming week.
MONDAY 21 MAY
MP pushes for Children and Youth
in Care Day in Ontario
Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza announced Friday the tabling of a private members bill to proclaim May 14th Children and Youth in Care Day in Ontario. The bill draws from a report created by youth in care — those living in group homes, foster homes and shelters .—- who shared their experiences and struggles with the Ontario Legislature Monday. Once they turn 21, youth who rely on emotional and financial support from government funded programs are cut-off. “It’s another form of abandonment,” said Jemimah Mayanja, a 19-year-old who left her home in Uganada because of abuse. Mayanja is one of 66 youth between the ages of 18 to 21 at the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society and is part of the Youth Leaving Care Team that created the report. The report is filled with stories from youth in and from care and outlines recommendations including extending the cut-off age.
Foster parents are Bermuda's
"unsung heroes" — Minister
A former foster child taken into care due to a traumatic childhood today urged foster parents not to give up on the children they look after. Insurance underwriter Lavonne Lee Smith told a lunch to honour foster carers that she would not have achieved what she did without the love of foster parents Brenda Burgess and now Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess. Fighting back tears, she told a group of nearly 70 foster parents: “Foster care turned a child into a successful young woman who is able to give back and lead a healthy, productive lifestyle and give back to others, which has a domino effect. “That is something which can never be repaid — without your help, there are children that will be left to flounder in unfair circumstances". And she added: “I am almost certain I would not be standing before you today if it wasn’t for them.”
Children's Well-being Central to
Courts’ Mission, Expert Panel Says
An expert panel talked about how juvenile and family courts need to help with the well-being of children. The nation’s juvenile and family courts need to lower walls that have blocked the sharing of data that is key for to marshaling a child through state agencies and the justice system, according to a gathering of court experts Thursday. If the courts fail, a child’s mental, physical and emotional well-being could be damaged, according to a series of measures and recommendations put forth by the panel to guide judges and courts in handling youth in the system. “The days of sitting in your office creating your own [data] system without input from others .—– those days are gone,” said Sandra Moore, head of Pennsylvania’s Office of Children and Families in the Court. “We just can’t function that way anymore…The court system needs to be able to talk to the child welfare system.”
UK: Need for 170 foster families
in Tower Hamlets part of a national crisis for children in care
The Foster Care Fortnight initiative in Tower Hamlets, has revealed a crisis shortfall in the number of children needing foster parents and the families willing and able to look after them. A child goes into care every 22 minutes and the “Time to Care” campaign aims to encourage more people to become foster parents. Over 65,00 children in Britain are currently in foster care. In Tower Hamlets, over 300 children need fostering each year, but there only around 130 fostering families. The council has responded with the running of information sessions across the borough to help raise the public’s awareness. Emdad Talukdar, 57, is a Tower Hamlets community resource officer and foster parent. Sharing his own experiences of fostering at the Whitechapel Idea store this week, he told East London Lines about the commitment becoming a foster parent requries.
Iowa: Carol Wood hits 40-year
milestone at Children’s Square
Children’s Square U.S.A. is set to recognize Carol Wood for her 40 years of service to the organization, including the past 20 as president and CEO. The organization will hold an open house Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. in her honor. Wood was named 2011 Iowa Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. Wood started out as a part-time childcare worker in 1972 while attending Dana College. In 1973, she became a full-time supervisor at a group home in Clarinda, then moved into a group home that was just opening on the Council Bluffs campus. A year later, she was transferred to foster care and adoption.
UK: Heartbreak: Brothers and
sisters in care being torn apart due to foster crisis
Brothers and sisters in care are being forced to live apart because of a record shortage of foster families. New figures show that in the past year two out of three fostering services had to split up families, causing heartbreak and distress to some of Britain’s most vulnerable children. More than half of siblings in care are now separated, despite legislation that says they must be kept together. Alarmingly, experts say the situation will get even worse unless new foster carers can be urgently found. Another 8,750 foster families are now needed, the highest number ever. And the crisis comes while the number of hildren in care is also at an all-time high
North Dakota: Federal officials
address concerns with Spirit Lake Tribe's social services
Federal officials are stepping up oversight of the Spirit Lake Tribe’s social services programs in response to warnings that children’s health and safety are endangered by mismanagement. Michael S. Black, director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has outlined plans for corrective action with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and members of his staff. “He understands the seriousness of the situation,” Ryan Bernstein, Hoeven’s deputy chief of staff and legal counsel, said of Black’s response to a “letter of grave concern” by a clinical psychologist for the Indian Health Service based in Fort Totten. The letter by Michael Tilus, dated April 3, alerted officials of the BIA, IHS and others of what he regarded as a “continual dangerous malpractice history of Spirit Lake Tribal Social Services.”
UK: ''It's time for a radical
shift in elderly care''
The government's White Paper and draft bill on tackling the elderly care issue will contain a plan to shift social services away from reacting to an elderly person's crisis and towards helping them lead the kind of lives they want to, the care services minister Paul Burstow has said. "Simply put, we want social workers to look to people's assets," he said. "I'm not talking about their bank balances I'm talking about their talents, their gifts, their goals. It's about building resilience from relationships to foster those informal networks found in communities that give meaning and purpose to people's lives." "This is a system therefore that is serious about prevention, which prevents people from being socially isolated, that protects them from declining health, that helps people to be active members of society for as long as possible."
Louisiana: Judges want suitcases
for foster kids
The Orleans Parish Juvenile Court wants your slightly used suitcases. It plans to donate them to foster kids who come through its court. The Court has joined with the Judicial District Courts for St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes and the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeal for the project called "Suitcases for Foster Kids." It's part of National Foster Care month, which runs the month of May. Organizers want slightly used or new hard or soft suitcases, or large duffels and backpacks. "Because a child may remain in foster care for years and may move four or more times, he or she generally carries his or her belongings from home to home in plastic garbage bags or cardboard boxes. We judges find this demeaning," said Appeals Court Judge Max Tobias. He believes "giving a child a suitcase in which to keep and transport his or her personal possession gives a child dignity."
FRIDAY 18 MAY
CYC-Net Board Member Andrew
Schneider-Munoz elected as President of the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice
School of Education Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Andrew Schneider-Munoz was selected this past Friday as President of the Association for Child & Youth Care Practice (ACYCP) organization. He has been a member of the ACYCP for the past 32 years, which represents children's issues for the United States in UNESCO proceedings and sets the standards and practices for youth-serving organizations in North America. “I look forward to working closely in the future with Pitt and other major institutions of higher learning in the United States and around the world as the association moves forward with the accreditation of academic departments that prepare the workforce for youth-serving organizations,” says Schneider-Munoz. Through its national board, the association has certified youth work professionals in every state, including many of the School of Education’s own students and alumni.
Child Recreation, Crisis Services
Lacking in Israel
Israel does not have enough organized recreation available to children and youth, says a child welfare expert. A mother in southern Israel bitterly agrees. Dr. Yitzchak Kadmon, head of the Council for the Welfare of the Child testified Wednesday before the Knesset in connection with recent high-profile crimes, some of which involved teenagers. "There aren't enough programs which include activities for children and youth,” he said, “and there are not enough care centers and institutions for children in crisis.” http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/155868
Manitoba: Construction underway
for new specialized services facility
Accessing services for children and youth with special needs in Manitoba is about to get easier. Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald, Premier Greg Selinger and other officials turned the sod on a new facility that will see specialized services all under one roof. The building is being called Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY). It will see agencies such as the Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Society for Manitobans with Disabilities and Community Respite Services all in one building.
Study Finds Chronic Child Abuse
Strong Indicator of Negative Adult Experiences
Child abuse or neglect are strong predictors of major health and emotional problems, but little is known about how the chronicity of the maltreatment may increase future harm apart from other risk factors in a child’s life. In a new study published in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics, Melissa Jonson-Reid, PhD, child welfare expert and a professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, looked at how chronic maltreatment impacted the future health and behavior of children and adults. The study tracked children by number of child maltreatment reports (zero to four or more) and followed the children into early adulthood, by which time some of the children had become parents.
Arizona: Securing education for
Arizona cannot forget children in foster care. They are the state's responsibility and they have the potential to achieve great things -- just like any other child. Enter the grant makers with a bag of money and an armload of opportunity. A $500,000 grant that was announced Tuesday offers a solution. The goal is to help foster kids get a good education by assuring each one has an adult in his or her corner -- an educational champion "Our goal is to improve the educational outcomes of the approximately 10,000 children who, at any given time, are in Arizona's foster-care system," Jesse Hahnel, director of the FosterEd Initiative, said in a release. "In taking children into state custody we become collectively responsible for ensuring they succeed in school and are equipped to succeed in life."
Texas: Former foster child
obtaining college degree
Child Protective Services (CPS) took Emily Fuentes, at 14, from her Raymondville home because her parents abused drugs. "When I was in school people would complain 'Oh my parents grounded me for this and this.'," said Fuentes. "I mean I wish my parents cared enough to ground me for something I did wrong." Although it's hard to be on her own, Fuentes said she is gratful for whoever called CPS. Now 21-years-old, Fuentes is attending South Texas College. She's preparing to be a social worker so she can help others like herself. "I honestly believe that I'm going to make a big impact on the world," said Fuentes. "I don't know how I'm going to do it yet but I like helping people."
Scotland: the best place for
children and young people to grow up
Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell told MSPs she wanted "Scotland to be the best place for children and young people to grow up", as she led the debate on the government's National Parenting Strategy on 16 May 2012. Ms Campbell said the strategy would be aimed at all parents, because parents in all circumstances can find parenting difficult, but said it was important to ensure that more targeted and intensive support was available for families who need it most. She said it would be relevant not only to mums and dads, but to anyone involved in bringing up children, including grandparents and other kinship carers, adoptive and foster parents and of corporate parents like MSPs.
Alberta NDP calls on child
advocate to review death of worker
in teen care home
Alberta's NDP says it's time to bring in the child and youth advocate to shed light on the death of a woman who was killed on the job at an assisted-living home for teens. Rachel Notley says child advocate Del Graff, as an independent officer reporting directly to the legislature, has more latitude to expose issues kept under wraps by the province in similar cases. "Information is not coming out," Notley told a news conference at the legislature Thursday. "This is information that we should have. It's a very genuine request for an open conversation about an issue that is rarely discussed openly." Under the Child and Youth Advocate Act, Graff can investigate only in cases where a child in care has been killed or seriously injured.
UBC study shows parents happier
than childless couples
New research suggests that parents may be happier than childless couples, despite the conventional wisdom that people with children are unhappy, stressed out and exhausted from late-night feedings and early-morning hockey practices. A forthcoming paper from psychologists at the University of B.C. Stanford, and the University of California shows parents experience greater levels of happiness and meaning than non-parents and parents derive more joy from child care than other daily tasks. The paper, In Defense of Parenthood: Children Are Associated With More Joy Than Misery, combines three different studies, one from each school, and will be published in the journal Psychological Science this year. “We were surprised by our findings,” said Elizabeth Dunn, a UBC psychology professor and co-author of the study. “The impression many of us have now from media and academic research is that parenting seems to be this rather negative experience.”
Predicting Permanency for Child
Welfare Youth in journal
Collecting mental health and strength data from youth and their families in the child welfare system can have a positive impact on how they react to and engage in planning their care, a new paper from Polaris reports. In a new article in The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, Polaris demonstrates the potential benefits of collecting mental health and strength data from families and caseworkers to better predict the likelihood of permanent placements for youth in child welfare. The paper is based on a multi-year study with child welfare agencies in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Missouri and North Carolina that used an automated behavioral health assessment system, Polaris-CW, to determine a youth's needs and strengths by collecting data from multiple stakeholders, including the youth and caregivers. The results of the study strongly suggest that incorporating the voice of youth can have a positive impact on how they react to and engage in planning their care, and minimize the feelings of isolation and frustration often expressed by those in the child welfare system, particularly minorities.
WEDNESDAY 16 MAY
US: Oklahoma child welfare
reformers aghast at feds' funding threat
Federal officials are threatening Oklahoma with a loss of millions of dollars if the state continues to make public the histories of children killed or nearly killed by child abuse or neglect. Complying would mean Oklahomans would no longer have access to the types of reports that in the past have revealed massive failures in Oklahoma's child welfare system that contributed to deaths of children like Kelsey Smith-Briggs and Serenity Deal. However, ignoring the demand would place Oklahoma's Department of Human Services at risk of losing more than $50 million in federal funds, officials say. State and national child welfare reformers are incensed - calling the threat "irresponsible" and "unfathomable." http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20120515_11_A7_OKLAHO246084
Pennsylvania: Dauphin County
child abuse prosecution chief suggests boosting penalty for not reporting
The head of Dauphin County's Child Abuse Prosecutions Unit is calling for matching the penalty of failing to report suspected child abuse with the seriousness of the abuse caused to the child. Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean McCormack told the Task Force on Child Protection that failing to report such abuse is now a misdemeanor of the third degree, which he characterized as a mere slap on the wrist. "When you look at penalties for failing to report, I have to ask what message are we sending the public?" McCormack said. "If we really want to take seriously somebody failing to report we need to put some teeth into that law." He went on: "If somebody is raping the child and they don't report that, thereby endangering the child time and time and time again and probably endangering other children because ... they usually don't have one victim, that violation of the mandated reporting act should be a felony of the first degree," he said. " They are allowing the abuse to continue and that would continue to harm that child and I think we need to treat it that way."
Canada: Petition to Make
Childhood Physical Activity A Priority
Hopeful news for the Canadians among us – Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan has introduced a motion calling on the government to take action on the extremely low levels of physical activity among Canadian children and youth. Better yet, other Canadians can also help out.
Canadian children are not very physically active. Canadian youth spend about 8.5 hours per day (more than half their waking hours) sitting down. They also spend more than 6 hours per day in front of TVs and other screen-based devices. And only 7% of Canadian kids are meeting current physical activity guidelines (60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per day, on at least 6 days per week).
Indiana Creating Foster-Ed
The state of Indiana is working to improve the educational outcome for children living in foster care. The Indiana Department of Child Services is launching a national program called Foster Ed, which focuses on basic skills necessary for children to succeed in school and in life. According to DCS, 75- percent of children in foster care are behind at least one grade level, twice as likely to drop out of school, and less than two percent of foster children graduate from college. Foster Ed launched nationally in 2009 as an initiative of the National Center for Youth Law.
UK: Ideas for schools to spend
SCHOOLS should compete to find the best way of spending the pupil premium – and could win an extra £10,000 for being the top performer, Nick Clegg has told teachers. Pupil Premium Awards of up to £10,000 will be handed out to 50 schools as the government searches for the teachers best using the extra cash. The deputy prime minister has set out his proposals for delivering the money by telling educators he wants to “strike a deal between the coalition government and our schools and teachers”. Other proposals include funding of £500 per pupil for summer schools to bridge the gap between primary and secondary education, and career incentives for teachers willing to work in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged pupils.
UK: Leicester fostering team wins
Staff at the city's fostering and adoption centre are celebrating being classed as "outstanding" by inspectors. A team from Ofsted said the City Council's team in Friar Lane, Leicester, was particularly good at listening to children and making sure their care was personalised to their specific needs. The centre was last inspected in 2008, when it was also labelled "outstanding". Councillor Vi Dempster, the city council's spokeswoman for children and young people, said: "The fact that Ofsted has rated our fostering service as outstanding for the second time in a row is a fitting tribute to our staff and foster families who put in extraordinary efforts day after day to help Leicester's looked-after children to flourish."
Sacramento Community Comes
Together to Raise Funds for Kids in Crisis
EMQ FamiliesFirst’s Capital City Caper (www.capcitycaper.org) on April 22, 2012 was a success in raising funds to continue and support various programs that help Sacramento-area children and families in crisis. The event raised more than $85,000 for services like the Yolo Crisis Nursery, Family Finding for foster teens, and Residential 24/7 Treatment. There were 200 super sleuths—pirates, “Men in Black,” Cruella De Vil with 101 Dalmatians, gamblers—teaming together to solve clues at secret sites around Sacramento. Neumann Enterprises provided a fleet of 23 limos, buses, H2 Hummers for the teams to travel from clue site to clue site. The following first place winning teams now own bragging rights for their categories: Union Bank of California, Scotland Yard level; VSP Vision Care, Get Smart level; Tom Cicchini and the “1%,” Inspector Gadget level. Amy Lewis, news anchor for local KFBK news radio, was the event’s emcee for the evening with Dave Bender, CBS13, serving as auctioneer for the live auction. Major donors were U.S. Bank, Union Bank of California, Wells Fargo Bank, Donald & Linda Russell, R.E.T.S. Associates, VSP Vision Care and Dr. Michael Uro.
One-track mind leads to train
An obsession that began with Thomas the Tank Engine will see David Sullivan become New Zealand's youngest steam train driver. The 18-year-old foster child speaks of little else, and by the end of the year he will likely be the youngest person in the country eligible to drive a steam train. Mr Sullivan is autistic and has been in the care of Palmerston North couple Diane and David Broderick since 1993, when they fostered him and his two older sisters. The long-term foster carers have welcomed about 150 children into their home since 1979, as well as raising three children of their own. Mr Sullivan's autism means he has become fixated on a particular subject – trains.
Program helps teens in foster
care find self-sufficiency
There’s a tricky balance in helping teens make the connection between freedom and responsibility. Yet Terrick Moyer does it each day as program manager for Step Forward Transitional Services, a program created to help young adults successfully transition from foster care to self-sufficiency. Run under the auspices of Hope For Tomorrow Counseling and Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Homes, the non-profit program is free to foster children who are accepted. It is supported entirely by grants and donations. “There’s a huge need out there,” said Moyer, a foster parent who has worked with teens and young adults for almost two decades. Virginia has more than 5,000 foster children and when they age out of foster care most don’t go home to their birth families but instead struggle to fend of unemployment, homelessness, arrest and incarceration. Although the number of children entering foster care has decreased over the years, the percentage of children who age out has risen. “Quickly they realize that all of us need help,” Moyer said. “It’s a humbling experience.”
Scottish minister supports Foster
AILEEN Campbell, Scotland’s Minister for Children and Young People, today welcomes the launch of Foster Care Fortnight 2012, praising the role fostering plays in helping vulnerable children and young people. Ms Campbell said: “The Scottish Government supports Foster Care fortnight and its aim of encouraging more people to take up fostering and improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable children and young people. Providing permanent, secure homes for children and young people with a minimum of delay is our ultimate goal and we’re committed to working with The Fostering Network Scotland, local authorities and other parties to make that happen. “We place huge value on the role foster carers play in helping make Scotland the best place for children to grow up and would encourage as many people as possible to take up fostering and join the thousands already providing youngsters with a stable, confident and happy life.”
Lancashire: School children need
homes — Barnado's
People in Preston are being asked to foster school-age children who are in desperate need. Barnardo’s North West is appealing to people to put themselves forward as carers, as Foster Care Fortnight begins today. Jon Broadhurst, from Barnardo’s North West fostering service, said: “We’re looking for families, couples or single people, men or women, who feel they can make a positive difference to a child’s life. “There are thousands of schoolage children out there who are in desperate need of a foster home. “Children find themselves going into foster care through no fault of their own. But as children get older it becomes harder for us to find them foster placements
MONDAY 14 MAY
Winnipeg: Province to double FASD
The province will double the capacity of a successful Winnipeg fetal alcohol spectrum disorder support program, while boosting efforts to diagnose the condition in rural and northern communities. Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief announced Friday funding for provincial services to address FASD will reach $13.3 million this year, $500,000 more than last year. At a news conference, he said some of the new money will be used to double the reach of a local program that gives parents of young kids with FASD a monthly respite day as it works with the children on behavioural issues. The program, offered through the Rehabilitation Centre for Children on Wellington Crescent, will now see 36 kids a month in Winnipeg, up from 18. The target ages of kids are from three to 12. Kids are usually seen in groups of three, and the program is so much fun at least one child nags his adopted mom about when the next session will take place.
UK: Rising tide of diabetes
‘could sink the NHS’
DIABETES care in England is in a “state of crisis” with fewer than half of sufferers getting the basic minimum care, says a new report. Diabetes UK says the NHS last year spent £1m an hour on diabetes – with 80 per cent going on managing avoidable complications. The charity’s latest State of the Nation report reveals a health postcode lottery with only six per cent of sufferers in the worst-performing areas getting the basic health checks and services recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence – but up to 69 per cent in the best. Diabetes UK says the lack of checks has helped to fuel a rise in rates of diabetes-related complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure and strokes. The report reveals that a quarter of children and young people with Type 1 diabetes are only diagnosed when they already need emergency treatment. In other respects young people also lose out: only four per cent for children and young people get all their annual checks, while 85 per cent are not meeting their blood glucose targets.
US: Homelessness 'different' on
Surveys done on eight Minnesota Indian reservations at the close of the last decade identified more than 2,000 people -- including more than 900 children and youth -- who were homeless or near homeless, according to a report last week by the Wilder Foundation. The study, funded by several private foundations and public agencies, counted as homeless nearly 1,500 people who were "doubled up," temporarily living in someone else's home. "Homelessness on Indian reservations is different than what we see in other parts of our state," said Greg Owen, who directed the study for Wilder Research. "Extended family ties are strong ... and traditions dictate that, when possible, people open their homes to others."
UK: Ministers set to order
inquiry into care homes
Ministers have warned they are considering a full inquiry into the failings of state-run children's homes in the wake of last week's chilling sex-abuse case in Rochdale. The Government has put the council care system in the spotlight after it was warned of "eye-watering" evidence of abuse of children from local authority homes across the country. Tim Loughton, the children's minister, conceded that the level of abuse of children in care is "widely underestimated" and signalled his willingness to take further action to protect the thousands of young people placed into care every year. Fears over the safety of children in local authority care intensified after nine members of a sex-grooming network in Rochdale were jailed for offences against teenage girls – including at least one who was living in a council home. The case raised grave concerns over the safety and supervision of children in residential care, and the emotional support given to the most vulnerable. It emerged last week that children's homes in England have reported 631 cases of children being sold for sex in the past five years.
Connecticut: Juvenile review
board proposed for Griswold
A program to help youths stay out of court and out of trouble is coming to Griswold as early as this summer. Jewett City resident Trooper Adam Chittick and Youth Services Director Ryan Aubin told the Jewett City Board of Warden and Burgesses and town officials this week they are working to start a juvenile review board to serve Jewett City, Griswold and Voluntown. A juvenile review board is a diversionary program offering minors who get arrested a chance to turn it around before getting a criminal record. First-time offenders 17 and younger charged with misdemeanor crimes would be eligible to work with counselors or do community service rather than face a judge at Juvenile Court in Waterford.
Australia: Call for youth
The Commissioner for Children and Young People has warned that WA is lagging other States in accommodating juvenile offenders who have a mental illness. Speaking at the start of Law Week, Michelle Scott reiterated her calls for a facility to assess, treat and accommodate young offenders with mental illnesses. She highlighted the need for such a facility in a report she completed about 12 months ago. She said more needed to be done to "protect the wellbeing of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children". The report found that more than half of children in custody had a mental health problem. Ms Scott said young offenders in Victoria and NSW had access to professionals who could treat problems including substance abuse and mental illnesses. "There is no place in WA where a child or young person with a mental illness who needs to be on remand or in detention can go to be treated in a secure, fit-for-purpose accommodation," Ms Scott said.
UK: Half of councils failing
controversial 'scorecards' show
Children in some areas spend more than twice as long in care as those in others and in one corner of London the difference can be up to 15 months depending on what side of a street they live on. The first ever adoption “scorecards” for English local authorities also highlight a growing backlog of children already cleared for adoption by the courts but waiting for suitable families to be approved. Overall children in care in England are forced to wait an average of 20 months to move in with adoptive parents. It is understood that the situation is so acute in about 20 councils that Government officials are to be sent in to force them to speed up the process. They will consider taking over the children’s services department if adoption times do not improve.
Maine Report: 50 percent fewer
Maine children removed from abusive homes over past decade
State figures show that the number of children removed from abusive homes in Maine has declined by more than 50 percent in the past decade. The numbers have fallen as the Department of Health and Human Services pursued a policy of keeping children with parents unless they face physical abuse or serious neglect. The Maine Sunday Telegram says the numbers mirror a national trend, supported by findings that children can suffer severe emotional trauma when separated from their families and placed in foster care. But the newspaper also finds that the trend raises concerns about whether child welfare workers are acting quickly enough in cases where children are suffering or at risk of abuse.
FRIDAY 11 MAY
Libya: OMV opens psycho-social
center for distressed children and adolescents in Tripoli
On May 8, 2012, the official opening of the Libya Youth Center in Tripoli, Libya took place. The psycho-social center was initiated by OMV to offer the prospect of a more carefree future to children and adolescents who have suffered from acts of war and their consequences in Libya. The primary goal of the center is to enable young people to work through their experiences with professional support. To implement the center, OMV works with the Hilfswerk Austria International, a relief organisation with many years of experience and extensive knowledge in the field of development co-operation. The co-operation agreement was signed in October 2011 for a period of two years with a total budget of EUR 2.1 mn. OMV and Hilfswerk Austria International worked closely with the National Transitional Council and local stakeholders during the project planning and implementation phase, and, after 24 months, the centre will be handed over to the Libyan authorities, who will continue to run it.
Canada: Hoskins speaks on mental
Children and Youth Services Minister Eric Hoskins was in Mississauga today to announce $1.36 million in new provincial funding for Peel children with mental health challenges. In efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and increase mental health awareness, the Ontario government is investing more services and support into the mental health sector, said the minister. Hoskins said $2.5 million in funding provided to Peel Region for children’s mental health services since last year has been put toward new programs and health workers. Forty-eight mental health workers have been introduced into Peel schools and agencies.
UK Report: Praise heaped on
Peterborough’s youth offending team
Peterborough’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) is one of the best in the country according to a glowing inspection report. Inspectors from the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection Team visited Peterborough City Council to compile its report. The inspectors praised the department and found that it is performing above average in every area with only minimal changes needed to improve. Andy Smith, assistant chief inspector for the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection Team, said: “We were impressed to find a YOS where the staff worked creatively and conscientiously, under the capable guidance of a small but strong management team to deliver a good range of quality interventions to children and young people. “As a result, the children and young people’s risk of harm to others, likelihood of reoffending and vulnerability were effectively addressed. “Overall, we consider this to be a very creditable set of findings.”
Nova Scotia: MLA’s bill proposes
A Liberal MLA is hoping Nova Scotia will create something most other provinces already have — a child and youth advocate. The advocate would be very different from an ombudsman for young people, Zach Churchill, the member for Yarmouth, said Monday while discussing the bill he introduced in the legislature on Friday. While the ombudsman’s office deals with youth issues, it only provides impartial assessments on individual cases, Churchill, the Liberal party’s youth critic, said. The advocate would be a person who constantly lobbies for young people. The new position would be proactive instead of reactive and would serve as a voice for youth in the democratic process, he said. “This would be a position that has enough independence to be critical of government decisions and to make suggestions to improve the lot of young people in the province of Nova Scotia and ensure that they have as few barriers as possible to succeeding.” Similar child and youth advocates are in place in many other provinces and “they seem to be working out pretty well,” he said.
UK: Ministers to give evidence to
Parliamentary inquiry into children missing from care
Following the widely publicised imprisonment of nine men involved in a sexual grooming network which exploited vulnerable teenage girls, the Parliamentary inquiry into children missing from care will hear evidence from two government ministers. Tim Loughton, the Minister for Children and Families and Lynne Featherstone, the Minister for Equalities and Criminal Information, will give evidence to the final session of the Parliamentary Inquiry on May 10. The inquiry is being held by two All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) – the APPG for Runaway and Missing Children and the APPG for Looked After Children and Care Leavers. The Children's Society says that figures suggest that hundreds of girls in children's homes are being sexually abused by organised networks of men. England's children's homes, which care for 1,800 girls, have recorded 631 incidents of girls being sold for sex during the past five years, including 187 during the past 10 months.
U.S. is 25th Best Place to be a
The United States is the 25th best place to be a mom. As Mother's Day approaches, the aid organization Save the Children released its annual State of the World's Mothers report Tuesday, ranking the best and worst countries in which to be a mom. The report is based on measures including mothers' education, access to medical care, infant mortality, breastfeeding rates, and children's health and nutrition. Norway tops the list, largely because it ranks the best on contraceptive use, female education, and political representation, and has generous maternity leave policies. Niger, where women only have a life expectancy of 56, was ranked lowest, a spot Afghanistan had held for the past two years. The United States performs below average overall, particularly in areas like lifetime risk of dying from childbirth. American moms face a 1-in-2,100 risk of maternal death, which is the highest of any industrialized nation, the Los Angeles Times reports. And a child in the U.S. is four times as likely as a child in Iceland to die before age 5.
Northern Ireland: Call for
missing children alert
An Oireachtas watchdog has demanded the urgent setting up of an "Amber Alert" system for missing or kidnapped children more than three years after it got the go-ahead. Former justice minister Dermot Ahern signed off on a US-style rapid response scheme, which would quickly spread the alarm when youngsters are feared abducted, in April 2009. The order came on the back of a Garda Inspectorate report which made 18 recommendations, including the need for gardai to work more closely with the media and overseas police forces. More than three years later, the chief recommendation of a joint Oireachtas committee investigation into missing persons is for the alert system to be "introduced as a matter of urgency".
Australia: 10,000 Sydney children
at risk of living on the street
Australia’s most populous city may well be home to an alarming number of destitute children, suggests Anglicare Sydney, a major emergency relief charity that has been providing care and support to approximately 10,000 kids at risk of becoming homeless every year.
The report, published today, stated that 27,000 people over the past five years sought help from the charity because of lack of funds for food or other necessities. Approximately half of the needy had at least one kid requiring care, the report further revealed. The survey also unveiled that more than 98% of the families did not have any full-time earning member and 20% of them were living thrifty on less than $400 (£251) a week. Based on these findings, Anglicare recommended a hike in the Newstart Allowance by $50 (£31). A separate government report demonstrated that one in 13 families seeking help did not have a permanent place to live, while all the families were facing the danger of homelessness in the wake of a lodging crisis in the city.
New Zealand: Cost of Raising a
Child Has Soared
The cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 has surged 25 percent over the last 10 years, due largely to the rising cost of groceries and medical care, according to the Department of Agriculture, which tracks annual expenditures on children by families. The government's most recent annual report reveals a middle-income family with a child born in 2010 can expect to spend roughly $227,000 for food, shelter and other expenses necessary to raise that child - $287,000 when you factor in projected inflation. And, no, the bill does not include the cost of college or anything related to the pregnancy and delivery. "If you sat down to tally up the total cost of having children, you'd never have them," says Timothy Knotts, a father of four and a certified financial planner with The Hogan-Knotts Financial Group in Red Bank N.J. "It's a very expensive adventure."
EDNESDAY 9 MAY
Canada: Focus on kids' mental
The nation's first-ever national mental-health strategy is expected to call for an overhaul of services for children and youth - an under-resourced and fragmented system Canada's former mental-health commissioner says is in "desperate" need of repair. Six years in the making and due for release Tuesday, the strategy will recommend priorities for prevention and treatment of the leading cause of disability in Canada. Mental illness costs the economy an estimated $51 billion annually in health care and lost productivity. The strategy is also expected to address the psychological health of employees in the workplace and call for a more integrated system to improve access to treatment and services across a person's lifespan. Only a third of adults and one in four children who need mental health services in Canada actually receive them.
... National mental health
A national strategy for mental health was long overdue. So says Rick Shields, executive director of St. Clair Child and Youth Services in Sarnia-Lambton. The organization, which provides mental health services for youth and families, was celebrating its 40th anniversary Tuesday, the same day the Mental Health Commission of Canada released the country's first national mental health strategy. “I think that gives a better platform for mental health concerns to be taken seriously,” said Shields. “There really isn't health without mental health.” Currently calling St. Clair Child and Youth for help gets a family an appointment in two to six weeks. Some 1,300 are helped each year. “There are services in Sarnia ...,” he said. “Whether there's enough capacity, that's another question.”
UK: North Yorkshire urgently
needs an additional 60 foster carers
In the UK a child goes into care every 22 minutes, and last year in North Yorkshire 307 children needed to be looked after by a foster carer. Fostering is a way of providing a safe and caring temporary home for children of all ages who for whatever reason can’t live with their own families. Many children who need foster carers have been neglected or abused and some have physical or learning disabilities. Others have brothers or sisters who they don’t want to be separated from, but what they all have in common is the need to feel safe, secure and happy. Fostering North Yorkshire urgently need an additional 60 foster carers to look after local children, particularly in areas with an acute shortage of carers including Harrogate, Northallerton, Scarborough and Selby.
CAMY criticizes states for
failure to address youth exposure
to alcohol marketing
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) has issued a May 1, 2012, report claiming that the majority of states have failed to adequately address youth exposure to alcohol advertising. According to a concurrent press release, CAMY researchers apparently reviewed state advertising laws to determine whether each law incorporated all, some or none of eight “best practices” designed to limit alcohol advertising that is likely to be viewed by children and underage youth. Their results purportedly revealed that no state successfully applied more than five of the eight recommended policies and only 11 states used more than one.
UK: Child Sex Gang: Police 'Let
A gang of Asian men who drugged, raped and trafficked underage girls for sex were able to carry out their abuses for two years because of a series of errors made by police, social services and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Nine men, all from north-west England, abused at least five young girls between August 2008 and 2010. A jury at Liverpool Crown found them guilty of child sex charges, including rape and trafficking, in one of the biggest cases of its kind to reach a British court. All the victims were known to social services; some were in care at the time that the abuses took place.
Tennessee: Child, Youth and
School Services Offers Bully Proofing for 3rd through 5th Graders
Child, Youth and School Services understands that bullying is a serious concern for many parents and children. Join them for this Bully Proofing class being offered on May 29th from 6:30pm until 8:30pm at the Family Resource Center. This child safety program is designed to be preventative and proactive, so that children can avoid being bullied, and if they are bullied, know how to stop it. Youth in grades 3 through 5 are invited to attend this free interactive course where they will learn, in a non-threatening way, how to become “BullyProofed”.
UK: Charity warns of crisis as
number of children in care soars
Britain is teetering on the brink of a fostering crisis, charities warned yesterday. New research shows a dramatic increase in the number of children and young people taken into care each year following the Baby P case, which has put unprecedented pressure on the existing network of carers. It is estimated that a new foster place for a child is needed in the UK every 22 minutes, after a 17% rise in the number of care cases since 2008.
The increase means that unless a further 8,750 new carers can be found next year, the system, which is already struggling to maintain and recruit sufficient numbers, could start to fail. This would result in more cared-for children – who are already more likely to fail at school, commit crime or go on to have their own children taken into care – being forced to live in residential care, move away or be separated from siblings, it was claimed.
Illinois: United Methodist
Children's Home Holds
Volunteer Appreciation Banquet
The United Methodist Children's Home held their annual volunteer appreciation dinner at Mt. Vernon First United Methodist Church on April 24th. Volunteers were recognized for hard work and hours of service by receiving certificates and potted plants as a token of appreciation. This year's theme was "Volunteers are Rays of Hope". Elaine Johnson was chosen as the 2011 Volunteer of the Year. Johnson is a member of the Mt. Vernon Friends Auxiliary. The Friends group plans various activities and celebrations for the youth, such as birthday parties and picnics. The Friends Group is a nondenominational group that meets on the first Monday of the month at UMCH. Three youth were honored for volunteering as well. A girl living at UMCH held a bake sale, and donated over $200 for Murray Center in Centralia. A young man living at UMCH gathered cleaning supplies and financial contributions of more than $200, and sent the donation to the First United Methodist Church in Harrisburg for tornado relief efforts. The third youth talked about traveling to Harrisburg, and helping clean up after the devastation.
MONDAY 7 MAY
US: National Children’s Mental
Health Day observed
National Children’s Mental Health Day will be observed by communities across the nation Wednesday, a day that aims to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and stresses that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development. The national focus will look at the needs of children and youth ages birth to 18 in systems including juvenile justice, child welfare and education who have experienced trauma. This year’s theme is “Heroes of Hope.” “It’s providing hope to children who struggle with mental illness,” said Evelyn Southers, behavioral health rehabilitation specialist with Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma. “To help them understand it’s OK to have a mental illness.” Last year, more than 1,100 communities had events for Awareness Day. Events included community activities, youth rallies, social media campaigns, and art, dance, and music related activities for children and youth. In Ardmore, the day will be observed 4-7 p.m. at MHSSO, 2530 South Commerce St. MHSSO has invited children who have received services from the agency to a celebration, “Caring for Every Children’s Mental Health,” in their honor.
Canada: Children's representative
should be able to help
vulnerable youth longer: report
B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth should be given expanded powers to advocate for vulnerable youth until they reach age 24, a new report says. The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth made the recommendation after reviewing the law that governs the representative's office. The report notes that the current rules inhibit Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond's ability to advocate for young people once they turn 19. This has created problems, particularly when trying to help youth with developmental disabilities as they entered adulthood and responsibility for their care shifted from the children's ministry to Community Living B.C. The committee says Turpel-Lafond should be able to advocate for young people transitioning to CLBC until they are 24, and to help young adults who received services from the Ministry of Children and Family Development in the 15 months prior to their 19th birthday.
Napa Valley: New directors at
The Napa Valley Education Foundation welcomes new directors, Laura Hewitt and Pat Burke. Hewitt has extensive experience in children and youth policy, community development, and systems change, a news release said. Her professional career has included serving as executive director of Safe Passages and director of planning and special projects for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Their Families. She has also worked on local and national projects focusing on moving families from welfare to self-sufficiency. Burke is with Judd’s Hill Winery and has been in the Napa Valley wine industry since 1999. Burke has a long history of serving on nonprofit boards, including Napa Valley College Winery & Viticulture Technology Foundation Board, Shannon Lemieux Memorial Fund, president of the Leadership Napa Valley Foundation Board, president of the Silverado Trail Wineries Association, and as the city of Napa’s representative for the Napa Valley Conference and Visitors Bureau.
Australia: Government backs youth
suicide report findings
The Northern Territory Government says it will adopt all the recommendations made by a committee about youth suicides. The Territory's youth suicide rate is the highest in the nation. Nearly 30 children and youths have killed themselves in the Territory in the last five years. The Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee tabled its report in the Territory parliament last night. It has made recommendations to improve prevention, "post-vention" and counselling services. Health Minister Kon Vatskalis says the 15 recommendations will all be taken up. "Everything will happen, it will happen as soon as possible," he said.
Uganda: Government to regulate
The government has announced plans to set up regulate the set and operation of orphanages in Uganda. The Commissioner for youth and Children Affairs in the ministry Gender, Labour and Social development Mondo Kyateka said the Ministry of Gender, Labour and social development is set to draft an alternative Child Care framework to regulate the operation of orphanages in the country. Kyateka says that there are only 35 registered Orphanages out of 412 in the country and this poses big threat to the Orphans and Vulnerable children who are under the care of unregistered and thus unknown orphanages. He says some orphanages are not giving the children the kind of care they promise whle others are mistreating orphans.
Bloomberg’s cuts to NY Youth
homeless shelters is “unacceptable”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented his $68.7 billion budget proposal for New York City this week, meeting with sharp criticism almost immediately. Although the mayor noted that the city has recovered nearly twice the number of private-sector jobs it lost in the last recession, the pace of recovery on Wall Street has slowed its progress he said. The proposal the mayor's unveiled this week would act as an interim step in the city's yearly budget process to stem the loss of public school teachers whilst potentially cutting fire companies and making biting cuts to low-income child-care programs. The mayors budget would also cut $7 million to the city's Runaway and Homeless Youth Services, and the plan could eliminate 160 youth shelter beds.
Canada: Nanaimo youth safe house
marks its official opening
A new youth safe house will make a "huge difference" for teenagers seeking refuge from unsafe and unstable homes, support workers say. The Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Society officially opened the Tenth Street safe house on Friday, calling it a great accomplishment and much-needed support service. The $750,000 facility doubles the beds available to youth, provides wheelchair access and more living space. Grace Elliott Nielsen, executive director of the friendship society, thanked the community for making the project a reality. It was a long time coming and a difficult project to get started, she said.
Court ruling may open door to
monetary damages to Nevada foster children who sue state over their care
A ruling Friday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could mean Clark County and state officials no longer will be immune from paying damages resulting from lawsuits involving children in foster care. A three-judge panel overturned most of a 2010 decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Jones, who had previously dismissed the lawsuit filed by the National Center for Youth Law on behalf of a group of Clark County foster children. The suit was brought against Clark County Department of Family Services, Clark County commissioners, Gov. Kenny Guinn and the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services. Jones had ruled “qualified immunity” protected the defendants from such lawsuits that sought either monetary or injunctive relief. Friday's ruling directs the case back to the federal trial court.
Texas: Report recommends help at
school for foster children
Children removed from abusive homes and placed into long-term foster care do much worse in school than other children, requiring a host of legal and educational changes to improve their lives, a state-commissioned report concludes. The report, released Thursday, painted a stark picture for foster children, who have higher dropout rates and lower test scores, are more likely to repeat grades and are far less likely to graduate from college — only 3 percent by age 25, compared with 28 percent of nonfostered children. Addressing problems with education can have a significant impact on the lives of the 30,000 Texas children in foster care at any given time, said District Judge Patricia Macias, head of a 14-member committee of judges, education leaders and Child Protective Services officials that issued the report, "A Blueprint for Texas."
FRIDAY 4 MAY
UN Commission Adopts Youth
Reproductive Health Resolution
The United Nations (UN) Commission on Population and Development has adopted an innovative resolution aimed at improving the reproductive rights of adolescents and young people. “We cannot ignore the facts. Many young people are sexually active, and because of this, they may face risks to their health, including sexual violence,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the opening of Commission’s week-long gathering last week. The resolution calls for the elimination of discrimination against young people, including women and girls, so as to ensure the reproductive health of all. Patient confidentiality and complete sexual and reproductive health services for all are needed to reduce maternal and child deaths as well as HIV incidence. Attached to these health issues are access to education for both boys and girls—including sex education—as well as youth unemployment. Tackling these issues will increase the opportunities and avenues young people have in the future, reducing the likelihood that they will engage in risky behaviours such as early sexual debut, sex work, child marriage, drug use and gang activity.
Canada: Inquest urged after abuse
and murder of 7-year-old girl
Child advocates are asking what went wrong after seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson was abused and eventually murdered by her caregivers in a Parkdale apartment in August 2008. On Tuesday, the girl's former caregivers, Donna Irving and Warren Johnson, pleaded guilty to Katelynn's second-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years. The little girl's death came months after Katelynn's school principal noticed bruises on the little girl's body and reported suspected abuse to the Children's Aid Society. The case was passed between the Children's Aid Society and Native Child and Family Services, with neither agency acting in the days leading up to Katelynn's death on August 3, 2008.
Las Vegas: Teen Marijuana Use on
An alarming study finds more teens are smoking marijuana. The same study also reveals no progress in the battle of illegal prescription drug use. Read the Full Report Nearly 1.5 million teens admit to heavily smoking pot in the past month. Heavy use is considered smoking at least 20 times. "There's definitely a breakdown in terms of who the marijuana users are and teens that are heavy users," said Roseman University associate professor Paul Oesterman. "We're finding there's an increase in the Hispanic community, little less in African American community and a little less in the Caucasian community." Oesterman says the latest numbers are disturbing, because heavy marijuana users are significantly more likely to use other illicit drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. The results, released by DrugFree.org and the MetLife Foundation, also found 42% of teens – or approximately 4 million teens - say they have used marijuana in the past month. Oesterman says parents are key players in the battle against drugs.
D.C. Council panel pushing more
oversight for troubled city-run nonprofit
A District Council committee is recommending funding in the 2013 budget for a "Blue Ribbon Task Force" that would oversee the operations of a city-run nonprofit connected to former Councilman Harry Thomas Jr.'s embezzlement. The task force, which was approved by the Human Services Committee on Wednesday, would "review the current governance structure of the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation and its relationship with the District government and make recommendations for reform and restructuring to the Council." The task force was borne from a committee report that found Thomas had help within the trust in stealing more than $350,000 in city grant money. Thomas, who is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Thursday, pleaded guilty in January to the embezzlement.
Ohio Association of Child Caring
Agencies Announces New Executive Director
The Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies (OACCA) appointed Mark M. Mecum as its new Executive Director. Mecum’s appointment concluded a thorough two-month nationwide search. Jeffrey Greene, President-Elect, Board of Directors, announced Mecum’s appointment to the Board in a letter last week. "Mark Mecum is exactly the right leader, at the right time, for OACCA. He has excellent child welfare and behavioral health experience, political advocacy, strong community relationships and unbeatable enthusiasm." Mecum joined OACCA in 2006 as a Policy Analyst and was promoted to Associate Director for Government Relations in 2008. He has been serving as the Interim Executive Director since 2011.
New Zealand: Getting children to
school helps prevent crime
Getting children off the streets and back into classrooms will not only be good for their education, it will also help prevent crime, says Hamilton police city community and youth services manager Senior Sergeant Lance Tebbutt. Mr Tebbutt said 16 truants were found on Monday, after similar operations in March and February when 42 and 23 were found. "About 23 per cent of all residential burglaries are carried out between 8am and 5pm," Mr Tebbutt said. "Often by children who should be at school so there is real value from a crime prevention perspective in ensuring parents meet their legal obligations of ensuring their kids are in class." In September last year, nine boys aged between 11 and 16 were arrested in relation to 26 burglaries and three thefts from cars in west Hamilton over the previous 18 months.
US: May is National Foster Care
Did you know there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system in this country? These are kids who need someone to send them off to school in the morning, help them with their homework, hug them, and simply provide a loving home. We often talk about adoption and the barriers LGBT families face, but we rarely focus on foster care. May is National Foster Care Month. The occasion gives us an opportunity to reflect on the experiences and needs of the children and youth in the foster care system.
Foster parents are desperately needed across the country. LGBT people often feel like they have no options in starting a family. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Children are being raised in over 1 million LGBT-headed households across the country. These numbers from 2010 U.S. Census data show foster care and adoption by LGBT families is not a new phenomenon. All major medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations have come to the same conclusion – that sexual orientation and gender identity have absolutely nothing to do with the ability to raise a child.
UK: New figures highlight the
need for more foster carers
On average one child comes into care in Essex every 15 hours. At the end of March 2012 there were a total of 1,498 children in care in Essex, with 581 new children becoming looked after during the year. The figures have been released by Essex County Council to coincide with Foster Care Fortnight which runs from Monday 14 May to Sunday 27 May 2012. In line with the national picture, the numbers of children being taken into care in Essex have been rising since 2007. This means that more foster care families are needed to provide a caring and safe home for children who are unable to live with their birth families. Essex County Council is using Foster Care Fortnight to highlight the vital role that foster carers play in caring for Essex’s looked after children and to encourage potential carers with the right skills and qualities to come forward.
Maryland: State won't renew
contract with major foster care provider
Maryland's second-largest foster care provider will lose its contract with the state to place children in homes, a Department of Human Resources spokesman said Wednesday. Any children placed with Contemporary Family Services must be transferred to the care of another placement company before the contract expires June 30, according to a letter from the department to the company's executive director, John L. Monroe. A transition plan is being developed for the foster children and parents. The move follows a series of troubles at the Hyattsville-based company — including failure to pay federal taxes — that were detailed in a Baltimore Sun investigation. The state announced in late February that it would not relicense Contemporary Family Services, a decision the company is contesting. Ian Patrick Hines, communications director for the Department of Human Resources, said the department won't renew the company's contract for several reasons, including the decreased need for such companies and Contemporary Family Services' performance.
Connecticut Senate passes bill
requiring regular sibling visits for children in DCF care
The Connecticut Senate has passed legislation that would require the state's child welfare commissioner to make sure siblings under the state's care, such as in foster homes, get to visit one another at least once a week. Alixes Rosado, a 23-year-old from Manchester who was separated from his three siblings while in foster care, said the legislation will help improve the lives of thousands of foster youth who yearn to grow up with their brothers and sisters. Under the bill, which passed unanimously on Wednesday, mandates a minimum of one visit per week between the siblings who live within 50 miles of one another, unless there's a reason to believe the visits aren't in the best interest of the children. DCF supports the bill, which now awaits House action.
WEDNESDAY 2 MAY
Israel: Huge faults lie in gov’t
program to help children at risk
A flagship government program aimed at reducing the number of children and youth considered at risk has been sharply criticized by the State Comptroller’s Office for failing to properly assess and keep track of its own work over the past five years. The National Program for Children and Youth at Risk, which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, was also faulted for taking more than four years to get any of its programs actually working in the field. Established in 2006 based on recommendations made by the inter-ministerial committee headed by child welfare expert Professor Hillel Schmidt, which found that more than 300,000 children in Israel could be classed as at risk, the national program brought together professionals from five government offices and aimed to address the needs in some 56 local authorities. Budgeted at NIS 155 million a year for multiple years, the Comptroller said that the program had succeeded in fostering better cooperation between the various professional government departments working with children and local authorities.
UK: Merger creates looked-after
children care giant
Advanced Childcare Limited (ACL) has acquired Continuum Care and Education Group for an undisclosed amount. The merger will create the largest provider of specialist children’s care and education services in the UK. The combined company has more than 80 of the total 152 local authorities as existing customers. It will have 143 children’s homes, 15 special schools and over 100 fostering placements, employing over 1,400 people. The group plans to add a further 875 new jobs over the next four years. ACL’s founder and chief executive Riz Khan said: “With this merger, Advanced Childcare now has the scale and expertise to offer integrated therapeutic and educational pathways to help such children achieve a better future.
Abuse in Dutch children’s homes
Children in foster families and youth care facilities are three to four times more often the victims of child sex abuse compared to children living with their parents. Children with a mild mental retardation living in group homes are ten times more often the victims of sexual abuse. National daily de Volkskrant writes that a group of scientists from the University of Leiden conclude that abuse among children in youth care was 'shockingly common'. The study, conducted on behalf of the Samson Commission, covers the period from 2008 to 2010. The scientists write that sexual abuse is still a major taboo. Half the abuse victims were too afraid to name their abuser, even when the questionnaire was completely anonymous. Those who did answer named institutional workers as their abusers, as well as foster parents and fellow group members. Parliament asked the Samson Commission to investigate sex abuse among adolescents placed in institutions or foster families by the government. The commission was formed in 2010 in addition to the Deetman Commission which investigates child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic church.
US: Arson Awareness Week Targets
Youth Fire Setting
The Aurora Fire Department, in conjunction with the U.S. Fire Administration has announced that the theme for the 2012 Arson Awareness Week of May 6-12 is Prevent Youth Firesetting. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires started by children playing with fire accounted for an average of 56,300 fires between 2005 and 2009. These fires resulted in approximately 100 deaths and 900 injuries, and caused an estimated $286 million in property damage. Fire in the hands of children is devastating, regardless of a child’s age or motive. It is imperative that we do everything possible to prevent youth firesetting and protect the nation’s most valuable resource – our children. Parents should teach young children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
New York: John Jay Fellowship on
Youth in the Justice System
During the last five years New York state has closed 18 youth prisons. Some 900 young people incarcerated in those prisons were placed in home-based and home-like treatment programs, within their own communities. And under Gov. Cuomo’s “Close to Home” initiative, most youth offenders will follow suit. “Only the most dangerous young people who pose a risk to public safety should be in our juvenile justice system,” says Commissioner Gladys Carrion, who leads the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. “The vast majority are not a risk to public safety and we had evidence that low-level interventions were more effective.”
US: Hospital-to-Home Transitions
in Kids With Chronic Conditions
An American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report describes how to care for children with chronic medical conditions who are transitioning from hospital to home care. The new guidelines are published online April 30 and in the May 2012 issue of Pediatrics. "Children and youth with complex medical issues, especially those with technology dependencies, experience frequent and often lengthy hospitalizations," write Ellen Roy Elias, MD, Nancy A. Murphy, MD, and the Council on Children with Disabilities. "Hospital discharges for these children can be a complicated process that requires a deliberate, multistep approach. In addition to successful discharges to home, it is essential that pediatric providers develop and implement an interdisciplinary and coordinated plan of care that addresses the child's ongoing health care needs." Despite the many challenges involved in home care of children with complex medical needs, appropriate thought and planning can offer the child, family, and clinician a rewarding experience. Goals of the transition care plan are to ensure that each child remains healthy and thriving and to provide optimal medical home and developmental support systems to facilitate ongoing home care and to reduce readmissions.
UK: Homes’ good news
EVERY children’s home in Wirral has achieved ‘healthier homes status’ after the national scheme was introduced by the NHS locally. The NHS Wirral ‘Healthier Homes’ standard for ‘Looked after Children’ in residential care encourages homes to adopt healthier approaches to food, exercise and wider wellbeing issues such as sexual health, drugs and alcohol. NHS chiefs said the programme, which was first brought in in the summer of 2010, has been a complete success in Wirral – with every residential home having been awarded healthier homes status, giving young people an opportunity to have a healthier start in life. Gareth Hill, who leads the Healthier Homes programme for the public health directorate at NHS Wirral said: “We want to help young people in Wirral to have every opportunity to lead the healthiest possible lifestyle, whatever their circumstances.