Child Welfare System – Arizona

Arizona’s foster care boards don’t look like their communities. Here’s why that matters, By Maria Polletta, November 12, 2017, Arizona Republic: “Experts have long recognized inequalities in America’s child-welfare system: When kids share identical circumstances except for race, black and Native American children enter foster care more often, spend more time in the system and wait longer to be adopted. In an attempt to ensure fair treatment for kids taken from their parents, Arizona lawmakers decades ago mandated that Foster Care Review Boards — which help decide the fates of children in foster care — mirror the races, ethnicities and income levels of the communities they serve.  They don’t…”

Relatives Caring for Foster Children

  • Grandparents raising grandkids grapple with retirement and college costs at the same time, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, October 22, 2017, Washington Post: “Each month, 72-year-old Sandra Bursch withdraws $4,200 from her retirement savings to cover her bills. A chunk of it goes toward paying college bills — for her grandson Gage. She anticipates doing the same for Gage’s younger brother, Mason, when he graduates from high school in another year. Every stitch of their clothing, all of their meals and day-to-day expenses have been her responsibility since 2003, when drug use by her daughter and son-in-law prompted the police to remove the children from their home…”
  • ‘It’s like a tsunami’: Opioid epidemic pushes kids into foster care, By Sandra Tan, October 22, 2017, Buffalo News: “The opioid epidemic is not just killing hundreds of local residents  – it’s leaving hundreds of Erie County children without a home or at risk of being removed from one. They are orphaned children and they are the children of drug-addicted parents no longer able to care for them. Erie County Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin has presided at thousands of child abuse and neglect cases since 2011. She can’t recall any cases related to opioid drug abuse four years ago, and only a handful three years ago…”

Adverse Childhood Experiences

  • Massachusetts scores well on childhood trauma, but nearly 40 percent of children are still affected, By Dan Glaun, October 19, 2017, MassLive.com: “When children experience stressful or traumatic events, the effects can be long lasting and severe.  Suicide attempts, alcohol and drug abuse, high risk sexual behaviors and criminal convictions are all more common among people who grew up with what researchers call ‘adverse childhood experiences,’ according to multiple studies. And according to a new analysis by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 38.8 percent of Massachusetts children have had at least one ACE — well below the national average of 46 percent…”
  • More than 40 percent of Maryland children experience traumatic events, By Meredith Cohn, October 19, 2017, Baltimore Sun: “More than four out of 10 children in Maryland have experienced a traumatic event such as the death or incarceration of a parent, or a drug addiction or mental health problem of a family member, according to a new analysis of national data. Nationally, the so-called adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, were even more widespread with 46 percent of children reporting at least one, according to the analysis by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Child & Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative done in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation…”

Foster Care Payments to Relatives – Kentucky

State working out how to pay relatives who provide foster care under recent court decision, By Deborah Yetter, October 17, 2017, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Kentucky’s top human services official said Tuesday that the state will comply with a court order to pay relatives who provide free foster care the same as they do licensed foster families. But Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the cabinet is still analyzing how to apply the court decision. ‘Our legal team is studying it,’ she said in a brief interview. The court decision comes as a growing number of relatives, many of them grandparents, are caring for children removed from homes because of abuse or neglect and say the extra costs have caused them to burn through retirement savings and raise the children in poverty…”

Natural Disaster Recovery

  • ‘Nowhere else to go’: Small Texas towns decimated by hurricane struggle to rebuild amid poverty, By Mary Lee Grant, September 10, 2017, Washington Post: “At a small rural hospital in this shrimping and tourist town of about 3,000, some patients visited the emergency room twice a day, obtaining insulin and other medications they could not afford to buy themselves. Nurses sometimes pooled their money to pay for patients’ cab fare home…”
  • Irma pushes Florida’s poor closer to the edge of ruin, By Jay Reeves (AP), September 14, 2017, Washington Post: “Larry and Elida Dimas didn’t have much to begin with, and Hurricane Irma left them with even less. The storm peeled open the roof of the old mobile home where they live with their 18-year-old twins, and it destroyed another one they rented to migrant workers in Immokalee, one of Florida’s poorest communities. Someone from the government already has promised aid, but Dimas’ chin quivers at the thought of accepting it…”
  • Homeless and in college. Then Harvey struck, By Anya Kamenetz, September 15, 2017, National Public Radio: “Christina Broussard was trapped in her grandmother’s living room for three days during Hurricane Harvey. Rain poured through the ceiling in the bathrooms and bedrooms. Broussard’s a student at Houston Community College. Her grandmother is 74 and uses a wheelchair…”
  • Texas CPS, foster-care providers go all out to protect vulnerable children from Hurricane Harvey, By Robert T. Garrett, September 11, 2017, Dallas Morning News: “Texas Child Protective Services and its contractors had to evacuate more than 400 foster kids in institutions because of Hurricane Harvey and, probably, hundreds more who lived in foster homes along the Gulf coast, protective services officials said Monday…”

Aging Out of Foster Care – Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee advances tiny homes plan for young adults leaving foster care, By Mary Spicuzza, September 11, 2017,  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Three dozen ‘tiny homes’ would be built for — and with the help of — teens aging out of foster care, under a plan that advanced Monday at City Hall. As many as 36 tiny homes would be built near E. Capitol Drive and N. Humboldt Blvd. through a partnership with developer Gorman & Co., Pathfinders Milwaukee Inc. and the Milwaukee County Housing Division…”

Foster Care and the Opioid Crisis – Indiana

  • Grandparents as parents: Indiana drug epidemic has created challenge for families, By George Myers, September 2, 2017, News and Tribune: “Monica Slonaker knows well the challenges faced by grandparents thrust back into the role of day-to-day guardian; it’s been roughly three-and-a-half years since she took in her own grandchildren. The two girls, her son’s daughters, now ages 3 and 7, were recently adopted by Slonaker and her husband Bill, who are Kokomo residents – a situation, driven by opioid and alcohol abuse, that’s become commonplace across Indiana…”
  • Familiar Faces: Indiana child welfare organizations work to keep children with relatives, By Aprile Rickert, September 5, 2017, News and Tribune: “Child welfare representatives in Southern Indiana and at the state level say that part of the reason more children are in relatives’ care is because of the sheer numbers of children entering the system…”

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Baltimore uses trauma research to improve life for poor parents and their children, By Mark Beckford, August 20, 2017, Washington Post: “One day, when she was 14 and feeling ill, Daylesha Brown’s mother took her to a Baltimore hospital and did not return for her. Child Protective Services (CPS) placed her in a group home and she was forced to move to other homes for the next three years. ‘My mother, she pushed me away,’ Brown, now 23, said softly. ‘I was always getting in trouble with my mother.’  So last year when Brown discovered her daughter, Sa-Maji, had lead poisoning, a lingering problem in Baltimore where the rate of poisoning among children is nearly twice the national average, she was wary that she would lose her child to CPS because of her transient lifestyle. She wanted to spare her child the misfortunes she had experienced…”

Foster Care and the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis is straining the nation’s foster-care systems, By Perry Stein and Lindsey Bever, July 1, 2017, Washington Post: “Deb McLaughlin’s 3-year-old grandson climbed all over her, pleading to play trucks, restless as always. Her 1-year-old foster daughter, who had just woken from a midday nap, sat in her lap, wearing a frilly dress and an irresistible smile. At least McLaughlin doesn’t have to worry about the daily shots of methadone anymore, at least these babies no longer scream and shake for the opioids to which they were born addicted. This isn’t what McLaughlin envisioned for her empty nest years in rural Maine, trading camping and four-wheeling trips for social-worker check-ins, meetings with behavioral therapists and supervised visits with the drug-addicted biological parents who had to give up these children. McLaughlin’s daughter, who once dreamed of being a lawyer, is one of the millions of Americans addicted to opioids and one of thousands of parents whom state governments have deemed unfit to care for their own children…”

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandfamilies 1: Grappling with the cost of addiction, By Ella Nilsen, July 1, 2017, Concord Monitor: “In Helene Lorden’s living room, a big, inviting armchair is parked in front of the television. But the 58-year-old grandmother of five rarely gets to sit down and put her feet up. Like thousands of other grandparents in the state, Lorden has custody of her five grandchildren – ages 10 to 18. She has been raising them for over a decade…”

Aging Out of Foster Care – Kansas

Kansas teens can face bumpy road as they ‘age out’ of foster care system, By Megan Hart, June 27, 2017, High Plains Public Radio: “Aubri Thompson has already had her share of challenges by age 21: She left the foster care system without a designated caregiver, lived without a steady home for more than a year and became a single parent before finishing college. Thompson lived in the Kansas foster care system from age 14, when she was reported as a runaway, until she ‘aged out’ at 18. During that time, she moved 21 times, staying in foster homes, group homes and mental health treatment facilities…”

Child Welfare System – Michigan

Problems continue for Michigan’s child welfare database, By Justin A. Hinkley, Lansing State Journal: “The state’s troubled child welfare database lacked the necessary controls ‘to ensure that all cases are actively managed and all children and families receive necessary services,’ auditors reported Tuesday.  As of March 1, auditors had found 208 cases without a worker assigned to them. Those cases, a fraction of nearly 70,000 in the system, were hangovers from the state’s previous software database and should have been closed out, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services said in its preliminary response contained in Tuesday’s report…”

Foster Care Shelters – California

Chronicle investigation spurs calls to close foster care shelters, By Karen de Sá, Joaquin Palomino, and Cynthia Dizikes, May 22, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle: “The state attorney general’s office is looking into hundreds of dubious arrests at California’s shelters for abused and neglected children that were detailed last week in a San Francisco Chronicle investigative report. The attorney general’s response comes amid calls from judges, state lawmakers and youth lawyers to consider shutting down shelters where children as young as 8 have been funneled into the criminal justice system for minor incidents…”

Kids Count Report – Michigan

  • Kids Count Report: Ottawa County first in child well-being, poverty remains a statewide concern, By Erin Dietzer, April 18, 2017, Holland Sentinel: “Ottawa County is number one in child well-being, according to the 2017 Kids Count report. Kids Count, a report by the Michigan League for Public Policy that has been put out for 25 years, evaluates Michigan’s 83 counties based on 15 indicators across four main categories: economic security, health and safety, family and community and education. The 2017 book primarily compares date from 2008 to 2015…”
  • Muskegon County among worst in state for child well-being, study says, By Austin Denean, April 21, 2017, Muskegon Chronicle: “Muskegon County is one of the worst counties in the state when it comes to the overall well-being of its children, according to a study by the Michigan League for Public Policy. Out of the 82 counties in the state included in the study, Muskegon ranked 70th in overall well-being for children in the annual Kids Count Data Book…”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Series on Childhood Trauma

From generation to generation, By John Schmid, March 23, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “When Joseph and Eva Rogers moved to Milwaukee from Arkansas in 1969, there was no better city for African-American workers to find employment. Neither had made it past grade school, but Joe found a job on the bottle line at Graf Beverages, known for root beer, and Eva worked at a rag factory. They were part of what turned out to be the last chapter of the Great Migration, in which 6 million Southern laborers moved north for a better life, and reshaped the nation.  Their daughter Belinda remembers the city at its industrial zenith. For the first time, she says, ‘I saw African-Americans owning homes and businesses.’ She married at 18 and had three children by age 22. Her Louisiana-born husband worked at A.O. Smith, the biggest employer in the city, with 10,000 workers in cathedral-sized factories welding the undercarriage of just about every American-made car. Then a global economic upheaval hit Milwaukee’s industrial core, and engine-makers, machine shops, tanneries, even heralded breweries shut down in rapid-fire succession…”

Southern Illinoisan Series on Child Welfare

Protecting the Innocent: Southern Illinois combats high rates of child abuse in region, series homepage, April 2017, The Southern Illinoisan: “In many counties throughout Southern Illinois, the child abuse rates are double, triple or nearly quadruple that of the statewide rate. In recognition of April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month, The Southern will publish a story every day this month to bring further awareness to the problem, and highlight the efforts of those working diligently to combat it throughout the region. The newspaper’s mission is to be an advocate for positive change, and with this series, our goal is to do our part alongside the many others throughout Southern Illinois working to protect our children and strengthen families…”

Foster Care System – Idaho

‘Every phone call is a trauma.’ Idaho’s foster care system to see a boost in support, By Bill Dentzer, March 10, 2017, Idaho Statesman: “Idaho’s child welfare system, the subject of a legislative performance review released in February, is getting some of the additional resources that state evaluators said were needed to address staff burnout, underserved foster families and other issues.  Safety of children is not an issue and the system is not in crisis, evaluators and foster care workers are quick to note. Caseloads are in fact lower now than they were in 2007, the last time the Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluation took a look.  But caseload is different from workload…”

Child Welfare System – Idaho

Study: Idaho’s child welfare system overwhelmed, overworked, By Associated Press and Samantha Wright, February 8, 2017, Boise State Public Radio: “State auditors say Idaho’s child welfare system is overwhelmed, with too few foster parents, too heavy caseloads for social workers and not enough infrastructure to hold it all together.  The study from the Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations found that the number of foster parents has decreased by 8 percent since 2014, while social workers are dealing with 28 to 38 percent more cases than they can reasonably handle…”