Foster Care Payments to Relatives – Kentucky

Kentucky wrongly rejecting families for foster care payments despite ruling, critics say, By Deborah Yetter, March 21, 2018, Louisville Courier Journal: “Paula Grant, a disabled grandmother raising three children removed from a meth home, was excited to learn she might be eligible for foster care payments under a federal court ruling that became final in October. But Grant said she was crushed when Kentucky recently rejected her request for payments of up to $750 per month per child because of a technicality — her grandchildren had been determined to be ‘dependent’ rather than neglected or abused, classifications used in removing a child from a home…”

Arizona Daily Star Series on Foster Care

Arizona Daily Star investigation: Fixing our foster care crisis, series homepage, Arizona Daily Star: “The Arizona Daily Star investigated how our state came to have one of the nation’s highest rates of child removal, and how we can keep more kids at home by helping at-risk families break generational cycles of trauma, neglect or abuse…”

Foster Care Payments to Relatives – Kentucky

Kentucky will finally make foster care payments owed to relatives raising children, By Deborah Yetter, February 13, 2018, Louisville Courier Journal: “In a move that will help relatives providing foster care for hundreds of Kentucky children, state officials announced Tuesday they will begin making payments to those relatives under a federal court ruling that became final almost four months ago…”

Kids Count Report – Indiana

  • 2018 Kids Count: Ind. ranks 28th overall, 41st for infant deaths, By Jill Sheridan, February 5, 2018, Indiana Public Media: “The 24th annual Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids Count Data Book was released Monday. The data tool measures the well-being of Hoosier children. Overall Indiana ranks 28th nationally, but near the bottom in several categories…”
  • Achievement gap still present in Indiana schools, By Caele Pemberton, February 4, 2018, Kokomo Tribune: “There is still a wide achievement gap in Indiana schools. This is according to data compiled by the Indiana Youth Institute, which each year releases data on Hoosier children. The 2018 Kids Count Data Book, supported and coordinated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, looks at a range of factors affecting childhood well-being in Indiana, including economic, health, safety and education factors…”
  • Opioid use breaking up families, By Matthew LeBlanc, February 5, 2018, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “The opioid epidemic is expanding to affect the children of people who use the drugs, according to the Indiana Youth Institute. The 2018 Kids Count Data Book released today by the Indianapolis nonprofit says more children are being removed from homes where parents are drug users…”

Foster Care and the Opioid Crisis – Florida

Opioid epidemic could be stressing foster-care system, study says, By Naseem S. Miller, January 10, 2018, Orlando Sentinel: “A new study shows that the increase in opioid prescription rates in Florida may have had a role in the higher rate of kids being removed from their homes, putting more stress on the state’s foster care system and highlighting the shortage of foster parents…”

Foster Care System – Kentucky, Ohio

  • Lawmakers back big changes to Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system, but do they have the money?, By Deborah Yetter, December 19, 2017, Louisville Courier Journal: “A group of state legislators on Tuesday recommended broad changes meant to improve Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system, wrapping up eight months of study of a system critics say is overburdened, underfunded and plagued with frustrating delays. The group’s goal is to improve services for abused and neglected children and help streamline foster care and adoption if the child can’t return home. But many of the changes would be costly, and members acknowledged extra money will be in short supply as the General Assembly prepares to draft a new budget in 2018…”
  • Number of Ohio foster children rising fast during opioid crisis, By Rita Price, December 21, 2017, Columbus Dispatch: “A thousand more Ohio children are in foster care this Christmas than last, and advocates say the epidemic of opioid addiction is on track to overwhelm the state’s county-based system of child protection…”

Child Welfare System

  • Opioid crisis strains foster system as kids pried from homes, By Matt Sedensky and Meghan Hoyer (AP), December 12, 2017, ABC News: “The case arrives with all the routine of a traffic citation: A baby boy, just 4 days old and exposed to heroin in his mother’s womb, is shuddering through withdrawal in intensive care, his fate now here in a shabby courthouse that hosts a parade of human misery.  The parents nod off as Judge Marilyn Moores explains the legal process, and tests arrive back showing both continue to use heroin. The judge briefly chastises, a grandmother sobs, and by the time the hearing is over, yet another child is left in the arms of strangers because of his parents’ addiction…”
  • Data mining program designed to predict child abuse proves unreliable, DCFS says, By David Jackson and Gary Marx, December 6, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is ending a high-profile program that used computer data mining to identify children at risk for serious injury or death after the agency’s top official called the technology unreliable.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Series on Childhood Trauma

  • Impact of childhood trauma reaches rural Wisconsin, By John Schmid and Andrew Mollica, November 30, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Jodi Williams has just returned from the Marquette County jail, where she met an unemployed 27-year-old man who had been busted after jumping bail on charges of battery, property damage and disorderly conduct. He and his girlfriend used heroin until two years ago when their child was born. Instead of cleaning up, he switched to alcohol, which angered his girlfriend, who left with their child. Now, he’s dangerously depressed, locked up and dealing with his first sustained sobriety since he was 13.  ‘These people are in constant survival mode,’ Williams says of the distressed couple and so many others like them in the vast impoverished regions of the nation’s rural heartland. Williams is one of Marquette County’s few mental health and substance abuse case workers…”
  • Wisconsin childhood trauma data explodes myth of ‘not in my small town’, By John Schmid, December 4, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Traffic on Main St. is lazy as Kyle Pucek strolls past tidy homes with wide front porches. ‘I lost a lot of friends in the last couple years,’ Pucek, 41, says matter of factly. He counts 10.  A car rolls past and a woman waves at Pucek. The two shout greetings.  ‘That’s Kirsten,’ Pucek volunteers almost offhandedly, ‘an ex-heroin addict who’s also in recovery.’ Pucek grew up with her, and with her fiance, who died of a heroin overdose in 2009. Contacted later, Kirsten Moore added that her teenage son became attached to her late fiance’s brother — and then the brother died from a heroin overdose, too, less than two years later. Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Rock County falls into the highest tier of overdose deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits linked to opioids and heroin, as ranked by state health authorities…”

US Children in Foster Care

  • Number of American children in foster care increases for 4th consecutive year, By Richard Gonzales, November 30, 2017, National Public Radio: “A new government report says the number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, due largely to an uptick in substance abuse by parents. The report, issued annually by the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services, shows that 437,500 children were in foster care by the end of fiscal year 2016. A year earlier the number was 427,400…”
  • More US kids in foster care; parental drug abuse a factor, By David Crary (AP), November 30, 2017, ABC News: “The number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, with substance abuse by parents a major factor, according to new federal data released on Thursday. The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services counted 437,500 children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 2016, up from about 427,400 a year earlier…”

Gazette Series on Iowa Foster Care System

  • Iowa’s foster care system pushes to reunite children with their birthparents, By Molly Duffy and Michaela Ramm, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “Breanne French had been caring for the baby boy, whose bloodcurdling screaming fits finally had started to dissipate, for nine months when the Iowa Department of Human Services gave him back to his birth mother. The 11-month-old child had spent most of his life in one of two places: with Breanne, a licensed foster parent, and in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids. His birth mother was in a rehabilitation facility for heroin use when she went into labor, and for the first two months of his life, doctors and nurses were weaning him off the drug…”
  • Unknowns of temporarily caring for children in foster care means Iowa’s foster parents feel ‘every emotion’, By Molly Duffy, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “When children like Nicolas are removed from their birth families, the Iowa Department of Human Services often places them with adults who are, to the children, little more than strangers. But by the time a child is given to licensed foster parents, state agents have spent months digging into their pasts…”
  • Iowa’s social workers see growing foster care caseloads, By Michaela Ramm, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “As a social worker and a foster parent, Emily Steeples sees foster care’s shortcomings up close. Steeples is a foster and adoptive family connections specialist for Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids, which provides support for families across most of the state. She and her spouse, Krista Kronstein, 36, also have been foster parents since 2015…”
  • Most children in Iowa’s foster care system reunite with their birthparents, some never find their way back, By Molly Duffy, November 27, 2017, The Gazette: “After the state moved Nicolas back into the care of his birth mother, Breanne French tried to accept he wasn’t hers to keep. After nine months of taking care of the baby boy as a foster care placement, his birth mother was in recovery from drug addiction and passing drug tests. Although the Iowa Department of Human Services had returned Nicolas to her, social workers still were involved with the birth mother and her baby, but they were making progress together…”

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…”