March 13, 2007

To Catch a Predator - MSNBC

Several months ago I watched the TV program "To Catch a Predator". WOW what a public service this program is doing!!!

Two major things:

(1) Making parents more aware of the dangers of sex offenders in chatrooms talking to kids.

(2) Getting sex offenders off the street and put behind bars.

This program is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT . . .

I'm hoping that this will bring about an awareness that make people be supportive of much stronger laws to put sexual predators behind bars.

Tonight I watched an interview which you can watch online at MSNBC - To Catch a Predator Videos

Stronger laws are necessary to protect the innocent. It is so good to see programs and news that brings awareness into public discussion so that there becomes a national awareness of the neccessity for stronger laws and longer prison terms to get predators 'off the street'.

THANK YOU to MSNBC for this television program!

To read more about the "To Catch a Predator" show and Chris Hansen's new book:
To Catch a Predator

Posted by Nancy at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2005

DCF plans to reduce child abuse by half with prevention program

The Associated Press by Brendan Farrington
August 31 2005

TALLAHASSSEE - The Department of Children & Families announced a five-year plan Tuesday to cut child abuse rates in half by working with communities and other agencies to improve prevention programs and better target families needing help.

"No agency is expected to be responsible for prevention of child abuse and neglect on their own," said Beth Englander, who directs DCF's child welfare office. "The statewide plan reflects conventional wisdom and belief that plans across the state need to be connected."

Florida's abuse and neglect rate is 31.5 per 1,000 children. Only two other states had a rate above 20 victims per 1,000. DCF wants to reach a rate of 15 per 1,000, according to a report prepared by the Florida Interprogram Task Force made up of DCF and several other agencies.

"If we focus on prevention, if we use the community-based care model to expand services for families, to make them more loving and wholesome, one would hope that we can cut child abuse in half," said Gov. Jeb Bush.

The task force came up with a 136-page plan that serves as a first step toward that reduction. It outlines goals, but more specific, steps on how to achieve them will be developed over the next few months, along with proposed legislation to help the effort.

A key will be looking at existing prevention programs and figuring out what works and what doesn't.

Communities throughout the state have many programs to help families. Officials would focus on successful programs and bringing them to communities with less effective programs.

"Plans across the state need to be connected," Englander said. "The plan is intended to be a blueprint to pull together all of those activities comprehensively for the first time."

Officials already have an idea of areas where they need to send resources.

Typical abusers are in their mid-20s, high school dropouts, poor and emotionally stressed. Abuse is also more likely to occur in poor neighborhoods with high residential turnover, high unemployment, crime problems and less contact and trust between neighbors.

The question becomes how to improve those conditions.

"I do think that it's probably difficult to do, but you always set these goals a little bit higher," said Sen. Skip Campbell, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who chairs the Senate Children & Families Committee. "Nothing's impossible."

The Child Welfare League of America agrees it is possible, though difficult. Prevention services do work, the trick will be getting the Legislature to pay for them year after year, said Linda Spears, a vice president with the Washington-based organization.

"It takes a lot. I think it's doable. The real question is whether the state can and will commit the investment," Spears said. "Florida has done this kind of work in some communities and sustained it well in some communities, but it requires a stick-to-itiveness."

Posted by Nancy at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2005

CPS trying to hire 850 new child abuse investigators

June 8, 2005 [Associated Press]

AUSTIN — Child Protective Services is looking for a few good men and women to join its ranks. Hundreds of new workers, actually, are needed for the state agency.

College graduates are being sought for 850 new child-abuse investigator positions that will be created in the next two years, said Darrell Azar, spokesman for CPS' parent agency, the Department of Family and Protective Services.

By mid-2007, CPS also will hire 1,670 other new employees, according to agency documents, including some 400 supervisors and 77 family-based safety services caseworkers, who also will need a bachelor's degree.

The hiring spurt is part of an attempted overhaul of CPS and its sister agency, Adult Protective Services, called for in a bill Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed Tuesday.

An emergency spending bill the governor is expected to sign this month would pump $200 million in additional state funds into CPS.

Recruiting so many college graduates for CPS' gritty work and low pay will be tough, though not impossible, said Madeline McClure, director of the Texas Association for the Protection of Children, or TexProtects.

Finding and retaining enough investigators won't be easy but can be done with the right support and pay, said McClure, who has spent several years urging improvements to the agency's recruitment and retention efforts.

CPS and APS have been under fire for more than a year. News reports showed children were beaten or starved to death even after their families came under scrutiny from CPS. Decisions by APS workers have been questioned after enfeebled adults were living in squalid, vermin-infested homes. Perry ordered audits of both agencies.

Carey Cockerell, state family and protective services commissioner, said he's ready to rebuild the two agencies.

"We are excited about the considerable resources the governor and the Legislature have given us," he said. "I am convinced that the quality of services that we provide will improve significantly, and the real winners will be the children and adults we serve."

Statewide, CPS will hire 2,517 new employees by mid-2007, and APS will get 89

Over the next two or three months, CPS will hire new managers and 33 training specialists, lease new office space and acquire additional desktop and notebook computers.

Large-scale hiring probably will not occur until late summer or early fall and then will be done in ways every quarter through August 2007, Azar said.

Perry said Texas' high caseloads for child-abuse investigators will be cut by 40 percent, from about 74 cases per worker per month now to 45 cases in 2007

But former state District Judge Scott McCown of Austin said that is still too high. In 1998, CPS investigators handled an average of 24 cases a month, but they've spiraled out of control since then, said McCown, who as a judge handled abuse and neglect cases.

"It's just unreal to think that caseloads of 45 are acceptable," said McCown, now executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for more state spending on education and social programs.

National child welfare groups recommend no more than 12 to 15 cases per month per investigator, but lawmakers say no states meet those guidelines.

Posted by Nancy at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

Social services department hoping to provide more details in abuse cases

April 7, 2005 [Associated Press]

BATON ROUGE, La. The state's social services department will ask the Legislature to loosen restrictions on the information the agency can provide in child abuse cases.

Currently, department officials can't talk about specifics in open child abuse cases and are, instead, only able to outline general policies the department uses to deal with child welfare.

Ann Williamson, secretary of the Department of Social Services, said the agency will ask lawmakers in the upcoming session that begins April 25th for the ability to speak about specific cases, including any detailed steps D-S-S has taken to try to protect the child and respond to allegations of abuse.

Williamson outlined the department's legislative agenda today to the Press Club of Baton Rouge. That agenda includes a proposed extra licensing fee on the facilities it regulates, like day care and assisted living centers, if D-S-S staff has to make multiple visits for certification.

Also, the department is proposing a two-year license for those facilities in good standing, rather than the current annual license. Williamson says that will free up staff to spend more time at facilities deemed neglectful instead of making annual visits to the places without problems.

Posted by Nancy at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

Software Helps Track Child Pornographers

April 7, 2005 [Associated Press]
By Beth Duff-Brown

TORONTO - Microsoft and Canadian authorities on Thursday launched a software program designed to help police worldwide hunt down child porn traffickers by enabling authorities for the first time to link information such as credit card purchases, Internet chat room messages and arrest records.

Microsoft said the Child Exploitation Tracking System is the first software designed specifically to capture pornographers who prey on children and sell their images via the Internet. It will allow police departments worldwide to share and track previously unlinked information on investigations and suspects.

David Hemler, president of Microsoft Canada, said Internet pornographers were computer savvy, so the program would put law enforcement officials "on the same level as the bad guys."

The open source program was developed by Microsoft Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security, Scotland Yard and Interpol.

The FBI has seen a 2,000 percent increase in the number of child pornography images on the Internet since 1996 and Canadian police estimate that more than 100,000 Web sites contain images of child sexual abuse. Experts say at least 95 percent of victims are abused by someone they know, either a relative or neighbor.

Hemler said Microsoft committed $4 million toward the program and that the software would be available to any police force at no cost.

John P. Clark, deputy assistant secretary of immigration and customs enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security, said the program released Thursday was the first dedicated to child protection.

"We were lending our expertise because we have established tracking systems," said Clark, who attended the launch.

The initiative was the result of a January 2003 e-mail sent to Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, from a member of the Toronto Police Service sex-crimes unit, asking for help in battling child pornography.

The billionaire, known for his philanthropy in the area of AIDS research and education, called on Microsoft Canada to develop software that would aid police officials.

Detective Sgt. Paul Gillespie, who sent the initial e-mail, told The Associated Press several suspected pornographers had already been arrested during testing of the new system. One man was arrested in Toronto last week, after a tip plugged into CETS linked with two previous reports on the suspect.

"When we pulled up all three, it gave us the ability to physically identify somebody and grounds for an arrest warrant," Gillespie said.

Gillespie said another suspect was arrested several months ago, after information from the FBI, Scotland Yard and Homeland Security, investigating child pornography chat rooms and credit card purchases of the images, were programmed into the system.

"It identified a link between one of those people on the credit card list with one very small consistency in this chat room in the UK," Gillespie said. "Both pieces of the puzzles were put together and out of that we were able to identify somebody; an abuser of a young child taking pictures with his own camera."
_____

On the Net:

Microsoft Canada: www.microsoft.ca
Royal Canadian Mounted Police: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Toronto Police Service: www.torontopolice.on.ca

Posted by Nancy at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005

Indiana Trees Display Blue Ribbons for Child Abuse Prevention

April 1, 2005

South Bend, IN - A Tree in Indiana displays Blue Ribbons. One ribbon for each of 57 children who died in Indiana last year as a result of child abuse or neglect.

This month of April is Child Abuse Abuse Prevention Awareness month. And South Bend mayor Steve Luecke and members of the community tied blue ribbons to trees.

The mayor asked that people be more aware of children who may be expressing being abused. The mayor asked parents to be aware of their children friends speaking up or showing signs of possibly experienceing abuse. And asked that the parents be reporting this to authorities.

Posted by Nancy at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005

Rendell Administration Designates April as Child Abuse Prevention Month; April 4 Breakfast to Focus on `Domestic Violence and the Connection to Child Abuse'

March 30, 2005
Press Release Source: Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 30 /PRNewswire -- In recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman said that the best way to protect children from physical, mental and sexual abuse is to nurture and support them as they face the many challenges of life.

"Each year many children in the Commonwealth suffer from abuse and neglect, permanently disabling and psychologically affecting them," Secretary Richman said. "Child Abuse Prevention Month reminds us that it is imperative to nurture our children if we are to improve the quality of life in our society. Insuring the safety of children helps to insure the future for us all."

On April 4, Parents Anonymous of Pennsylvania will observe Child Abuse Prevention Month by holding its annual Blue Ribbon Breakfast at the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers. The breakfast will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. and is being co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Children's Trust Fund, Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators Association, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and DPW.

The theme of this year's breakfast is "Domestic Violence and the Connection to Child Abuse." The keynote speaker will be Sandra L. Bloom, M.D., psychiatrist and author of "Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies." Karen Maddocks, from Berks County, will speak on behalf of parents.

Parents Anonymous will also unveil a new brochure on parenting when domestic violence is an issue. Blue ribbon pins and blue ribbon car magnets stating: "Building Strong Family Ties," will also be distributed.

DPW, which oversees the Children's Trust Fund, is funding 13 new mini-grants intended to develop new and innovative child abuse and neglect prevention programs. Funding is specifically aimed at programs that focus on preventing abuse before it occurs. Grant recipients are listed below.

In Pennsylvania, more than 23,000 reports of suspected child abuse were made in 2004, with more than 4,000 of the reports substantiated. Last year, 44 children died as a result of abuse or neglect.

To report suspected child abuse, call ChildLine toll free, anytime, at 1-800-932-0313.

For more information on child abuse prevention visit http://www.dpw.state.pa.us, keyword Office of Children, Youth and Families.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the Children's Trust Fund mini-grant recipients. Each grantee is receiving the funds over a three-year grant period running through Oct. 31, 2007


Cumberland County
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
$150,000

Columbia County
Columbia County Commissioners
$87,500

Erie County
SafeNet - A Domestic Violence Safety Network
$96,922

Indiana County
ARIN Intermediate Unit #28
$112,954

McKean County
The Guidance Center
$150,000

Mifflin County
Mifflin County Children and Youth Services/Communities That Care
$150,000

Philadelphia County
Philadelphia Society for Services to Children
$150,000

Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
$150,000

Institute for Safe Families Inc.
$150,000

Joseph S. Peters Institute
$150,000

Somerset County
Tableland Services, Inc./Salisbury Area Family Center
$150,000

Washington County
Community Action Southwest
$150,000

Wyoming County
Wyoming County Human Services
$150,000

CONTACT: Schenley Kent, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, +1-717-787-4592

Posted by Nancy at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

National Effort to Educate America in Wearing The Blue Awareness Ribbon of National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April marks the 22nd anniversary of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time dedicated to child abuse education, awareness and prevention activities. Observing National Child Abuse Prevention month, Love Our Children USA, (a national organization headquartered in New York whose mission is to break the cycle that victimizes children) kicks off their GET BLUE campaign – a national effort to educate and raise awareness for the Blue Ribbon and Child Abuse Prevention.

New York (PRWEB) March 29, 2005 -- As the "Blue Ribbon" is the symbol for child abuse prevention, Love Our Children USA urges every person across the country to GET BLUE. By wearing a Blue Ribbon pin or Love Our Children USA’s Break The Cycle Blue Ribbon Awareness Bracelet during April and throughout the year, we can educate families, children, neighbors, organizations and communities on how to prevent child abuse and neglect -- encourage community and individual involvement in recognizing and preventing child abuse and neglect – assist families in achieving healthy parenting practices through education and resources and empower individuals to report child victimization and intervene in situations where violence and neglect harm children.

Reports of child abuse nationwide have increased by 30-percent in the last 10-years. If the country thinks child abuse isn't a problem, they should think again. More than 3 million children are victims of child abuse each year and almost 1.8 million children are reported missing each year, many of whom are abducted from their homes and front yards. Those are only the ones that are reported. Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions.

We can no longer overlook America’s children who are at risk and peril every day … and at even greater risk in times of stress. “It is of critical importance that we educate the American public and raise a greater awareness to break the cycle that victimizes children – before it starts,” says Ross Ellis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Love Our Children, USA.

Celebrities and the entertainment industry, as well as corporations have joined Love Our Children USA’s efforts to GET BLUE and break the cycle. Many already wear Blue Ribbon pins and Love Our Children USA’s Break The Cycle Blue Ribbon Awareness Bracelet which can be purchased through Love Our Children USA.

A child's voice is small, ignored and unheard. We must raise the volume so that everyone hears their message. Ellis said “Imagine if everyone in the country wore a Blue Ribbon -- if every community, business, school, faith organization, hospital and home displayed a Blue Ribbon -- we could make such an impact in raising awareness to break the cycle that breaks children's hearts ... their lives ... and their spirit.”

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is not only a timely opportunity to remind ourselves of our collective responsibility to protect America’s children and strengthen America’s families, but it is time to accelerate education and awareness of this very public epidemic. The country, our communities, concerned citizens, and even youth must work together to break the cycle.

Love Our Children USA is the leading national grassroots organization that honors, respects and protects children. As a voice for children, they celebrate them and the loving relationship we should have with them. Their mission is to break the cycle that victimizes children. They
work to enable child success by eliminating behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential. They promote positive changes in parenting and family attitudes, along with behaviors and prevention strategies through public education campaigns. Love Our Children USA works to empower and support children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy and online youth mentoring.

Visit the Love Our Children USA websites at
www.loveourchildrenusa.org and www.until-the-cycle-breaks.org

Contact Ross Ellis, 888.347.KIDS

Posted by Nancy at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2005

New director for Child Haven

March 27, 2005 [The Reporter]

Solano Country, CA - The Board of Directors of Child Haven Inc. recently named Chris Erbe as executive director of the child abuse prevention and treatment.
The nonprofit agency provides counseling, therapy and parenting services to Solano County families.

Erbe is a resident of Solano County with experience in the local nonprofit field having worked previously with the Children's Network.

A public schoolteacher and administrator prior to coming to the nonprofit world, Erbe has more than 30 years of diverse experience working with children and families.

Future goals for the organization under his leadership include strengthening ties with funding agencies, increasing access to children's mental health services for all families needing that assistance, and establishing a coalition of Solano County nonprofit agencies.

Erbe wants to ensure nonprofits continued survival in these tough times of dwindling financial resources.

Posted by Nancy at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

County to proclaim Child Abuse Awareness Month

March 26, 2005 [Sweetwater Reporter]

Sweetwater, TX - The Commissioners' Court of Nolan County is expected to pass a resolution proclaiming April as Child Abuse Aware-ness Month during its regular meeting at 9 a.m. Monday.

The commissioners will also discuss and take action on a request to close the northern most part of County Road 104 from approximately 4,400 feet north to Fisher County line.

A proposal from Becky Brock of the County-City Library for the purchase of a new phone system will also be considered.

Posted by Nancy at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

Conference to develop new anti-child abuse strategies

March 25, 2005 [AEDT]

Australia - Northern Territory police will work on ways to reduce the level of child abuse at a national conference later this year.

Senior police officers from Australia will attend the conference, which will work on developing strategies to help combat child sex abuse.

Territory Police Commissioner Paul White says there is a strong police focus on reducing crimes against children.

"It's an insidious crime and we need to do all that we can to eradicate it and to provide the greatest protection possible for the children of our community," he said.

Commissioner White says technological advances have made it necessary for police to develop new measures to target criminals.

"The Internet, for all the good things it does, can also facilitate some types of crime that perhaps we haven't seen the level of before," he said.

"Child pornography is probably a good example of that, where the Internet is used or... abused or misused."

Posted by Nancy at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2005

Income tax donations vital to child abuse prevention program

February 26, 2005 [The Charleston Gazette]
By Chandra Broadwater

With nearly $14,000 in grants from the state Children’s Trust Fund last year, workers at the East End Family Resource Center were taught about child abuse prevention.

Children and families in the community were provided resources they could not get on their own, said center Director Derrick Gibson. What’s more, programs like those at the center create awareness about a problem community members often deal with, he said.

“They come to us for help,” he said.

The East End Family Resource Center is just one example of many in the state that benefit from the state Children’s Trust Fund, said Jim McKay, development coordinator for the fund.

It supports more than 300 statewide partners in 22 teams that help children grow up free from child abuse and neglect. It is primarily supported with contributions of state citizens and businesses, in addition to matched federal funds.

The trust fund is also part of the Partners in Prevention Project, which includes groups like the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the state Department of Health and Human Resources and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.

Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia administers the trust.

This year, McKay said, the group wants to remind people to donate, simply by marking a box on their state income tax forms.

“We take in about $60,000 a year this way,” McKay said. “And we’d like to grow that as much as possible.”

The fund receives about 90 percent of money through $5 to $10 tax donations, he said. This program turns 20 this year.

Posted by Nancy at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2005

Charities call for new child protection laws

February 19, 2005

Children must be given the same protection against assault as adults receive from the law, charities said today.

Welsh children's charities believe this would be a major step towards stamping out child abuse, levels of which have not fallen for 30 years.

Read article by Madeleine Brindley

Posted by Nancy at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

Bill transfers child care inspections from Health Department to DHS

February 15, 2005 [Associated Press]

JACKSON Mississippi - The head of the state Department of Human Services wants his agency to take over the responsibility of licensing and regulating the state's more than 1,700 child care facilities.

Currently, those duties fall to the state Department of Health, but DHS executive director Don Taylor says his agency can do the job more efficiently.

The Senate has passed a bill that would make the switch. The legislation is now headed to the House.

The Health Department has 20 field survey staff who inspect a host of regulations at the facilities, including fire safety, the playground area and the number of child-to-staff ratio.

"When we get allegations of abuse, sometimes they come here and sometimes they go to DHS. Certainly, there is some overlap," said Health Department spokeswoman Liz Sharlot.

Taylor said the ratio of inspectors to facilities is 1-to-88. He said a report from the legislative Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review committee recommends a 1-to-75 ratio.

"I've gotten no complaints about the kind of job that the Department of Health has been doing," Taylor said.

The Health Department receives $1 million in funding to conduct inspections that could be more efficiently used at DHS, Taylor said. Taylor said the Health Department spends more than $100,000 on "indirect costs" and DHS could use that money to hire three or four additional inspectors.

No one would lose their job. The inspectors would just begin working for DHS, Taylor said.

Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, who filed the bill, said DHS would begin checking the facilities' educational component and "communicate to parents how effectively that facility is helping their child be prepared to start school."

Nunnelee said currently no agency is evaluating the educational component.

The bill is Senate Bill 2367

Posted by Nancy at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2005

Vicar talks about effects of abuse charges

February 14, 2005 [Herald Star]

STEUBENVILLE - Much has been said in the media and on the street in the past few years concerning the Catholic Church's handling of the sexual abuse charges filed against priests.

On Friday, Monsignor Kurt Kemo, vicar general director of child protection for the Diocese of Steubenville, talked with members of the Steubenville Rotary Club about these allegations and what the church and local Catholic officials are doing to prevent further abuse.

Kemo said the charges brought to light in 2000 forced the church to repent of its past sins and work to make sure they did not happen in the future.

Kemo said that, locally, the diocese has filed more than 18,000 background checks, including those for priests, teachers and other people involved in work with children.

He stressed the importance of families getting involved and educating themselves in the fight against abuse.

"When we had a meeting to discuss ways to prevent child abuse, only five parents showed up. That is disturbing. The abuse by priests was picked up on by the media, but the truth is, abuse is happening in all areas where children are involved, especially in homes with stepparents," said Kemo.

Kemo said he was proud that the Catholic Church in the United States was on the forefront of addressing the sexual abuse battle.

"The church in the United States has shown an absolute intolerance for the abuse, and I am proud to be a part of that," said Kemo.

He said that many precautions are being taken, though no cases have come forward in this area that point to abuse by church workers.

"For example, we now mandate that two adults or persons of authority be present when there are children involved. There has been some backlash for this rule, but we feel it is important to eliminate any scenario where abuse could take place," said Kemo.

Kemo added that in the fight against abuse, citizens must err on the side of caution.

"There is a fine line between discipline and abuse, and when it comes to coaching, there is a fine line between motivation and abuse. If a person in authority sees that line coming close to being crossed, he or she has a responsibility to report it," he said.

Posted by Nancy at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2005

Teachers union won't back mandatory child abuse reporting

February 11, 2005 [Australian Broadcasting]

The Australian Education Union (AEU) says it does not support the introduction of the mandatory reporting of child abuse in Western Australia.

The issue has been raised by the Coalition following revelations a nurse at Princess Margaret Hospital was investigated last year after being accused of inappropriately dealing with a patient.

Police dropped the matter because of a lack of evidence and the nurse was allowed to return to work, but later resigned.

The union's Mike Keely says schools presently contact the Department of Community Development if they believe a student is being abused.

He says making it a legal requirement for teachers to contact police would deter children from coming forward.

"I understand fully the reason why people would think that legally required mandatory reporting would be more effective," he said.

"That's not our understanding and until we have demonstrated proof that that's a better way of doing it then we would keep on doing it the way we're doing it now."

Posted by Nancy at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2005

Province celebrates Nat'l Awareness Week for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Exploitation

February 9, 2005

Phillipines - SEEKING to heighten the awareness of the public through the local government units about sexual abuse and exploitation of children, the Iloilo Provincial Government thru the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) is celebrating a weeklong National Awareness Week for Prevention of Child Abuse and Exploitation which kicked off last February 6

Alarmed with the present situation, PSWDO Planning Officer IV Nema A. Villan noted an increasing incidence of physical and sexual abuse against children from 2002-2004. Citing the report from the Iloilo Provincial Police Command, a total of 337 were reported cases of abuse against children: 325 were filed in court, 10 were settled and 2 pending cases.

The latest that was reported she said was a rape and murder case of a 12-year-old girl from Dingle.

Villa said that this year's theme "Magkaisa! Labanan ang Pang-aabusong Sekswal sa mga Bata," aims to encourage everybody to extend a helping hand to curb this problem.

The survey report of the International Labor Organization International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO/IPEC) on working children early this year showed that there is a big number of children working in sugarcane plantations, in deep-sea fishing, in pyrotechnics, as child domestic workers and children who are commercially and sexually exploited.

The City of Passi posted the highest number of children working, which totaled to 902; 832 were working in sugarcane plantations, 68 as child domestic workers, 1 in deep sea fishing and 1 in pyrotechnics.

The town of Concepcion followed with 138 reported cases - 81 in deep-sea fishing, 54 as child domestic workers, 2 in pyrotechnics and 1 in sugarcane plantation.

Estancia posted 52 reported cases; of the number, 43 work in deep-sea fishing, 8 as child domestic workers and 1 in pyrotechnics.

Ajuy has 28 recorded cases - 18 in deep-sea fishing while 10 in child domestic workers.

These data were also presented by Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas, Sr. in the State of the Children Report during the celebration of Children's Month on October last year.

The Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC) will be drafting the Local Code for Children that addresses situation of children in the province. The proposed measure shall respond to the negative conditions of children and supportive of the significant programs of the local government units on children.

The proposed code shall like wise address the identified gaps in the implementation of the national laws. The activity needs the commitment and total participation of those legally mandated to do the task as well as those of the advocate volunteers.

In support of this move, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has approved Resolution No. 2004-149 chaired by Board Members Cecelia H. Capadosa and Domingo B. Oso, Jr. "Approving and adopting the Local Development Plan for Children (LDPC) and the Local Investment Plan for Children (LIPC) of the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC) from year 2004-2007, as a commitment to the child-friendly movement.

The Province also drafted the Local Investment Plan for Children with a total cost of P23 million. Of the amount P8,130,267.50 (35.25 percent ) will be allocated to survival, P12,336,480.00 (53.49 percent ) to development, P1,844,800.00 (8.01 percent) to protection and P750,000.00 (3.25 percent) participation.

Meanwhile, the PSWDO as the lead agency for child welfare and protection thru Mrs. Neneth Q. Pador is requesting everyone to participate in the movement for child protection against sexual abuse and exploitation.

Posted by Nancy at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2005

Cumberland Co. is trying to prevent child abuse

February 7, 2005 [News 14 Carolina Staff]

Cumberland County is taking an active step towards preventing child abuse.

The county's Board of Social Services will form a group to study ways to protect kids at risk for deadly abuse.

It will look into how military abuse statistics compare with similar communities nationwide.

The group's first meeting will be next month.

The N.C. Child Advocacy Institute reported in September, children from Cumberland County, died of homicides at a rate of 4.6 per 100,000 compared with the statewide average of 2.2.

The rate is higher for military families five per 100,000

Posted by Nancy at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2005

Scotland seeks tougher child sex laws

February 6, 2005 [United Press International]

[World News]: GLASGOW, Scotland - Police in Scotland want sex offenders to get automatic jail sentences, warning that putting pedophiles behind bars is the only way to stop them.

The Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland said police, prosecutors, judges and politicians must do more to recognize the damage pedophiles do, all too often because such offenders are not jailed, the Scotsman.com reported Sunday.

The law enforcement officers are demanding mandatory jail time for anyone who downloads child pornography or grooms a youngster over the Internet, including first-time offenders.

"Every image on a computer screen represents a real child suffering real abuse," said Bob Ovens, an association spokesman. "Everyone who searches for that material ensures that more children will suffer more sexual abuse, so they have to take responsibility."

Posted by Nancy at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2005

Awareness campaign for prevention of child abuse set

January 31, 2005 [Sun Star]

Phillippines - THE Regional Council for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) is leading national agencies and non-government sectors in the observance of the National Awareness for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Week from February 6 to 12.

The RSCWC, with the Department of Social welfare and Development (DSWD) serving as secretariat, is encouraging government agencies to hang streamers, offer the prepared Prayer for Children, and discuss the core messages of the observance during their flag ceremonies or on any relevant activity for the week.

The awareness campaign calls on appropriate sectors to educate every family and every child on sex and sexuality as well as on what to do when the child is in danger of being sexually abused.

The bigger challenge, according to the RSCWC, is in empowering the community to perform its duty as "watch dog" for each child within their neighborhood or their street, for the community to be vigilant enough to identify potential situations that may pose threat and danger to the child.

Local governments, are likewise challenged to act on cases of sexual abuse and exploitation among children, organize multi-sectoral groups to attend to the cases, allocate funds for preventive programs and assume a disposition of a real and fully child-friendly community.

Posted by Nancy at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2005

Jackson Allegations Put Focus On Child Abuse In OKC Area

January 31, 2005 [KOCO ChannelOklahoma.com]

While jury selection began in the Michael Jackson trial Monday, state leaders and child welfare workers were working to raise awareness of the problem of child abuse in Oklahoma.

On Monday evening, Oklahoma first lady Kim Henry took part in a candlelight vigil at Norman's Alcott Middle School to remember the victims of child abuse and neglect in Oklahoma. At the same time, several metro-area organizations were working to stop child abuse -- and many counselors said the problem is more common than many Oklahomans might think.

Counselors at the Parents Assistance Center told Eyewitness News 5's Rachel Kim that parents from a variety of backgrounds come to themget help. They said clients at the center learn many things based on a core idea: that peace begins at home.

Although it's not uncommon for parents to get into arguments with their children, counselors said, many parents who have sought help from the Parents Assistance Center have allowed their arguments to escalate into violence.

"Robert," whose real name has been withheld for privacy reasons, knows that fact all too well. He said that he didn't realize the damage he was doing when he verbally and physically abused his 14-year-old son for lying.

"I hit him ... I said bad things to him," Robert said. "(I) left bruises on him (and) scratched his face up."

Robert's counselor, Vicky Brooks, said Robert abused his son because he himself was abused. But the biggest reason abuse happens, Brooks said, is stress and a lack of understanding when it comes to controlling emotions.

"I don't think it's uncommon for parents to have thoughts like that every now and then," Brooks said. "But it's important to prepare yourself. That stress could get to you and becoming overloading at times."

According to Brooks, anyone who is given the right set of circumstances and stress factors in his or her life could wind up abusing his or her child. Robert said that after he took time to learn about his own circumstances, he changed his outlook on how to deal with stressful situations at home.

"There's no need for violence," he said. "There's no need for bad words. I've learned to listen to my kids. I'm no longer angry, (and) I realized that I can take my time."

Brooks said that many parents like Robert are putting off counseling and need to get help.

"They need to do all the things necessary for a healthy lifestyle," she said. "They need to eat right, they need to exercise (and) they need to have friends and social support."

Substance abuse is another major factor that can lead to child abuse, Brooks said. In addition, she said that 50 to 75 percent of domestic violence cases become child abuse cases.

Parents who would like more information and who want to get help can contact the Parents Assistance Center at 232-8226.

Posted by Nancy at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2005

Fighting Child Sexual Abuse

January 29, 2005 [The Winchester Star] By Kevin Killen

Education is the key to combating sexual abuse among children, officials said during a recent meeting of the Community Safety and Services Committee.

The committee is chaired by Winchester Commonwealth’s Attorney Alexander R. Iden.

Investigator Andrew Vipperman gave the committee his insight into sexual abuse against children.

Vipperman, who does a majority of the interviews of sexual abuse allegations for the police department, said the community has a lot of resources to use to battle the problem.

“The police, courts, and social services, have been great helping battle this crime,” Vipperman said.

He said it is really tough to have to talk to a child about being abused, and also said many children usually disclose their abuse in a variety of ways.

Oftentimes, abuse never gets reported because the child has fear, feels guilty for what happened, and is afraid of the punishment from the family, Vipperman said.

One of the best ways Vipperman said to help children talk about the abuse is let them talk about it any way they can.

“If it’s a picture, let them draw it. If it’s something else that symbolizes the act, let them tell it,” he said.

Vipperman said once the alleged abuse is revealed, the long process of healing and helping can begin.

But, because those channels can reach so many people before the courts get a case, that can make the process arduous for the victim and the family.

Prosecuting accused offenders of child sexual abuse is not always a win, said Iden, who has prosecuted abuse cases in his nearly four years as Commonwealth’s Attorney.

He said it is not easy prosecuting an alleged abuse case, and juries are never a guarantee.

“Sometimes, people do not want to believe this happens, but it does,” Iden said. “But education and help from the resources we have can inform people there is a problem.”

Posted by Nancy at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2005

Crackdown on Net child abuse

January 25, 2005

AUSTRALIA has teamed up with the US, Canada and the UK to cast an international net to crack down on child abuse on the Internet.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty will launch the global program to fight child abuse and pornography online on Thursday.

Mr Keelty will join the director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, Kevin Zuccato, to unveil the virtual global task force website, a key element in the global program to stop child abuse.

A worldwide child pornography blitz late last year dubbed Operation Auxin identified more than 700 suspects in Australia and led to 228 arrests and 2260 charges.

Posted by Nancy at 03:10 AM | Comments (0)

Ad campaign to promote Internet tipline aimed at sexual abuse of children

January 24, 2005 [Canadian Press] By John Ward

OTTAWA (CP) - A tipline described as Neighbourhood Watch on the Internet launched a national ad campaign Monday to enlist Canadians in the fight against on-line stalkers and child porn.

It comes two years after the federal Liberals promised a national strategy to fight sexual exploitation of children in cyberspace. Cybertip.ca has been running as a Manitoba-based pilot project for two years, but now will be promoted nationally. The site allows people to report suspicious Web sites, chat rooms and the like to a central clearinghouse. The reports are analyzed and those that look like solid leads are passed on to the appropriate police agency.

In its two years of operation, the site has received 2,000 reports which resulted in the closing of more than 400 Web sites and 10 arrests.

In one case, a mother in Kingston, Ont., found that her 14-year-old daughter had met a 35-year-old man on line. She found evidence that the man had sent child porn to the girl's computer.

She reported to Cybertip.ca and Kingston police were notified.

They determined that the man in question was in the United States and informed the FBI (news - web sites), which found he had molested other girls in the U.S. He faces four charges and 30 years in jail.

Manitoba Attorney General Gord Mackintosh, one of the driving forces behind the concept, said the Internet can be both a wonderful tool and a dangerous place.

"We all must reduce the risk," he said.

He warned that those who try to exploit kids on the Net are going to have a harder time of it now.

"I say to predators, beware, you are now going to be increasingly watched and reported," he said.

The site is financed by $3.5 million from the federal government and donations from corporations such as Bell Canada, Telus, Microsoft, Rogers, Shaw and AOL.

Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said the technology has shown it can work.

"This will have a significant impact," he said. "It's about protection of the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, our children."

The site is user friendly, with pull-down menus to help users fill out their reports. It's aimed as child porn, child luring, child prostitution and sex tourism.

Lianna McDonald, executive director of Child Find Manitoba, which ran the pilot project, said Cybertip can provide vital information to the police. By acting as a central clearinghouse for reports, it can sort out the chaff, and send information to the police who have jurisdiction.

Police faced with a report may investigate, only to find that the Web site or the person involved is in another jurisdiction. Cybertip can eliminate that duplication of effort, McDonald said.

"No one agency, government or company can take this issue on alone," she said.

McDonald said the process will enlist Canadians directly in the fight against sexual exploitation of children.

"Cybertips.ca is the Neighbourhood Watch of the Internet," she said.

Posted by Nancy at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2005

Help to prevent child abuse

It's time to find that special costume and get ready for a Mardi Gras.

Prevent Child Abuse Porter County will hold its sixth annual costume ball "Mardi Gras Style" form 8 to midnight March 5 at the Strongbow Banquet Center. Hosted by Steve Zana of Indiana 105, music will be provided by The Relics. Light cajun style refreshments will be served.

During the event a silent auction will again be held with many articles available for purchase to the highest bidder. Tickets for the event are $40 for singles and $75 for couples. All proceeds will go to child abuse education and prevention programs.

During the annual event Prevent Child Abuse Porter County will recognize an individual who has demonstrated concern and care for children and youth of Porter County. The Third Annual Hero for Children Award will be presented to the winning nominee at the Prevent Child Abuse Porter County Mardi Gras fund-raiser. Nominations will be accepted from any organization or individual in Porter County.

Please consider the following criteria when submitting a nominee: This individual has devoted selfless time to improving the lives of children beyond family or workplace responsibilities. This individual demonstrates creativity and a willingness to respond to the needs of children. This individual may serve in areas that are less attractive to others but are invaluable to a child's learning or support system. This individual is an inspiration and role model to children. All entries should be submitted in writing and be no more than 500 words. Entries can be sent either by mail, email or fax to Prevent Child Abuse Porter County c/o Sandra Mannakee, 1705 Snead Ave., Chesterton, IN 46304 or call (219) 921-1746. Nominations must be received by Feb. 1. The award committee will make the final decision. The person or agency submitting the winning entry will be notified and invited to the fund-raiser. For information, call Mannakee at (219) 921-1630 or LuAnn Shirley at 531-9012

Posted by Nancy at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

Fixing child abuse takes all

Letter January 2005

The staff, board of directors and volunteers at Child Advocates Inc. have firsthand knowledge of the burden that the Child Protective Services caseworkers are facing.

Many of our program staff members served as CPS caseworkers prior to joining our organization, and our volunteers work with CPS caseworkers daily.

We all know that the majority of these individuals care about the well-being of the children and work tirelessly to ensure that the right decisions are made in every case.

We also recognize the barriers and limitations they face — including the financial cuts that have been made to parts of Texas' child welfare system that have exacerbated an already struggling system.

While we agree that the Legislature has the responsibility of fixing the struggling agency, we also believe it is the entire community's responsibility to take care of the more than 4,200 abused and neglected children who are in foster care right now in the Houston area. Behind every one of the statistics is an innocent child in need of help.

Child Advocates mobilizes community volunteers to provide a voice for the voiceless — those abused and neglected children who are in protective custody. We recruit, train and supervise court appointed special advocates (also known as guardians ad litem), to help guide children through the system.

Our volunteers provide a safety net below the CPS system to make sure that all of the children's needs are met and that a safe, permanent outcome is reached.

Since our volunteers carry only one or two cases at a time, they have the time necessary to fill in the gaps in the system.

Our volunteers remain on a child's case from the time that it is opened in the family court until the child's final placement is resolved.

The volunteer provides continuity on the child's case by pulling together the case history from each caseworker that has ever been involved, interviewing all parties involved in the child's life, and attending all court hearings so that an informed recommendation to the court can be made regarding the best permanent placement for the child.

Since we have a legal responsibility to the court to make unbiased recommendations, we may not always agree with CPS. However, we are confident that we are all working with the child's best interest in mind.

Despite all of our best intentions, children do slip through the bureaucratic cracks and, as we have seen, the results are tragic when they do.

As a community we have witnessed too many of these tragedies over the past 2 1/2 years, and we each need to do our part to help these children.

Their needs are great, but every Houstonian can do something to help. At a time when the system seems hopelessly flawed and tragic stories of abuse surface in the news every few days, Child Advocates challenges more individuals to get involved. Look into the possibility of donating time or money to Child Advocates or to one of the many other groups in Houston who work to help abused children.

Please do not watch from the sidelines or wait for others to get involved. Our children need all of us to take our part.

SONYA GALVAN
chief executive officer, Child Advocates Inc., Houston

Posted by Nancy at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

Money is Available for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

January 24, 2005 [Montana News Association]

The board of directors of the Montana Children's Trust Fund is soliciting abstracts for grants aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect.

The deadline for submissions is February 13.

This year's grants are intended to promote services that foster positive family relationships and prevent abuse and neglect in at-risk families, according to Sara Lipscomb, executive officer for the Montana Council for Families.

Examples would include innovative community-based projects with a specific focus (such as parent education, parent support groups, or parenting skills for young parents) and family resource centers. The trust fund board is especially interested in plans that:

  • target traditionally underserved or disenfranchised populations and
    geographic areas of the state;
  • involve programs designed to meet the needs of people who may have difficulty
    accessing existing services;
  • involve programs that demonstrate both cultural sensitivity and cultural
    competence in program content and design;
  • involve programs that demonstrate interagency collaboration and commitment;

  • involve programs that use volunteers.

    Programs that propose to serve low-income communities, young or first-time parents, or parents with young children will be given priority, Lipscomb said.

    The trust fund board also hopes to fund the creation of as many as three family resource centers in communities that currently are not served by one.

    Grant applicants must be nonprofit, private or public, community-based or statewide educational and service organizations, groups, or agencies. The trust fund board will review the abstracts in late February and request full applications from those it deems most worthy.

    More information about preparing and submitting abstracts is available on the Children's Trust Fund Web site at www.dphhs.mt.gov. Click on About Us and then Boards and Councils.

    The Children's Trust Fund was created by the Legislature in 1985 to take the lead in reducing and ultimately eliminating maltreatment of Montana children. The fund provides financial support to local efforts across the state.

    Posted by Nancy at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

    Public urged to report child abuse

    Be the eyes and ears of the Government, and report child abuse.
    January 25 2005 [News Straits Times] Malysia By June Ramli

    This is the plea from Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, in view of the rising incidence of child abuse and incest.

    "Please report if you suspect there are child abuse or incest cases," she told reporters after attending a dengue prevention and control campaign at the Tengku Budriah Children's Home in Cheras today.

    "We are doing our best, by having awareness programmes, changing the laws and bringing the perpetrators to court.

    "But most times, the horrible incidents have already taken place and an innocent victim is scarred for life."

    Shahrizat was commenting on news reports of 290 cases of child rape in the first three months of last year in which the perpetrators were relatives.

    In the whole of 2003 there were 768 such cases.

    She said in 2003, the ministry had received 430 reports of sexual abuse of those under 18 years of age involved in incest and sodomy.

    "It should be a personal crusade of every Malaysian to report such cases as we need the help of everyone. It has to be a concerted effort, not just one done by the ministry," she added.

    She said the young victims were under the close watch of the ministry.

    "Most times they are placed in homes because they are not safe living with their families anymore. We can only do so much. What we want to do now is to prevent such cases from happening. But we need the public's help. We cannot do it alone."

    Earlier, Shahrizat launched a campaign against Aedes mosquitoes and directed that all 123 old folk's homes and orphanages under her ministry be fogged and cleared of stagnant water through regular gotong-royong activities.

    "This will be a continuous effort, at least once a week."

    Posted by Nancy at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Officer battles abuse in talks about touches

    In the classroom: PLAINFIELD - School sessions help kids learn what's OK, bad
    January 24, 2005 [Indianapolis Star] By Michael Dabney

    Terry Hall, a 28-year veteran of the Indianapolis Police Department, knows about child abuse, and he spends a lot of time trying to eliminate it.

    That's why Hall, an IPD dive commander, created a Good Touch/Bad Touch program in 1983.

    The police officer conducted lessons at Plainfield's Central and Brentwood elementary schools recently.

    Hall said he developed his program after seeing light sentences often handed down to people convicted of child molestation. "The judicial system wasn't working well," he said. "I had to do something."

    In addition to working in the department's dive unit, Hall is a trained child abuse investigator and trains other law enforcement officials in how to spot and pursue child abuse cases.

    But he gets a special joy in teaching children what is a good touch and what is a bad touch.

    "More than anything, it empowers kids to know what is good and what is bad, and that they have the right to say no," said Diana White, a counselor at Central.

    "We do this just to keep the kids safe," said Mike Underwood, Central's principal, regarding the 18 years Plainfield schools have received Hall's presentation.

    Hall uses dolls -- he calls them tools -- to show students where it is appropriate and where it is inappropriate to be touched. He said it is not always inappropriate for someone to touch "private parts," such as during a medical examination.

    "Private parts are not nasty," he told a gathering of attentive first- and second-graders. "What some people try to do with them is nasty."

    The students were amazingly familiar with the proper terms for certain parts of the human anatomy, although mentioning them could result in small giggles.

    Holding up a girl doll, Hall asked the children whether it is appropriate for someone to touch the breasts "for no good reason."

    "No," roared the children.

    "Is it ever your fault," he asked.

    "No," the children responded again.

    "Is it OK for someone to touch you for no good reason," asked Hall.

    Again, the children said, "No."

    "Most people who touch you for no good reason are generally people who you know. It's generally not a stranger," said Hall, who said he was the victim of abuse as a child.

    "Tell your mom and dad; tell your uncle or aunt; tell your teacher or principal or counselor," he said. "Keep telling someone until someone listens."

    Hall later said he tackles the problem because it is so massive.

    Nationally, one in four girls and one in eight boys under age 18 report some form of abuse, he said.

    "But it is also one of the most unreported crimes," Hall said.

    All children are vulnerable, said Underwood.

    Although she declined to be specific, White said children have approached school officials over the years to privately report cases of abuse.

    "He is tremendously effective," Underwood said.

    Posted by Nancy at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

    Pebble Project teaches children safety

    January 23, 2005 [News 8]
    By Jennifer Bordelon

    Children are often taught not to talk to strangers, but what about when it's someone they know that's harming them?

    The Pebble Project is a program that helps prevent child abuse and neglect by empowering children to contribute to their own safety.

    Second graders at Reilly Elementary School learned about their rights, "to be safe, strong and free in various situations such as bullies, strangers and unwanted touches," Pebble Project volunteer Ana-Cristina Gonzales said.

    Through role play, volunteers teach these students how to recognize abusive or dangerous situations.

    "I think it's important especially now days with everything that's going on here lately in the news here in the Austin elementary schools about strangers coming in and trying to take kids way. I think it's important for them to be aware of what's going on," Gonzales said.

    The life lesson includes how to resist abuse, and the importance of telling a trusted adult if the child has been bullied, approached by a stranger or hurt by someone they know.

    "A lot of kids feel like they shouldn't tell on other kids because it's tattletaling and we want the kids to know that they do have rights and therefore it's really reporting something that's happening than just getting someone in trouble," Pebble Project volunteer Michael Hurewitz said.

    The program also encourages parents and teachers to talk to their children about safety and what is and is not appropriate in different situations.

    "The most valuable one is that they are able to identify people at school and at home who they feel safe with and who they can talk to," Gonzales said.

    For more information about volunteering with the Pebble Project or to schedule a presentation for your school, you can call them at (512) 464-9727. Read Pebble Project safety tips online.

    Posted by Nancy at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Child Advocacy Center receives $4,000 gift

    January 24, 2005 [The Buffalo News]

    NIAGARA FALLS - The Martha H. Beeman Foundation has designated a $4,000 gift to the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to support the new Martha H. Beeman Child Advocacy Training Institute.

    The institute will promote state-of-the-art training for the investigation and intervention of cases of child abuse by hosting an ongoing series of educational events for professionals who respond to such cases.

    "We are pleased to be able to help one of the few facilities of its kind in all of New York State," Don Smith, president of the Beeman Foundation's board of directors, said in a prepared statement.

    The institute's first training session will be held Tuesday, when Dr. Eileen Treacy, a New York City psychologist, presents "Forensic Interviewing Practices for Children."

    The Child Advocacy Center responds to reports of physical and sexual child abuse through the combined efforts of law enforcement, medical, behavioral health and social services professionals.

    The Martha H. Beeman Foundation and Beeman clinics were established in 1930 through Martha and Marcus Beeman, who donated $500,000 to the City of Niagara Falls "for whatever purpose best served the needs of those Niagara County residents too young to have made their own mistakes."

    Posted by Nancy at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

    January 23, 2005

    First Lady of Tennessee Takes Action

    January 2005

    Andrea Conte, first lady of Tennessee is walking across the state of Tennesee to raise awareness and funds to help abused children in Tennessee.

    First Lady Andrea Conte is a long time victim advocate and has been involved for many years with Child Advocacy Centers in Tennessee. The fund raising goal for this walk across the state of Tennessee is $1 Million Dollars. (Let's hope she raises more)

    In her walk across the state she is inviting others to walk short segments with her. This walk spans several months and is raising awareness of child abuse. The walk is also raising much needed funds for 27 different organizations that provide counseling for child victims, awareness programs or professional training.

    To contribute to her project, to walk with her, or to read more, visit Andrea Walks

    Statistics from AndreaWalks.com website:

    Staggering Statistics on Child Abuse In Tennessee
       In 2003, 11,801 children were victims of some type of abuse.
       2,229 of those children were victims of sexual abuse
       and 1,529 were victims of physical abuse
       9 children died as a result of physical abuse.

    The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services offers a 24 hour hotline for reporting suspected child abuse: 1-877-237-0004

    You may also report suspected child abuse to your local law enforcement officials.


    AndreaWalks comes to East Tennessee in February through April 2005 To view the entire AndreaWalks schedule, click here

    Posted by Nancy at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

    Child abuse still matters to many as progress is being made

    January 23, 2005 [Grand Island Independant] By Mike Bockoven

    Around six months ago, Dori Bush and other members of the Association for Child Abuse Prevention set up a Walk for Child Abuse Prevention aimed at raising funds for agencies working to protect children.

    The response wasn't what they expected.

    "We had just a bad response," said Bush, a longtime child advocate. "We had thought, with the Molina situation, we'd have a lot of walkers. We didn't."

    Of course, one event isn't enough to discourage those interested in children's issues nor enough to paint an accurate picture of volunteerism in the community. However, it's not hard to look around the state and see that child abuse is still a big problem, and many are still not aware of the situation.

    The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported last week that the number of reported child abuse and neglect cases increased from 2,316 cases where evidence was found in 2002 to 2,423 in 2003. Numbers for 2004 were not yet available.

    In addition, this week saw a man sentenced to between 50 and 60 years in prison for beating his 3-year-old stepdaughter to death in Omaha. It's a case that mirrors that of Diana N. Molina, a 2-year-old Grand Island girl who was beaten to death by her father in July 2003.

    Months after the Molina case was made public, hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars had poured into efforts to help educate and curb child abuse. Bush said that, at the time, the response was overwhelming. But since, as with anything, interest has declined after the horrors inflicted on the Grand Island girl faded from memory.

    The problem, Bush said, is that child abuse is still a problem that needs champions.

    "The problem isn't getting any better, and it's frustrating for us who are advocates," she said. "All of us are frustrated. Nothing is going to change if people don't get involved. Volunteerism is so important. It can't be stressed enough."

    That's not to say there are no efforts in the area making a difference. Aside from advocates such as ACAP, Heartland Court Appointed Special Advocate and many others, the Little Diana Task Force, named after the slain child, has a grant program that continues to fund child abuse prevention efforts.

    Karen Rathke, who helped form the task force, said there should be no mistake that progress has been made and awareness has been raised. But now that there is no high-profile case to grab people's attention, it's harder to elicit the same level of enthusiasm.

    "I think people got involved and continue to be involved at the level they need to be," Rathke said. "Now that we're in the update mode and report mode, it's not as visible as it was before."

    Rathke also said there is a heightened sense of awareness that many still feel after Molina, and the effects of that are hard to quantify. Who knows how many people have called authorities because they suspected child abuse or stepped in and provided aid to a battered mother and family, she asked?

    Kathy Moore, director of Voices for Children Nebraska, a statewide organization dedicated to children's issues, said she has no doubt many people were touched by the Molina case or whenever a high-profile child abuse case comes down the media pipeline.

    The problem is that many feel as if there's nothing they can do because the problem is so widespread. More disturbing to her, she said, is how few people act upon their feelings of disgust and indignation.

    "One element is desensitization, and the other is a moment of concern followed by hopelessness," she said. "During the Molina trial, I ran into many people who said they couldn't read a report in the newspaper or watch it on TV. That troubles me. If they don't see what's happening with our children, how can they ever hope to make a difference?"

    Not just in Grand Island, but across the state, feelings of skepticism and frustration with the issue are becoming more prevalent, she said.

    Dianne Muhlbach, director of Heartland CASA in Grand Island, said she feels there are many people in this area that care very deeply about child abuse issues and will continue to whether there's a high-profile case or not. That being said, she needs volunteers to serve in the program as a voice for children when they enter the court system.

    "There are a lot of people who care very much. I see it every day," she said. "If something needs to change, people get worked up."

    Many of the advocates are aware that child abuse will never be something that is solved. Many, however, speak of "breaking the cycle" with the next generation, letting them know that, whatever their background, child abuse isn't acceptable.

    Volunteers are needed, but so is a shift in thinking, Bush said.

    "The bottom line is I am so tired of the response being, 'Let's provide more services,'" she said. "When are people going to realize you need prevention efforts? If we can do a huge job of educating, we might break the cycle."

    Posted by Nancy at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

    January 21, 2005

    DCS announces new child abuse reporting hotline

    January 21, 2005 [Star Gazette]
    By Terra Temple

    It was September 2002 when the Tennessee Department of Children's Services began a new method of reporting child abuse and neglect.

    Three years later, that method is making its way across the state.

    It will take effect in Northwest Tennessee at midnight Jan. 25.

    Now, those referrals in Dyer, Lake, Crockett, Obion, Gibson, Weakley, Benton, Carroll and Henry counties will be made by calling the toll-free number 1-877-237-0004.

    That number connects the caller to the Central Intake Unit in Nashville where the call is screened, the decision to assign to the proper county is made and its priority is given.

    "Up until this point, we did all of that," said Phyllis Webb, team leader for the Child Protective Services Unit of the DCS office in Dyer County. "Now when it gets here, it will be assigned to an investigator."

    Northwest Tennessee is among the last places the CI method has been implemented. DCS hopes to have it statewide by the end of March.

    The new process, explained Dianne Mangrum, who became director of Central Intake in January, cuts down on the paperwork done at local offices, giving investigators more time to work on their cases. It also provides the state a way to have a central database system.

    When a call comes to CI, the operator asks a number of questions about the situation -- the child's name, age, address, grade and school attended, the parents' names and address and "all the information you can give in regard to the abuse or neglect," Webb said. "The people taking the referral have key questions. You need to provide as much information as you can -- who is doing what -- about the situation. They need all the information possible so they'll know what priority to assign and so we'll know what questions to ask when we get there and so we'll know what to look for."

    From the referral given, CI, which through the database can quickly see the past history of the situation, takes the information, filter it through the DCS criteria, assigns it a priority and sends it on to the appropriate office.

    "The only thing changing is the number and the way we get it," Webb said of the procedure.

    For priority to CI, law enforcement and medical personnel have a separate phone number. However, "in a dire situation, a true emergency, law enforcement can still call DCS directly and we'll let CI know," Webb said. "If law enforcement calls and needs us, we'll go.

    Child Protective Services is a unit of the Department of Children's Services. DCS in Dyersburg covers Dyer, Obion, Lake and Crockett counties. Its CPS unit investigates referrals in Dyer and Crockett counties.

    CPS reviews reports of abuse and neglect, investigating those reports for 60 days and determining the child's safety.

    Webb said they receive approximately 75 to 100 calls a month for Dyer and Crockett counties.

    "Those that we screen have to meet criteria for investigation," she said.

    That criteria "is lengthy" but depends on three main components -- the situation, the past history and child's age. "If they're 3 and under, we (investigate) no matter what," Webb said.

    Cases are assigned a priority number. Priority 1 means the case will be investigated within that day. Priority 2 means it will be investigated within 24 hours. Priority 3 means it will be investigated within five days. All sex-abuse cases are Priority 1.

    Once the case is assigned and investigated by CPS, three things can happen:

    -- If there is no safety issue, the case is closed.

    -- If there is, it then goes to targeted case management where ongoing case managers work on the issues that need to be addressed.

    -- If the safety risk is great, the child is removed from the home and then goes to the foster care unit of DCS.

    "Our work is short term but it's very intense working within the home," Webb said.

    Mangrum noted that investigation process is left to the local level.

    "Once we process the referral, we're through," she said. "CI can't assign a case if it doesn't fit the criteria. If there's a disagreement (with CPS), the decision can be revisited. We're there to protect the children and help families."

    In the long run, Webb believes the new decision process "will be beneficial. We had a three-prong process here (regionally) as a safety net," Webb said.

    But if there are concerns, "there is a process we can discuss the priority (assigned)," she said. "We've done this for so many years and know those we deal with and they know us. Those are the kinds of things that can be worked out."

    Central Intake provides the public with a single phone number to report suspected abuse and neglect of children, consolidating and centralizing reports.

    DCS began using CI in September 2002 in a pilot program in three regions -- Shelby County, south central and southeast -- operating Monday through Friday. In January 2003, it went 24/7.

    Thirteen months later, Davidson County was added. In August 2004, the rest of East Tennessee was added and "calls escalated and went through the roof," Mangrum said. "We find that when we take on a new region, we get more calls than that region ever recorded. As a result, the caseloads go up."

    Northwest and Southwest Tennessee were added in January. Knox County and Northeast Tennessee will be added in February. The rest of the state, Hamilton County and the Mid-Cumberland region, will be added by March 31.

    "We want people to understand that we're here to help the local (DCS) office protect the children and not be a burden," Mangrum said, noting that almost all CI supervisors have a CPS background and that calls are recorded for quality assurance.

    While secretaries took referrals at the Dyersburg office, in many areas the investigators take them. Mangrum noted that by DCS going to CI, it takes that much more paperwork off them.

    "When a call's received, the first is decision is by a background check," Mangrum said. "The supervisor will know the number of the reference called in and can see when the case was opened and how many times we've been involved on that child. That takes the people in the local offices a long, long time to do. This will save time in the end when the case is assigned. There's a lot of paperwork that goes with a referral and by taking the reference process off the counties, they're able to do their business -- seeing children instead of having to do a lot of paperwork."

    The local DCS office has been aware of the change for a year. Mangrum and other CI representatives came to Dyersburg in mid-December to explain the new process to those working in the field -- school counselors, law enforcement, judges, attorneys, youth workers, etc.

    "We found that when we go into a community there are a lot of fears and concerns of calling people that you don't know," Mangrum told them. "We're not taking away from your relationship with local people here. We have the historical data but the information that you have can't be captured in every record. We want to do what we can to protect children. You know what is best for the community and the families you work with."

    For emergency cases, calls can still be made to the local office.

    "Through the pilot program, we learned in truly emergency situations there's no sense in calling CI, that the local CPS should be called," Mangrum said. "We know that in the time of a crisis situation, time is of the essence. The paperwork can wait. Even if we were called in an emergency situation, we'd get someone out there ASAP."

    Calls about child abuse/neglect from the general public can still be made anonymously. Walk-ins can also still come to the DCS office to make a referral; those workers can call CI and help the person file the information. If requested, CI will give notification reports about the case's assignment to the person making the referral.

    "It takes a lot of guts for people to make referrals, especially those who aren't in the profession," Mangrum said.

    CI operates 24/7 and so far has received approximately 350 calls a day.

    "You'll always get a live person when you call," Mangrum said. "If the computers go down, that will do nothing to the quality of calls. We'll go to paper and pencil, call the county and when it comes back up, put it in the system. We're not waiting until it comes up to protect children."

    When those referrals come after hours, a paging system is activated until the investigator is contacted.

    "They have backups until they get somebody," Webb said. "They'll tell them the situation orally and then send the electronic report the next day."

    Webb said from what she's heard from other areas, the response to CI is mixed.

    "People always have concerns about changes," she said. "This is the process we've been given and we'll do the best we can with it. I'm sure it will be fine; it'll just take getting used to."

    And that is something CI representatives understand.

    "We want this to succeed and be good for the community," Mangrum said.


    More information about reporting child abuse/neglect and DCS is available at www.state.tn.us/youth/cps/index.htm

    Posted by Nancy at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

    January 20, 2005

    Background checks considered for Peters coaches

    January 19, 2005 [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
    By Mary Niederberger

    Coaches in youth leagues in Peters will be required to get state police criminal background checks and Pennsylvania child abuse history clearances if the parks and recreation board gives official approval to the idea at its meeting tomorrow night.

    It appears the township would become the first in that area to require such checks of coaches in township youth leagues, said Recreation Director Ed Figas. Figas said he polled other area municipalities and could find no others requiring the checks.

    The Diocese of Pittsburgh has required the criminal history check and child abuse clearances for the past several years for coaches at its schools.

    During a joint meeting between Peters council and its parks and recreation board members Monday, council members outlined why they wanted the checks required and recreation board members gave reasons for their hesitation to require both.

    Board members did not object to requiring a child abuse history clearance, but said they weren't comfortable requiring a criminal history background check because they didn't want to be placed in the position of determining which crimes from an individual's past should disqualify them from coaching.

    Councilman Michael Neville, the most vocal proponent of requiring the checks, said those decisions could be made by parks and recreation staff members and not by the appointed board members.

    Neville has long argued that the checks are necessary to protect children and to protect the municipality from liability.

    He said a person had to first get a state police criminal history check before he could apply for child abuse clearance.

    Figas said the parks and recreation department would not keep the criminal history reports on file. He said prospective coaches would be required to show the criminal record check forms they receive back from the state police and the child abuse clearances they receive from the state Department of Welfare to the designated parks and recreation staff member.

    If there is a crime on the criminal history report, then the parks and recreation staff will determine if it's a crime that would affect the individual's ability to coach.

    But that information would never be released publicly, Figas said. The only document that will be released to the sports leagues would be a list of approved coaches.

    Figas said parks and recreation staff members would meet with the township solicitor to come up with criteria that will determine which crimes would prohibit someone from becoming a coach.

    Posted by Nancy at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

    Bishop Meets With Baldacci, Lawmakers; Offers Support For Child Abuse Laws

    January 19, 2005 [Associated Press]

    AUGUSTA, Maine -- Maine's Roman Catholic bishop is pledging support for tougher laws against child sexual abuse.

    Bishop Richard Malone told Gov. Baldacci and legislators Tuesday that such laws would help the church repair damage caused by abusive priests.

    He cited no specific legislation but noted that several bills being drafted would strengthen efforts of the state and the church to protect children.

    In his luncheon remarks, Malone did not tip his hand on the church's stance on a gay-rights bill that Baldacci is expected to propose later this year. But Malone did say he would oppose same-sex marriage, push for improved health care for the poor and try to add a moral dimension to State House debates.

    Posted by Nancy at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

    Child abuse: how to prevent it

    January 20, 2005 [Daily Globe] Ironwood, MI
    By Margaret Levra

    Sexual predators may come disguised as neighbors, friends or even relatives, and parents should discuss the "what-ifs" with their children.

    "There are many 'good touch, bad touch situations out there,' said Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske. "You should discuss with family members on a regular basis if someone is having bad contact with them, because our best source of finding these offenders would be through their discussions."

    Lipske advises parents to have a family photo album available during the discussions. "Perhaps of friends and family. Show these pictures to your children."

    Families need to talk about possible sexual assaults. "That is what families need to talk about...if it happens to them," he said.

    "The quicker we professionally deal with the issue, the better chance we have to stop the cycle."

    According to statistics, one in four girls and one in about six boys will be victims of sexual assault during their childhoods.

    About 92 percent of those sexually assaulted know the offender, he added.

    Lipske said a large number of the sexually assaulted later become predators.

    Parents should also be concerned about use of computers by their children.

    "Who's watching you on the Internet? Chatrooms may be a dangerous place to go," Lipske said. "When your child is chatting with someone on the Internet, do you know who's on the other end?" Lipske asked.

    He said his department is reviewing "more and more computer issues."

    Sexual assaults not only have a detrimental effect on victims, but also weigh heavy on families, friends and others who come into contact with the victims.

    "For a child, coping begins with the telling -- the report of the abuse to a trusted adult," said Carolyn Kolson-Janov, director of the Iron County Human Services Department.

    The response to the report is critical, she said. "If the child is believed, and is not made to feel guilt or shame, healing may begin."

    The support of family members and counseling with a trained professional are also extremely important, she said. The level of the child's involvement in the criminal court process should correspond with his or her age and level of maturity, Kolson-Janov noted.

    To help a child victim cope with his or her trauma, it is important to accurately understand the impact child sexual abuse has on a molested child, Kolson-Janov said.

    "Guilt and shame eat away at self-esteem. Keeping the secret about the abuse is part of the trauma and contributes to lowered self-esteem, and hence, depression," she noted.

    "Other mood disturbances are also prevalent in child victims -- panic attacks, anxiety disorders and personality disorders," she said, noting child victims are also much more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol addictions, and are at significant risk of suicide.

    It is unlikely a young victim will survive sexual abuse unscathed, Kolson-Janov said, adding, "It is vital that resources be dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse.

    "Current child sexual abuse prevention strategies require children to be in charge of their own protection. They are taught about 'good-touch, bad-touch,' told to say 'no' to those who try to harm them, are asked to relay this information to trusted adults, and are instructed to keep telling until they are believed," Kolson-Janov said.

    Rather than relying on children to be the principal line of defense, "It is time for adults to take over the job of protecting children by no longer giving molesters access to the children," she said.

    To protect children, "Parents must learn to understand molesters and recognize their methods," Kolson-Janov said.

    "Parents and teachers need to learn how to recognize the processes utilized by molesters to lull adults into compliance, and groom their potential victims."

    Posted by Nancy at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

    January 19, 2005

    Meth boosts child-protection needs

    Health and Welfare seeks budget increase
    January 19, 2005 [Spokesman Review]
    Betsy Z. Russell Staff writer

    BOISE – Idaho's child-protection caseload is up 25 percent from a year ago, mainly because of parents who are abusing methamphetamine.

    "You cannot use methamphetamine and be a parent – it just doesn't work," Magistrate Judge Bryan Murray told legislative budget writers this week. "They cannot deal with the needs of their children. Children are at extreme risk where they are in a home with methamphetamine being used."

    Murray and other law-enforcement and state officials painted for lawmakers a frightening picture of the world of children whose parents abuse the drug. And while there are increasing numbers of substantiated child abuse and neglect cases in the state, the state Health and Welfare Department hasn't increased its number of child-protection workers since 1992.


    The department now wants to add 15 child-protection workers – one of an array of proposals for additional staff in its budget request for next year.

    "In our view, the consequences of not funding the child protection program at a level equivalent to the need ultimately will place children at risk," Ken Diebert, administrator of family and community services for Health and Welfare, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

    Lawmakers were chilled by the presentation, part of a weeklong series on the inner workings of the huge Health and Welfare Department, the state's largest agency.

    "It's distressing to hear the individual stories of the cases that are happening out there," said Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, vice chairwoman of the joint committee. "Our job is to make sure that the resources we are utilizing are going where they need to go, and assessing the need for additional resources and where they're going to come from."

    Keough said that before she knows if the new workers should be added, "I need some more information." For example, department officials said they hold some positions vacant to move the funding into benefit payments.

    New Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Dick Compton, R-Coeur d'Alene, sat front and center for the budget hearing, along with his House counterpart, Rep. Sharon Block, R-Twin Falls, chairwoman of the House Health and Welfare Committee.

    "It's scary, it's absolutely scary," Compton said of the picture officials painted of drug-abusing parents. "It's beyond criminal. It's one thing if they screw up their own lives, poison their own minds, but it's another thing to screw up the lives of these youngsters."

    Col. Dan Charboneau, director of the Idaho State Police, told the story of a young girl who was afraid to go home after school, so she brought a friend. The friend saw several children caring for one another in an unkempt environment with no food, and told her parents. Child-protection officials then discovered five children in the home unattended, and a sixth duct-taped to a post in a crawl space as part of punishment from the parents. Large quantities of drugs were found.

    Charboneau also shared another story about state police officers who were readying a meth lab bust and observed a young boy in a skeleton costume periodically running up and down the street. They thought the youngster might be watching for the police. But when they went in, they found the parents passed out on the couch.

    The child had dressed himself for a school Halloween party in the costume, but wore no shoes, socks or underwear. He told police he'd been running up and down the street trying to catch the school bus.

    Posted by Nancy at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

    January 18, 2005

    Child abuse protocol changes

    January 13, 2005 [Ledger Inquirer]
    By Harry Franklin

    15-year-old guidelines updated to close loopholes

    A more comprehensive Muscogee County Child Abuse Protocol was signed and implemented Wednesday.

    The measure is designed to improve coordination between agencies involved in identifying, reporting and evaluating child fatalities to determine whether they were accidental, intentional or natural deaths and to see whether they could have been prevented.

    Georgia law requires that each county have a protocol in place. Muscogee's had been in effect about 15 years. Work by a group of local agencies began to update the plan in March. The completed document is 61 pages, nearly three times as large as the previous plan.

    "It's a lot more detailed on the actions that will be taken and what occurs when a child has been abused," said District Attorney Gray Conger during the morning signing at the Government Center.

    The Child Abuse Protocol Team worked to develop an accurate identification and reporting process so that the evaluation of circumstances in child fatality investigations is monitored and implemented in Columbus.

    Joanne Cavis, a member of the Muscogee County Child Fatality Subcommittee, said reviewing child fatalities involves much more than child abuse. It includes looking into the deaths of infants when the cause of death is labeled as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Sudden Undetermined Infant Death.

    For a death to be labeled a SIDS death, three things must take place, according to Lori Davis, a field program specialist for Region VIII, Georgia Department of Human Resources, who is in special investigations. A death scene investigation, an autopsy and a clinical/medical history of the infant must be done. If any one of those are lacking, the death of an infant that cannot be explained is listed as SUID.

    "Probably the most important message you can send is that infants need to be on their back in a bed by themselves," said Cavis, with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. "The biggest problem we have with baby deaths is infants in bed with adults and other children... . If you want to feel close to a baby, put it in a bassinet next to your bed."

    Infants 2-4 months old are at greatest risk, she said. After nine months, the risk drops significantly.

    Statistics from the Muscogee County Child Fatality Review show that accidental deaths and homicides of children have declined over a four-year period. But five deaths were attributed to SIDS and three to SUID in 2002. In 2003, five deaths were listed as SIDS deaths and one infant death was unexplained, among 18 child deaths reported and evaluated. Two child deaths were attributed to homicide by the review committee in 2003 and two in 2002.

    Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday he will push for 500 more case workers for the state's Division of Family and Children Services, because agency case workers are overloaded, to boost morale and reduce turnover.

    "Every county, every municipality, including Columbus is going to get some additional case workers," said DFACS spokesman Bryan Toussaint. "Is there an exact number? No one's going to know, at least right now."

    For more information on how to protect infants from sudden death, call the Extension Service at 653-4200

    Posted by Nancy at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Complaints air over Oregon's child protection system

    January 17, 2005 [Associated Press]

    SALEM - Spurred by recent cases involving the death and injury of children in state care, a legislative panel began hearings Monday into a child protection system that one lawmaker said suffers from "an alarming problem."

    "We are going to get to the bottom of what these problems are," said Rep. Billy Dalto, R-Salem, who is chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

    Meanwhile, the state's top child protection official said the program is struggling to keep up with a rising number of child abuse and neglect cases fueled in large part by Oregon's methamphetamine epidemic.

    "The methamphetamine problem alone is driving our system in a way that none of us could have anticipated 10 years ago," said Ramona Foley, assistant director of the Oregon Department of Human Services.

    The comments came as Dalto's committeee began looking for ways to avoid a repeat of two high-profile cases that have put a spotlight on the department's child protection efforts.

    Last month, officials found a 5-year-old girl, Jordan Knapp, in a foster home near Sandy weighing a mere 28 pounds. The girl's foster parents face charges of child abuse.

    A week later, a 15-month-old boy, Ashton Parris, died of head injuries after the state returned him to his birth mother as part of a state-supervised plan to reunite the family.

    The death is under investigation.

    Those cases brought a call from Gov. Ted Kulongoski to review the state's child protection system.

    A state team that looked into the case of the malnourished girl issued a report last week criticizing what it said were poor communications and record-keeping, and a lack of coordination among caseworkers.

    Some of that same criticism was aired at Monday's committee hearing.

    House Speaker Karen Minnis, who attended the meeting, said the Multnomah County sheriff's office has told her the state department at times has been reluctant to share information with local police agencies.

    "There is a lot of frustration that law enforcement can't get information" on pending child abuse complaints, the Wood Village Republican said.

    The department also drew criticism from one lawmaker who said state caseworkers sometimes remove the child from the home and break up a family without proper justification.

    Rep. Gordon Anderson said it such cases, it seems like "overkill" to send two or three police cars to a home to remove a child.

    Others on the committee, however, said they sympathize with the enormous task facing state caseworkers who've seen reports of child abuse and neglect climb by 60 percent in the past decade.

    In the most recent year, state caseworkers screened more than 20,000 complaints of suspected neglect and abuse.

    Of those, more than 9,000 were confirmed.

    Foley, in her remarks to the panel, said while people involved in the state's child protection effort at times feel "overwhelmed" they are searching for ways to improve the program. She noted she has asked a team of national child protection experts to review Oregon's program for assessing abuse complaints.

    Posted by Nancy at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Bishop reviews reporting plan for suspected child sex abuse

    January 18, 2005 [Tucson Citizen]
    By Sheryl Kornman

    The spiritual leader of southern Arizona's Catholics meets with clergy to go over the Tucson diocese's policy in reporting incidents of sexual misconduct.

    The Catholic Diocese of Tucson appears to have stepped up efforts to make sure suspected child sex abuse is reported to authorities following the arrest in December of a priest on suspicion of failing to report an incident of alleged abuse.

    Diocese spokesman Fred Allison said the timing of Bishop Gerald Kicanas' Jan. 10 review with the diocese's clergy leaders of the church's guidelines for reporting sexual misconduct by clergy is not related to the arrests in December of a Tucson priest and a church volunteer for failing to report an alleged incident of child sex abuse.

    Authorities dropped the charges, and the priest was reassigned to San Luis, near Yuma, Allison said.

    At the Pastoral Council meeting Kicanas covered the diocese's compliance plans, its zero-tolerance policy and the matter of the priests against whom there are credible allegations of sex abuse. The Pastoral Council is made up of clergy and lay people.

    What he said was not made public.

    To reach more people, a column in the January issue of Catholic Vision, the diocese newspaper, tackles the issue of why clergy or other church personnel may not report allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

    Paul Duckro, a psychologist and the diocese's director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, noted these key points:

  • "The arrests of two of our personnel for alleged failure to report have demonstrated that we ... are not perfect in our response to situations in which we encounter possible abuse."

  • "Lack of education in regard to reporting incidents was not the issue."

  • It was "the way of thinking that could lead to the wrong response."

  • The situation in front of us "is perceived to fall outside the definition of child abuse. It might be seen as a family matter, consensual or between kids."

    Duckro said "abuse is abuse no matter the relationship of perpetrator to victim and no matter the voiced consent of the victim."
    And, he said, clergy can make a mistake when they honor secrecy agreements.

    "The fact is there is no confidentiality in most circumstances for most of us," he wrote.

    A diocese employee who says "I don't have time for this" is making "another mistake that can make perfect sense at the time but carries no weight under the law," Duckro wrote.

    He advised clergy to "take the time now (to report an incident) or risk spending much more time later trying to undo the problem the delay creates."

    Thinking "this could not be true" is not an excuse for not reporting an allegation of abuse. "Make the call," he said. "Let law enforcement sort it out."

    Dukro said that a lack of confidence in how police or Child Protective Services might handle the matter is not a reason to not report alleged child abuse or sexual molestation.
    "Know the law," he advised them.

    Kicanas sent letters to all diocese priests and deacons the week of Jan. 3 asking them "to review the requirements for background checks and fingerprint verification," according to his weekly memo published on the diocese Web site Jan. 10.

    According to the diocese's Web site, "Fingerprinting and criminal background checks will be performed on all priests, deacons, religious, seminarians, diocesan employees, and all volunteers who minister to children, adolescents or vulnerable adults."

    They were also asked to make sure they had signed statements indicating they had received training on the diocesan Code of Conduct and Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct.

    Posted by Nancy at 07:22 AM | Comments (0)

    Panel begins child abuse hearings

    January 18, 2005
    By BRAD CAIN [Associated Press writer]

    SALEM — Spurred by recent cases involving the death and injury of children in state care, a legislative panel began hearings Monday into a child protection system that one lawmaker said suffers from "an alarming problem."

    "We are going to get to the bottom of what these problems are," said Rep. Billy Dalto, R-Salem, who is chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

    Meanwhile, the state's top child protection official said the program is struggling to keep up with a rising number of child abuse and neglect cases fueled in large part by Oregon's methamphetamine epidemic.

    "The methamphetamine problem alone is driving our system in a way that none of us could have anticipated 10 years ago," said Ramona Foley, assistant director of the Oregon Department of Human Services.

    The comments came as Dalto's committee began looking for ways to avoid a repeat of two high-profile cases that have put a spotlight on the department's child protection efforts.

    Last month, officials found a 5-year-old girl, Jordan Knapp, in a foster home near Sandy weighing a mere 28 pounds. The girl's foster parents face charges of child abuse.

    A week later, a 15-month-old boy, Ashton Parris, died of head injuries after the state returned him to his birth mother as part of a state-supervised plan to reunite the family. The death is under investigation.

    Those cases brought a call from Gov. Ted Kulongoski to review the state's child protection system.

    A state team that looked into the case of the malnourished girl issued a report last week criticizing what it said were poor communications and record-keeping, and a lack of coordination among caseworkers.

    Some of that same criticism was aired at Monday's committee hearing.

    House Speaker Karen Minnis, who attended the meeting, said the Multnomah County sheriff's office has told her the state department at times has been reluctant to share information with local police agencies.

    "There is a lot of frustration that law enforcement can't get information" on pending child abuse complaints, the Wood Village Republican said.

    The department also drew criticism from one lawmaker who said state caseworkers sometimes remove the child from the home and break up a family without proper justification.

    Rep. Gordon Anderson, R-Grants Pass, said in such cases, it seems like "overkill" to send two or three police cars to a home to remove a child.

    Others on the committee, however, said they sympathize with the enormous task facing state caseworkers who've seen reports of child abuse and neglect climb by 60 percent in the past decade.

    In the most recent year, state caseworkers screened more than 20,000 complaints of suspected neglect and abuse. Of those, more than 9,000 were confirmed.

    Posted by Nancy at 07:13 AM | Comments (0)

    January 17, 2005

    Forde appeals to Beattie for abuse victims

    January 17, 2005 By Rosemary Odgers

    FORMER Queensland governor Leneen Forde has pleaded for an extra $2 million from the State Government to ensure her foundation can help child abuse victims.

    Ms Forde said victims of abuse in former state and church-run institutions were being forgotten despite the current focus on Queensland's child protection system.

    Her funding plea came after Premier Peter Beattie announced the government would give $900,000 to the Forde Foundation this financial year.

    The funding boost will take total government donations to the trust to nearly $3 million, but Ms Forde yesterday said more was needed to help the former residents.

    Posted by Nancy at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

    January 16, 2005

    Recognizing and reporting child abuse workshop set

    Newport News, Newport Oregon

    Family Care Connection will present a training on Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at OSU Extension Service Conference Room, 29 SE 2nd Street in Newport. This free workshop is open to child and respite care providers, and other childhood care and education professionals. Lynette Page from the DHS Child Welfare, Newport Branch will present the 2-hour class.

    In Oregon, this is a required training to become a Registered Family Child Care Provider. The training is also required for Certified Family Child Care Homes and for teachers and staff working with children in Certified Child Care Centers. Exempt providers listed with DHS who complete the class may become eligible to receive an enhanced reimbursement rate. A certificate of completion will be given to each participant. Pre-registration is required; call Family Care Connection at 265-2558.

    Posted by Nancy at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

    January 10, 2005

    How to Protect Children in the Tsunami Zone

    January 9, 2005

    Measures to protect children in the tsunami zone from exploitation, abuse, and criminal trafficking are needed immediately to prevent them from slipping between the cracks, UNICEF said today, outlining the key steps essential to protecting orphans and other vulnerable children.

    "The good news is that most of the needed efforts are already underway," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "But we have to move fast," she added. "Those who would prey upon children in this chaotic environment are already at work."

    UNICEF said the most vulnerable of the tsunami generation are those who have lost their parents or have been separated from their families. While no reliable figures yet exist, estimates based on the numbers of dead and displaced suggest there may be thousands of children across the region who fall into these categories. Surveys now underway will help identify the scope of the issue in the next week or so.

    UNICEF said there are five key steps essential to keeping vulnerable children safe from exploitation in the immediate term.

    -- Register all displaced children: UNICEF said that knowing which children are alone or possibly orphaned, and knowing exactly where they are, is the first critical step to protecting them. In India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia -- the hardest-hit of all the tsunami countries -- registration is underway. In Aceh, ground zero of the human catastrophe, five child-friendly registration centers in the camps are now open, and 15 more are planned for next week.

    -- Provide immediate safe care: Children identified as unaccompanied or lost must be placed in the temporary care of adults accountable for their welfare. In displacement camps, separate child-friendly care centers for unaccompanied children may be established. Alternately, children may be placed in community-based children's homes until their families can be located. Such options have already been identified in each of the countries affected, though more may be needed.

    -- Locate relatives: Registering children by name, address, community and birth date allows local and national authorities - working with NGOs - to trace and reunite family members pulled apart in the disaster but who survived. It also enables authorities to find members of extended family - aunts and uncles, grandparents, or older siblings.

    -- Alert police and other authorities: UNICEF said it is essential to alert police, border patrols, teachers, health workers and others to the threat of child exploitation, and to enlist their support in protecting children. This process of public and institutional awareness is beginning to take place in the affected countries. In Sri Lanka, government and key partners, including UNICEF, have raised the issue in the media so that all Sri Lankans are aware of the need to look out for unaccompanied children. In Indonesia, police and port authorities have been put on special alert.

    -- Special national measures: Concerned about the prospect of child trafficking from the tsunami zone, Indonesia put a temporary moratorium on children under 16 from Aceh traveling outside the country without a parent. The government also put a temporary moratorium on the adoption of children from Aceh until all children can be properly identified and a process of family tracing completed.

    The international standard in a crisis is to keep children as close to their family members and community as possible, UNICEF noted. Staying with relatives in extended family units is generally a better solution than uprooting the child completely.

    "Family and community provide vigilance and protection for children," Bellamy said. "With so many families torn apart, and so many communities completely destroyed, we have to pull together other kinds of protections for these youngsters. All people will have a role to play in looking out for the best interests of this tsunami generation."

    UNICEF emphasized that child trafficking, sexual exploitation, and extreme child labor are nothing new. But it warned that the breakdown of institutions in wake of the December 26 tsunamis left an opening for unscrupulous and criminal exploitation of the most vulnerable.

    She noted that the illicit trafficking of human beings is big business, not unlike trafficking in drugs or arms, with real money at stake and powerful interests involved.

    "We have to want to protect children as much as others want to exploit them," Bellamy said. "Based on the quick response of governments to this threat, it's clear they want to provide that protection. But we have to do it together."

    To Help Support UNICEF's Emergency Relief Efforts in South Asia, Please Visit http://www.unicefusa .org or Call 800-4UNICEF

    About UNICEF:
    Founded in 1946, UNICEF helps save, protect and improve the lives of children around the world through immunization, education, health care, nutrition, clean water, and sanitation. UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority.

    Posted by Nancy at 01:35 AM | Comments (0)

    Child abuse prevention ideas aired

    Teamwork: Task force says better coordination needed between state programs
    January 7, 2005 {The Salt Lake Tribune]
    By Kirsten Stewart

    Utah's $350,000 Children's Trust Fund should become a statewide coordinator of child abuse prevention programs, which are now underfunded and working in isolation, a task force says.

    The Utah Child Abuse Prevention Task Force supports legislation to infuse new life into the trust fund, which uses its state budget to distribute grants to public and private abuse prevention programs.

    Sponsored by Clearfield Republican Rep. Paul Ray, a bill would create a board of directors to reorganize the trust, possibly as a nonprofit, so it can seek donations from private foundations and corporations.

    If the bill passes, the goal is to double or triple the fund's reserves by year's end while placing 10 percent of all donations in an interest-accruing account.
    The task force, created by former Gov. Olene Walker, created its still-developing plan after six months of research and advice from national experts. Its recommendations were unveiled Thursday.

    "Child abuse is a major problem here," said Ed Clark, medical director at Primary Children's Medical Center, citing state statistics showing that child abuse cases in Utah rose 34 percent between 2000 to 2003.

    "We pay for the harms of abuse with our tax dollars, health insurance premiums, lost productivity and reduced resources for other important services like education," said Clark, stressing that child abuse is preventable.

    Task force members say there are promising prevention programs - parenting classes and crisis counseling - scattered throughout the state. The Children's Trust would work to improve coordination between these programs and state-run social services.

    Sen. Chris Buttars also is sponsoring legislation to help abused children. The West Jordan Republican's bill proposes a $200,000 funding increase for Utah's 15 Children's Justice Centers, safe havens where abused children can file complaints with police and be linked with social services, physicians and mental health professionals.

    The task force's call to community action - helping parents succeed at raising safe, healthy children - represents a reframing of the parental rights debate that consumed the Legislature last year. Task force members hope state officials are listening.

    Lawmakers at the unveiling pledged their support, including Senate President John Valentine who said, "This report won't be one that goes in the garbage."

    But details were scarce as to the state's commitment, partly because Utah's Human Services Department is in flux. Its eight-year director, Robin Arnold-Williams, has resigned, and Utah's new Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. might merge the agency with the Health Department.

    Posted by Nancy at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

    January 06, 2005

    Prevent Child Abuse to hold festival at mall

    January 6, 2005 [Indianapolis Star]

    Prevent Child Abuse Indiana will hold an afternoon of free entertainment geared toward children and families from noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 15 at Glendale Mall.

    Kidding Around: Our Community Celebrating Families will feature booths and exhibits ...

    prize drawings and live entertainment.

    Participants will include Rupert's Kids, the Humane Society of Indianapolis, Kindermusik, Head Start, the Indiana Safe Kids Coalition, the Indianapolis Police Department's McGruff mascot and Easter Seals.

    The event is sponsored by the Marion County Committee To Prevent Child Abuse, a volunteer committee of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

    Posted by Nancy at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

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