Children's News & Views 2006
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The court says the El Paso County woman practiced law without a license by advising the lawyer of two families.
By Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Staff Writer
12-19-06 -- An advocate for parents who have had their children taken away in dependency and neglect cases has been found in contempt of court for practicing law in Colorado without a license. . . . In an unanimous ruling Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered Suzanne Shell, 50, to pay a $6,000 fine. . . . The justices found that Shell twice contacted a lawyer representing two families in the midst of battles with the Fremont County Department of Human Services, in 2002 and again the next year. . . . They ruled that Shell - describing herself as an "agent" and "expert consultant" - had asked the lawyer to file specific documents, make certain legal arguments and propose jury instructions in the cases. . . . The court said that by doing so, Shell was practicing law, which she was prohibited from doing by an injunction and contempt citation in 2001. That year, the state's Office of Attorney Regulation claimed Shell provided legal advice to parents in dependency and neglect cases, drafted pleadings for parents' use, and attempted to represent parents in judicial proceedings. . . . Monday's ruling was written by Allison Eid, the newest appointee to the court. . . . Shell's lawyer, Paul Grant of Centennial, called the decision "just wrong." . . . Shell, Grant said, "doesn't charge a penny" to the families she helps. He said the attorney she contacted in the two Fremont County cases was free to reject Shell's advice, which he did. . . . Grant said Shell's primary purpose is to document abuses of dependency and neglect proceedings in Colorado, and that she wants to make a film documenting those abuses. . . . Over the years, she has lobbied the state legislature and local agencies on such issues. . . . Shell, who lives in rural El Paso County, said Monday she became involved in dependency and neglect cases after Elbert County in 1991 took away one of her children "for a spanking that left no marks." . . . She said she got the child back in four days and Elbert County never filed a petition against her. . . . She said that parents who have their children snatched away from them experience a "profound depth of fear, rage and frustration at the way these cases are handled. . . . "It is psychological kidnapping," she said.
12-11-06 -- The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas joined with leading conservative and libertarian organizations to file a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in support of the Gates family, in a case involving a warrantless raid of the Gates home and seizure of their children by the Defendants, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (CPS) and Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office. . . . The Gates' children were taken by Defendants from their home in a jail wagon at the conclusion of the raid on February 11, 2000 and scattered to foster homes, before being returned to the Gates' the following Monday after a court hearing. . . . The brief argues that Defendants violated the Gates' Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures, their heightened procedural due process rights triggered by their paramount liberty interest under the U.S. Constitution to direct the upbringing of their children, and their analogous rights as recognized by the Texas Constitution. The brief also maintains that Defendants' routine practice of conducting such warrantless seizures of children, even in the absence of any immediate danger of physical abuse or emergency, is contrary to Texas law. . . . Joining the ACLU as amici curae in filing this brief are the Texas Eagle Forum, the Liberty Legal Institute, the Texas Home School Coalition, and the Libertarian Party of Texas. . . . ACLU of Texas Executive Director Will Harrell stated, “The ACLU of Texas is proud to join with prominent conservative and libertarian groups in this important case. We don’t always agree, but we do agree that the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause and a warrant for non-emergency searches and seizures, and that this interest is particularly strong when the sanctity of the family is involved." . . . Harrell continued, "The ACLU and the other parties to the brief share a concern that CPS, while having a legitimate purpose, regularly oversteps constitutional bounds and that in our free society, there is a dire need for a bright- line restriction on their ability to intrude into the private lives and homes of Texans. The state can ensure that children are not being abused without violating the constitutional rights of their parents, and indeed the very children it seeks to protect." . . . The brief is authored by Marc A. Levin, an Austin attorney and former law clerk at the Fifth Circuit who is known for his commitment to individual liberty. The Fifth Circuit is based in New Orleans and the case is being appealed from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston, Judge Lynn Hughes. The case is No. 06-20763 and is styled:
GARY W GATES, JR; MELISSA GATES ; Individually and as next friends to Sarah Gates, Derodrick Gates, Travis Gates, Raquel Gates, Cynthia Gates, Cassandra Gates, Timothy Gates, Andrew Gates, Alexis Gates, and Marcus Gates; GARY WILTON GATES; GEORGE GATES; SCOTT GATES, Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PROTECTIVE AND REGULATORY SERVICES; ET AL., Defendants-Appellees
To view the brief, please click here.
CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH
12/5/2006 -- I just learned, through a national news network, that an Associate Judge in the 39th Circuit Court in Lawrence County, MO, Judge Larry W. Meyer, just sentenced a 50 year old man to probation for a vicious sexual assault on an innocent 9 year old girl. Is this judge in some sort of competition with Judge Jon A,. Dermott, the judge from Jasper County, who earlier this year gave a suspended sentence to an illegal alien for molesting children, to see who can issue the least punitive judgment against child molesters? Do judges like these two have no sense of decency? Have they no compassion for victims who are least likely to be able to defend themselves from such monstrous crimes, our children? I can only hope and pray that the citizens of Lawrence County develop long memories and will vote to oust this reprehensible and despicable example of judicial misconduct in his next attempt to retain his position in the 39th Circuit Court.
12/5/2006 -- A Brooklyn judge who wrote a children's book in which he appears to compare illegal immigrants to weeds choking the life out of society has come under fire from criminal defense attorneys concerned that immigrants might not be receiving a fair shake in his courtroom. . . . "We are concerned about the judge's capacity to act impartially," said Steven Banks, chief attorney for the Legal Aid Society, yesterday. "We are requesting an inquiry by the [state Commission on Judicial Conduct] which is the proper body to address this matter." . . . The controversy raises the question of how far a judge can go in voicing his personal opinions without compromising his ability to act fairly in the courtroom. . . . Judge John H. Wilson (See Profile), who sits in Criminal Court, insisted that he is only exercising his First Amendment rights. . . . "I have the right to free expression. I thought I was exercising that by writing a work of fiction," he said in an interview. "I find it ironic that the Legal Aid Society, the guardian of freedoms, would express such concern. But it's their right to do so."
IN THE last year, unprecedented attention has been focused on flaws in the foster care system. This is encouraging because the state of foster care demands our sustained attention if it is ever going to improve. But make no mistake. Foster care is by no means an end in itself. The true happy ending for a child who has been removed from his birth parents is a "forever family," whether that means returning to his own birth family in a healthy setting or being adopted. . . . And there's good news on that front: The number of adoptions of children in foster care has risen dramatically, with many states doubling or even tripling adoptions. Of the approximately 300,000 U.S. children who enter the foster care system each year, about half return to their birth parents. Some are sent to live with relatives, and about one in 10 are adopted by families outside their own. . . . Recent estimates show that one-third of American families have seriously considered adoption. More than one million women have taken steps to look into adopting a child, and child welfare agencies across the nation logged almost a quarter of a million phone calls last year from adults considering adopting a child from foster care.
Some of the deepest wounds are inflicted with the least effort. . . . Some of the deepest scars are the hardest to see. . . . We are a generation of paranoid parents, ever on guard against the very real and media-magnified atrocities of child abuse. . . . Fear of the violence and sexual malice that threatens our sons and daughters is so pervasive – and necessary – that a caregiver with no such fear might easily be accused of neglect. . . . Yet, for all of our many precautions, even the most vigilant among us may be ignorant of one of the most subtle and destructive threats to our children’s well-being, an injury which by definition can only be inflicted by a beloved caregiver, a form of abuse that is no less malignant and far more common than any other. . . . This is abuse by parental alienation. . . . The Foundation of “Me.” There is, at the psychological core of each of us, a sense of self, a model of “me” that’s built like a skyscraper one story at a time over the course of development. This structure rests on a foundation of emotional bricks contributed by a child’s primary caregivers from earliest childhood onward.
(AP) Hoping to speed up juvenile cases in Wayne County Family Court, hundreds of abused, neglected and delinquent children soon will get new representation in court _ a move some attorneys say is illegal. . . . Circuit Court Chief Judge Mary Beth Kelly has begun replacing attorneys previously assigned to handle these cases with new teams of lawyers assigned to specific courtrooms, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday. Kelly said the changes will improve legal representation for children. . . . But attorneys who have been representing the children on a case-by-case basis _ called lawyers-guardians ad litem _ say the change will disrupt the continuity of legal representation. And many say they are offended that they will be asked to turn over their files to new attorneys. . . . "It's illegal and it's contrary to the court rules, at a minimum," John Owdziej, president of the Trial Lawyers Association of Wayne County Juvenile Court, said. "The request to turn over your files is really unprecedented."
Complaint Vs. Kids' Charity
11-13-06 -- A 16-year-old Manhattan student says a court-appointed lawyer badly botched her parents' custody case, convincing a judge to send her to an abusive father by falsely testifying about how she felt toward her mom. . . . April Soler, who attends a prestigious Upper East Side private school on a scholarship for underprivileged kids, said lawyer Hal Silverman misrepresented her when he told a Family Court judge she was resentful about her mother's failed suicide try. . . . "That was blatantly not true," said Soler, who claims Silverman, a senior member of the high-profile charity Lawyers for Children and a social worker with the group, never told the judge what she had made clear: that she wanted to live with her mother and she feared her dad's temper. . . . In March 2004, Manhattan Family Court Judge George Jurow awarded custody to Soler's father, Pedro, the super of a building on West End Avenue, tearing April and her 10-year-old sister from their stay-at-home mom, Debora. . . . On Feb. 21, 2005, the father was arrested for hurling a hunk of ham and a peanut butter jar at April. . . . April was returned to her mother after her father's violent outburst. Debora had found work as a paralegal and moved into her own apartment in Spanish Harlem. . . . But the mother and the siblings are still in court trying to get the younger sister, whose name they asked not to be used, back in her mom's custody. . . . Soler's complaints are among several being leveled at Lawyers for Children, a not-for-profit group that gets $2.2 million a year from the state court system and $1.2 million more in private funds to help foster-care kids and those facing abuse or neglect.
October 21, 2006
Is it safe to give preschoolers Ritalin, the popular attention deficit disorder drug? . . . The first long-term government study of that age group warns of side effects with the stimulant drug, which isn't recommended for children under age 6. . . . There were benefits for children who had severe ADHD, but the researchers said preschoolers on Ritalin need close monitoring because they're more likely than older children to develop side effects. . . . The research was done because of concerns over reports that soaring numbers of preschoolers are being given psychiatric drugs, including Ritalin. . . . The study's message is, proceed with caution, said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. . . . "We're not talking about fidgety 3-year-olds," said Insel, whose agency funded the study. . . . The research involved children with severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with behaviors that included hanging from ceiling fans, jumping off slides or playing with fire. The researchers say the benefits of low-dose treatment outweigh the risks for these youngsters. . . . But critics disputed that. . . . "I hope publication of this does not lead to more overprescribing," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the watchdog group Public Citizen. "The safety isn't adequately established, the efficacy even less."
There's Growing Concern That Anti-Psychotic Drugs Are Being Misused On Children In Foster Care
(CBS) Colby Holcomb's mom concedes that the 8-year-old, who's been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, can be a handful at home. But does such behavior merit the treatment Colby received in foster care? . . . Andrea Holcomb lost custody of her son when he was 7, after her ex-husband made allegations of sexual abuse, CBS News national correspondent Byron Pittsreports. These allegations later proved false — but in the meantime, Colby was placed in the Texas foster care system. For 18 months, he was in at least five foster homes. It's a time that still haunts Colby and his family. . . . Andrea says Colby was on at least 20 different drugs when he was in foster care. Yet, she says she has "no idea" why and says it was never explained to her. . . . While in foster care, Colby was also diagnosed as bipolar. According to his medical records, he was taking as many as four medications at the same time that gave him seizures. . . . "I woke up at the hospital with something stuck in my arm," Colby says. . . . He is not alone. . . . "I found babies, 2-year olds, 3-year olds being given mind-altering drugs," says Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas' state comptroller.
October 18, 2006
When 9,811 of Utah’s married couples called it quits in 2004, they weren’t alone in bearing the painful burdens of divorce. That number more than doubles when considering the additional 9,900 Utahns who struggled right alongside them: their children. . . . About 350 Cache Valley kids faced family splits that same year, and despite many parents’ efforts to protect them from the damage of divorce, it’s likely that few of their experiences were painless. . . . For Susan Campbell of Hyrum, her 1989 divorce manifested its effects in different ways for each of her five children — from diminishing self-worth and loss of friendships to falling grades and failed marriages. . . . “They each talked to me about their pain,” she said, “but they each experienced a different type of pain.” . . . At 20, Campbell’s daughter Cristine (now Cristine Sosa Price of Hyrum), felt the effects of her parents’ 22-year-marriage coming to an end just as she was preparing to begin her own. . . . “It affected my whole experience with marriage,” the now divorced and remarried mother of two said. “Whether consciously or subconsciously, I knew that there were no guarantees when it came to marriage. Divorce was an option — and maybe even inevitable.” . . . But Campbell, then a homemaker with a master’s degree in family and human development, had never considered divorce to be an option until she saw no other alternatives. . . . Despite feelings of failure and despair, she immediately returned to school and earned a Ph.D. and license in marriage and family therapy, which she puts to work at the Family Institute.
October 14, 2006
Another school has been "teaching" Islam by having students study and learn Muslim prayers and dress as Muslims, and a lawyer who argued a previous dispute over this issue to the U.S. Supreme Court said such methodologies wouldn't "last 10 seconds" if it were Christianity being taught. . . . "Would it have been 'just cultural education' if students were in simulated baptisms, wearing a crucifix, having taken the name of St. John and with praise banners saying 'Praise be to Jesus Christ' on classroom walls?" asked Edward White III, of the Thomas More Law Center. . . . His comments came after a new protest arose in Nyssa, Ore., where one parent raised objections when the Islamic teachings came to light. The district there, according to Supt. Don Grotting, is teaching a chapter in a history textbook "Journey Across Time" that talks about "how civilization has developed and some of the particular aspects of Islam." . . . "We teach out of the book, and there are some supplemental class activities," he told WND. "The kids do some skits, they could bring a food from the region, you could build a prop that would have depicted (something) maybe during that time period. . . . "If you wanted to you could dress up (as a Muslim) for extra credit," he said.
October 5, 2006
California's judges are confronted daily with difficult decisions that can forever change the life of a child in foster care. Removing a child from the only family he or she knows and sending him or her to live in foster care presents a choice of Solomonic proportions. . . . A former foster child from California aptly described the role of the courts in shaping their futures: "Once you are in the system, your life is in their hands, not yours." Critical decisions before judges who hear dependency cases include how long children will remain in the foster-care system, whether parental ties should be severed and what educational and health-care services they will receive. . . . Too often, judges are forced to make these life-changing decisions with inadequate information. They need access to data that would enable them to track a child's experience moving through the foster care system, ensure their safety and well-being and identify sources of delay in court proceedings. . . . Foster care protects children who, due to neglect or abuse, cannot safely remain in their own homes. For some, it is life-saving, but it was never meant as a permanent solution. The goal of the foster-care system should be to provide a safe, permanent home for children, either through reunification with their parents or through adoption. . . . But for too many youth, this short-term refuge becomes a long-term hardship. Almost half of children in foster care spend at least two years in the system, moving from placement to placement. This turbulence and uncertainty can have lasting consequences, not simply in regard to our foster children, but for society as a whole. . . . Amazingly, comprehensive information about individual children, their placements in the system and whether they are receiving critical services, is not readily available to those making decisions about their future. When courts lack adequate data systems and case tracking information, they lack accountability for ensuring that children move from foster care and into loving families quickly and efficiently.
October 4, 2006
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday by evangelical Christian students and their parents who said a Contra Costa County school district engaged in unconstitutional religious indoctrination when it taught students about Islam by having them recite language from prayers. . . . The court, without comment, left intact a ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last November in favor of the Byron Union School District in eastern Contra Costa. . . . The suit challenged the content of a seventh-grade history course at Excelsior Middle School in Byron in the fall of 2001. The teacher, using an instructional guide, told students they would adopt roles as Muslims for three weeks to help them learn what Muslims believe. . . . She encouraged them to use Muslim names, recited prayers in class, had them memorize and recite a passage from the Quran and made them give up something for a day, such as television or candy, to simulate fasting during the month of Ramadan. The final exam asked students for a critique of elements of Muslim culture.
Young Man 15
testifies for lawmakers on Shared Parenting
(Atlanta) Monday September 25, 2006 A young 15 year old man through a personal invitation by the Georgia Legislature testified before the Georgia State Senate Committee on the merits of a yet unwritten shared parenting bill.
This event is unparalleled in the course of legal reformation that effects Fathers and Non-Custodial Parents. Bill's Sears 15, is a child of divorce. In his own attempt to deal with the tragic situation Bill took his own wounds and founded, "Bill's Arena" (www.billsarena.com). A web site launched in April of 2006 which he created and designed to help children of divorce. Since it's inception Bill has spoken with many kids and parents of divorce.
During an interview with Richard Farr anchor of the Nationally Syndicated program, "The Message", Young Mr. Sears when asked what he plans to tell the committee replys, "We have to get a bill passed for shared parenting. It is the best thing."
Bill's father Sam Sears says his pride for his son goes beyond words at this time and he hopes he can get Bill to clean his room better after this. When asked by long time activists of the Father's movement about Mr. Bill Sears chance to speak before a prestigious committee the primary reaction is, "From the mouth of babes the truth shall come."
September 20, 2006
(This is the third in a series of stories on the New Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court.)
The woman who'll take over leadership of the Iowa Supreme Court says she wants to continue the "Childrens' Justice Initiative" that's underway in the Iowa court system. Justice Marsha Ternus says the initiative began in February and is designed to find children in foster care safe homes as quickly as possible. . . . Ternus says one thing they're working on is having one judge hear a child welfare case from start to end. She say a judge is better is better informed on the history of the case, than if new judges come in and out of the cases. Ternus says studies show the child welfare decisions are more timely, as the one judge is up to speed on everything in the case. Ternus says another part of the program involves setting up assessments where an expert visits each court district to observe.
Of the roughly 1.9 million children who disappear each year in the United States, a small but startling number of them -- about 204,000 -- are abducted by family members, including parents, grandparents, siblings, and other close relatives. . . . An even smaller number are then taken to foreign countries, but a tangled web of international laws makes efforts to recover them extremely complex. Without highly specialized legal help, the handful of parents whose children have been spirited across international borders stand little chance of getting them back. . . . To help provide that niche legal assistance, the Boston law firm Sullivan & Worcester has launched a project that will do free legal work for parents of limited financial means whose children have been victims of international abductions. Called the S&W International ChildFind Program, it will help families navigate foreign laws, enlist aid from foreign government officials, take cases to trial, and appeal court decisions.
August 29, 2006
Videos – A Way to Connect with Alienated Children
Dad, K. Pat Brady, Rochester, NY, has come up with a unique idea for ‘abandoned’ dads and moms. He’s praying that it’ll catch on and children will start looking on the Internet to hear from their alienated parent.
Check out the video he did for his
daughter and make sure you give it a great rating.
Please pass this message on.
Tenn Christian NewsWire -- Are public schools stealing our children's innocence or are parents willingly surrendering it? While some parents maintain that their local school is different, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear, the public schools are no place for Christian children. . . . Recently a Los Angeles pastor, Brian Lewis, filed a lawsuit against his local school district after seeing behavior changes in his daughter following her classroom viewing of Donny Darko, an R-rated movie, without parental consent and allegedly being required to read, Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A., a memoir by former gang member Luis Rodriguez which contains hard-core descriptions of drug use, violence, and sex. The school district's insurance company offered to settle his complaint out of court, but Mr. Lewis declined. In fact, he wants other parents whose children were exposed to those materials without their approval to get involved and make it a class-action suit.
Those who work in what was once nobly known as the Civil Service – and what has degenerated into the “bureaucracy” – are required by law and ethics to be politically neutral. Presidents and members of Congress, cabinet and sub-cabinet secretaries can voice opinions. Even judges are permitted (and often abuse) a privilege of obiter dicta. But career officials are supposed to implement the policies of the people and their elected officials, not publicly advocate what those policies should be. To allow lobbying by federal officials, who after all have coercive authority over citizens, turns the Civil Service from the people’s servants into a taxpayer-funded advocacy organization that can suppress citizens’ opinions or activities it considers incorrect or threatening. “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, “it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox politics, nationalism, religion, or any other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” . . . So it is disturbing to learn that Thomas Sullivan, Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), sent a letter last month to North Dakota state Senator Tom Fisher urging the defeat of a proposed ballot initiative. North Dakota citizens are now collecting signatures for a popular measure providing for shared parenting for children of divorce. This would alleviate the problem of fatherless children and ease the impact of family breakup on both children and society. But these citizens must now contend with the opposition of not only the state’s powerful divorce lobby, but also a $47 billion agency of the $500 billion Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
August 25, 2006
I read with great interest yesterday’s article by Arthur C. Brooks on the emerging “baby gap” between liberals and conservatives. If this doesn’t highlight the importance of education to both sides of the political and cultural divide, I don’t know what does. For a long time, liberals and conservatives have argued over who ultimately controls a child’s education — the parents or the state. With parents typically more conservative and the education bureaucracy more left than even the mainstream Democratic party, it is easy to why and where the battle lines are drawn. . . . After decades of litigation, the balance of power is increasingly clear: While parents who can afford to do so have a right to opt out of public schooling (through home schools or private schools), if the kids are in public schools they are essentially wards of the state and can be subjected to all kinds of state indoctrination without parental consent. Just check out cases where students were forced to sit through lewd sexual programs (Brown v. Hot, Sexy, and Safer Productions), take sexually explicit and suggestive surveys at a young age (Fields v. Palmdale School District), and even participate in Wiccan rituals (Brown vs. Woodland Joint Unified School District). For a nice summary of the rights of parents to control their kids’ education, read this. . . . It is difficult to overstate the extent of leftist ambitions in the education process. From the earliest ages (just look at the new push for universal preschool) to the last days of a graduate degree, the left zealously guards not just its legally privileged position as ultimate arbiter of the content of your child’s education but also its dominant numbers in the teachers’ unions (have you seen what they teach in schools of education these days?) and the university professoriate.
I read an article that Tom Chandler wrote in The North Country Gazette about the judge in New York who tossed out the case against Jeffrey Koslow who is also lawyer in New York. Hmmm… based on this judge's logic and ruling, then all the "sting operation" cases against prostitution and drugs should be tossed out too. . . . Right?.....because for prostitution cases, they did not actually solicit a prostitute, they solicit an undercover cop. Right? And for the drugs sting operations, it's the same concept, right? They did not buy drugs from an actual drug dealer, they bought drugs from an undercover officer. Right?
Wow… What kind of laws do we have in New York? And worst yet, what kind of people do we have to enforce these laws? If we are going to ask our law enforcement agencies to conduct these sting operations and to catch these criminals, then we need our judicial system to do their part and prosecute them. Otherwise this is a waste of taxpayer money. Do we really need to have an "actual" child become a victim before we can prosecute these criminals?
August 22, 2006
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas says Child Protective Services and various law enforcement are failing to cooperate on investigations into crimes against children. . . . Thomas says that C-P-S' policy of allowing caseworkers to conduct their own investigations puts children in abusive situations at further risk. . . . Thomas cited the June death of an 18-month-old girl who was allegedly beaten by her mother's boyfriend. . . . According to Thomas, a team from C-P-S allowed the girl back into the mother's custody and appointed the mother's 18-year-old friend as a safety monitor. . . . C-P-S spokeswoman Liz Barker would not comment on the case.
Elementary-age students have marched in a homosexual pride event under the banner of a San Diego public school, amidst triple-X rated behavior by "gay" activists, according to a Christian blogger who reports daily to 7,000 people. . . . James Hartline, who issues "Action Alerts" in response to situations in the city, said he was shocked by the "immoral" actions. . . . "In one of the most appalling displays of gross disregard for the safety of young children, the San Diego City School system allowed a number of small children to march inside of the San Diego Gay Pride parade under the banner of one of its schools," he said. . . . That, despite the fact, "that these children were brought into the midst of a number of businesses promoting pornography and nearly nude men and women in graphic sexualized demonstrations."
August 15, 2006
Sexual assault and child pornography charges pending against Hartford attorney Kweku J. Hanson aren't enough to warrant the interim suspension of his law license. At least not in Hartford Superior Court Judge Lois B. Tanzer's view. . . . Chief Disciplinary Counsel Mark A. Dubois sought Hanson's suspension following his arrest last September on charges of sexual assault in the second degree and risk of injury to a minor. Those charges preceded Hanson's arrest in January for alleged possession of child pornography in the third degree. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston is calling the state's child protection agency a "behemoth" that should be re-evaluated. . . . Her comments were made three weeks after police removed a pair of malnourished and bruised girls from their Wichita home. . . . School officials have said they alerted state officials twice about concerns they had that the girls were being abused and Governor Sebelius has ordered an investigation. . . . The six and seven-year-old girls were found last month emaciated in their basement. Their well-fed step-siblings were found upstairs. The girls spent several days in a hospital before being placed in state custody. . . . Foulston accuses the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services of conducting cursory examinations of reported abuses, and she said that has put children at risk.
I read an article that Tom Chandler wrote
in The North Country Gazette about the judge in New York who tossed out
the case against Jeffrey Koslow who is also lawyer in New York. Hmmm…
based on this judge's logic and ruling, then all the "sting operation"
cases against prostitution and drugs should be tossed out too. . . .
Right?.....because for prostitution cases, they did not actually solicit
a prostitute, they solicit an undercover cop. Right? And for the drugs
sting operations, it's the same concept, right? They did not buy drugs
from an actual drug dealer, they bought drugs from an undercover
officer. Right? http://www.northcountrygazette.org/articles/073106Reversal.html
Recently four New York judges decided soliciting sex from children is not a crime unless photos and/or images depicting sexual acts are involved, given the way New York's laws are written. . . . From the Monday Aug. 7 O'Reilly Factor Flash; Unresolved Problems Segment, “Child predator acquitted on appeal” - Guests: Fox News chief judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano & attorney Wendy Murphy. . . The Factor explained a strange case we've been following: "In July 2005, lawyer Jeffrey Koslow was convicted of giving explicit sexual material to what he thought was a 14-year old boy. Cops nailed Koslow through an Internet sting. He was sentenced to five years probation, labeled a sex offender. But on appeal, four judges in the appellate court here in New York said Koslow committed no crime because he didn't send the imaginary 14-year old any pictures. The judge then tossed out the conviction.". . . Attorney Wendy Murphy said, "The silliness is so obvious to me because the law says you can't send material that 'depicts' sexual conduct. Way back in 1913 Webster's says 'depicts' includes words that vividly describe something. So there is no question that the legislature intended this to cover the dissemination of both images and words." . . . FNC Chief Judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano disputed Murphy's contention: "The Supreme Court has ruled many times that depiction means a photograph or an image. If a legislature wanted to prohibit words it would have said words. And we all know that if a statute is ambiguous the defendant wins and the government loses."
August 10, 2006
July 27, 2006
Mary Dalrymple, The Associated Press
July 22, 2006
A misguided collection of federal and state officials, divorce attorneys and women’s advocates have all united to oppose a simple proposition: children need both parents. . . . The North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative is based on the belief that all parents have a fundamental liberty interest in the care and custody of their children, and that no fit parent can lawfully be denied custody of his or her children. Under the Initiative, when family law courts adjudicate a divorce, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that a mother or father is unfit, all parents will have joint legal and physical custody of their children. . . . That more needs to be done to protect children’s relationships with their parents after divorce cannot be reasonably denied. In a study published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 40% of divorced mothers admitted that they had interfered with their ex-husband's access or visitation, and that their motives were punitive in nature and not due to safety considerations. A study of adult children of divorce conducted by Glynnis Walker, author of Solomon's Children: Exploding the Myths of Divorce, found that 42% of children who lived solely with their mothers reported that their mothers had tried to prevent them from seeing their fathers after the divorce.
July 20, 2006
(AP) - The right of natural-born brothers and sisters to visit each after being separated by adoption won't be decided by the state Supreme Court, which on Tuesday said it would leave the issue to the Legislature. . . . When children in New Jersey are placed into foster care apart from a brother or sister, state social workers try to make sure the siblings stay in touch. . . . But when a foster child is adopted - a best-case scenario for many youths from troubled backgrounds - the child's new legal parents are the last authority to decide whether they will spend time with their biological siblings. . . . The New Jersey Supreme Court in March heard the case of a 3-year-old Camden girl whose four older siblings were adopted by another family after their biological mother's parental rights were severed. The girl had entered the child welfare system after her siblings and was placed in a different home. . . . The children were allowed to visit each other every other week. But once the 3-year-old is adopted, the state can no longer ensure the visits continue.
July 11, 2006
Few family law cases are as heartbreaking as those involving Parental Alienation Syndrome. In PAS cases one parent has turned his or her children against the other parent, destroying the loving bonds the children and the target parent once enjoyed. Unfortunately, women’s advocate Rev. Anne Grant misunderstands PAS, portraying it as a nonexistent fraud in her June 27 column “The discredited 'Parental Alienation Syndrome.'” Grant claims that judicial recognition of PAS has had “devastating effects” on families, and cites a few cases where abusive or allegedly abusive fathers have used PAS to win shared or sole custody. . . . Grant is correct that there are fathers who have alienated their own children through their abuse or personality defects, and who attempt to shift the blame to their children’s mothers by falsely claiming PAS. Yet parental alienation is a common, well-documented phenomenon. For example, a longitudinal study published by the American Bar Association in 2003 followed 700 "high conflict" divorce cases over a 12 year period and found that elements of PAS were present in the vast majority of the cases studied. . . . In family law cases, false accusations of any and all types of maltreatment, including PAS, are used to gain advantage. Since false accusations of domestic violence and child sexual abuse are common, should we then conclude that battering and molestation don't exist? . . . The pain and heartache PAS causes children would be hard to overstate. One prominent example is the LaMusga case decided by the California Supreme Court in 2004. In that case, Gary LaMusga’s son’s kindergarten teacher testified that the kindergarten boy told her "my dad lies in court," and said that his mother had told him this. The teacher explained: . . . "I finally sat down with him and told him that it was OK for him to love his daddy. I basically gave him permission to love his father. And he seemed brightened by that…I’m not sure that he was aware that he could do that."
July 10, 2006
Wanted: open-minded, caring individuals who can be advocates for kids — sometimes kids in very tough and emotionally charged situations. . . . The Fifth Judicial District Voice for Children is seeking volunteers to work as court-appointed special advocates for children in Jefferson County. . . . The organization, which covers Jefferson, Beaverhead and Madison counties, currently has only one Jefferson County volunteer. . . . There are eight Jefferson County children being served by the program and two more waiting for volunteer advocates. So far, the program has turned to neighboring counties to meet the demand for advocates in Jefferson County, said Dene’ Spath, the program’s director. . . . While some county’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Guardian Ad Litem programs focus solely on abused and neglected children, the Fifth Judicial Voice for Children program is broader, said Judge Loren Tucker, who helped found the program.
June 28, 2006
The Colorado Supreme Court made it easier Monday for grandparents to visit their grandchildren, saying the child's best interests should be taken into consideration. . . . Richard Harris, a Denver family law attorney, said the Colorado Court of Appeals last year made it virtually impossible for grandparents to visit grandchildren if the parents object. . . . He said the Supreme Court's reversal of the Court of Appeals on Monday was "a major victory for everyone who cares about children's access to their grandparents. . . . "The ruling reinstates grandparent visitation as a feasible option in our state," Harris said. Harris said the situation had become critical because Colorado judges were "essentially rubber stamping" decisions of parents. . . . The case involves a now 14- year-old boy who spent his early years in Reno, Nev., with his parents and his grandparents, Neil and Anna Mae Forsyth.
Involving children kids in legal decisions about their futures can help all around.
Alycia Guichard still remembers the first time she faced a judge in Brooklyn Family Court. Guichard, then 15, was entering foster care; her mother was losing parental rights. After years of bouncing between friends and relatives, Guichard said she felt tired and ready for a stable home. But the judge never asked her how she felt. The judge, she said, never asked her anything. . . .“I was just sitting there,” said Guichard, now 33 and teaching law at Georgetown University. “It was like I didn’t have any rights.” . . . In fact, young people rarely even attend hearings like that one, noted Erik Pitchal, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child Advocacy at Fordham University. While the courts profess support for youth involvement, Pitchal said, the reality is far more complicated. A child’s lawyer may be reluctant to have a client miss school, for instance, or to hear sensitive information about parents. Some attorneys feel they don't have enough time to counsel young people through the experience. “It’s hard work to try to figure out the best approach,” said Pitchal, “but that’s not an excuse to have a knee-jerk response that children shouldn’t come at all.”
June 21, 2006
Dads, uncles, grandfathers and stepdads all play a special role in their children's lives. They take their children camping, fishing, and to baseball games. Dads help with homework and encourage their sons or daughters to stand tall and go after their dreams. Children learn from their male role models. With a dad's support, children feel empowered to take risks and tackle the challenges of everyday life. Unfortunately, many children in foster care do not have this support. . . . With dashed dreams and little hope, foster children worry about why no one wants them or what they did wrong. . . . Statewide there are 10,000 children in foster care and 571 of these children are in Pinal County. As a part of a growing and complex child welfare system, these children need someone advocating for their best interests.
June 12, 2006
In a little-noticed decision last month, the D.C. Circuit ruled that terminally ill, mentally competent patients have a constitutional right to seek potentially life-saving drugs -- whether or not the Food and Drug Administration has given its final approval for sale. . . . The case is far from finished, however: On remand, the FDA will try to show that its prohibition is, in the jargon of such things, "narrowly tailored" to serve a "compelling governmental interest." Still, the court's reasoning in the case -- Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Development Drugs v. Eschenbach -- is rich with implications for medical freedom and constitutional jurisprudence. . . . For most of our history, as Judge Judith Rogers explained (joined by Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg), individuals were free to take whatever medication they wanted without a doctor's prescription. It was only in 1951 that Congress created a category of prescription drugs; and, in 1962, it began requiring drug companies to conduct extensive tests to ensure the efficacy of their products. That led to long delays in the release of potentially lifesaving drugs, and to the deaths of countless patients who would gladly have borne the unknown risks for a chance at life. . . . The Abigail Alliance (named after Abigail Burroughs, a 21-year-old college student who died of cancer) petitioned the FDA on behalf of its terminally ill members, seeking access to drugs that had cleared Phase I of the lengthy testing process. (That's the point at which a new drug is deemed sufficiently safe for more extensive human testing.) . . . When that effort failed, the alliance sued to stop the FDA from barring the sale of such drugs to its members. (It was joined in its action by the conservative public interest law firm, the Washington Legal Foundation.) The district court dismissed the suit, saying that under the Fifth Amendment -- which prohibits government from depriving people of life, liberty or property without due process of law -- it could find no such right as the alliance was claiming. . . . Not so, said the appeals court. It found the right -- and found it "in" the Constitution. Given the state of constitutional jurisprudence today, that was no mean feat.
June 2, 2006
By Andrew White, Alyssa Katz, Cassi Feldman, Tracie McMillan and Daliz Perez-Cabezas . . . This edition of Child Welfare Watch examines where Family Court and the legal side of the child welfare system stand today and where it will have to go in the years to come.
Four months, six months, eight months ... up to 16 months. How long must this feel to a 4-year-old child waiting for a family and a home to call their own? . . . Nationally, foster children wait between four and 16 months for the court hearing that will decide where their permanent home will be. More than half of all foster children spend nearly three years in foster care and are placed in three different homes during this time. . . . As many of the approximately 9,500 foster children in Washington state will tell you, that's too many placements, with too long of a wait. Even a month in the life of a 2-year-old can seem an eternity. . . . To help those in need, court processes must change. Collaboration between courts and child welfare agencies must be smoother and automatic. Appeals must move quicker. We must critique our process through the eyes of a child. . . . Washington's courts and judges are dedicated to reducing the amount of time children spend in foster care, by doing what can be done in the judicial arena to make that happen.
May 24, 2006
A year after Arianna Adan of Elizabeth, then 4 and an American citizen, was ordered deported to Argentina, her future is still uncertain. . . . At a hearing the other day in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Walls -- whose earlier order to deport her was blocked by an appeals panel -- came close to making yet another decision, based on a Georgia case that bears superficial similarities to the unhappy circumstances that have kept the little girl a prisoner of civil procedure. . . . "I am quite desirous of getting rid of this case, one way or the other," said the judge, and cited the other case as how he would rule. . . . Neither lawyer in Arianna's case knew the decision, Giampaolo vs. Erneta, or a legal term -- patria potestas [from Wikipedia] -- on which Walls was about to base his decision. . . . Walls criticized them both for their lack of preparation -- "I know your case better than you do," he snapped -- but the judge delayed making another bad ruling. . . . Meanwhile, the little girl -- despite her mother's earlier harrowing testimony about abuse Arianna suffered -- still has not been evaluated by any competent state, county or judicial authority. She is treated as if she were as relevant as the rug in Walls' courtroom. She's there, somewhere, but hardly noticed in the procedural bickering.
There is hope. The Georgia case, a trial decision, is not binding and can be distinguished -- the mother and child there, for example, were illegally living in the United States, not Americans like Mazza and Arianna. Mazza wants to bring an Argentinian lawyer here to contradict the patria potestas view of things. . . . He would have been here for the last hearing but couldn't get a visa. . . . Arianna, meanwhile, turns 6 June 15. She wants to go to Disney World to celebrate her birthday. . . . Let's hope the next plane she boards is headed there.
May 2, 2006
The Supreme Judicial Court on Monday threw out a protection order against a divorced father, saying his alleged harassment of his minor daughter involved activities consistent with his court-ordered right to reasonable contact and shared parental rights. . . . Dianne Wiley obtained the protection from harassment order against her ex-husband, Thomas Wiley, on behalf of their teenage daughter after he continued to show up at her house for visits despite the girl's refusal to have contact with him. . . . Wiley also tried to attend the child's school events, regularly called and e-mailed her at home and sent her cards and notes, all against her wishes, prompting her to tell her mother that Wiley was stalking her. . . . After a hearing in Biddeford District Court, a judge found that Wiley's actions were not protected by law and were causing the child "to suffer intimidation, serious inconvenience, annoyance and alarm."
Metro area 17-year-old finds man who raised him isn't biological dad; they unite to seek genetic history.
A 17-year-old is suing his mother in Macomb County Circuit Court to force her to reveal the identity of his biological father. . . . Two years ago, the teen -- identified as "Minor J" in court filings -- learned that the man who helped raise him wasn't his real father. Now, with help from that man, who is his legal father, he's involved in a lawsuit that could help determine what rights children have to know the identity of their parents. . . . The case centers on the teenager's desire to know his family genetic history for health purposes, said Henry Baskin, a prominent Birmingham attorney who represents Minor J. . . . The mother, who lives in Fraser and is identified as Diane J., "owes her son this information," said Baskin, who acknowledged that he could find no legal precedent that would compel her to provide the information. . . . "I've checked all over the county and I can't find anything," he said. . . . The boy's mother could not be reached for comment and apparently is not yet represented by an attorney.
April 26, 2006
A new bill has been introduced into the California Senate which will make it more difficult for children of divorce to retain the loving bonds they share with both parents. The bill's backers made a sweeping, last minute amendment to the bill in order to slip it through before opponents had a chance to organize.
I want all of you to write the Judiciary Committee members in opposition to SB 1482 by clicking here.
Under SB 1482, which will be voted on by the California Senate Judiciary Committee next Tuesday (April 25), a parent seeking to block a move is specifically prohibited from citing most of the evidence that could provide a basis for restraining the move. Nonmoving parents are prevented from citing the move's impact on their children's relationships with them or the effects of the children losing their schools and friends. This directly abrogates current California case law which says that the children's relationship with their nonmoving parent must be considered when deciding a relocation case.
April 19, 2006
On their own, twins not only survive, but thrive, with community support
A hushed silence fell over the class as a pop chemistry quiz plopped onto her desk. . . . Already overwhelmed, Brettany Harrison felt her body shutting down — her eyes closed, her slender shoulders fell forward onto the oak-colored desk. . . . "Hey, are you feeling OK?" teacher Jim Boardman whispered to Brettany, one of his top students at Riverbank High School. . . . Truth be told, Brettany felt as if a mountain-sized weight were strapped to her shoulders last spring. . . . The stress of not knowing where she and her twin sister, Asia, were going to eat each night weighed on her far more than the periodic table of elements. . . . Living in a foster home with a guardian they didn't trust, Brettany and Asia often fled to friends' houses for dinner and rest. While other students chatted between classes, the twins called lawyers they hoped would help them break free from foster care.
April 11, 2006
A California woman seeks missing father
Kesha Pressley is used to her father disappearing.
Over the course of her 30 years, she’s gone as many as five years without seeing him. She tracked him down each time, usually finding him in someone’s garage or auto shop.
But this time is different. This time he hasn’t even talked to his best friend in years.
Pressley hasn’t seen her father in nine years. She hasn’t talked to him since her daughter was born six years ago.
She doesn’t know where he lives or if he’s even alive.
But she’s trying to find out, and she’s asking the public to help.
Pressley’s father is John Pressley, but he sometimes goes by other names. Paul Wright and John Praslee are two that she knows he sometimes uses.
His last known residence was in North Babylon, N.Y., but the last Pressely heard, he was headed to Fayetteville.
Her uncle told her that her dad had met a woman here over the Internet. After that, he disappeared.
Kesha Pressley has run credit checks and Internet background checks using her father’s Social Security number, name and birth date. Nothing turned up.
She lives in San Diego, doesn’t know anyone in North Carolina and knows nothing about Fayetteville. When she heard her father had left New York, she thought about giving up her search.
But then she’d look at her daughter, Deziray Raboteau. Deziray is 6 now, the same age Kesha was when she last lived with her dad.
“I just need some answers,” Pressley said. “For her and for me.”
So she started her campaign. At her home in California, Pressley created informational binders with letters, photographs and a short biography of her father. She’s sent them around the country, to newspapers, television shows, Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne, police departments and every attorney general whose address she could find.
She’s talked to people at “Unsolved Mysteries,” hoping to put her father’s case on the air, and to people at MissingAdults.org, hoping to put his case on the Internet.
“I’m not here to judge him,” Pressley said last week. “I just want him to know that I’m here if he needs help.”
Pressley is afraid that when her father made it to Fayetteville, he ran out of money and is living on the street.
The Fayetteville Police Department’s homeless program has no record of a John Pressley or a Paul Wright being homeless here.
If her father doesn’t want to be found, that’s one thing, she said. As long as she knows he’s alive and taking care of himself, she can let their relationship go.
But if he needs her, she wants to be there.
“He doesn’t understand,” she said. “Daddy, I love you. I just want to make sure you’re eating.”
And she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life wondering if he’s dead, hungry or in trouble.
“The one thing I am not prepared for is going the rest of my life not knowing,” she said. “The hole in my heart will literally kill me.”
On March 14, 2006, the federal district court in Los Angeles ordered the state of California to provide mental health services that will enable tens of thousands of foster children to avoid institutional care. . . . The order came in a three-year-old class action lawsuit known as Katie A. v. Bonta, which challenges the longstanding practice of confining abused and neglected children in costly hospitals and large group homes instead of providing mental health services that would enable them to stay in their own homes and communities. . . . “This order is a tremendous victory for California’s most vulnerable children and should lead to major restructuring of how mental health services are delivered to foster youth,” said Robert Newman, an attorney at the Western Center on Law & Poverty and lead counsel in the case.
All 50 states have failed to comply fully with federal child-welfare standards designed to protect kids from abuse and neglect, according to reviews since 2002 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. . . . Not a single state met a particularly important standard, which says children in foster homes should have "permanency and stability in their living situations." Other common deficiencies: caseworkers not visiting kids often enough, kids failing to receive promised health services and kids suffering abuse or neglect. . . . States are now undergoing a second round of reviews. Unless they improve, they face fines. . . . About 523,000 children are in the U.S. foster-care system, 20% of whom are eligible for adoption, according to HHS figures. Nearly 90% are considered "special needs" and eligible for a subsidy because they are disabled, a member of a minority group, older than 8 or the sibling of another child in the system. . . . A 1997 federal law emphasized permanent placements by requiring officials to decide more quickly whether children should be reunited with biological parents or put up for adoption. That year, 31,000 kids were adopted from foster care. Since 2000, about 50,000 have been adopted each year. States get bonuses for finalizing a high number of adoptions.
For the third time this week, a public school teacher convicted of raping a same-sex student has been sentenced to no jail time – this time it's a lesbian coach in Florida who had relations with a 15-year-old. . . . Amy Lilley, 36, a former teacher and softball coach at Lecanto High School in Lecanto, Fla., was sentenced yesterday to two years of house arrest and eight more years of probation. . . . According to the St. Petersburg Times, the sentence, handed down by Circuit Judge Ric Howard, was part of a plea deal between the state and the defense. . . . Lilley, who was arrested in November, pleaded no contest to lewd and lascivious battery, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Judge: No prison time for
'gay' rapist teacher
A former high school teacher who pleaded guilty to the homosexual rape of one of his teenage students will avoid jail time. . . . Gregory Pathiakis, 26, of Brockton, Mass., pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of rape of a child, enticement of a child under 16, five counts of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of harmful material to a child, according to the Enterprise newspaper of Brockton, Mass. . . . Prosecutors asked Brockton Superior Court Judge Suzanne V. Delvecchio to give Pathiakis four to eight years in state prison, followed by five years probation. But she issued a suspended, 2 1/2-year jail term, followed by five years probation. . . . Delvecchio, the first woman to be appointed chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, was honored in 2000 as the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Bar Association's annual dinner.
For the second time this week, a homosexual teacher has been given no prison time for sexually assaulting one of his students. . . . The latest case involves Gary Hoff, a 44-year-old former choir instructor for the Parkview School District in Orfordville, Wis. . . . According to the Janesville Gazette, Rock County Judge Alan Bates sentenced Hoff to three years probation after he pleaded no contest to one count each of disorderly conduct and misdemeanor fourth-degree sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy, who now is 17.
Six former supervisors of St. Christopher's Inc. Foster Boarding Home Program have been charged with forgery in the second degree, a class D Felony; and conspiracy in the fifth degree, a class A misdemeanor, for their actions in causing case records to be forged in preparation for an audit by the New York City Administration for Children's Services in late January 2004. . . . Westchester prosecutors said that Cerene Brown, 48, of The Bronx; LaShonne Morgan, 36, of Briarwood; Kim Spencer, 29, of Brooklyn; Katy Larido, 39, of Scarsdale, Nicola Hammond, 34, of Elmont and Clarence Brown, 51, Yonkers, were charged.
This report summarizes child abuse statistics submitted by states to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) during 2004. See a list of all Child Maltreatment Reports. The data are presented in aggregate and by state, and trends are reported when available. Topics include sources of reports; time for response; victimization rates; types of maltreatment; age, race and gender of victims; age and gender of perpetrators; relationship of perpetrators to the victim; number of child fatalities; types of services provided; and additional research related to child maltreatment. Nationwide, approximately two-thirds of referrals received were accepted for ...
Most States define perpetrators of child abuse and neglect as parents and other caretakers (such as relatives, babysitters, and foster parents) who have harmed a child in their care. It is important to note that States define the term "caretaker" differently. Harm caused to a child by others (such as acquaintances or strangers) may not be considered child abuse but rather may be considered a criminal matter.
According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System's most current report, Child Maltreatment 2004, of the approximately 872,000 child abuse and neglect victims in 2004, the largest percentage of perpetrators (78.5 percent) were parents. Other relatives accounted for an additional 6.5 percent, residential facility staff for 0.2 percent, and childcare providers for 0.7 percent. Unmarried partners of parents accounted for 4.1 percent of perpetrators, while legal guardians accounted for 0.2 percent and foster parents accounted for 0.4 percent.
In 2004, 57.8 percent of child abuse and neglect perpetrators were females and 42.2 percent were males. For the most part, female perpetrators were younger than male perpetrators; of the women who were perpetrators, 44.4 percent of females were younger than 30 years of age, compared to 34.1 percent of males.
More than one-half (57.9%) of all perpetrators were found to have neglected one or more children in 2004. Slightly more than 10 percent (10.3%) of perpetrators physically abused children, and 6.9 percent sexually abused children. Fifteen percent (15.5%) of all perpetrators were associated with more than one type of maltreatment.
There were variations in these overall patterns when the relationship of perpetrator to the child victim was considered. Of the parents who maltreated children in 2004, 2.6 percent committed sexual abuse, while 62.9 percent committed neglect. Of the perpetrators who were friends or neighbors, nearly three-quarters committed sexual abuse while 9.9 percent committed neglect.
Divorce: Helping your child cope with the breakup
More than a million children a year experience their parents' divorce. It's a stressful time for the entire family, full of changes for everyone involved. Children are creatures of habit and routine, so divorce often turns their world upside down. . . . The good news is that you can make your child's adjustment to these changes much easier, simply by the way you choose to interact with your spouse.
How to tell them . . . It's best if you and your spouse can tell your children about the divorce together. Make sure the children understand that you both still love them and will take care of them. Speak honestly and simply, and skip the ugly details. . . . Use simple phrases like: "Your mom (or dad) and I have been having trouble getting along, so we think it's best for us to live apart."
Anxiety and anger . . . Initially, children may be most interested in concrete things, such as where they'll live and what school they'll attend. Try to make arrangements that disrupt their routines as little as possible. Even if things must change drastically, establish new routines and then stick to them. This helps children of all ages feel more secure. . . . Your child may respond to the stress of divorce with strong emotions — anxiety, grief, depression or even relief. But the most common response is anger. This anger may turn inward, resulting in depression and withdrawal, or it may turn outward and cause behavioral problems.
compiled this list for educational & research purposes.
The inclusion of links to any site in no way constitutes an endorsement by Victims-of-Law.
Inaugurated on February 9, 2007