Category Archives: Neglect

NM Reports Increase In Child Abuse, Neglect

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
There’s no excuse for Child Abuse

Child Abuse, Neglect strain New Mexico
protection program

SANTA FE, NM  –  New Mexico’s child protection system is straining to keep pace with an increase in abuse and neglect cases, despite increased public spending, according to a report from state analysts released Tuesday.

The report from the nonpartisan Legislative Finance Committee shows the protective services program for children in state custody has failed to meet seven out of eight performance goals.  For the fiscal year ending in June, the program missed benchmarks for reunifying children with parents in under a year, the number of children returning to foster care and the speed of adoptions.

The number of children placed in protective care in New Mexico increased by 6 percent to 2,674 during the one-year period ending in June.  The state spends 21 percent more on protective programs for children than it did four years ago.

Children, Youth and Families Department Secretary Monique Jacobson said her agency has been encouraging the public to report child abuse — possibly pushing up case numbers in the process.

“We’re asking people to make child abuse their business,” she said, noting other factors in New Mexico including an opioid addiction epidemic have influence caseloads.

Jacobson acknowledged improvements in the state’s child welfare system are needed, while highlighted progress toward a more stable workforce and an increase in the number of field workers who visit homes to detect maltreatment and determine whether a child may be in danger.

The job turnover rate dropped to 25 percent this year for child protective services workers, down from 34 percent in 2014, Jacobson said.

She cautioned that efforts to reunify mistreated children with parents cannot be rushed or incentivized, and that her agency is working with the court system to streamline adoption procedures. Jacobson noted year-over-year statistical progress in six out of eight evaluation categories for child protective services.

The analysis from the Legislature notes that the state could save tens of millions of dollars in the short run with just a 10 percent reduction in child maltreatment and foster placements.

Generally high evaluation marks were given to the performance of early childhood services including programs that promote high-quality child care.

Higher Numbers Of Child Abuse, Neglect In NC

.jpg photo of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
North Carolina seeing increased numbers of Child Abuse and Neglect.

121,000 reported cases of Child Abuse,
neglect in NC: 600 reported cases
in McDowell

McDowell, NC  –  Early data shows there were over 121,000 investigated cases of child abuse and neglect in North Carolina during fiscal year July 2016 through June 2017.  State law requires individuals or institutions suspecting child abuse or neglect to report cases to the Division of Social Services (DSS) for investigation.

“The high number of children impacted by neglect or abuse indicates too many families are struggling and under severe stress,” said Rebecca Starnes, vice president of Children’s Home Society of North Carolina.  “Abuse and neglect can be the product of a number of issues facing families, including poverty, working multiple jobs to make ends meet, high levels of stress, unrealistic expectations of children, mental health challenges, or substance abuse.”

In McDowell alone, there were 600 reported cases of abuse in neglect in the 2016-17 year, with over 75 percent found to be true and put into case management services.

“The majority of our reports have been methamphetamine-related,” said McDowell Department of Social Services Director Lisa Sprouse. “Just last week, we received multiple reports of babies being born in McDowell County that tested positive for polysubstance abuse.”

When asked about the uptick in referrals across the state, Sprouse says that the biggest contributor has been substance abuse.

“I looked at those numbers and they don’t include foster care, but foster care has greatly increased due to the rise of opioid addictions and, primarily here in this county, methamphetamine addiction,” said Sprouse.  “In the month of July in this agency alone, we placed 18 children in foster care, probably 80 percent of those due to substance abuse from parents, and right now it is IV drug use.”

DSS staff investigates and assesses all suspected cases of child abuse and neglect; diagnoses the problem with the family; provides in-home services to help keep families together; coordinates community and agency services; or, petitions the court for removal of the child from the home, if necessary.

To treat instances like these and other child-related cases, McDowell DSS has a collaborative relationship with a number of organizations like the McDowell Sheriff’s Office, the county school system, Lily’s Place – the local subsidiary of Southmountain Children and Family Services – Freedom Life Ministries, and equine and agricultural therapy at Hope 29:11 for older children not living with their biological parents, as well as local events like this Sunday’s Unity Service at East Middle School and Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

“We try to utilize conventional collaborations as well as unconventional,” said Sprouse.  “Sometimes in this day and time, the conventional methods with going to an office for mental health services is not really what works for our families, so we try to meet them where we are and provide services that can help them from point A to point B and help them make their family whole again and allow their children to come home.”

For more information on McDowell DSS’ Children and Family Services, visit http://www.mcdowellcountyncdss.org/children-family-services.

NC Girl Found Under Stairway

.jpg photo of house where malnourished Child was found
Officers found the Child locked in 2-foot by 4-foot closet under stairway.

Police find malnourished 5-year-old girl locked in closet under stairway

RANDLEMAN, NC  –  Police found a malnourished 5-year-old girl locked in a small closet under a stairway at a home in Randleman, according to a press release.

On Sept. 12, Randleman police conducted a welfare check for a child at a home in the 200 block of Back Street.  Officers were told the child was being physically and mentally abused.

Officers went to the home in an effort to locate the little girl.  Upon arrival, they found no vehicles in the driveway and it appeared no one was there.

Officers knocked on the door and received no response, so they began calling the child’s name.  Once they began yelling, they received a response.

They first asked the child if she was OK and the girl replied with “no.” Officers then asked if she needed help and she replied, “yes.”

Officers then made entry through a front porch window and found the child locked in a two-foot by four-foot closet under a stairway. She had no food or water and appeared to be extremely malnourished with burns, scratches, and bruises all over her body.

The 5-year-old was taken from the home by a daycare employee. She was taken to Randolph Hospital and transferred to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.

She is currently in the custody of the Randolph County Department of Social Services.

As a result, Adam Joshua Byrd, who is the child’s father, and Crystal Dawn Carnahan, who is a child caretaker, were arrested.

Byrd is charged with assault with a deadly weapon serious injury, intentional child abuse serious physical injury and negligent child abuse serious physical injury.

Carnahan is charged with assault with deadly weapon serious injury, intentional child abuse serious physical injury and negligent child abuse serious physical injury.

Both were taken to the Randolph County Jail on a $350,000 secured bond.

MD Woman Arrested For Abuse Of Toddler

.jpg photo of Mother arrested for Child Abuse
Rocla Aceneth Tovar Calderon, 40

Prince Frederick Woman Arrested for
Child Abuse

Prince Frederick, MD  –  On August 10, 2017, police responded to a trailer on Hallowing Point Rd, in Prince Frederick, for a report of child abuse.

Detective Jernigam from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and a Child Protective Services Worker from the county responded to the trailer after they received complaints that a 3-year-old boy had visible marks on his body.  The complaints came from the child’s teachers at the Head Start program.

The child had marks on his chest, back, and legs that appeared to have been made by a thin cord of some type.  The child’s speech and language is delayed, and he was only able to indicate his mom was mad.

Police made contact with the child’s mother, identified as Rocla Aceneth Tovar Calderon, 40, of Prince Frederick.

The Child Protective Services Worker explained they needed to speak with Calderon about the marks on he son’s arms, and Calderon stated that she hit him because she was angry because he “do a lot of things” and she “need to teach him”.  Calderon went on to say that she tries not to hit him because “he’s white and it leaves marks”, which she knows is a problem, and that sometimes she has to hit him so he will learn.

Calderon explained that she is having issues with potty training, destructive behavior, and that the only way she can keep him occupied is with a tablet.

Calderon was asked what she hit the child with, and she said it was a cord to a tablet because he chewed it and it broke.  The previous night, 8/9/2017, Calderon admitted to hitting him between 5-7 times but she was not exactly sure because she was so angry with him.  Calderon then explained that she usually uses a shoe to hit him, but she had the cord in her hand, which is why she used it.  Calderon said that it hurts her hand to spank him with her hand and gives her blood clots, so she uses a shoe.

The Child Protective Services Worker explained that she could not hit the child with cords and leave marks.  Calderon repeatedly indicated that she cannot control his behavior, citing examples of him urinating in a basket full of clean laundry, and on the blankets on her bed.  While speaking with Calderon, the child grabbed an empty water bottle, urinated inside it, and placed it on the floor near the front door.  Calderon made no attempts to stop this behavior, and rather indicated that it was another example of not being able to control him “because he’s 3”.

Police described the residence as “extremely unkempt, with old food on the floor, tables, chairs, and counters. Insects were visible flying around the residence, crawling on the counters and floors.  Ms. Calderon apologized for the mess and stated that it is Thursday which is her day to clean.”

The Child Protective Services Worker prepared a safety plan for Calderon, which was signed by both parties, indicating that she was not allowed to hit the child with any objects.  The plan also indicated that in-home services would be provided by CPS to assist Calderon with the child’s behavior and with cleaning her home so that it is sanitary.

Rocla Aceneth Tovar Calderon, was arrested and charged with assault, and child abuse, she posted a $10,000 bail and was released. Calderon has a preliminary court date on September 22, 2017, in Calvert District Court.

IN Kids Talk Combating Rise In Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Child Advocacy Center
Kids Talk advocacy center

Kids Talk empowers children who
might be abused

ANDERSON, IN  –  In the three years it’s been open, Kids Talk has helped change how child neglect and physical and sexual abuse cases in Madison County are investigated.

Kids Talk has been an invaluable resource for law enforcement.
Police Chief Jason Brizendine

Kids Talk is an advocacy center that conducts specialized forensic interviews when the Department of Child Services receives reports about children who might be at risk.  Since 2014, the agency has assisted more than 1,300 children.

“Not only did we want to be reactive” when the program began, said Becky Oldham, a manager and child advocate, “but a goal from the beginning was to get out in schools and work on prevention with kids.

“That’s been really important to us, and we were really excited to launch that last year,” she added.

Those school-based presentations have been effective in helping children distinguish good behavior from bad, according to follow-up surveys.

“After a program is presented, every child gets an option to say if they want to talk to somebody,” Oldham said.

“We had 125 DCS reports come out of those presentations countywide, and we had hundreds of reports where kids came forward about things such as self harm or friends being suicidal, and we were able to refer those to guidance counselors,” she added.

About 500 children received some kind of service as a result of the school presentations.

“We were able, I think, to head off a lot of things that would have gone a lot further, as far as sexual abuse is concerned,” she added.  “I think some children came forward when they were in the initial grooming phase, (which) did not go further because they were empowered by that presentation they heard.”

Elwood Police Chief Jason Brizendine said Kids Talk has been an invaluable resource for law enforcement.

“Police just didn’t know how to investigate certain things many years ago when I first started,” the chief said.  “Over the years, they’ve figured out that you need facilities like this who specialize in the interview techniques and how to deal with the children.”

“This is a service I do not ever want to see leave,” Brizendine said.