Tag Archives: CPS Agenda

Maine CPS Makes Sure It Is The Only Option

.jpg photo of a Child Abuse graphic
Just when we see some improvement in several states CPS program, we see this again.

Criticism raised over ending Child Abuse prevention program

Lewiston, Maine  –  The LePage administration is being criticized for its decision to end a statewide program aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect, even as Maine has witnessed its second horrific case of child abuse in three months.

State officials say the $2.2 million Community Partnerships for Protecting Children program duplicates other Maine prevention programs and is not evidence-based.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services officials surprised nonprofit leaders in a meeting a few weeks ago by saying the program that launched more than a decade ago would not be renewed, and did not give clear reasons why, said officials with Opportunity Alliance, the South Portland-based nonprofit that started the program.

  “It is our duty to the Maine taxpayers to ensure that programs we fund are not duplicative of one another,” DHHS spokeswoman Emily Spencer said Wednesday in an email response to questions from the Press Herald.

“Their money needs to be spent in the most effective and efficient ways possible.”

The decision by DHHS preceded the death Sunday of a 10-year-old girl in Stockton Springs, who authorities say died of battered child syndrome.  It came after a Wiscasset woman was charged with depraved indifference murder in connection with death Dec. 8 of a 4-year-old girl in her care.

Ken Kunin, superintendent of South Portland schools, which works closely with Opportunity Alliance on the program, said DHHS is “wrong” that the program is providing services available elsewhere.

“It doesn’t duplicate.  They offer direct help and support for families and communities,” Kunin said.  “It’s been a tremendous asset in South Portland. More kids attend school, are healthier and parents have really been connected to services.  It’s really been a tremendous program.”

Debra Dunlap, regional director of Community Partnerships for Protecting Children in southern Maine for Opportunity Alliance, said it makes no sense to eliminate prevention programs that can stop family problems from becoming acute.

“It would be like building hospitals with only emergency rooms,” Dunlap said.

Partnerships

In southern Maine, where the program has been established for about a decade, CPPC partners with about 60 groups,  including schools, nonprofits, law enforcement, local governments, churches and others to identify and help families at risk of abuse and neglect.

Opportunity Alliance officials argue the program has saved children from difficult circumstances, although they acknowledge that like many prevention programs, the benefits are difficult to measure.  Just two years ago, the state expanded the program to other communities, such as Bangor and Belfast, which makes the move to end the program all the more puzzling.

“The safety of kids in Maine is in jeopardy, and supportive services for families who need help will be vanishing,” said Mike Tarpinian, executive director of Opportunity Alliance.

Child abuse has been in the spotlight in Maine recently with some high-profile cases, most recently in Stockton Springs, where Sharon Carrillo, 33, and Julio Carrillo, 51, were charged in the beating death of Marissa Kennedy.  She was Sharon Carillo’s daughter and Julio Carrillo’s stepdaughter.

Police reported the 10-year-old received daily beatings from the Carrillos for months before dying on Sunday.  The Office of Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and determined that Marissa died of battered child syndrome.

The Carrillos have been charged with murder, and made a court appearance in Belfast on Wednesday.

Neighbors from when the family lived in Bangor said they called police and Maine DHHS over concerns about child abuse, but it’s not clear why Marissa was allowed to continue to live with the Carillos.  The couple moved from Bangor to Stockton Springs last fall.

Tarpinian said it doesn’t make any sense to end a program that had been helping to reduce the number of abuse cases in the state over the past decade. In Cumberland County, where CPPC has been established the longest — for about a decade — substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect plummeted from 445 in 2008 to 261 in 2016, the most recent year available, despite DHHS launching more child abuse investigations during that decade.

Opportunity Alliance officials say because so many factors go into the trends, including state policies, cultural trends, overall declining crime numbers, demographics and other issues, it’s impossible to know exactly how much the prevention program helped.

“We know we played a really critical role,” Dunlap said.  “We know more kids are living safely with their families because of this program.”

By the numbers

Statewide, substantiated abuse and neglect cases dropped from 2,521 to 2,268 from 2008 to 2016, although most of the CPPC programs outside of Greater Portland are much more recent — starting after 2015.

The $800,000 per year state contract with Opportunity Alliance is slated to end Sept. 30, as are contracts with four other nonprofits, including Penquis in Bangor, Community Concepts in Augusta and Broadreach Family and Community Services in Belfast, either in September or this summer.

The state spends a total of $2.2 million per year on the prevention program, Tarpinian said, and a quality prevention program will save the state money as fewer children end up in crisis and need Child Protective Services and in foster care.  The state announced on Wednesday that it was operating with a $128 million surplus.

The CPPC program began as a pilot program in Portland by the Opportunity Alliance in the mid-2000s, and a comprehensive program launched in 2008 in South Portland’s Redbank Village and Brickhill apartments.  The program has since expanded to all of southern Maine, Lewiston, Augusta, Bangor and Belfast.

Spencer said the programs duplicated the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Councils, which are entities created by the Maine Legislature to prevent child abuse and neglect.

“Maine’s (Child Abuse and Neglect) Councils serve the same families that the CPPCs were intended to serve,” Spencer said.

Dunlap said the Child Abuse and Neglect Councils do not have the resources to conduct community-based programs like CPPC does, and the programs do not duplicate each others.

Spencer said the program is not “evidence-based” and that there was also a question of funding.

“When originally established, DHHS believed that the CPPCs were an evidenced-based program,” Spencer said.  “Upon further research as we considered renewing and expanding, it has been determined that they are not evidenced based, but are seen as a method for engaging communities with the goal of preventing child abuse.

“This is the same goal of Maine’s statutorily established CAN Councils.”

‘Best that’s available’

But Dunlap said that CPPC, while not meeting the rigorous scientific standard of evidence-based, is the best that is available.  There are no community-based prevention programs that meet the evidence-based standard DHHS is seeking, she said.

“Every aspect of the model we are using is based on research that shows what families need to keep kids safe from abuse,” Dunlap said.

“It’s not a simple recipe where you can put the ingredients in and get a cake. How do you prove something that didn’t happen?”

It is difficult to count how many people are served by the community-based programs, Dunlap said, but in South Portland, at least 1,630 individuals are helped per year.

The community-based prevention programs provide many services and are difficult to explain, Dunlap said, but one example is the Neighborhood Resource Hub on Westbrook Street, between Redbank and Brickhill in South Portland.  The hub is a combination food pantry, and a place where people can connect to social services that they may not be aware of, such as signing up for federal heating assistance, Medicaid or Affordable Care Act insurance. Employers will post job listings looking for workers.

Becky Morse, a volunteer at the Neighborhood Resource Hub, said she has seen how the service benefits families.

“It’s a safe place, and it gives people a sense of security where people can go and get their questions answered, find out where to get help.  They can be instantly directed,” Morse said.

She said the food pantry is also a great resource to have within walking distance, as people can pick up bread and fresh vegetables.

Almost Twice National Average In IA Foster Care

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”

Child Abuse reports up, morale poor among
Iowa social workers, consultant reports

Child abuse investigations in Iowa have increased 43 percent since last year, but the state’s response to those reports needs work, according to a wide-ranging review released Friday.

About 8.2 children of every 1,000 in Iowa are in foster care, higher than the national rate of 5.5 per 1,000, the report by the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group shows.

“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”

The consultant’s review of child welfare practices in Iowa criticized both the Department of Human Services for high turnover and poor morale among caseworkers and state policies and spending priorities.

It was initiated amid investigations into several reported child abuse cases that were not caught in time, including the deaths of Natalie Finn of West Des Moines in October 2016 and Sabrina Ray of Perry last May.

Ray’s adoptive parents and other family members face multiple felonies next year following her starvation and physical abuse.

Finn’s mother was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping this month.  Her ex-husband, Joseph Finn II, goes to trial next month.

The reviewers made numerous short- and longer-term recommendations that likely will be discussed next month at the Iowa Legislature.

The consultants found morale is poor among state social workers.

And while Iowa’s Department of Human Services enjoys a largely stable workforce, turnover and caseloads are high in Polk and Linn counties.

Staff complain that training is insufficient and the state for too long has expected them to do more with less.

The report recommended, among other things, that Human Services:

  • Provide more accurate caseloads of child welfare workers in each Iowa county and more competency-based training;
  • Provide better services and communication with children and families; and
  • Eliminate barriers to its central abuse intake system.

“The department will look closely at the recommendations to see what we can move on within the agency, and what may require legislation or additional action,” spokesman Matt Highland said.

Mandatory reporters of child abuse in Iowa voiced frustration with the state agency charged with investigating abuse because they weren’t able to find out what happened after they provided information, the report found.

“Physicians, educators and providers of community-based prevention services… expressed frustration with their inability to communicate with DHS, particularly following their having made a report,” the report said.

Educators complained that parents often disengaged because they were able to figure out where abuse reports originated, and then those same reports resulted in no intervention by social workers.

“Several also cited situations in which this has resulted in parents’ retaliation against children as information made available to the parents made it clear that children disclosed alleged maltreatment,” the report states.  “In these cases, children may cut off communication with teachers, counselors or mentors with whom they had previously trusted.”

But in some places, the report was as much a critique of state leaders’ policy and spending priorities as Iowa’s child welfare practices.

“Child welfare intervention should not be viewed as a substitute for universally available basic health, mental health and supportive community services that can help families, especially those in poverty, to voluntarily access resources needed by themselves and their children that may keep their needs from escalating to the point that they result in a report of abuse or neglect,” the report said.

The state’s child welfare system is not doing enough to engage children’s parents in assessing needs related to child safety and evaluating progress, according to interviews with youth, parents, grandparents, foster parents and DHS case managers.

“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”

Another issue: Agencies that contract with Human Services are receiving $500 per family for each referral, regardless of whether the family uses the voluntary services.

The consultants voiced concern about child welfare being housed within the Department of Human Services, the state’s largest agency which juggles sizable responsibilities.

They also said its staff is tasked with administering so many programs in search of efficiency, their understanding of child welfare initiatives and policies is hindered.

“Assessing the often multiple and complex needs of families and children who present to child welfare systems requires substantial clinical knowledge and skill in gathering and interpreting information,” the report said.

VA CPS Ignored Shredded Child Abuse Reports

.jpg photo of Virginia CPS Officials
Bill Burleson, Interium Director in Rockbridge and Piedmont Regional Director Susan Reese

51 formally ignored cases of Child Abuse
reopened in Rockbridge by state

ROCKBRIDGE CO., VA  –  An investigation into the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services has led to more than 50 cases of potential child abuse being re-opened.

This comes after an internal review into the organization revealed reported cases of child abuse were shredded or never investigated.

This week, five members of the state team are investigating those cases thanks to the help of current employees who kept copy of records that their supervisor destroyed.

Almost a third of those have now been validated by the state team, meaning they have been investigated further.

That’s 51 cases of potential child abuse that have been reopened.

Piedmont Regional Director Susan Reese is first pointed out issues during an internal review.

Report: Rockbridge Co. Social Services ignored, shredded child abuse reports
Read the 38 page PDF report

She said the work of current employees who kept copies of those cases is key, and was a “bold, brave” move she applauds.

“It helped a great deal.  They knew.  I guess they just had a feeling that something was not right and they kept those and that was a great help to us in this,” Reese said.

In all they’ve reviewed about 180 cases.

“Between the ones that were shredded and the ones that were pulled from the system, we checked everything,” Reese said.

Now she and another member of the state team are personally investigating each one.

“It makes me feel much better to be able to assess the safety of these children and know that the children involved are safe,” Reese said.

His first week on the job, Bill Burleson will now be the interim director in Rockbridge.

“I’m not here as a hatchet guy, I’m here as a fix it guy,” Burleson said.

He is on a three-month contract and has been temporarily hired after retiring from a lifelong career in the field.  He’s working to reorganize the office.

“My job is to take the agency from right now and to get some people in here, get some training in here, do a little reorganizing and establish some lines of communication,” Burleson said.

He’s meeting with county leaders including the sheriff who he says will help in the hiring process of a new county director.

“First thing I did was give them my home phone number, my cell phone.  I’m here part-time… but I’m always on the other end of the telephone,” Burleson said.

He says he is committed to getting the office on the right track before a permanent replacement is hired.

He says on Monday, a newly hired employee will start at the office to ensure that every case is entered in to the system.

Alabama CPS Out Of Control

.jpg photo of graphic Alabama CPS wrong-doing
Alabama CPS Out-Of-Control

Pattern of Child Kidnappings by Alabama CPS (DHR) Exposed

#SaveBraelonsFamily  #ReturnBabyBraelon
#Taken  #Cash4Kids
#MedicalKidnapping  #DHRStealsBabies

http://medicalkidnap.com/2016/06/26/pattern-of-child-kidnappings-by-alabama-dhr-exposed-another-new-born-infant-seized-at-hospital/

How long will this out-of-control, corrupt organization be allowed to continue their Dereliction of Duty and Mismanagement and Theft of Billion$$$$ of Tax Payer Dollars Annually.

Alabama CPS (DHS) has NOT met all of the minimum child welfare standards set by the federal government in 2001 even one (1) time. Those standards include such things as timely investigation of reports of child abuse.

Abuse and Neglect cases, ESPECIALLY THOSE RESULTING IN DEATH, are often not disclosed as required by law.

LIGHT UP THE PHONES!!!!

Governor Bentley – (334)242-7100
DHR:  Kim Mashego, Director – (205)669-3000
DHR:  Nancy Buckner Commissioner – (334)242-7100
Congressman Gary Palmer – (202)225-4921
State Rep Matt Fridy – (205)665-1795
Senator Richard Shelby – (202)224-5744
Senator Jeff Sessions – (202)224-4124
Alabama Attorney General – (334)242-7300

** When on the phone refer to the medicalkidnap.com articles and identify the Family as Baby Brandon’s Family in Alabama

CPS At Fault In 2 More Child Deaths

.jpg photo of graphic against CPS Child Abuse and Parental Alienation
Insist on Realignment of CPS

Investigation Faults NYC Child Welfare Agency in 2 Deaths

The long arm of CPS is very obvious in the latter part of this article, as the media attempts to downplay the severity of these Children’s deaths and suffering.  The corruption within CPS has ruined too many families, stolen too many of Our Children’s futures, and finally have been seen for what they are by at least 2 or more Federal Judges just in the last months.

How can over 3,000,000 reports of Child Abuse yearly equal just 686,000 legitimate cases?   Now you think about one thing, less than 25% of the cases of Child Abuse are reported, so in reality, that translates to over 12,000,000 instances of Child Abuse happen yearly.
~Robert StrongBow~

NEW YORK  –  “The children were placed in danger due to lax supervision by the Administration for Children’s Services and that the agency, known as ACS, failed to follow its own rules.”

New York City’s child welfare agency failed to protect two children who died and a third who was starved by his parents and nearly died in 2014, a report released Tuesday says.

The report by the city Department of Investigation found that the children were placed in danger due to lax supervision by the Administration for Children’s Services and that the agency, known as ACS, failed to follow its own rules.

“Our investigation demonstrated that in several instances ACS failed to property investigate allegations of child abuse and as a result missed opportunities to protect children,” department commissioner Mark G. Peters said.

ACS spokeswoman Jill Krauss said Mayor Bill de Blasio has invested more than $100 million to strengthen the child welfare system since the three cases happened.  The new funding has allowed the agency to hire 700 new staff members and reduce caseloads to “a historic low” of 10 to 12 children per caseworker, Krauss said.

The children in the three cases were identified by aliases to protect their privacy.

One of the cases involved a child who was abused and starved by his parents for at least two years before he was removed from the home.  The child is now in foster care and criminal cases against his parents are pending.

Another child died at home under suspicious circumstances.  During the 12 years prior to his death, ACS had investigated 11 reports of abuse concerning the boy’s mother.  The description appears to match the death of 4-year-old Juan Sanchez on April 29, 2014.  No one was charged in his death.

The third child was beaten to death by her mother, who is now serving a lengthy prison sentenceThe girl died despite a 12-year history of interventions by ACS into the mother’s parenting ability, the report said.

Some advocates said the focus on tragic deaths of children should not obscure the work that social service agencies do to support families in difficult circumstances.

“It’s unclear how much generalizing one can do from three admittedly horrible cases,” said Susan Jacobs, special counsel to the Center for Family Representation, which represents parents in family court.  “Every single day parents who struggle with the conditions of living in poverty are successfully reunited with their children with the help of many support services and advocacy efforts.”

Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, said that while it’s possible to learn from ACS’ worst failures, “those failures don’t, in and of themselves, tell us what is systemically wrong with ACS, or any other agency.”