Tag Archives: Family

Treatment Withdrawn From Infant

.jpg photo of woman accused of shaking infant.
Maria Antonio-Jose, 24

Bonita woman faces aggravated Child Abuse charges after baby in her care is
seriously hurt

LEE COUNTY, FL  –  A 5-month-old baby boy has severe brain damage, and a Bonita Springs woman is facing aggravated child abuse charges after the infant she was watching for a friend stopped breathing, and a medical exam found he had suffered extensive internal injuries.

Maria Antonio-Jose, 24, was arrested Saturday and remains in Lee County Jail on $200,000 bond.  Her arraignment will be July 9.

The Florida Department of Children and Families has opened a child protection investigation into the incident.

“We have not had prior involvement with the child or the alleged perpetrator,” said Natalie Harrell, spokeswoman for Suncoast Region of DCF.  “At this time, as the investigation is ongoing, the information we can share is limited.”

A Lee County Sheriff’s Office report said the baby was left with Antonio-Jose on May 15 while the mother, a friend, went to work.  At noon Antonio-Jose called the mother and told her the baby had stopped breathing due to choking on milk.

The sheriff’s report said Antonio-Jose’s husband also said she called him at work and said the baby had choked on milk and wasn’t breathing.

The infant was first taken to North Collier Hospital and then transported to Golisano Children’s Hospital in south Fort Myers. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, extensive retinal hemorrhaging, ripped right retina, considered to be in a persistent vegetative state and was not expected to recover.

Examination of the child also found that the injury was not consistent with choking but rather with severe child abuse.

A sheriff’s report said the child protection team at Golisano described the brain injury as the result of a rapid acceleration/deceleration injury which, according to medical dictionaries, can be caused by blows or vehicle crashes and results from the abrupt movement and deformation of the brain in the cranial cavity.

Treatment was withdrawn Friday and the infant was transferred to hospice care.

Woman accused of beating toddler, saying she wanted to kill him — WDTN

Babysitter Arrested For Brutal Abuse Of Toddler

A Pennsylvania woman has been jailed and charged by Waynesboro police after a 1-year-old boy was treated in March for a number of injuries.

Jessica Samick, 21, of Greencastle, is charged with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child and a misdemeanor count of simple assault.

According to court documents, the child’s mother filed a report of child abuse in March after her toddler was in Samick’s care for several days in Waynesboro. She told police she had a difficult time getting Samick to return her son and noticed bruising on his face once he was finally back in her care.

via Woman accused of beating toddler, saying she wanted to kill him — WDTN

Victim Running For Victimized And Prevention

.jpg photo of Child Abuse advocate raising money to fight Abuse
Christian Griffith is running 3,000 miles from New York to San Francisco to raise $1 million for “Help for Children”.

Man running coast to coast to raise
awareness about Child Abuse stops in STL

ST. LOUIS, MO  –  A man who is running across the country to spread awareness about child abuse spoke in St. Louis Monday.

Christian Griffith is running 3,000 miles from New York to San Francisco.  He was a victim of child abuse as a teenager.

He is now running to raise $1 million for “Help for Children,” an organization dedicated to helping those abused and child abuse prevention.

“Help for Children is working on preventing this from happening to kids in the first place,” said Griffith.

So far he has run 800 miles and raised $200,000.

He heads back to Chicago on Tuesday where he will resume his journey.

TX County See Substantial Increase In 2017 Confirmed Child Maltreatment

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Say NO To Child Abuse In Texas

Sharp rise in Child Abuse, Neglect cases in
Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  The number of cases of child abuse and neglect in 2017 has gone up almost 36 percent from 2014.

After more than 5,846 cases of child abuse and neglect in 2013, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services saw the numbers steadily drop down to 4,550 in 2016.  Last year, however, the number of cases exceeded the 2013 figure with 6,175 confirmed victims, a 35.71 percent jump from 2014 when the numbers began to fall.

“In 2017, we had the largest number of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect,” said Anais Biera Miracle, spokeswoman for the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio.

Besides the growth in Bexar County’s population, Judge Peter Sakai, who hears many of the cases in Children’s Court, said:  “It’s drug addiction.  It’s mental health issues.  It’s domestic and family violence.”

Sakai said the Children’s Court has been dealing with the situation by “aggressively looking at the high rate of removals with more preventive measures.”  He said, for example, there’s the family preservation docket.

“We try to get custody orders for relatives and getting children out of the foster care system and back with family,” Sakai said.

But Sakai said the bottom line is more resources for prevention.

Miracle said the shelter is trying to develop more strategies to effectively reach parents grappling with substance abuse, mental illness and learned behavior from generation to generation.

Sakai said Bexar County offers numerous resources such as Family Violence Prevention Services and Family Services Association.  He also urges families to help their members to get the help they need, especially for the children’s sake.

“The more families we intervene, the more cycle of abuse and neglect we break,” Sakai said.

Below is information from the 2017 Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Databook:

Bexar County:

  • Confirmed victims of abuse and neglect: 6,175
  • Children waiting for adoption since August 31, 2017: 874
  • Children in adoption placements since August 31, 2017: 687
  • Children in foster/adoptive homes since August 31, 2017: 122
  • Consummated adoptions: 682

Removals of children: 2,367

  • 1,467 at Investigations
  • 900 at Family Preservation

Children in DFPS conservatorship: 5,437

Children placed in substitute care: 5,291

Kinship Caregiver Monetary Assistance: 1,157

Bexar County comparative data over the course of five years:

  • 2017 – 6,175 children
  • 2016 – 4,550 children
  • 2015 – 4,941 children
  • 2014 – 5,434 children
  • 2013 – 5,846 children

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.