Tag 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.

Parts Of IN Seeing Rise In Child Maltreatment

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sIndiana eminar focused on youth issues in Vermillion and Parke counties.

Vermillion sees ‘huge increase’ in
Child Abuse, Neglect

Indiana  –  Vigo County isn’t the only Wabash Valley community with a high rate of abuse and neglect, according to a recent study.

In 2015, Vermillion County ranked 11th highest among Indiana’s 92 counties, with an abuse/neglect rate of nearly 36 per 1,000 children under age 18, according to the recently released Kids Count in Indiana 2017.  The state average was about 17 children per 1,000 children.

Parke County ranked 50th among 92 counties, with an abuse/neglect rate of nearly 17 per 1,000 children.

“Vermillion has seen a huge increase … and definitely outpaced the rate of the state and Parke County,” said Katie Kincaid, one of the presenters during a seminar in Clinton hosted by the Indiana Youth Institute and Valley Professionals Community Health Center.

The seminar focused on youth issues in Vermillion and Parke counties.  In 2010, Vermillion’s child abuse/neglect rate was 19.2 per 1,000 children; the 2015 rate represented a decline from 2014, when it was 43.8 per 1,000 children.

Kincaid asked the audience, which consisted of about 30 people who work for youth-serving agencies, about possible reasons for the high rate of abuse/neglect.  “We see a lot of drug use,” said Andrea Williams, local office director for the Indiana Department of Child Services in Vermillion and Parke counties.

The drugs being abused include meth, heroin and prescription pills, according to audience members.

“I think you hit the nail on the head.  Drugs are a big player here,” Kincaid said, not only in Vermillion County, but statewide.

When DCS removes a child from a home, it records the reason, and “in more and more cases, drugs and alcohol abuse on the part of the parents are being cited,” Kincaid said.  In 2013, it accounted for less than a third of cases, while in 2016, it represented more than half of the cases.

Williams said drug use often tends to be generational, which creates challenges when trying to place a child with another family member; those family members — aunts, uncles or even grandparents — may have substance abuse issues as well.

“It continues to cycle through the family, making it difficult to find those stable care-givers who kids are familiar with,” Williams said.

Kincaid cited other parent risk factors for abuse, including lack of understanding of child development; stress; isolation; and personal history of abuse or neglect.

She noted that statewide, reports of neglect and abuse to DCS have increased from 155,867 in 2012 to 202,493 in 2015.  While that likely is due in part to increased cases, “It can also reflect increased awareness and more people being aware of the fact they should report and how to report,” she said.

Anyone over age 18 in Indiana is a “mandatory reporter” if they “have reason to believe” a child is a victim of abuse or neglect, Kincaid said.  Those reporting don’t need to “know for sure” or be able to prove it, she said.  If they suspect abuse/neglect, they should call the DCS hotline at 1-800-800-5556 or text [SMS]: 741741.

Also, citizens or those reporting should not attempt to investigate, which is the job of the Department of Child Services.  “It’s our role to report, and let DCS take it from there,” Kincaid said.

Broc Leslie, principal at Ernie Pyle Elementary, praised the DCS office for creating awareness and educating school personnel, and the public, about the reporting process.  He also noted that local schools have hosted a program called Strengthening Families, offered by Hamilton Center.

Vigo County had the third highest child abuse/neglect rate among 92 counties, at nearly 42 per 1,000 children under age 18.

During the seminar, those attending also discussed data related to education, poverty, mental health and violent relationships.

Horrific Child Abuse Case

.jpg photo of house where Children were victims of brutal Abuse
House where “Horrific” Child Abuse was discovered

8 children rescued from San Antonio home

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Authorities have rescued eight unsupervised children from a San Antonio home where a two-year-old boy was chained to the ground in the backyard and a three-year-old girl was tied to a door with a dog leash, sheriff’s officials said Friday.

Deputies arrived at the home after receiving a call just before midnight about a child crying for a long time,  Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokesman James Keith said.  The deputies didn’t get a response when they knocked on the front door, and when they looked in the backyard they discovered the two restrained children.

“It makes you sick to see something like this.  It makes you angry… This is as disturbing as it gets,” Keith told CBS affiliate KENS.

“To call this horrific would be an understatement,” he added.

The boy had a metal chain strapped around his ankle, with the other end of the chain fixed to the ground, Keith said, adding: “It was the same kind of setup you would use for a dog.”  Both children were taken to the hospital, and the girl was being treated for a broken arm, he said.

Deputies later found six unsupervised children inside the house on San Antonio’s northeast side.  Two people identified as parents of those six children arrived later and were taken into custody for questioning, Keith said.  The children, between the ages of 10 months and 13 years, were placed in the care of child welfare authorities.

The mother of those six children, 34-year-old Porucha Phillips, was later arrested, Keith said.  He said Phillips was being held at a county magistrate’s office facing two charges of injury to a child by omission.  One of the charges alleges serious bodily injury.

Keith said authorities believe that Phillips was also responsible for the two children found outside.  It was unclear if Phillips had an attorney, and The Associated Press couldn’t immediately find a working phone number for her or the home.

The local district attorney’s office didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment, and the name of the father hasn’t been released.

The two children found confined in the backyard also are in the temporary custody of child welfare workers.  Keith said the boy and girl are believed to be siblings, and that authorities were “actively trying to find their parents.”