New Mexico’s child care center workers overseeing more than 50,000 kids are about to get more help when it comes to identifying and reporting child abuse.
“We are advocates for these children and we do want what’s best for the children,” Coronado Children’s Center Co-Director Rogelle Price stated.
CYFD is sending packets this week to the state’s 750 child care centers about its new “Pull Together” initiative, which includes information that tells them how to identify signs of abuse or neglect and report it by calling #SAFE (1-855-333-SAFE), which directs them to the CYFD’s call center.
“[More calls] will help us get the reports that we need so that we can go out, do the investigations to keep these children safe,” CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson said.
Jacobson also said she knew there needed to be an immediate change after the CYFD questioned whether a child care center could have done more to spot a recent child abuse case.
“We reached out to the child care center to talk to them about what they may have seen or known and really ask them why things were not reported. We found that there was just an uncertainty of how to report or what to report,” she added.
She said a similar initiative in New Mexico school districts led to 550 more reports to CYFD over the past two years.
“It’s a double-edged sword: We want them to report which is good because it’s getting eyes on children who need eyes on them. It’s just always sad when we see our child abuse numbers increase,” she stated.
To compare the number of reports, school districts in 2017 called #SAFE 5,387 times, while all of the child care centers made 100 calls, according to CYFD.
CYFD also says another reason child care center reporting numbers are lower than they could be is because some child care workers report to police without knowing they can call CYFD directly.
Woman arrested for Child Abuse after
toddlers found in bug infested trailer
without any food
WASHINGTON COUNTY, UT – A woman has been booked into jail on a charge of child abuse after police say her children were found filthy and underfed in a trailer infested with cockroaches and other bugs.
According to a statement of probable cause, Virginia M. Martinez has been booked on one count of child abuse as a third-degree felony.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says they responded to Martinez’s home on the Shivwits Reservation April 7 due to a verbal argument between Martinez and a male subject.
Responding officers say Martinez was intoxicated, agitated and hard to reason with and that the inside of the trailer was “destroyed”. Police say there were holes in the walls, floors and ceiling. They said one bathroom had an inoperable toilet inside a shower, while in another bathroom the toilet worked but the shower was inoperable with holes in the floor.
Police say Martinez’s two children were filthy and a 3-year-old boy covered in mud was eating noodles off a counter that were so old they had dried out and changed color. A 2-year-old girl was also found to be very dirty, and both children had bug bites on their bodies. Police say the trailer was infested with cockroaches and other bugs.
Martinez did not have food in the home, documents state, and police say it appears she had no transportation or means to get food. Police say a family member came to the home while officers were there and told them the woman is an addict but doesn’t want to go to rehab to get clean.
Police say they observed the 2-year-old girl playing near a broken porch and asked Martinez to keep an eye on the girl, but the woman told police the girl had fallen before and learned her lesson and would not fall again. The child then fell off the porch and was checked out by medical personnel.
Martinez was arrested for child abuse and for failing to provide safety, proper care or food for her children. Police state the Division of Child and Family Services were to take custody of both children.
Santa Clara County Launches New
Child Abuse Hotline
Santa Clara County, CA officials declared April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, timing the announcement with the launch of a new 24-hour hotline for people to report suspected child abuse.
What they failed to mention, however, is why the county needed a new hotline in the first place: to fix a system that, until recently, was so woefully broken that it left an untold number of children in danger.
In 2013, the county’s Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) came under fire for dropping up to half the calls some months to its child abuse hotline. From July 2012 to the following year, call center operators answered an average of just 62 percent of calls. Only a third of the 18 percent of calls that went to voicemail were ever returned. About one in every five people hung up, frustrated by the hourlong holds.
It’s impossible to say how many valid abuse cases went unreported.
After San Jose Inside’s parent publication Metro Silicon Valley reported on the scathing 2013 audit, the county hired more call center employees and improve its hotline metrics.
“In years past … there was a problem with the phone being answered,” county Child Abuse Prevention Council Vice Chair Steve Baron said in an interview earlier this week. “That problem has been largely rectified.”
Under new leadership, DFCS has since seen a considerable increase in the number of calls answered, Baron said. People reported about 3.5 million child abuse cases each year in the U.S., about 58,000 in the Bay Area and more than 1,800 verified cases in this county alone. In 2017, the county hotline logged some 30,000 calls—virtually of which were answered.
“They’re capturing and answering, I believe, over 98 percent of every call that comes in now,” he told San Jose Inside. “Sometimes people just hang up or they change their mind so that accounts for the 2 percent. But now there’s a human being answering the phone and they’re capturing those calls.”
Gilbert Murillo, who oversaw the child abuse reporting center during the time it was dropping half its calls, said the county had reduced wait times to 16 seconds by last year.
For people who would rather not speak to anyone, there’s also an option to go straight to voicemail—a feature included for the newly launched hotline as well. And according to DFCS Director Francesca LeRúe, every single one of those voicemails gets returned.
The county’s newly announced hotline—833-SCC-KIDS (833-722-5437)—will field calls around the clock and will eventually replace the current system, which consists of multiple phone numbers.
“We have three different numbers in Santa Clara County, so it’s very confusing for people,” LeRúe said. “We just thought it was important to streamline the process, to have one number, and then decided it was important that it should be, in fact, toll-free.”
Funding will remain unchanged with the new streamlined system, she said, and may eventually save money.
But those three existing hotline numbers will stay in place for another year to give the county time to inform people about the new one.
The first big push in promoting the hotline comes as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, LeRúe said. The county encourages the community to wear blue on Friday to call attention to the cause, and to attend the 36th annual Child Abuse Prevention Council Symposium on April 27 in Campbell.
“There’s still a lot of awareness that needs to come to the community to let people know some facts about what child abuse is, what child neglect is,” LeRúe said. “Everybody in Santa Clara County plays a big role in protecting children, it’s everybody’s responsibility.”
County social workers, executives and @SupCindyChavez raise awareness about protecting children from abuse. #ChildAbusePreventionMonth event highlights new toll-free number to Report Child Abuse in #SantaClaraCounty. Call (833) SCC-KIDS (833-722-5437) 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week pic.twitter.com/uL4yzMArpr
— Santa Clara County (@SCCgov) April 4, 2018
Sharp rise in Child Abuse, Neglect cases in
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.
5-year-old Bronx boy’s parents left him home alone for a night in feces-stained apartment
New York – The flies and the neighbors were still buzzing Saturday after a 5-year-old boy was abandoned all night by his parents inside their vermin-riddled Bronx apartment.
Mom Charlotte Lewis, 49, and dad Wilfred Lewis, 59, were arrested for leaving the child home alone — except for the cockroaches, rats and flies.
“A couple of times they would leave the door open and I always told my boyfriend, ‘Oh, that house is kind of disgusting,’” said Deanna Strom, 27, one day after a FedEx deliveryman discovered the lonely boy.
The Kingsbridge Ave. apartment, in addition to the living critters, featured feces splattered across the walls when cops arrived on the scene Friday afternoon.
A stench of decay wafted from the apartment Saturday, when a squadron of flies remained visible through a hole left in the front door where the knob was missing.
“I couldn’t imagine that at all,” Strom said about the vile conditions inside the home. “It was pretty disturbing.”
On top of the repugnant state of the residence, there was no food inside the refrigerator, authorities said.
The parents were arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court Saturday night on endangerment charges.
Prosecutors said three out of the four children recently had scabies and the little boy left alone had bugs on his body and in his coat.
“This is not a case of poverty, but severe child abuse and neglect,” said Assistant District Attorney Nick Lastella.
There was combination of live and dead rodents in the home and “significant blood smears in the apartment, particularly in the bathroom and on the toilet,” Lastella said.
The boy told police that he last saw his parents on Thursday night, cops said.
Authorities found his mother at Montefiore Medical Center where she works as a nurse. Prosecutors said she is enrolled in a masters program at New York University.
The boy’s father is a technician for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The couple has three other kids — a 12-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl, and a 15-year-old boy — although none were at home when police arrived.
All four kids are at Montefiore for observation, prosecutors said. Bail for their parents was set at $15,000.