Day: May 12, 2018

cps
Trump has passed a new federal law aimed at keeping at-risk families together during treatment

This new federal law will change foster care as we know it
BY TERESA WILTZ
Stateline.org
May 03, 2018 01:00 AM

WASHINGTON

A new federal law, propelled by the belief that children in difficult homes nearly always fare best with their parents, effectively blows up the nation’s troubled foster care system.

Few outside child welfare circles paid any mind to the law, which was tucked inside a massive spending bill President Donald Trump signed in February. But it will force states to overhaul their foster care systems by changing the rules for how they can spend their annual $8 billion in federal funds for child abuse prevention.

The law, called the Family First Prevention Services Act, prioritizes keeping families together and puts more money toward at-home parenting classes, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment – and puts limits on placing children in institutional settings such as group homes. It’s the most extensive overhaul of foster care in nearly four decades.

“It’s a really significant reform for families,” said Hope Cooper, founding partner of True North Group, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy consultancy that advised child welfare agencies on the new law. “The emphasis is really on helping kids stay safe with families, and helping vulnerable families get help earlier.”

Most child welfare advocates have hailed the changes, but some states that rely heavily on group homes fear that now they won’t have enough money to pay for them.

The federal government won’t release compliance guidelines until October, so states are still figuring out how the changes might affect their often-beleaguered systems. Most expect the impact will be dramatic, particularly states such as Colorado that have a lot of group foster homes.

For the first time, the Family First Act caps federal funding for group homes, also known as “congregate care.” Previously, there were no limits, Cooper said. The federal government won’t pay for a child to stay in a group home longer than two weeks, with some exceptions, such as teens who are pregnant or parenting.

But even in states that are moving in the direction envisioned by the federal law, officials are worried about certain aspects of it.

In New York, state officials are concerned that the limits on group homes will cost counties too much. Under the new caps, New York counties will have to chip in as much as 50 percent more for certain children, said Sheila Poole, acting commissioner for New York’s Office of Children and Family Services. That would be a significant hit for smaller counties with scant resources, she said.

In California, city, county and state officials and child welfare advocates worry the law will place a burden on extended family members who are raising grandchildren, nieces and nephews outside of foster care. That’s because “kinship caregivers” won’t be eligible for foster care payments under the new law.

This practice isn’t new, but it is likely to expand under Family First, said Sean Hughes, a California-based child welfare consultant and former Democratic congressional staffer who opposes parts of the law.

The new law, Hughes said, “closes the front door to a lot of safety nets that we’ve developed for kids in foster care.”

Child protective services investigates alleged abuse or neglect in as many as 37 percent of all children under 18 in the United States, according to a 2017 report in the American Journal of Public Health. African-American children are almost twice as likely as white children to have their well-being investigated by child protective services. (The report only looked at reports of child abuse and neglect, not placement in foster care.)

A March report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found the foster care population increased by more than 10 percent between 2012 and 2016, the last year for which data is available. The agency linked the increase in child welfare caseloads to the nation’s opioid epidemic, which is ravaging families.

In six states – Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota, Indiana, Montana and New Hampshire – the foster care population increased by more than half.

To help reverse the trend, the new law places a greater emphasis on prevention.

The federal government underfunded prevention services for years, said Karen Howard, vice president of early childhood policy for First Focus, a Washington, D.C.-based child advocacy group that worked on the legislation. Before the enactment of Family First, states got reimbursed for foster care through funding provided by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act – and that money could be used only for foster care, adoption or family reunification. The money could not routinely be used for prevention that might keep families from sending their children to foster care in the first place.

Now, for the first time, evidence-based prevention services will be funded as an entitlement, like Medicaid.

That means that prevention services will be guaranteed by the federal government for the families of children who are deemed “foster care candidates”: usually kids determined to be victims of abuse or neglect who haven’t been removed from their home.

Under the new law, states may use matching federal funding to provide at-risk families with up to 12 months of mental health services, substance abuse treatment and in-home parenting training to families. Eligible beneficiaries are the families of children identified as safe staying at home; teen parents in foster care; and other parents who need preventive help so their kids don’t end up in the system. States must also come up with a plan to keep the child safe while remaining with parents.

Some child welfare advocates, such as Hughes, worry that 12 months of preventive care isn’t enough for parents struggling with opioid addiction. People with opioid addictions often relapse multiple times on the road to recovery.

Many preventive services, such as home visiting, clinical services, transportation assistance and job training aren’t eligible for Family First funding, Poole said.

The law provides competitive grants for states to recruit foster families; establishes licensing requirements for foster families who are related to the child; and requires states to come up with a plan to prevent children dying from abuse and neglect.

In another first, the law also removes the requirement that states only use prevention services for extremely poor families. Because the income standards hadn’t been adjusted in 20 years, fewer and fewer families qualified for the services, advocates say. Now, states don’t have to prove that an at-risk family meets those circa 1996 income standards.

“That’s significant,” said Howard of First Focus. “Because abuse happens in rich homes, middle-class homes, poor homes. This is a game changer, because states can really go to town” to provide innovative prevention services to troubled families, Howard said.

Under the new law, the federal government will cap the amount of time a child can spend in group homes. It will do so by reimbursing states for only two weeks of a child’s stay in congregate care – with some exceptions, such as for children in residential treatment programs offering round-the-clock nursing care.

The new restrictions begin in 2019. States can ask for a two-year delay to implement the group home provisions of the law, but if they do, they can’t get any federal funding for preventive services.

The group home provision comes after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a 2015 report showing that 40 percent of teens in foster care group homes had no clinical reason, such as a mental health diagnosis, for being there rather than in a family setting. Child welfare experts saw this as more evidence that group homes were being overused. Children’s average stay in a group home is eight months, the report found.

Some states rely more on group homes than others, with the amount of children in congregate care ranging from 4 to 35 percent of foster care children, according to a 2015 report by the Casey Foundation. Colorado, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming have the greatest percentage of children living in group homes, though the report also found that over the previous 10 years, the group home population had decreased by about a third.

Those who oppose the group home restrictions say they are too narrow in scope.

The law’s additional requirements for congregate care “reduce a state’s flexibility to determine the most appropriate placement for a child and would negatively impact the likelihood of receiving sufficient federal funding,” said Poole, the acting child welfare commissioner in New York. She said the state is weighing whether it will ask for a two-year delay.

It makes sense to not place foster youth in group homes unless absolutely necessary, said Hughes, the California consultant. But sometimes it is necessary. The vast majority of foster youth in group homes are there because staying in a foster home or with a relative didn’t work out, Hughes said. For kids who’ve been through trauma, particularly older kids, a traditional foster home isn’t equipped to give them the care they need, he said.

“The idea that kids are placed in group homes because the system is lazy and doesn’t have any regard for their well-being is unfounded,” Hughes said.

false allegations
How pedophiles use “Patsy’s” to get away with child sexual abuse – Two True MUST READ Stories

(Trigger Warning: This post may contain information about the topic of sexual abuse that may be sensitive in nature to some readers )

I have thought about this article allot before writing it. This is very difficult.

I am not writing it to gain anything, but in hopes that someone reading it does. ..

gain knowledge…awareness…

the truth…

I don’t want anyone to go through this, but I know many will…

So maybe this will make a difference somewhere to someone…

somehow…

There’s a sad truth called sexual abuse that we really don’t want to talk about, but we must.

There are perpetrators of sexual abuse that we don’t ever want to know, but we do.

There are mistakes that are made and reality becomes something we don’t want to face, but we have no choice.

The truth is, children are sexually abused. There’s no sense ignoring it. It does not make it go away.

Sometimes the wrong person is blamed, and the abuser gets away with it….this does not necessarily happen because of an error in judgment, or a lack of concern, but something far more sinister…

It happens on purpose.

Yes, on purpose. By design; following a perpetrators methodical plan..with an end goal being to abuse more and to get away with it.

This article will show you how they do it, so you and i can possibly stop one of them.

Protect your child with open eyes.

The following two stories are true cases where this horrific type of situation occurred. I know this topic is a difficult one. It is disgusting, vile, immoral, and sad. It is still vitally important to talk about, even if we don’t want to. Why? Because cases like these that are not isolated. They happen all the time, and if the abuser has his way, it will happen again, on purpose.

Pedophiles and child molesters are everywhere. They look like anyone you meet. They prey on children, and, most of the time, the children know them.

The predator must rely on others to trust him, need him or fear him. without at least one of those elements, the predator cannot gain the compliance he needs to abuse. Sometimes the child even loves their abuser.

Sexual abuse destroys that innocent trust (and the ABILITY to trust) by exploiting the fears and needs of the victim. They intertwine themselves into their victims lives, devastate families, and change their victim into someone new.

They do all of this harm for their own sexual gratification, and their need to fulfill it, without getting caught.

They plot, plan, and seek out their victims. They must groom them -a process by which they slowly work with the victim until the predator feels confident they have gained the trust and silence of their victim before introducing the actual sexual abuse.

First they must find their victim, prepare their victim and then, finally, they abuse their victim. It’s a process.

Pedophiles are sick …and the sickness doesn’t go away..

They are notoriously incurable, and will usually re-offend, having more than one victims. Sex offenders who molest children have many traits in common, and when they are caught, you can bet they don’t get caught with their first victim, or on their first abuse. Usually they have had many victims prior to getting caught, or they have abused many times.

They do not rehabilitate very easily or very often, and did I mention, that most of the time, they will re-offend?

Abusers comes in all shapes, sizes, genders, race and with different preferences. Victims can and are both male and female alike. No one is immune. Do not be misconstrued about the appearance of a predator, they don’t always look like three monster they are.

The abuser is a predator and predators hunt. The predator is opportunistic. Like any predator on the hunt, if he sees the opportunities laid out before him, he will jump on it. Sometimes he must make his own opportunities. He must be-friend a child, or the parent of a child, in order to gain access to the child.

The predator loves to see an opportunity to have a ‘patsy’… another innocent person to take the blame for their abuse they are committing against a child. I have two such stories to tell you.

The end result of sexual abuse is tragic, and as you’ll read, the truth is sometimes not revealed until far too late.

Here is the story of a little girl ill call “Child A “-

Child A was 4 years old when the abuse began. Her abuser was her mother’s 2nd husband. Child A was born to parents who were teenagers. The couple had split up when she was 2 years of age, and found themselves caught in a bitter divorce and custody battle before they could even legally purchase alcohol. However the contention was not between the two of them, but the maternal grandmother had intervened and filed suit and she wanted custody.

The mother was only 16 when she got pregnant with child A, and out of selfless love for her daughter, she admitted she wasn’t ready to be a full time single mother. A bitter pill to swallow. The mother also knew that fighting in a custody battle would just add to the already volatile conflict.

The mother made the difficult decision to back up from the court battle. She settled for sporadic visitations on the 5th weekends of the months. She would have the ability to stay in contact with her daughter and be involved in school functions, advised of any pertinent health matters, etc etc. Since most months only had 4 weekends, this meant she only had possession of her daughter every few months for one weekend.. but she talked on the phone, had lunch at school with her, and stayed active in her child’s life.

The mother had a boyfriend who ultimately became her 2nd husband, the stepfather. They lived together when child A was 4 years old, so most of the time, he was there when her daughter would visit. The mother rarely, if ever, left her daughter alone with her boyfriend, not because she mistrustd him, but mainly because she cherished every minute she had with her.

At the time, the custody battle between her father and the maternal grandmother had reached a boiling point. It became brutal. The two adversaries were in and out of court on a regular basis. They fought over everything, seemingly petty issues. The temporary orders they were going by were ridiculously detailed. They fought over everything from child support, visitation, to cutting the child’s hair, piercing her ears, the clothes she wore between the two houses, even hair barrettes. You name it, they fought over it- and they were going back and forth to Court all the time to “clarify” the orders on any issue. Honestly, it was bad.

So when the maternal grandmother accused the father of sexual abuse, many people who knew the situation werent surprised. The child’s mother, always felt like the allegations were outlandish against her ex. She just believed it, at first, to be one more ridiculous ploy the grandmother came up with, designed to try to deprive the child’s father of custody.

A social worker was brought in to investigate, and the child made an outcry…

“My daddy hurt me with my white panties”….

Things got very real at that point. For everyone. Ploy or not, things went from ridiculously annoying to damn serious.

The little girl was subjected to sexual abuse exams and the mother and father was subjected to interrogations. The father was adamant in proclaiming his innocence, and he was terrified. He had remarried and begun a new family and these false allegations against him could possibly cost him his new family. He already lost jobs, spent untold amounts of money on attorneys, and endured strikes against his reputation. He suffered from the stress, and the unimaginable trauma of being falsely accused of the heinous crimes.

The allegations were severe but after investigations were complete, the allegations of sexual abuse was never substantiated against him.

The custody battle continued on for an unbelievable total of 14 years before it finally ended when the child was a teenager.

Ten years later… At age 14, child A had, four the first time, talked about her abuse. She told a friend from school about the sexual abuse committed against her a decade before by her stepfather, that began when she was four years old. Abuse that her father had been accused of… abuse that turned so many lives upside down..

How did this happen?

When the predator was abusing he saw an opportunity. He knew, due to the raging court battle between the father and the grandmother, that any sexual abuse allegations would easily come against the father and easily believed by others that the father had perpetrated the abuse. There was the perfect person or ‘patsy’ opportunity right before him. He knew the grandmother would jump to that conclusion and use it in court. He also knew, given the child’s young age, she was easily manipulated and not necessarily credible.

Child molesters are meticulous in their abusing routine. From the choosing of a victim to how they go about carrying out their abuse, they are methodical and deliberate, in all they do.

The abuser in this case called himself “daddy” to the little girl as he abused her. In doing so …he perfectly set up the situation so that when the outcry was initially made, it was made against her “daddy”… shifting all focus and blame to the child’s father.

By the time the child grew older, age 14, when she told her friend the true identity of her abuser, that friend went to the school counselor with the information. However the authorities and CPS did not see much reasoning in pursuing charges, insofar as much time had passed, and Child A was no longer at risk of being abused by that perpetrator, as he and her mother had long since split up. Both had moved on, with new spouses and other children, and were living new lives. Of course, for him, that meant new victims.

As I said earlier, by the time they are caught, it’s usually the first time they abuse a child. There’s usually several previous occasions or victims that they got away with. In this case, the perpetrator had moved on, remarried a woman with a little girl, and abused her for several years without incident. That is, until Child A told her friend who told the school. That launched a snowball effect which ultimately led to the investigation of this man and his relationship to his new stepdaughter. Eventually, that girl confided in a friend at her school in a note she wrote detailing the years of abuse. A note that was found by her mother, who took it to authorities.

He was finally caught.

That monster is serving several concurrent sentences of 40 years each, and a couple 20 year sentences, for his abuse against his stepdaughter that spanned almost 6 years. It is unlikely he will ever be released.

Child A’s father was finally vindicated.

The next story I’ll call Child B.

Child B was, once again, the subject of a bitter custody battle where allegations were made against the mother’s second husband. Although the investigations were unable to determine if the abuse occurred or by whom, the mother eventually signed over custody to her ex, to end the allegations against her new husband who she believed was innocent.

Years passed that the mother did not even get to see Child B. It was tragic.

Then one day news broke that the couple’s old next door neighbor is being looked at for sexual Abuse of another child. Thats when the mother realised it could have conceivably been their ex neighbor who abused Child B. That neighbor never liked Child B’s new husband, and was always interested in the status of the custody battle. He always seemed extra interested in Child B, spending time with her, but until the confusion of the custody battle passed and the new realizations came out several years later, the mother had not seen the signs.

Child B is a case still unresolved. The trauma the like girl endured was severe. It’s taken many Year’s for her to regain a sense of normalcy and to begin thriving again.

Almost ten years old now, Child B has reached a good point in her life where she is healthy again. The mother has gotten back some visitations with her daughter, and both mother and father have decided not to discuss the abuse with her. Hopefully when Child B is ready, she will talk about it. They will continue to monitor the situation with their old neighbor from afar, and they were hopeful that the truth will be found without reopening any traumatic investigations in Child B’s now thriving life. They simply feel it would prove too much for the girl.

Her stepfather, however, has finally been vindicated.

So as you can see, these predators will take the opportunities they see to abuse.

This can be prevented by staying vigilant, eyes wide open, to everyone whose in your life. Use discretion when sharing information about situations you may be going thru, like custody battles or marital problems. Keep those things to yourself. Pay attention to anyone showing unusually high interest in your child, making readings to be alone with your child, offering rides, or to babysit. Takes notice of anyone who seems interested only in the Child, and not in adult company. Who seems to want to become closely knit in the Child’s life. Don’t discount anyone it can be a neighbor, coach, family friend, or even a family member. Keep your eyes open and communicate with your child about whose around them. Teach them what’s appropriate and not inappropriate and let them know you are the for them. Make them feel safe to talk to you should anything happen.

Hopefully this will never be a reality for your family, but if it does come to your door, remember to always keep aware of your child’s surroundings. Don’t let the moments focus you in the wrong direction. If the wrong person gets accused, the real predator gets away with it, and continues to abuse.

Godspeed.