Category: child death

abuse, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, death
When CPS workers accept lies, children can die
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
Austin Bureau
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com
Published: 14 December 2013 11:13 PM
Updated: 14 December 2013 11:41 PM

(source: Dallas Morning News)

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson died from injuries that included a fractured skull after workers were lied to about her case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandria Hill, 2, died of head injuries last July. Her foster mother has been charged with her murder.
Orien Hamilton, an 11-month-old, died in October from fatal head injuries in a suburban Austin home.
Foster mother Sherill Small, 54, faces trial on a capital murder charge in a toddler’s death
Gregory Guajardo has been charged in the death of his son

 

 

AUSTIN — When Child Protective Services workers accept lies at face value and stop pressing for the truth, children can die.

Being gullible about relationships, living situations or even abuse can be fatal, as illustrated by the recent beating deaths of at least four young Texas children — Orien Hamilton, Alexandria Hill, Giovanni Guajardo and Emma Thompson.

In each instance, adults who had something to hide or who needed to be strong-willed protectors misled CPS workers. Had the workers known the truth, they might have removed the children from harm’s way.

State protective services chief John Specia said he wants to better train his people to ferret out deception.

“We’ve got to be able to connect dots,” said Specia, a veteran San Antonio family court judge. Gov. Rick Perry selected him last year to run CPS’ parent agency, the Department of Family and Protective Services. “It’s really a matter of being able to have … that little red light go off that somebody isn’t telling you the whole story.”

While Specia has ordered some policy changes in response to two recent deaths, The Dallas Morning News found gaps and loopholes in the department’s current rules and procedures.

The newspaper found, for instance, that CPS workers aren’t necessarily required to interview neighbors when they investigate tips about birth parents’ being abusive. Nor do CPS workers or employees of the state’s foster-care contractors have to knock on neighbors’ doors when they examine people stepping up to care for the children.

Such a check is done only if the people agreeing to tend to the youngster submit neighbors as references, said department spokesman Patrick Crimmins.

And state rules don’t require prospective foster parents to supply any references at all.

Several large contractors who perform such checks ask for references in applications, and industry veterans say it’s standard practice. But, Crimmins said, there’s an anomaly in the rules: Relatives who volunteer to take in children must supply names of people who can vouch for their character, but total strangers serving as foster parents do not.

“We can find no current … or prior standard that requires references,” he said Friday. Asked if the department would move to require them, Crimmins said: “We’re looking at everything” after a rash of child deaths.

It’s another crisis for an agency that has been through several rounds of legislative overhauls over the last decade. And in trying to improve investigations, it faces familiar problems: employee turnover fueled by low pay, too-heavy caseloads, inexperienced workers and supervisors who are almost as green as their subordinates.

In late October, 11-month-old Orien Hamilton suffered fatal head injuries in a suburban Austin home. A month earlier, CPS whiffed in checking out a tip from her birth father. He’d warned that a man with violent tendencies was helping to care for her.

Although CPS had seen the man in the home in April and knew he’d been involved in a domestic-violence episode there the following month, its worker who checked out the tip bought a step-aunt’s lie that he’d moved to Colorado.

That revelation rocked the department, reviving painful memories of a 2009 Houston case. CPS left 4-year-old Emma Thompson, who’d contracted herpes, in her mother’s care. A CPS worker accepted the mother’s misleading claims.

Fifteen days later, the mother’s live-in boyfriend sexually abused and killed Emma.

“Women who are abused are really good liars. I’ve dealt with that as a judge,” said Specia, who said CPS workers need more training on domestic-violence victims’ tendency to protect abusers.

Earlier this year, lawmakers heeded Specia’s plea and gave him money to hire 800 more front-line workers, supervisors and clerical staff. But Texas CPS still faces significant morale problems.

Each year, more than one third of the lowest-seniority caseworkers quit. A recent CPS salary study said the reasons remain unchanged — stress, safety concerns, poor supervision, low pay. Investigators still juggle more than 20 cases each. As of last week, seven urban counties — none in North Texas — had more than one-third of their newly referred investigations still waiting for a boots-on-the-ground look-see after two months.

Experts consider that a bad practice. They also don’t recommend having “conservatorship workers,” who visit foster children and youngsters handed off to relatives, responsible for 32 cases apiece. But Texas tolerates that, several child welfare experts said in interviews.

The experts warned that any drive to detect more deception will crash against two stubborn facts: Most CPS workers are overworked and most are young, recent college graduates who have not reared a family and are in their first job.

Expecting them to cut through deceptions as well as someone in her 40s might is foolish, said former McKinney police Sgt. Ida Wei Cover. She spent seven years as a CPS worker and then switched to law enforcement.

“They just don’t have the life experiences,” Cover said. Given their age and caseloads, no one should be surprised when tragedies occur, she added. “Realistically, it is unmanageable to have a good finger on the pulse on all of their cases.”

Susan Etheridge, who was a CPS program administrator in Dallas County until 2004, said her old employer competes for college graduates with companies and school systems that pay more. When CPS fails to give rookies top-notch training and place them under the wing of savvy, experienced supervisors, it invites disaster, she said.

“Come on, you can’t run McDonald’s with the kind of turnover they’ve got,” said Etheridge, who now runs Court Appointed Special Advocates of Collin County, which recruits volunteers to guide and help abused children as they’re taken from birth families. “The really good [CPS workers] will say to you as they’re leaving, ‘It is unethical because I can’t meet all of these requirements. And I can’t stand it anymore.’”

Recent child deaths

Etheridge and other longtime leaders of child-welfare organizations suggested possible improvements after reviewing the clues that CPS missed and the opportunities for more rigorous investigation it didn’t seize in several child deaths:

Emma Thompson: In June 2009, doctors at a Houston hospital confirmed the 4-year-old had herpes and unusual bruises around her waist. Interviewed at the hospital, Emma denied she’d been touched inappropriately.

According to the Houston Chronicle, birth mother Abigail Young told a CPS worker that no other adults were living in her household. Young said Emma might have come into contact with someone with herpes at a local YMCA. While in rare cases herpes can be transmitted in a nonsexual way, Young also had the disease.

She also lied about her live-in boyfriend, Lucas Coe, who served as a part-time baby-sitter. He had a lengthy criminal record. CPS had investigated him three times on accusations he abused a former girlfriend’s young boy.

Had CPS known Coe was there, it probably would have removed Emma and her two sisters. Instead, she stayed with Young, a nurse. Fifteen days later, Emma died from injuries that included a fractured skull, severed pancreas, vaginal tearing and more than 80 bruises. Coe is serving a sentence of life without parole in connection with her death. Young received a prison term of 20 years for failing to protect the child.

The case triggered a policy change — CPS has to interview neighbors if a child has a sexually transmitted disease. The Legislature also passed a law tightening such investigations so that the presumption is the disease-ridden child will be removed.

Alexandria Hill: The 2-year-old died of head injuries last July at a Temple hospital. In January, Texas Mentor, a for-profit foster-care contractor, had placed her in a newly licensed foster home in Rockdale, an hour northeast of Austin. Just over a year ago, CPS removed Alex from her birth parents in Austin, citing concerns about their parenting skills and drug use.

Foster mother Sherill Small, 54, faces trial on a capital murder charge in the toddler’s death. Small told police she was swinging Alex by the legs through the air when she accidentally lost her grip, smashing the child’s head against the floor. Milam County authorities recently announced they’re seeking a sentence of life without parole.

Experts say CPS and Texas Mentor overlooked too many warning signs about Small and her husband, including her own history as an abused foster child and his past drug addiction and scrapes with the law, and baby-sitting relief she later was learned to have received from one of her adult daughters. In 2002, the daughter had been convicted of robbery and kidnapping.

Specia was apparently upset that neither CPS nor Texas Mentor properly vetted the adult daughter. He has ordered that in the future, all grown offspring of foster parents will be interviewed before any placements occur.

Orien Hamilton: The 11-month-old, born in San Antonio with methamphetamines in her body, died in October from fatal head injuries. They occurred in the suburban Austin home of a step-aunt, Heather Hamilton. Only days earlier, Lutheran Social Services, the state’s largest private child placing agency, had licensed the aunt as a foster parent.

Officials have acknowledged that CPS and Lutheran conducted such inadequate checks that they didn’t know Jacob Salas was Heather Hamilton’s live-in boyfriend and eight-year partner. Salas, 32, was well-known to police for violence. In May, he flew into a rage and put his fist through a car’s tail light, according to police and CPS reports. He’d also listed Heather Hamilton’s previous address on a 2004 driver’s license application and her current Cedar Park address on several more recent public records.

Giovanni Guajardo: The 6-month-old, born in Dallas in September 2012 with amphetamines in his system, suffered fatal head injuries in a Balch Springs home last March.

Giovanni’s parents, Shawnna Gonzalez and Gregory Guajardo, also have two daughters. The oldest, now 3, tested positive at birth for cocaine, according to CPS records. After Giovanni’s birth, “both parents admitted to illegal drug use,” said a terse child fatality report by CPS.

CPS farmed out Giovanni to one relative and the girls to another.

Dallas Juvenile Court Judge William Mazur put those relative caregivers under strict orders not to allow unsupervised visits by the birth parents, records show. But for several days in March, all three youngsters were left in the care of their birth parents and grandmother.

The grandmother “also was aware that they were not supposed to have unsupervised visits with the parents,” said CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales. “She knew that it was happening.”

Gregory Guajardo, 31, who has a lengthy criminal record, has been charged with capital murder in connection with Giovanni’s death. CPS says it never got an explanation of what happened.

“The autopsy photographs on that child were horrible,” Balch Springs Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Haber recounted.

Trusting intuition

Mike Foster of Austin, who has 40 years of experience running a residential treatment center and a family services agency for abused children, said that in child safety investigations, if adults are uncooperative, CPS or private companies should escalate their aggressiveness.

They should randomly interview neighbors and demand to look into closets — say, to see if a man’s clothes are present, indicating he lives in the home.

“You should always take it to the next step,” Foster said. “You almost always regret not trusting your intuition. If you feel like something’s up, you better chase that down.”

Crimmins, the CPS spokesman, said workers may ask to look into closets. But if rebuffed, they are encouraged to confer with a supervisor, he said. The agency then can consider further action “to compel a complete inspection,” he said.

Retired child-placing agency executive Irene Clements of Austin, now president of the National Foster Parent Association, said assessments of adults who fill in for birth parents are too sketchy.

“You can learn a lot by asking for more information,” she said. Clements said long ago, the state required prospective foster parents to write autobiographies and essays on their marriages and child-rearing techniques.

“You could compare his answer to hers, and you can catch stuff,” Clements said.

Cover, the former McKinney police child-abuse investigator, said CPS should pair all rookie workers with a veteran worker in a mentorship. Ideally, it should include opportunities to work cases alongside police detectives.

Having CPS workers take certain law enforcement courses about interrogation techniques would also help, she said.

“Attempt to build an alliance with that individual, saying, ‘I’m helping you to get this placement. I’m helping you to keep your granddaughter in your home,’” she said. “Make the agency the bad guy. … Build the trust.”

Specia has said he wants to “beef up” training about domestic-violence victims for CPS’ 1,400 conservatorship workers, though he has offered no details.

Crimmins said the training has yet to be enhanced. But a three-month, basic-training course gives CPS rookies two reading assignments about domestic violence and covers the subject in about three hours over three separate days of classroom instruction and in a simulation of mock cases.

A special unit in San Antonio is trying to come up with new guidelines for handling households afflicted by domestic violence.

Cover said fewer CPS recruits had college majors, such as social work and psychology, than in years past. That helped them for the drug- and violence-wracked households they’re about to enter.

“These workers absolutely need additional training in the dynamics of family violence and spouse abuse and how it impacts the children, as well as alcoholism and drug abuse,” she said.

Follow Robert T. Garrett on Twitter at @RobertTGarrett.

AT A GLANCE:

Vetting caregivers

Is Texas’ checklist for vetting adult caregivers of abused children adequate? Before children may be placed in a foster home or with a relative, Child Protective Services requires the following information or checks:

• Addresses for the past 10 years

• Basic information on all members of the household

• Family income

• Criminal history background check

• A check of any past investigations by CPS

CPS requires these questions about domestic violence:

• For foster parents, screeners must check for any domestic violence-related calls to law enforcement in the past 12 months.

• For relative caregivers, screeners simply must inquire about family violence.

Possible holes in vetting by CPS and its contractors:

• Workers for CPS or private child-placing agencies don’t have to demand references from prospective foster parents. However, some agencies do, and the state requires five from relatives who’ve volunteered to take in abused kids.

• Workers don’t have to randomly interview neighbors, even during initial investigations of suspected child maltreatment.

• Workers don’t have to examine closets of single adults who want to be caregivers, to see if they’ve omitted mention of an adult partner spending significant time in the home.

• For foster parents, CPS requires interviews of all members of the household and adult children living elsewhere. However, for relative caregivers, guidelines don’t specifically say all household members must be interviewed. Guidelines do call for contacting adult children.

SOURCES: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Texas Administrative Code; child-placing agencies’ websites; Dallas Morning News research

arrests, child death, cps, death, judicial system, social worker, texas
Accountability in Greenville, Tx with the Arrest of Three CPS Workers

Well this is an event that we do not see very often.  There is so much media coverage, I’ve decided to copy and paste the articles below for Tuesday’s readers to sift through.

There is accountability in Greenville, Texas with three CPS workers arrested on charges that they falsified documents, and mishandled a sexual abuse case, including illegally conducting a  search and seizure – knowingly.

Nobody is above the law, yet this happens in many cases. Rarely, if ever, do we see charges of oppression brought against the social workers – Its Almost Tuesday has never seen this before in Texas. We have seen many cases where charges like this should have been pressed, but never were. We have seen many cases where charges like this should have been pressed but were covered up deliberately.  Take heed, CPS, perhaps times are a changing – we can only hope.

It is our hope that justice will be served and this will serve as a precedence set for future cases involving CPS and families under investigation. It is only through transparency and public scrutiny that government agencies like CPS will be held accountable to not only the minimum standards set by law, but much deserved justice given to the forgotten children of the foster care system.

It is also important to remember, during this time, that media coverage respect that these are real people involved in a very horrific situation. They are grieving the loss of a child, and dealing with emotions of unimaginable proportions. There is no doubt a tremendous difficulty in a daily  struggle to handle such an ordeal that to add to it an onslaught of media coverage must double, triple, or quadruple the degree of pain and heartache they must feel.  While it is vital that the general public be made aware of truths within our child welfare system, Its Almost Tuesday is hopeful that the media will not unfairly sway opinions, or turn this case into a ‘circus’ that may impede such truth and that justice will prevail, whatever that may be.  It is an unfortunate shame (to understate it at the very least) that a child had to die in order for accountability to be sought.  We applaud the prosecutors for seeking such accountability, and for standing against the very essence of a damaged system by arresting those involved in wrongdoings.

Our hearts go out to those affected by the Alicia Moore case, and to those grieving the loss of this child, perhaps there is a tiny bit of solace offered in these arrests, and may truth and justice prevail; so that Alicia’s death can leave a legacy for future CPS caseworkers to remember.. and a lesson learned.

Its certainly not much to offer  our words of support in comparison to the hardships the Moore family faces, so again, our hearts go out to you, and may peace find you well.

Godspeed.

3 CPS Employees Charged in Connection to Alicia Moore Case

By Randy McIIwain
|  Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013  |  Updated 11:08 PM CDT

no description

Three Child Protective Services employees from Greenville have been charged for their handling of sexual abuse allegations in slain teenager Alicia Moore’s file.

Investigators say three women were indicted by a Hunt County grand jury. The indictments have been sealed, but arrest warrants were issued on Tuesday.

CPS retiree, Laura Ard faces a single count of tampering with evidence, Natalie Reynolds, is charged with three counts of official oppression and one count of tampering with evidence, and Rebekah Ross is charged with three counts of official oppression and two counts of tampering with evidence.

The women were taken into custody. As of Tuesday night, Ard was the only person to post bail.

NBC 5 spoke to Ard after she bonded out of jail. She said she had been with CPS for 30 years and had never been in trouble.

Sources tell NBC 5 that only the charges of tampering with evidence apply to the Moore case and that tampering could include, altering, destroying or fabricating information in Moore’s investigative file.

CPS had an open file on Moore who was a victim of sexual abuse in the months before her disappearance on Nov. 2, 2012.

Moore was last seen about a block away from her home getting off a school bus. The teenager’s body was found days later stuffed into a furniture trunk, dumped along a rural road in Van Zandt County.

Moore’s great uncle, Michael Moore, has been charged with capital murder in her death.

During the Moore murder investigation, investigators with the State Inspector General’s office began looking into accusations that Moore’s CPS case was being mishandled. Officers with the IG’s office spent month’s looking into Moore’s CPS file and turned over findings in a report to the Hunt County District Attorney’s office last month. Hunt County examined the report and presented it to a grand jury, which returned the multi-count indictments.

It is not known at this time if anything in Moore’s investigative CPS file could have been used to possibly prevent her murder or aid in the murder investigation that dragged on until Michael Moore’s arrest in May 2013.

Indictments in CPS case unsealed

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff
September 25, 2013

GREENVILLE — Indictments filed against three current or former employees with the Child Protective Services (CPS) office in Greenville were unsealed Wednesday morning.

The charges allege all three acted together to use a false document in the investigation of the mother of slain Greenville teenager Alicia Moore and that two of the defendants conducted unlawful searches and/or seizures against multiple targets of CPS investigations.

One of those charged, Laura Marsh Ard, is the former program director for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services office in Rockwall.

Ard, 60, of Rockwall, received one indictment for tampering with physical evidence. Natalie Ausbie Reynolds 33, of Fate, received three indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with physical evidence. Rebekah Thonginh Ross, 34 of Greenville, received four indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with physical evidence.

The tampering with physical evidence indictments allege all three defendants acted together on or about Nov. 6, 2012 “to use a record and/or document to wit: the risk asssessment involving Aretha Moore … with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”

In three of the official oppression indictments, Reynolds and Ross were alleged to have acted together as CPS investigators to have subjected three separate individuals who were under CPS investigations “to search and seizure that the defendant knew as unlawful” on or about Dec. 16, 2011, March 28, 2012 and June 14, 2012.

Ross was also alleged to have subjected a fourth individual under CPS investigation to an unlawful search and/or seizure on June 27, 2012.

The tampering with physical evidence charges are third degree felonies, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 10 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

The official oppression charges are Class A misdemeanor counts, which fall under the jurisdiction of a state district court, in this case the 354th District Court.

Dates for arraignment hearings — at which time the defendants will have a chance to enter formal pleas to the charges — had not been scheduled as of Wednesday morning.

Attorney for individual indicted in CPS case issues statement

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff
September 26, 2013

GREENVILLE — Attorney Peter Schulte, who represents Rebekah Thonginh Ross, one of three people indicted in connection with an investigation of the local Child Protective Services (CPS) office, issued a statement this morning on Ross’ behalf:

“Rebekah, who has dedicated the last several years of her life protecting the children of this State, is not guilty of these charges. The truth will be revealed in Court and we ask that the public withhold judgment until all the facts are known.  It’s disappointing that certain law enforcement officials in Hunt County and/or Austin are releasing alleged “facts” about these cases to the media that are simply not true. We have no intention of trying these cases in the news media and hope that the Government decides to follow their legal obligation to not make statements about these cases to the media outside the Courtroom.”

Source: The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Related Stories

OTHER ARRESTS OF CPS WORKERS:

Thumbnail In August 2012, two social workers were arrested at the Columbus Georgia CPS by the GBI and the Inspector General for making fraudulent child abuse reports to get federal funding and pushing others to lie with them.

ThumbnailMIAMI — The teenage foster kids called their rendezvous with men who paid for their affections “dates.” Sometimes they had several scheduled each day.
abuse, accountability, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, death, family, foster care, foster child, foster home, foster parent, social services, system failure, system failure children
MURDERED TWO YEAR OLD WAS BEING “PROTECTED” BY CPS FROM HER POT-SMOKING (“Midnight Toking”) DAD

… Another baby protected to death while in the governments’ care…
image

A loving father lost custody of his little girl last November in Austin, Tx, after he admitted to.smoking marijuana at night after he put his child down for bedtime.

The precious little girl was not ill, or harmed by her fathers nightcap, nor was she exposed to the marijuana he smoked, yet this loving parent had his two year old baby girl taken by CPS and placed in foster care last fall.

At visits, the father noticed bruises on his daughter, and voiced his concerns for the welfare of his little girl at the foster home she’d been placed in. Those concerns went ignored by CPS.

Now this beautiful baby girl was MURDERED in foster care by an abusive foster mom who was in it for the money! Below is an article where the woman admits, after changing her story a few times, that she slammed the little two year old girl down on her head at least two times before losing her grip the third time, dropping the girl on her head. Causing her death.

The foster mother was angry at the little girl for waking up hungry and getting herself something to eat and some water to drink out of the kitchen. So she killed her.

This child was removed from her natural home because of a father’s recreational marijuana use. The same natural herb that is rapidly being decriminalized in many other U.S. states!! Really.

As an advocate for the foster children and families torn apart wrongly by the system, I have stated before, my stance, on the issue of drug use and CPS. I strongly believe that absent evidence of abuse or neglect, and absent injury or harm to the child,there should be no reason for the removal of that child from their natural home solely because of a parents’ drug use and/or drug addiction particularly if there is no reason to believe that the drug was never used in the presence of the child. If the use of the marijuana was kept outside the child’s awareness, smoked after bedtime, I do not agree with the removal of that child solely due to that recreational marijuana use if it truly had no deleterious effect on the child, and where there is no other sign of abuse or neglect, and no injury to the child!

If the social worker truly believes a parent has a drug problem.. there are plenty of outpatient rehabilitation programs available for the parent to receive help that the CPS worker could refer the parent to, while keeping the family unit in-tact.

Had an approach such a that been utilized in this situation, this baby girl would not have suffered abuse by the FOSTER PARENT and would not have been brutally and senselessly murdered! I also question the worker monitoring the visits who failed to investigate the signs of abuse that the father pointed out with obvious concern. What happened there?
What this is .. is a child welfare system failure at its worst!

I hope this case grinds deep into the minds of every cps worker. I hope this reminds them to rethink when they begin to needlessly remove a child from an abuse-free/neglect-free home where other in-home services are available.

CHILDREN ARE NOT A SOURCE OF INCOME …. THIS WOMAN, when convicted (seems inevitable since she’s already confessed though, technically, she is still innocent til proven guilty in the court of law) (supposedly) SHE DESERVES  DEATH…(and in my opinion,a slow painful death)

It should be recorded and televised for foster parents to-be to watch in training class. Then maybe the “monsters to-be” who are getting into foster parenting to “earn an income” like this monster did.. will reconsider fostering and go get a JOB away from our children if they saw something REAL AND JUST being done about those who abuse and kill foster children!

God be with this baby girls’ family in this time of grief.

I hope this tragic loss changes something in the system, for change is so drastically needed.

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May this little girls death not be in vain.

ROCKDALE POLICE: FOSTER MOTHER ADMITS SHE SLAMMED TWO YEAR OLD FOSTER CHILD ON HER HEAD

by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist ERIN COKER Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

ROCKDALE, Texas — Tucked away behind the trees in Rockdale, Texas is a normally quiet neighborhood, but the peace has been shattered.

“It shocked me. It really did,” said Lois Rash, who lives in Rockdale.

“It’s a shame. Never should have happened,” added neighbor Larry McAdams.

Their neighbor, 54-year-old Sherill Small is now charged with the murder of her foster daughter Alexandria Hill, better known as Alex.

Monday night, police, fire and EMS crews were called out to the Small home. Small, who was the only person home at the time, called and said the two-year-old wasn’t breathing.

Alex was taken to the hospital, then airlifted to the children’s hospital in Temple. Alex’s biological parents rushed to her side.

“When I got there, it was about 1:00 in the morning and I found out that Alex was in a coma,” said her father Joshua Hill.

Wednesday night Hill and Alex’s mother decided to take her off life support.

“There’s not words to describe trying to make that decision,” said Hill.

Back in Rockdale, police say Small’s story about what happened kept changing.

“Originally, Mrs. Small reported that the child was running backwards and had fallen and this is how she had received the injuries. Later, it changed to kind of we were playing ring-around-the-rosy and I was swinging her and she fell,” said Rockdale Police Chief Thomas Harris. “And at some point somebody had gotten information that she was supposed to have been riding a bicycle and fallen off.”

Chief Harris said things just didn’t add up.

“I mean a two year old child doesn’t run backwards and fall hard enough to get this type of an injury,” explained Harris.

Doctors say Alex had hemorrhaging in her brain and eyes. An autopsy shows she had blunt force trauma to the head.

Harris says Thursday morning, Small finally told them the truth.

“She had evidently been frustrated with the child all day long. She had… the child… had evidently gotten up before the Small’s did and she had went and got into some food and some water,” said Harris. “That is what Mrs. Small was initially upset with her about…. had made her stand in a dark room, according to our reports, for at least three-to-four hours, wouldn’t let her sit or anything.”

Then around 7:00 that night, the young child, so full of life, was knocked unconscious.

“She actually admitted that she had slung the child down on the floor,” said Harris.

Small told investigators she raised the toddler over her head and slung her down toward the floor twice.

“On the third time down she said she lost her grip and dropped the child. Slammed the child down on the floor,” explained Harris.

Harris says Small’s husband, who wasn’t home when the incident happened, became emotional and even cried when talking to police. But not Small.

“I did not see a whole lot of remorse. I think it’s more like a lot of times these people’s, they’re sorry that they’re in trouble. This is the sense that I get. It’s still about them, it’s not really remorse about the child. I never got that feeling,” added Harris.

The Small’s had another foster child who is eight-months-old. That child has been removed.

Police say neither Small or her husband had jobs, but were instead planning to foster between five and six children as a source of income.

Small is in the Milam County Jail. Her bond has been set at $100,000.

abuse, awareness, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, death, families, foster care, foster homes, foster parent, healing, suicide
TODAY, 6 Children Will Commit Suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents world wide. TODAY 6 children will commit suicide due to child abuse.

In Los Angeles, a 9 year old foster child hung himself while taking psychotropic medications that were not FDA approved for children . His mother that lost him to foster care had allegations of abuse that were never substantiated. She did, however, get a jail term on a marijuana case.

When the pain exceeds the ability to cope..

Researchers explain that suicides are caused by social and emotional conditions rather than a mentaldisease . Furthermore it is often associated with hundreds of suicides & suicide attempts .

” Researchers discovered attention problems & aggressive or delinquent behavior in 40 per cent of children aged five to 17 who were in home-based foster care,up to eight times more than in the general school -age population ” (Gough 2007 ).

Though the statistics vary extensively, it is generally believed that some 18% of patients with psychological problems finally do kill themselves, & illnesses may be associated with approximately 50 percent of all suicides (Youth Suicide Fact Sheet 2009 ).

Browne (2002) states that children in single family foster homes are more apt to commit suicides because of emotional & financial reasons.

Abrupt emotional trauma or upset doesn’t always cause suicidal ideals, there is believed to be an inherited factor involved in the kind of major depression that leads to suicide.

If a person has such a chemical makeup, the ordinary hurtful life events that make many of us mildly depressed can perhaps touch off a major clinical psychological distress.

” Severely depressed teenagers who attempted suicide while they investigate participants in one study of psychological distress excreted radically increased
amounts of this hormone in their urine just before they tried to kill themselves” (Browne 2002, p. 22).

Then, half of another group of depressed teens in the study — all with suicidal signs — researchers found to have high levels in the amounts of hormone found in their blood; more important, three patients who succeeded in killing themselves, and two who nearly did so, had high levels of the hormone prior to suicide or attempted suicide .

Single family foster homes are dangerous to these teenagers because they feel alone & insecure in those “families”. That can lead to social isolation, withdrawal from others, & suicidal thoughts &feelings .then they keep to themselves, & brew on dying.deep inside…& instead of reaching out for help or talking to someone they trust, they trust no one.
They tell no one. .. until they write their note ..thats when its apparent how desperate they felt, but its too late by that time to save them. Ironically their goal in committing suicide was to end their suffering & pain, but by ending their life, they are not alive to feel their pain cease. So the only feeling they will realize is their desperation & suffering that’s causing them to be suicidal. The relief does not come…

Their relief is only possible if there is someone who notices the signs of suicide beforehand who will get them help…

Those who work with foster kids about to “age out” should take particular notice to possible suicidal signs in teens. The “aging out” of foster care happens at the age of 18 for approximately 20,000 youth annually … suicide is rampant among these teens.

The number of those “aging out” of foster care was increasing and studies were consistently showing that these “aged out” children had serious adjustment problems transitioning to adulthood:
38% had emotional problems,50% used drugs, 48% did not have a high school education, & 25% had prior involvement with legal system.

They are the most likely candidates for homelessness, unemployment, and.incarceration.

It is estimated that 60% or more of the prison populations were abused as children and/or were ex-foster children and up to 60% of teens who “aged out” have experienced homelessness.

70% to 75% end up in prostitution, on drugs or dealing drugs.

With a future not so bright, many of them just kill themselves.

They don’t know what else to do.
They are scared.
They feel alone.
The same people ..the same system who intrusively took them from their homes, kept them, controlled them, changed them, damaged them, now abandon them at age 18.

They don’t stick around like families do to turn to in hard times. The system forgets about them once they “age out” and their families no longer exist, thanks to the system.

They are alone.

While suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth, suicide deaths are often preventable. Preventing suicidal behavior in youth involves a diverse range of interventions including effective treatment of those with mental illness and substance abuse, early detection of and support for youth in crisis, promotion of mental health, training in life skills, and reduction of access to the means of suicide.

Many youth in foster care experience trauma and risk factors such as mental illness, substance abuse, and family discord. They are more likely than other youth to think about, attempt, and die by suicide, so it is important to learn about prevention.

Losing a youth to suicide affects a community greatly. Aside from the devastating loss of a young person’s future and potential contributions to society, the bereaved families and friends are at higher risk for suicide themselves.

In 2009, 4,630 youth aged 10 to 24 died by suicide.

Studies have found that youth involved in child welfare or juvenile justice were 3 to 5 times more likely to die by suicide than youth in the general population (Farand, 2004; Thompson, 1995).

A large-scale study in Sweden found more than twice the relative risk for suicide among alumni of long-term foster care compared to peers after adjusting for risk factors (Hjern et al., 2004).

One of the strongest predictors for suicide deaths is a suicide attempt. Among high school students 6.3 percent reported having attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Attempts point to a youth who in unbearable distress. As a result, foster parents and caregivers of youth who attempt suicide need to pay attention and follow up with them. Adolescents who had been in foster care were nearly four times more likely to have attempted suicide than other youth (Pilowsky & Wu, 2006).

Experiencing childhood abuse or trauma increased the risk of attempted suicide 2- to 5-fold (Dube et al., 2001).
Adverse childhood experiences play a major role in suicide attempts. One study found that approximately two thirds of suicide attempts may be attributable to abusive or traumatic childhood experiences (Dube et al., 2001).

Thoughts about taking one’s life range from passing thoughts to constant thoughts, from passive wishes to be dead to active planning for making a suicide attempt.

Among high school students 13.8 percent reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Youth considering attempting suicide have significant mental health needs. Families of and caregivers for youth in foster care can help to reduce some risk factors, and support and advocate for services to build protective factors.
Other factors can’t be changed, but are important to address.

RISK FACTORS
Mental illness including substance abuse
Prior suicide attempt
Self injury
Abuse and neglect
Trauma
Parental mental illness and substance abuse
Family conflict and dysfunction
Family history of suicidal behavior
Poor coping skills
Social/interpersonal isolation/alienation Exposure to suicides and attempts
Suicide means availability/firearm in household
Violence and victimization
Being bullied, bullying

PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Psychological or emotional well-being Family connectedness
Safe school,school connectedness
Caring adult
Self esteem
Academic achievement
Connectedness, support, communication with parents
Coping skills
Frequent, vigorous physical activity, sports Reduced access to alcohol, firearms, medications

For foster parents:
Contact your state suicide prevention coalition to find suicide prevention training, resources, and conferences.

To find your state suicide prevention coalition see http://www.sprc.org/states .

Being depressed is not a normal part of adolescence. If a youth seems especially sad or stops his or her usual activities, get help. For most youth in foster care, trauma-focused therapy is critical. The foster family may need to help their youth through stress reactions and to manage triggers.

Find our more at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network at http://www.nctsn.org/

You CAN help prevent suicide.

abuse, awareness, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, death, families, foster care, foster homes, foster parent, healing, suicide
TODAY, 6 Children Will Commit Suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents world wide. TODAY 6 children will commit suicide due to child abuse.

In Los Angeles, a 9 year old foster child hung himself while taking psychotropic medications that were not FDA approved for children . His mother that lost him to foster care had allegations of abuse that were never substantiated. She did, however, get a jail term on a marijuana case.

When the pain exceeds the ability to cope..

Researchers explain that suicides are caused by social and emotional conditions rather than a mentaldisease . Furthermore it is often associated with hundreds of suicides & suicide attempts .

” Researchers discovered attention problems & aggressive or delinquent behavior in 40 per cent of children aged five to 17 who were in home-based foster care,up to eight times more than in the general school -age population ” (Gough 2007 ).

Though the statistics vary extensively, it is generally believed that some 18% of patients with psychological problems finally do kill themselves, & illnesses may be associated with approximately 50 percent of all suicides (Youth Suicide Fact Sheet 2009 ).

Browne (2002) states that children in single family foster homes are more apt to commit suicides because of emotional & financial reasons.

Abrupt emotional trauma or upset doesn’t always cause suicidal ideals, there is believed to be an inherited factor involved in the kind of major depression that leads to suicide.

If a person has such a chemical makeup, the ordinary hurtful life events that make many of us mildly depressed can perhaps touch off a major clinical psychological distress.

” Severely depressed teenagers who attempted suicide while they investigate participants in one study of psychological distress excreted radically increased
amounts of this hormone in their urine just before they tried to kill themselves” (Browne 2002, p. 22).

Then, half of another group of depressed teens in the study — all with suicidal signs — researchers found to have high levels in the amounts of hormone found in their blood; more important, three patients who succeeded in killing themselves, and two who nearly did so, had high levels of the hormone prior to suicide or attempted suicide .

Single family foster homes are dangerous to these teenagers because they feel alone & insecure in those “families”. That can lead to social isolation, withdrawal from others, & suicidal thoughts &feelings .then they keep to themselves, & brew on dying.deep inside…& instead of reaching out for help or talking to someone they trust, they trust no one.
They tell no one. .. until they write their note ..thats when its apparent how desperate they felt, but its too late by that time to save them. Ironically their goal in committing suicide was to end their suffering & pain, but by ending their life, they are not alive to feel their pain cease. So the only feeling they will realize is their desperation & suffering that’s causing them to be suicidal. The relief does not come…

Their relief is only possible if there is someone who notices the signs of suicide beforehand who will get them help…

Those who work with foster kids about to “age out” should take particular notice to possible suicidal signs in teens. The “aging out” of foster care happens at the age of 18 for approximately 20,000 youth annually … suicide is rampant among these teens.

The number of those “aging out” of foster care was increasing and studies were consistently showing that these “aged out” children had serious adjustment problems transitioning to adulthood:
38% had emotional problems,50% used drugs, 48% did not have a high school education, & 25% had prior involvement with legal system.

They are the most likely candidates for homelessness, unemployment, and.incarceration.

It is estimated that 60% or more of the prison populations were abused as children and/or were ex-foster children and up to 60% of teens who “aged out” have experienced homelessness.

70% to 75% end up in prostitution, on drugs or dealing drugs.

With a future not so bright, many of them just kill themselves.

They don’t know what else to do.
They are scared.
They feel alone.
The same people ..the same system who intrusively took them from their homes, kept them, controlled them, changed them, damaged them, now abandon them at age 18.

They don’t stick around like families do to turn to in hard times. The system forgets about them once they “age out” and their families no longer exist, thanks to the system.

They are alone.

While suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth, suicide deaths are often preventable. Preventing suicidal behavior in youth involves a diverse range of interventions including effective treatment of those with mental illness and substance abuse, early detection of and support for youth in crisis, promotion of mental health, training in life skills, and reduction of access to the means of suicide.

Many youth in foster care experience trauma and risk factors such as mental illness, substance abuse, and family discord. They are more likely than other youth to think about, attempt, and die by suicide, so it is important to learn about prevention.

Losing a youth to suicide affects a community greatly. Aside from the devastating loss of a young person’s future and potential contributions to society, the bereaved families and friends are at higher risk for suicide themselves.

In 2009, 4,630 youth aged 10 to 24 died by suicide.

Studies have found that youth involved in child welfare or juvenile justice were 3 to 5 times more likely to die by suicide than youth in the general population (Farand, 2004; Thompson, 1995).

A large-scale study in Sweden found more than twice the relative risk for suicide among alumni of long-term foster care compared to peers after adjusting for risk factors (Hjern et al., 2004).

One of the strongest predictors for suicide deaths is a suicide attempt. Among high school students 6.3 percent reported having attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Attempts point to a youth who in unbearable distress. As a result, foster parents and caregivers of youth who attempt suicide need to pay attention and follow up with them. Adolescents who had been in foster care were nearly four times more likely to have attempted suicide than other youth (Pilowsky & Wu, 2006).

Experiencing childhood abuse or trauma increased the risk of attempted suicide 2- to 5-fold (Dube et al., 2001).
Adverse childhood experiences play a major role in suicide attempts. One study found that approximately two thirds of suicide attempts may be attributable to abusive or traumatic childhood experiences (Dube et al., 2001).

Thoughts about taking one’s life range from passing thoughts to constant thoughts, from passive wishes to be dead to active planning for making a suicide attempt.

Among high school students 13.8 percent reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).

Youth considering attempting suicide have significant mental health needs. Families of and caregivers for youth in foster care can help to reduce some risk factors, and support and advocate for services to build protective factors.
Other factors can’t be changed, but are important to address.

RISK FACTORS
Mental illness including substance abuse
Prior suicide attempt
Self injury
Abuse and neglect
Trauma
Parental mental illness and substance abuse
Family conflict and dysfunction
Family history of suicidal behavior
Poor coping skills
Social/interpersonal isolation/alienation Exposure to suicides and attempts
Suicide means availability/firearm in household
Violence and victimization
Being bullied, bullying

PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Psychological or emotional well-being Family connectedness
Safe school,school connectedness
Caring adult
Self esteem
Academic achievement
Connectedness, support, communication with parents
Coping skills
Frequent, vigorous physical activity, sports Reduced access to alcohol, firearms, medications

For foster parents:
Contact your state suicide prevention coalition to find suicide prevention training, resources, and conferences.

To find your state suicide prevention coalition see http://www.sprc.org/states .

Being depressed is not a normal part of adolescence. If a youth seems especially sad or stops his or her usual activities, get help. For most youth in foster care, trauma-focused therapy is critical. The foster family may need to help their youth through stress reactions and to manage triggers.

Find our more at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network at http://www.nctsn.org/

You CAN help prevent suicide.

abuse, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, children, cps, crime, death, families, family, foster care, foster child
East Texas Toddler Death Update:What CPS’s Latest Action

(source: KETK News)
Aug 27, 2012 6:48 p.m.
  
We continue our coverage of the 2-year-old, Jacob Kimbley’s death. Investigation is still underway, as of now… autopsy results are still pending.

Justice of the Peace, Mitch Shamburger, tells KETK autopsy results will be in soon and that lab work is being done.

KETK follows up with Child Protective Services, Shari Pulliam, tells KETK that the five children have been separated in foster homes. Pulliam says, the children are talking and are healthy and have accepted what they have been told by Child Protective Services.

KETK asked Pulliam what the children’s physical condition was at the time of removal.

“They were quite dirty when we removed them from the home, the home conditions did concern us, so that’s why we did take them into foster care, so we can continue our investigation alongside law enforcement about what really happened out there that day when the 2-year- old child died, said Shari Pulliam.”

The condition of the home and kids were enough to remove them from the home.

CPS is working with law enforcement to determine whether the children will be released to the parents, but that action depends on the outcome of investigation.

Pulliam says, visits with the Kimbley children and their parents are set for a later date, and that visited will be supervised by the CPS office.

We will update as this case develops and when autopsy results are in.

accountability, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, foster care, government, reform, social services, system failure, texas, welfare reform
‘Major epidemic’ Says the BBC – UK Investigates Child Abuse in the U.S.

America’s child death shame 

Every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect in the US.

The latest government figures show an estimated 1,770 children were killed as a result of maltreatment in 2009.

A recent congressional report concludes the real number could be nearer 2,500.  In fact, America has the worst child abuse record in the industrialized world.

Why?

The BBC’s Natalia Antelava investigates. (VIDEO)
Sixty-six children under the age of 15 die from physical abuse or neglect every week in the industrialized world. Twenty-seven of those die in the US – the highest number of any other country.
Even when populations are taken into account, Unicef research from 2001 places the US equal bottom with Mexico on child deaths from maltreatment.
In Texas, one of the states with the worst child abuse records, the Dallas Children’s Medical Center is dealing with a rising number of abused children and increasing levels of violence.
Meanwhile, the Houston Center is expanding its services to deal with the rising problem of child sex abuse.
 
(Video) 
 The doctor’s experience 
 

 
(Video)
Inside a Houston help center

Emma’s story

Emma Thompson was just four years old when she was beaten to death in 2009. Her injuries included broken ribs, a bloodied lip, widespread bruising and a fractured skull. She had also been raped.Her mother and her mother’s partner have been jailed over the abuse. But Emma’s father, Ben, believes his daughter was let down by everyone around her.

(Video) ‘Everybody missed the signs’
 

Who’s to blame?

Just like Emma Thompson, hundreds more children fall through the cracks of the child protection system. Some blame overworked investigators and inefficient management, while others say it’s the federal government’s drive to keep families together that is the problem.
But child protection officials in Texas, a state with one of the highest total number of child deaths from abuse and neglect in the US, say such cases are complicated and difficult to assess – especially when a child’s guardians are hiding what is really going on.
 
 
Model of a child from a tv ad aimed at reducing abuse
The Child Protection Challenge
 
 
 
 

How to stop it

In Washington, politicians are beginning to recognize what some now describe as a “national crisis”.A congressional hearing in July heard from experts in the field about what can be done to prevent deaths from child abuse.

A national commission is being set up to coordinate a country-wide response.Many believe home visits to new parents by qualified health professionals, preparing them for the difficulties of family life, are key to that strategy.

(video) Teaching parents to be parentsTeenagers describe the challenges of having children young

Cycle of violence

While child abuse blights the lives of victims’ families, its devastating impact is felt far beyond relatives and friends.

(Video) ‘You only know anger and violence’ 
Victim Stacey Kananen on the lasting impact of abuse 
Abused children are 74 times more likely to commit crimes against others and six times more likely to maltreat their own children, according to the Texas Association for the Protection of Children. For this reason, experts believe it is in the US government’s as well as society’s interest to ensure children are protected from abuse. 
 
Each and every citizen, they say, has a responsibility to help break this cycle of violence.
Design: Mark Bryson. Production: Franz Strasser, Bill McKenna, Lucy Rodgers and Luke Ward.

EXPERTS VIEW

Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year

Why is the problem of violence against children so much more acute in the US than anywhere else in the industrialized world, asks Michael Petit, President of Every Child Matters.

Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year. Why is that?

Downward spiral

Part of the answer is that teen pregnancy, high-school dropout, violent crime, imprisonment, and poverty – factors associated with abuse and neglect – are generally much higher in the US.

Michael Petit

“The sharp differences between the states raises the question of an expanded federal role” Michael Petit – Every Child Matters

Further, other rich nations have social policies that provide child care, universal health insurance, pre-school, parental leave and visiting nurses to virtually all in need.

In the US, when children are born into young families not prepared to receive them, local social safety nets may be frayed, or non-existent. As a result, they are unable to compensate for the household stress the child must endure.

In the most severe situations, there is a predictable downward spiral and a child dies. Some 75% of these children are under four, while nearly half are under one.

Geography matters a lot in determining child well-being. Take the examples of Texas and Vermont.

Texas prides itself in being a low tax, low service state. Its per capita income places it in the middle of the states, while its total tax burden – its willingness to tax itself – is near the bottom.

Vermont, in contrast, is at the other extreme. It is a high-tax, high-service state.

Mix of risks

In looking at key indicators of well-being, children from Texas are twice as likely to drop out of high school as children from Vermont. They are four times more likely to be uninsured, four times more likely to be incarcerated, and nearly twice as likely to die from abuse and neglect.

Texas spending

  • $6.25 billion (£4.01bn) spent in 2007 on direct and indirect costs dealing with after-effects of child abuse and neglect
  • $0.05 billion (£0.03bn) budgeted in 2011 for prevention and early intervention
Source: Univ of Houston, TexProtects

In Texas, a combination of elements add to the mix of risks that a child faces. These include a higher poverty rate in Texas, higher proportions of minority children, lower levels of educational attainment, and a political culture which holds a narrower view of the role of government in addressing social issues.

Texas, like many other traditionally conservative states, is likely to have a weaker response to families that need help in the first place, and be less efficient in protecting children after abuse occurs.

The sharp differences between the states raises the question of an expanded federal role.

Are children Texas children first? Or are they first American children with equal opportunity and protection?

Blame parents?

A national strategy, led by our national government, needs to be developed and implemented. For a start, the Congress should adopt legislation that would create a National Commission to End Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

Woman holding a baby
Nearly half the child fatalities in 2009 were children under the age of one

And no children’s programmes should be on the chopping block, federal or state. Children did not crash the US economy. It is both shortsighted economic policy and morally wrong to make them pay the price for fixing it.

But instead as the US economy lags, child poverty soars, and states cut billions in children’s services, we are further straining America’s already weak safety net.

Inevitably, it means more children will die. The easy answer is to blame parents and already burdened child protection workers. But easy answers don’t solve complex problems.

And with millions of children injured and thousands killed, this problem is large indeed, and it deserves a large response.

Michael Petit is the president of Every Child Matters. He served as the state of Maine’s human services commissioner, and as deputy of the Child Welfare League of America.

Related Internet links: 
Justice for Children 
Every Child Matters
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites
 Your comments (66) This entry is now closed for comments

Comment number66.

 cka1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 23:21

Virgil – Thank you for the full report. My guess is that DC isn’t a state and Nevada has a whole host of other religious issues that would make counting impossible. It is legal for a man to marry multiple underage wives of which he is related. Doesn’t happen in any other state, at least not legally. Wyoming and Montana barely have 100,000 children in them, so statistically not significant.

Comment number65.

 thehughes69
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:51

we in the uk need to worry about staying under torie leadership any longer, sorry to knock the yanks but were starting to see steps towards private healthcare like the us where the poor are left behind and the lowering of funds into social services with money going elsewhere bit like texas ey

Comment number64.

 Karen Spears Zacharias
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:48

Once again the BBC proves why it’s a news source I turn to as a journalist. Here you are doing the story that America journalists shy away from. For the past five years, I’ve been at work on a book about this issue. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] I applaud Natalia Antelava & BBC for the courage in addressing this national shame.

Comment number63.

 marie
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:48

contd No part of the world is free from this horror, but some parts of the world have far less abuse of children. It makes sense to discover possible reasons why this might be so; those countries with higher stats might then learn from this & be able to do so much more to protect their vulnerable children.

Comment number62.

 marie
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:37

@ 56 Why on earth would anyone jeer at the spectre of child abuse, whether it takes place in the USA, UK or on the Indian subcontinent?
By comparing figures across the world & looking at factors implicated such as poverty, educational levels, aswell as care provision, steps can be taken to reduce child abuse in areas where it is high, improving the lives &mortality of children who live there.

Comment number61.

 thehughes69
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:33

bit of an eye opener
think its a piece about the surprise that a country like the us has these problems were others are maybe known about

Comment number60.

 inthewakeofautism
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:27

I would like to see the statistics on children killed who are living with both their Biological parents vs those with non biological parents especially people referred to as partners in the article. I think living arrangements contribute to this most heinous of acts.

Comment number59.

 thekuhl1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:10

Where is China in this report or India??

Comment number58.

 thekuhl1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:55

This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

Comment number57.

 HMayhan
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:40

I am not saying there isn’t a problem with violence against children in the US. In fact I agree it is ridiculously commonplace. But reading this on a BBC website smacks of the pot calling the kettle black. Hardly a day goes by on the UK section of this website without news of a kid getting killed in the UK.

Comment number56.

 kcwhattrick
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:24

Why is it that Europeans take tragedies such as this and use them to jeer other countries? It’s very strange and somewhat perverted behavior. A normal person would feel horror and sadness at such a thing happening to children, yet the Europeans use it more as a way of saying “Ha, knew things were better over here all along.” Really sad way of behaving.

Comment number55.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:06

Once you start helping these kids, you can’t stop. They will truly motivate you. I always say that they deserve not just good care, but the BEST care we can give them as a community. One more thing on perp stats. There is a type of abuse that used to be called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, now called Medical Child Abuse. Mothers are almost exclusively the perpetrators in that case.

Comment number54.

 tre4w
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:57

as a student social worker this piece really galvanises me to get out there and make a difference in the lives of kids, although i’m going to have to get past the gut wrenching reaction it provokes in me first…

Comment number53.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:58

You are welcome for the info. There are certain scenarios where it is “classic” to have a male perp (unrelated male living in the household as a risk for sexual abuse). If we think about the stressors that influence abuse and neglect (poverty, single parent, lack of social support, young age) and who the primary caretakers are, it’s no wonder that moms are more common in overall numbers.

Comment number52.

 stebsb
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:44

@assynt1:

Thanks for the info – although I’m not as informed on the subject as I’d like to be (and as you are obviously are!) I was surprised in what I’d read how women were more likely to be abusive than I’d thought; and I was also shocked to read how some feminists simply deny that female abuse occurs, insisting it’s virtually exclusively inflicted by men.

Comment number51.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:38

The perpetrators are parents 75% of the time, with mothers as the most common at 1/3, both together at 1/5 and just dads at around 1/5. This is likely because mothers tend to be caring for the kids more and so have more access. The only exception is child sexual abuse where the abusers are overwhelmingly male at 90%.

Comment number50.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:36

Reply to question about geneder of perp and vics. In US, overall girls and boys are victimized at the same rate. Girls are higher for sexual abuse and boys are slightly higher for physical abuse. Neglect, though, is the number one type of abuse and occurs in equal numbers of boys and girls.

Comment number49.

 Bb
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:26

Parental rights far out way the children needs. I am personally aware of children placed in good foster homes, then removed and placed back with their abusive family.

The second issue is Right to life vs Right to choice, both should focus their resources on unwanted pregnancy. That would cut down on abortions and unwanted babies.

Comment number48. rich
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:22

Interesting to note that the comparative numbers are given for Canada and Italy. Based on the numbers in this report Italy has 181 child homicides a year. The UK by comparison has around 60 per year

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/inform/research/statistics/child_homicide_statistics_wda48747.html – Now who was it that said that British social workers were failing?

Comment number47.

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 ChildPerson
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:01

Supreme Court refused to take on any responsibility for child abuse, because, wrote Chief Rehnquist in DeShaney v. Winnebago County, 1989, “A state’s failure to protect an individual against private violence” was not a denial of the victim’s rights as the state…”played no part in their [dangers to the child]creation, nor did it do anything to render him any more vulnerable to them.” Joshua died

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arrest, arrests, child, child death, child sex crimes, family, murder, sex offenders, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual offenders, system
9 Year Old Cold Case in Tampa Ends with Sex Offender As Murderer!

My “Homesick News” from my beloved Florida:

Ahhh.

The beautiful Clearwater Beach.

Just west of Tampa, about halfway down the State of Florida, on the Gulf Coast.

Its Paradise….(for most)

Clearwater Beach, FL courtesy of www.Placsaroundflorida.com

But a family in Tampa probably doesn’t think much of their home as paradise much these days now that an old wound has been re-opened, so that it can finally be closed.

Tampa police arrested a 15 year old’s  killer after 9 years! My thoughts are with those who grieve for this child, and with the spirit of the little girl turned Angel taken in such a horrible way.

This is a reminder that you can never be too careful, even in your own backyard.  This tragedy happened and her body was found 3 miles from the victim’s home, a crime committed by a sex offender who did not know the victim.

She was only 15 years old, but still a child when she was killed 9 years ago in and found Decenber 7, 2000.  But with DNA stemming from a 2008 crime leading to the arrest of her killer, closure may have been found, but I shudder to think of all the possible unknown victims of this monster that may never be revealed during those 8 years in between.

Thank goodness this awful man is behind bars where he won’t hurt any more children.


Jailed sex offender charged in 2000 strangling of

15-year-old Tampa girl – St. Petersburg Times

TAMPA

By Rebecca Catalanello,  Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, September 11, 2009

He said he never met her, never saw her, knew nothing about her.   But Tampa police say Carl Chavers killed her.

Nine years ago, 15-year-old Laquetta Chael White left her Grant Park home for a dentist’s appointment on Davis Islands only to be found dead 3 miles from home.

Until now, her mother has had few answers as to how, on Dec. 7, 2000, her daughter ended up naked and discarded, her dead body lying in an alley next to Connie’s Restaurant at Oberry Street and 21st Avenue.

But Detectives Eric Houston and John Columbia this week brought Carla Wilson the closure she desired.

It came in the form of first-degree murder and sexual battery charges against Chavers, 40, a man police say lived three houses away from Laquetta’s 5606 Terra Ceia Drive apartment building at the time of the killing.

Houston said DNA gathered from Chavers during a 2008 sexual battery case matched that found under Laquetta’s fingernails.

They believe he’s the man who abducted and strangled Laquetta after she left home at 9 a.m., planning to board a bus for a dental appointment she never kept.

When Houston and Columbia questioned him, Chavers denied the crime. But Thursday, he told police he was living in the neighborhood, Houston said.

Chavers is incarcerated at Tomoka Correctional Institute in Daytona Beach, where he is serving a 24-year sentence for lewd and lascivious sexual battery involving a 13-year-old girl, including a charge that he impregnated her.

The night before Laquetta died, her mother cooked her daughter’s favorite dinner: sausage, stewed tomatoes and okra over yellow rice.

As Wilson told the St. Petersburg Times nine years ago, she and Laquetta had a dance contest and laughed. “She was actually being the little girl I wanted her to be,” Wilson said back then.

The next day, Wilson, who worked as a school bus aide, passed by the homicide scene on her daily bus route as detectives were working it.

She had no idea until later that the person detectives were tending to was her own daughter.

Houston, who has managed about 12 cold cases since joining the squad in 2005, said it feels good to share news of an arrest with a family member who has lived for years without knowing.

“That’s the best part,” he said.

Tampa Police have 282 unsolved murders going back to 1982.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.
[Last modified: Sep 10, 2009 11:54 PM]
arrest, arrests, child, child death, child sex crimes, family, murder, sex offenders, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual offenders, system
9 Year Old Cold Case in Tampa Ends with Sex Offender As Murderer!

My “Homesick News” from my beloved Florida:

Ahhh.

The beautiful Clearwater Beach.

Just west of Tampa, about halfway down the State of Florida, on the Gulf Coast.

Its Paradise….(for most)

Clearwater Beach, FL courtesy of www.Placsaroundflorida.com

But a family in Tampa probably doesn’t think much of their home as paradise much these days now that an old wound has been re-opened, so that it can finally be closed.

Tampa police arrested a 15 year old’s  killer after 9 years! My thoughts are with those who grieve for this child, and with the spirit of the little girl turned Angel taken in such a horrible way.

This is a reminder that you can never be too careful, even in your own backyard.  This tragedy happened and her body was found 3 miles from the victim’s home, a crime committed by a sex offender who did not know the victim.

She was only 15 years old, but still a child when she was killed 9 years ago in and found Decenber 7, 2000.  But with DNA stemming from a 2008 crime leading to the arrest of her killer, closure may have been found, but I shudder to think of all the possible unknown victims of this monster that may never be revealed during those 8 years in between.

Thank goodness this awful man is behind bars where he won’t hurt any more children.


Jailed sex offender charged in 2000 strangling of

15-year-old Tampa girl – St. Petersburg Times

TAMPA

By Rebecca Catalanello,  Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, September 11, 2009

He said he never met her, never saw her, knew nothing about her.   But Tampa police say Carl Chavers killed her.

Nine years ago, 15-year-old Laquetta Chael White left her Grant Park home for a dentist’s appointment on Davis Islands only to be found dead 3 miles from home.

Until now, her mother has had few answers as to how, on Dec. 7, 2000, her daughter ended up naked and discarded, her dead body lying in an alley next to Connie’s Restaurant at Oberry Street and 21st Avenue.

But Detectives Eric Houston and John Columbia this week brought Carla Wilson the closure she desired.

It came in the form of first-degree murder and sexual battery charges against Chavers, 40, a man police say lived three houses away from Laquetta’s 5606 Terra Ceia Drive apartment building at the time of the killing.

Houston said DNA gathered from Chavers during a 2008 sexual battery case matched that found under Laquetta’s fingernails.

They believe he’s the man who abducted and strangled Laquetta after she left home at 9 a.m., planning to board a bus for a dental appointment she never kept.

When Houston and Columbia questioned him, Chavers denied the crime. But Thursday, he told police he was living in the neighborhood, Houston said.

Chavers is incarcerated at Tomoka Correctional Institute in Daytona Beach, where he is serving a 24-year sentence for lewd and lascivious sexual battery involving a 13-year-old girl, including a charge that he impregnated her.

The night before Laquetta died, her mother cooked her daughter’s favorite dinner: sausage, stewed tomatoes and okra over yellow rice.

As Wilson told the St. Petersburg Times nine years ago, she and Laquetta had a dance contest and laughed. “She was actually being the little girl I wanted her to be,” Wilson said back then.

The next day, Wilson, who worked as a school bus aide, passed by the homicide scene on her daily bus route as detectives were working it.

She had no idea until later that the person detectives were tending to was her own daughter.

Houston, who has managed about 12 cold cases since joining the squad in 2005, said it feels good to share news of an arrest with a family member who has lived for years without knowing.

“That’s the best part,” he said.

Tampa Police have 282 unsolved murders going back to 1982.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.
[Last modified: Sep 10, 2009 11:54 PM]
accountability, amber alert, child, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, crime, custody, domestic violence
Violent Relationships in Family Court
Duncan Connolly
Duncan Connolly

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Clear and Present Danger by SusanMurphy Milano

Like most of us I am deeply disturbed by the escalating number of parents murdering their own families. This past weekend was no exception as police discovered 9-year-old Duncan Connolly

(left) and 7-year-old Jack Connolly (right) were found murdered in rural Putnam County, IL. Their father was found dead not far from where his car was left.

Jack Connolly
Jack Connolly

According to police sources, the boys’ father had a rope around his neck when he was found. The discovery brought to a close a national three-week search for the man and the boys, precipitated by Michael Connolly’s abduction of his sons following a weekend visitation.

The last time Amy saw her two boys alive, something was not right. Connolly was acting strange when they met at the police station.

Amy refused to hand over her boys on March 7th, an officer threatened her if she didn’t give them to their father, she would be arrested according to her lawyer.

Amy Leichtenberg filed orders of protection against Michael Connolly more than once after his repeated physical and emotional abuse in the later years of their marriage. Amy filed for divorce that year and moved out of their home. In a 2006, a petition for a protective order against her husband was filed, saying that his “controlling and obsessive behavior” included threats to kill himself and others along with a series of bizarre demands he made of her. Within a 15-month period, Connolly violated the orders of protection 57 times.

In 2007, Amy was awarded full custody of the boys with Connolly given supervised visitation. According to court reports from the family visitation center, Connolly’s behavior was dangerous enough to temporarily cease all visits with the boys.

In my experience, when a family visitation center terminates interaction between parent and child, it sends a red flag of danger. Connolly, the ever witty and clever abuser, was able to resume visits when his psychiatrist sent a “sympathy letter” to the judge “if my client is able to spend more time with his sons, Mr. Connolly’s depression and outbursts would lessen.” The judge responded by setting a series of “behavioral guidelines.” This included obtaining employment, housing and continued therapy. “

(He) tells me if I ever take the boys away he will hunt me and my parents down and cut us open,” Amy Leichtenberg, then known as Amy Connolly, stated in the 2006 petition seeking an order of protection. Amy said during their marriage Connolly had tried to isolate her from her family. A common characteristic among abusers.

Despite the 57 violations of the protection orders, dangerous behavior and deadly threats, McLean County Judge James Souk “rewarded” Connolly unsupervised visitation with his sons. Connolly filed numerous motions with the court, basically wearing the judge down. Despite pleas from Amy and her lawyer, which were ignored.

This mother’s plea for supervised visitation was dismissed without regard to serious safety concerns.

There is an automatic presumption that it is in the best interest of a child “regardless of court orders”, prior violence or threats, to maintain visitation with both parents.

Victims of domestic violence face a double edged sword. Either expose their children to imminent danger, or defy the court system refusing to allow visitation.

Like so many others before her, Amy tried to deal with a violent relationship in a family court environment. In family court the two parties are presumed to be on a level playing field–law abiding individuals who have a disagreement over a private family matter.

A core assumption of family law is that family disputes are not criminal disputes. As such, there are few safeguards built into the family court system to protect against the criminal dynamics that dominate family disputes in cases of family violence. In addition, the accusations the victim makes in family court, no matter how serious, carry no more authority than one person’s say so.

One of the most serious consequences is that when a family violence victim opens a case in family court against her abuser, the abuser is given equal opportunity to fight back against the victim’s accusations, often because the abusers past is not an issue.

Unless, of course, he is brought in from county or state prison sporting an orange jump suit and leg shackles.

There are lawyers and men’s groups who argue using domestic violence with a broad brush is not a reason to deny fathers visitation with their children. Accusing mothers of lying or making up stories to keep fathers’ from their children. Under the current laws, a parent without custody is entitled “reasonable visitation.”

There is a high burden of proof as evidenced in this case when a court refuses to take into account dangerous abusers pose to their children. Until we place the issue of labeling these cases as a “private matter” or an isolated incident, expect the death toll among children to rise.

Expect the courts to continue to ignore clear and present danger signs when a victim of violence seeks a divorce.