Category: education

child support, children, education, family, financial, money
Handbook on Child Support Enforcement

(source)

Department of Health and Human Services

Administration for Children and Families

Office of Child Support Enforcement

Handbook on Child Support Enforcement

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program is a Federal/state/local partnership to collect child support: We want to send the strongest possible message that parents cannot walk away from their children. Our goals are to ensure that children have the financial support of both their parents, to foster responsible behavior towards children, to emphasize that children need to have both parents involved in their lives, and to reduce welfare costs.

The Federal CSE Program was established in 1975 as Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. It functions in all states and territories, through the state/county Social Services Department, Attorney General’s Office, or Department of Revenue. Most states work with prosecuting attorneys, other law enforcement agencies, and officials of family or domestic relations courts to carry out the program at the local level. Native American Tribes, too, can operate child support programs in the context of their cultures and traditions with Federal funding.

State Child Support Programs locate noncustodial parents, establish paternity, establish and enforce support orders, modify orders when appropriate, and collect and distribute child support payments. While programs vary from state to state, their services are available to all parents who need them.

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It helps states develop, manage, and operate their programs effectively and according to Federal law. OCSE pays the major share of state program operating costs, provides location services, policy guidance and technical help to enforcement agencies, conducts audits and educational programs, supports research, and shares ideas for program improvement.

We believe that child support enforcement provides hope as well as support to America’s children. We dedicate this Handbook to the millions of parents who put their children first by responsibly providing for their emotional and financial support.

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child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, family, foster care
How Is The Texas Foster Care System?
Home Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller  

News Release Header

News Release Header

News Release Header

 
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Contact: Mark Sanders 512-463-4070

Comptroller Strayhorn Laments “Forgotten Children”

In State’s Foster Care System, Outlines Massive Overhaul

Replace State Caseworkers with Enforcement Staff, Yank Licenses of Poor Caregivers, Bring Care Standards to Humane Levels

(Austin)–Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn today called for a massive overhaul of the state’s foster care system in a special report, “Forgotten Children,” which details a widespread crisis in Texas’ foster care system.

Photos available Outdoor Urinal at Therapeutic Camp (1MB pdf) Children’s Shoes (1MB pdf) Open Fire Pit and Sleeping Quarters (1MB pdf)

“They are everybody’s children and nobody’s children,” Strayhorn said. “They are the forgotten children in the foster care system. Some of them find homes with caring foster parents, or in treatment centers with experienced and caring providers, and some do not. Some children have been moved among 30, 40, or even more all-too-temporary ‘homes.’ Some have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused while in the system; some have run away and joined the ranks of the missing. A few have even died at the hands of those entrusted with their care.

“This report gives these children something they need — a voice,” she said. “This investigation turned this One Tough Grandma into One Heartbroken Grandma.”

“The truth is that some of these children are no better off in the care of the state than they were in the hands of abusive and negligent parents,” Strayhorn said.

Among the dozens of recommendations are:

  • Eliminate the inefficient dual system of foster care — one that is run by the state — creating a conflict of interest in which the agency regulates itself.
  • Direct and redirect $193.9 million in savings to better care for children by replacing state caseworkers with independent oversight enforcement staff.
  • Move, immediately, children out of all therapeutic camps that do not meet licensing standards for Permanent Therapeutic Camps.
  • Raise standards across the board to humane levels.
  • Revoke the licenses of facilities that have ongoing problems affecting the health, safety and well being of children.
  • Educate foster care children about free higher education tuition eligibility.
  • Develop a Foster Grandma and Foster Grandpa program to mentor and support the children.

“I am appalled at the conditions too many of our foster children must endure,” Strayhorn said. “I challenge any defender of the current system’s status quo to put their child or their grandchild in some of the places I’ve seen for one day, much less for a lifetime.”

 

Responsibility for the broken foster care system rests with state government and the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (DPRS), now called the Department of Family and Protective Services.

In fiscal 2003 alone, 26,133 children were in foster care. The state pays from $20 per day per child all the way up to $277 per day for a child with complex needs.

“The agency tolerates vast disparities in the quality of the services it purchases,” Strayhorn said. “It uses taxpayer dollars inefficiently and fails to take advantage of federal funding. It offers caregivers a perverse financial incentive to keep children in expensive, restrictive placements.

“I saw children on alarming amounts of psychotropic medications and children who have not seen their caseworker in months,” she said.

“We must end the current system that has the fox guarding the hen house,” Strayhorn said. “We cannot tolerate a system where regulators regulate themselves.”

Problems in DPRS include inefficient use of taxpayer dollars, inadequate licensing and contracting standards, ineffective investigations, heavy caseloads and high employee turnover, which prevent the agency from closely watching over the children in their care.

“I saw filthy living conditions, make-shift outhouses, unsanitary food storage, in so-called outdoor camps where children must sleep in sleeping bags – no walls, no fans, no heat – for months and months, and in many cases, year after year. That’s not care. That’s cruelty. That’s not educating. That’s endangering,” Strayhorn said.

Strayhorn’s report uncovers the harsh realities of the current foster care system and makes key recommendations aimed at improving the entire system. She recommends that the state raise the bar on quality, make the foster care system more accountable, ensure the health and safety of all foster care children, and provide a brighter future for foster children.

Strayhorn said she did find facilities that did treat children well.

“In each and every instance where children were getting the best care, the care givers are working closely and openly with the community,” Strayhorn said. “Each facility needs that close relationship, operating in the sunshine, and support from the communities they serve. Without that relationship, the children suffer.”

“It has been said that any society can be judged by how it treats its weakest members. My investigation shows that Texas can and must be judged harshly,” Strayhorn said. “Foster care in this state has been studied time and time again; reports are issued, promises are made, and the children continue to suffer. That’s unacceptable.”

Strayhorn said she planned to monitor changes made, or not made, as a result of this special report and “for the sake of our forgotten children, I will report back to the people of Texas, in six weeks and six months and as long as it takes to fix this broken system and save all of our children.”

–30–


SOURCE: Susan Combs Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Window on State Government
child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, foster homes, government, law, psychotropic medications, system failure
Survey: Too many children stuck in temporary foster care

 

Overloaded courts, insufficient services part of problem

By Susan Shepard

 

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn tells reporters that action must be taken immediately to reform the Texas foster-care system. On Friday Strayhorn held a press conference to answer questions about her recently released report,

Media Credit: Mark Mulligan

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn tells reporters that action must be taken immediately to reform the Texas foster-care system. On Friday Strayhorn held a press conference to answer questions about her recently released report, “Forgotten Children.”

Children are languishing in temporary foster care due to overloaded family courts and a lack of services, according to a national survey of judges who hear child abuse and neglect cases.

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn on Friday called for sweeping reform of Texas’ foster-care system, and Gov. Rick Perry has called for an investigation into the state’s Child Protective Services department.

The survey was administered this spring by Fostering Results, a foster-care public education project of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in partnership with the National Center for State Courts and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

In Texas, only half of the 125 judges who responded to the survey said they received training in child welfare before hearing cases. Scott McCown, a retired state district judge and executive director of the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, said training is critical.

“It’s not so much figuring out whether there’s been abuse or neglect,” McCown said. “What’s different in these cases is figuring out how you help and how you structure services so that you can get children back to families, where they can live safely.”

The study found that the time available to judges to hear child welfare cases is inadequate. Fifty percent of the Texas judges who have more than a quarter of their docket composed of child welfare cases said their dockets were overcrowded. McCown said lack of time was a problem when he was a judge.

“I wished I had more time per case. I think that’s a serious problem in our urban areas. We’re making decisions in minutes that we should be making in hours,” he said.

One positive aspect of Texas’ court systems, McCown said, are cluster courts – child welfare courts that cover rural counties. In a cluster court, judges are responsible for hearing all child welfare cases in their circuits.

Continued…

cps, education, family, government, system failure
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Click to return to the Online Privacy outline


privatop3.gifThe Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

0093-adobe-id-220aspqb101-401.jpg The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was passed by Congress as part of the Omnibus spending bill in 1998. It took effect in April 2000. Before passage, COPPA received one hearing in the Senate and no separate consideration in the House.

COPPA requires “verifiable parental consent” before a commercial website operator may collect information like e-mail addresses from children. For the internal use of the website, this means getting an e-mail from the parent. For other uses, this means talking to a parent, or getting a parent’s snail mail, fax, or credit card number.

The premise of the bill is politically bullet-proof: We must protect children. gse_multipart59170.jpg

The details are more tricky: Protect them from what?

Congress passed this law in the absence of evidence that collection of information by commercial websites harms children in any way. In fact, commercial websites pose little danger to children because they stay in business by making children and their parents comfortable and safe. The next best reason for the law is the idea that marketing to children somehow harms them. If this is the case, television is the monsterous threat, not the Internet.

Yet the COPPA law singled out the Internet for special regulation. This raised the cost of serving children online by $50,000 to $100,000 dollars per website, with additional per-child costs as well. On the Internet, which is driven by diversity and small business innovation, this is a lot. It means that new ways of teaching children will not develop and competition for serving children will be thwarted. Instead, dominant Internet companies will capture the children’s market.

More importantly, many children will lose access to valuable educational content and healthy online interaction. These will tend to be the children of poor, non-English speaking, or absentee parents. Other children will learn that lying about their ages gives them access to worlds that other children enjoy. Either way, COPPA shows again that their is no substitute for parenting, online or off.

Links:

Disney: The Mouse That Won’t Roar by Ben Charny, ZDNet News (October 11, 2000)

Internet Sites for Children Say New Law Hurting Business San Jose Mercury (AP) (September 13, 2000)

Privacy, Microsoft, and the Feds: This Recipe for Disaster Just Got Us a Little Steamed by Stuart McClure and Joel Scambray, InfoWorld.com (May 19, 2000)

Internet Privacy Law Costs a Bundle by Carolyn Duffy Marsan, Network World (May 16, 2000)

Cybersitters Report for Assigned Duties by Sonia Arrison, Washington Times (May 6, 2000)

The Hidden Costs of Online Privacy by James W. Harper, Tech Central Station (March 27, 2000)

cps, education, family, government, system failure
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Click to return to the Online Privacy outline


privatop3.gifThe Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

0093-adobe-id-220aspqb101-401.jpg The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was passed by Congress as part of the Omnibus spending bill in 1998. It took effect in April 2000. Before passage, COPPA received one hearing in the Senate and no separate consideration in the House.

COPPA requires “verifiable parental consent” before a commercial website operator may collect information like e-mail addresses from children. For the internal use of the website, this means getting an e-mail from the parent. For other uses, this means talking to a parent, or getting a parent’s snail mail, fax, or credit card number.

The premise of the bill is politically bullet-proof: We must protect children. gse_multipart59170.jpg

The details are more tricky: Protect them from what?

Congress passed this law in the absence of evidence that collection of information by commercial websites harms children in any way. In fact, commercial websites pose little danger to children because they stay in business by making children and their parents comfortable and safe. The next best reason for the law is the idea that marketing to children somehow harms them. If this is the case, television is the monsterous threat, not the Internet.

Yet the COPPA law singled out the Internet for special regulation. This raised the cost of serving children online by $50,000 to $100,000 dollars per website, with additional per-child costs as well. On the Internet, which is driven by diversity and small business innovation, this is a lot. It means that new ways of teaching children will not develop and competition for serving children will be thwarted. Instead, dominant Internet companies will capture the children’s market.

More importantly, many children will lose access to valuable educational content and healthy online interaction. These will tend to be the children of poor, non-English speaking, or absentee parents. Other children will learn that lying about their ages gives them access to worlds that other children enjoy. Either way, COPPA shows again that their is no substitute for parenting, online or off.

Links:

Disney: The Mouse That Won’t Roar by Ben Charny, ZDNet News (October 11, 2000)

Internet Sites for Children Say New Law Hurting Business San Jose Mercury (AP) (September 13, 2000)

Privacy, Microsoft, and the Feds: This Recipe for Disaster Just Got Us a Little Steamed by Stuart McClure and Joel Scambray, InfoWorld.com (May 19, 2000)

Internet Privacy Law Costs a Bundle by Carolyn Duffy Marsan, Network World (May 16, 2000)

Cybersitters Report for Assigned Duties by Sonia Arrison, Washington Times (May 6, 2000)

The Hidden Costs of Online Privacy by James W. Harper, Tech Central Station (March 27, 2000)