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Friday, April 11, 2014

Brewer announces CPS dissolution in State of State

Posted Jan 13, 2014, 2:22 pm Jan Brewer Arizona Governor Delivering her annual account of the State of the State, Gov. Jan Brewer announced Monday that she has abolished Arizona's troubled Child Protective Services and will launch a new cabinet-level agency. Here's the full text of her speech, delivered at the opening of the state Legislature: Speaker Tobin, President Biggs, Honorable Senators and Representatives of the Arizona Legislature, Chief Justice Berch and Justices of the Supreme Court, constitutional officers, tribal leaders, honored guests, and my fellow Arizonans: It's my pleasure to welcome back Representative Doris Goodale – you've gone through a long struggle, and we're all gratified to see you here, ready to help us build a better Arizona. And while I am pleased by Doris' recovery, I was terribly saddened to lose Ben Miranda. Catherine, the state of Arizona extends our deepest sympathies for your loss, and the loss of a great public servant, your husband and my friend, Ben. His voice will be missed but let us pray that his spirit of public service lives on in all of us. When I stood here for the first time as Governor, we faced the daunting task of navigating the state I love out of the bleakest recession in our history … and back onto the path of prosperity and opportunity. I recognized that overcoming this challenge would be difficult and painful. It would require honest leadership and tough decision-making. And then, of course, there are challenges we can never predict ... challenges that test our resolve. This past year, Arizona experienced one of the worst tragedies in our history as we lost 19 heroic firefighters at Yarnell Hill. That June day will forever be etched into our hearts … the brave 19 and their families forever in our prayers. Please stand and join me in a moment of silence to honor these fallen firefighters. Thank you. Today, I am proud of the progress we've made in the past 5 years to bring about the Arizona Comeback. We steered Arizona out of a debilitating recession and implemented historic reforms and long-term structural improvements that secure Arizona's prosperity for generations to come. It's been a challenge – one I could not have fully managed without constant support and guidance from my family. I am so very grateful to them, for always being there for me. Thanks to my husband, John, and my son, Michael – who once again join me in this chamber. I also appreciate the support from the people of Arizona, lawmakers, the business community, and countless others. Together, we have worked hard to guide Arizona out of the historic recession we inherited. As my hero, Ronald Reagan, said during his 1967 inaugural as Governor of California – and I quote: "We will put our fiscal house in order. And as we do, we will build those things we need to make our state a better place in which to live … and we will enjoy them more, knowing we can afford them … and they are paid for." I am proud to report to you today that Arizona's fiscal house is in order and, together, let's keep it that way. We've come a long way in a short time: In 2009, Arizona's budget was irresponsibly drained. After years of unsustainable spending, we had the worst budget deficit of any state. Today, we've reined in government spending by consolidating, eliminating and transforming our operations. In 2009, Arizona had a three billion dollar deficit. Today, Arizona boasts a healthy state surplus and a replenished Rainy Day Fund. Most impressively, we ended this past fiscal year with nearly 900 million dollars in the bank. There is no doubt: Arizona is BACK ON TRACK! We also remember that our state was swept up in some of the worst unemployment in our history, and Arizona businesses and families struggled to stay afloat. Today, we've turned things around. With help from the Arizona Commerce Authority and our historic tax reforms, our employers have created nearly 175,000 new jobs with an impressive 4.3 billion dollars in new capital investment. In 2009, Arizona was ranked among the worst states in antiquated, business-stifling tax policies. Today, we're among the best for attracting and helping our businesses grow and thrive. We LOWERED business property and equipment taxes. LOWERED corporate income taxes … And LOWERED capital gains taxes … We even simplified sales taxes from a confusing, multi-city, multi-layered process to a single collection and audit. Don't let anyone fool you. The tax and regulatory environment in our state matters. Businesses across the nation and the world are watching. Our message to job creators has been heard: Arizona is open for business! We now have more jobs, more businesses and more opportunities for growth and prosperity. And I'm in good company believing that. Arizona is ranked in the Top 10 by CEOs nationwide – and Forbes Magazine recognized us as the number one state for expected job growth. It's no surprise we have attracted and expanded major companies like Apple, GM, Intel, State Farm and many, many more. And I'm confident more are on the way. Our focus on job creation continues to pay off. That's because we've listened to what businesses need … and what attracts more of them to Arizona. We addressed the issues around uncompensated care and the hidden health care tax by again listening to the business community and honoring the will of the people. When the federal government shut down, we worked hard to re-open the Grand Canyon during a crucial time for our tourism industry. In doing so, we recovered more than one million dollars in revenue per day, benefiting our communities, businesses and the economy. We stood united in saying to Washington: Do your job! Keep the Grand Canyon open … Government should never close that which God has created. Arizona's ability to deal with our own issues stands in sharp contrast to the federal government's inability to deal with their core responsibilities – like securing the border, fixing immigration and righting our national fiscal ship. On behalf of the people of Arizona, I say to the President and Congress: Quit fighting … and get to work for the American people. Thanks for reading TucsonSentinel.com. Tell your friends to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, we can't fix Washington from here. But we can, and will continue, to show the nation how it's done. Our hard work makes it all the more rewarding to stand here today and confidently proclaim that the spirit of Arizona is strong … and so is the state of our state. While some pundits and naysayers may try to brush aside such groundbreaking changes, we continue to lead with practical and principled initiatives that drive Arizona forward. We must keep Arizona competitive – in our tax structure, our education systems, and our limited government – all of which are essential to a thriving economy. Certainly, improving Arizona's business climate has been a hallmark of these past five years. And, as thrilled as I am with everything we've accomplished on behalf of Arizona businesses, I'm equally proud of the work we've done on behalf of Arizona families. From school choice policies that give parents the power to decide their children's education … To life-affirming legislation protecting the unborn … Together, we have pursued and protected the values most important to Arizona's families – and Arizona's future. The historic initiatives we have enacted these past few years have been transformational. We are NOT done – and we will remain unrelenting. Let's continue to face our challenges head-on. Now is not the time to rest on our accomplishments. Our immediate challenge is to transform our child protection system to ensure the safety and well-being of Arizona's abused and neglected children. I know this: All of us care … and Arizona MUST do better. We created the Office of Child Welfare Investigations as an instrumental first step. Thanks to OCWI, we discovered the horrifying truth that some at CPS failed to investigate, or even respond to, thousands of reports of child abuse. This is unconscionable! I created the independent CARE Team – to oversee the investigation of these cases and to identify areas of concern within CPS. I also ordered the Department of Public Safety to conduct an administrative review to determine why these cases were not investigated. I want to report that the CARE Team is making tremendous strides. To date, nearly all of the cases have been assigned and more than 3,000 children have been seen by CPS staff or local law enforcement. I also want to express my appreciation to Charles Flanagan, the entire CARE Team, and the CPS staff working with them, for their dedicated efforts getting eyes on these children. But our job is far from over. It is evident that our child welfare system is broken – impeded by years of structural and operational failures. It breaks my heart and makes me angry! Enough with uninvestigated reports of abuse and neglect! Enough with the lack of transparency! And ENOUGH with the EXCUSES! This morning, I signed an Executive Order that abolishes CPS as we know it and establishes a new Division of Child Safety and Family Services – with its own Cabinet-level director who reports to me. And I've asked Charles Flanagan to serve as the director. However, we need to go even further. The time has come to statutorily establish a separate agency that focuses exclusively on the safety and well-being of children, and helping families in distress without jeopardizing child safety. I call on the Legislature to work with me to codify a new permanent agency. Child safety must be the priority and become embedded in the fabric of this new agency. It is our legal and moral duty. Another challenge that has confronted us for far too long – and has been a cornerstone of my career – is behavioral health. For more than three decades, Arizona has been forced to live under court direction because we failed our Seriously Mentally ill population. As governor, I insisted that we properly fund and fundamentally reform behavioral health into a holistic, community-based system. I'm pleased that over the past two years, with good faith negotiations in the Arnold v. Sarn litigation, this goal was accomplished. This win-win solution allows the seriously mentally ill to participate in society in a more meaningful way, and to receive the services and care they require and deserve. We also introduced metrics to evaluate the system and hold it accountable. As a result of these historic reforms, I was proud to announce last week an agreement – subject to final court approval – that will end the Arnold v. Sarn litigation, while reaffirming Arizona's commitment to a community-based behavioral health care system. Now, let me be clear: While this watershed agreement ends more than 30 years of litigation, it is structured so that if a future Governor or Legislature fails to live up to its terms, plaintiffs will be able to reopen the case. This should NEVER happen. Arizona's system is working – and is now a national model. This agreement is the result of the hard work and dedication of many devoted people. Let me recognize one instrumental leader who showed unmatched passion and commitment to improving the lives of people with mental illness. Charles Arnold, the original lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that bears his name, is with us today. Charles, would you please stand so we can thank you for your perseverance on behalf of those who often cannot speak for themselves? We also are working to create a model for states dealing with another difficult challenge: Human trafficking traumatizes 27 million victims worldwide and targets women and children, turning many into sex slaves. It may shock you to know that it happens right here in Arizona. Let me tell you a story about one inspiring woman who triumphed over this modern-day slavery: At age 16, Savannah Sanders was forced into the commercial sex industry and battled childhood rape, homelessness and drug addiction. Thankfully, she is a survivor and a hopeful example – a loving wife and a proud mother pursuing her master's in social work at ASU. She advocates for victims, traveling the country to promote awareness and prevention – and provide comfort and healing for fellow survivors. Savannah shows us that there is hope, that we can stop this abuse, and that we are stronger than this evil. This amazing woman is with us today. I'm proud of you, Savannah. Please stand and accept our gratitude for your inspirational human spirit. Last year, I established a Human Trafficking Task Force to address this problem. Co-chaired by Cindy McCain and Gil Orrantia, the task force recommended ways to better protect victims, to increase penalties for perpetrators and to end these horrible crimes. Today, I ask you to strengthen Arizona law to give prosecutors and law enforcement more tools to combat this evil and better protect victims. We also will launch an awareness campaign so Arizonans will know what to look for and how to report it – and victims will know how to seek help. Further, I will create a Human Trafficking Council to coordinate efforts statewide to address this crime. To all the victims of human trafficking out there: We have not forgotten you … don't give up … help is on the way. To the criminal traffickers, I say: Your days are numbered! I firmly believe in this great state of Arizona, in our ability to address our challenges and to be successful in pursuing tomorrow's potential. What we are doing today will set the tone for Arizona's economy and job creation for years. Our future quality of life depends on today's decisions. This year I am calling on the Legislature to approve a package to further boost Arizona's business competitiveness, particularly in technology and manufacturing sectors, which bring high-paying jobs. Arizona, for example, is one of the few states that impose a sales tax on manufacturers for the power used to create their products. That puts our current manufacturers – and ones we hope to recruit – at a disadvantage. I'm asking you to send me legislation to eliminate this tax and increase Arizona's competitive edge! We recognize that manufacturing is more than just an industry – it is a mighty engine of healthy job creation. Arizona can be even more competitive. Let me give you an example. Recently, I toured the Celgene plant in West Phoenix, which makes a drug that treats several forms of cancer. This breakthrough life-saving drug is produced only in Arizona – and it was developed in Arizona thanks to a partnership with TGen, Scottsdale Healthcare and others. It is this type of innovative, research-driven and idea-to-market manufacturing system that ultimately produces good jobs and a healthy economy. To that end, it is imperative to have a stable, dedicated funding source for TGen to continue its valuable role as a catalyst in developing Arizona's bio-science industry. Let's help Arizona develop more pipelines of innovation – connecting quality research, a stellar workforce, and competitive manufacturing from beginning to end. For Arizona to remain competitive on all fronts, we also cannot ignore transportation, water and other infrastructure demands. These are all paramount to creating jobs, attracting capital investment and ensuring a sustainable future. Together, we must be honest and have an open dialog about workable solutions to address these critical needs. Of course, none of our progress toward economic prosperity will ultimately work if we do not improve our K-12 schools. By 2018, three out of five jobs in Arizona will require post-secondary training. Our students must be better prepared for the challenging and competitive world they will soon enter. That means we stop funding the status quo… and instead reward innovation and measured outcomes … and fund the results we want. I am asking legislators to approve an ambitious and historic education proposal, which I call Student Success Funding. Under this plan, we will reward improved student performance and we will incentivize and replicate success. Also, reforms are needed in higher education. For example, Arizona families working hard to save enough for their kids to seek a university degree are flat-out tired of unpredictable tuition hikes. Arizona students and families need stability and affordability in their college education. To ensure that these twin goals are met, I am asking our Arizona Board of Regents to develop a plan and adopt a policy that guarantees stable in-state tuition levels for the four years it should take a student to graduate. Together, we should be able to make this happen. Students expect it. And Arizona's tax-paying parents deserve it! Few things have a greater positive economic impact in Arizona communities than our military bases. Together they contribute more than nine billion to our economy annually – while safe-guarding our great country. We are more prepared to help the military accomplish its diverse missions than nearly any other state. I remain committed to protecting and enhancing Arizona's military bases. That is why I will direct the Military Affairs Commission to develop a strategic plan for sustaining their missions. We must be ready to protect Arizona military installations if the federal government moves to close or realign more bases. This year, I am calling on the Legislature to renew support for the Military Installation Fund. That money will be used specifically to mitigate property encroachment and preserve military land use projects – without throwing that financial burden on private property owners. Protecting our military is good for Arizona – and good for America. I've been returning to the Capitol now for more than 30 years, uniting with my fellow public servants in pursuit of a shared mission: to stand up for the people we are entrusted to serve … to keep our honor clean ... and to leave this place better – and freer – than we found it. For little more than a century, representatives of the people have come to this Capitol, to lift it toward its prosperous destiny; to bring great fruit from this beautiful desert land; to hold our citizens safe from harm, and to provide children the knowledge, industry and character that will make and keep them free. Great men and great women have walked these chambers, and graced these grounds with their honorable public service. We should aspire here to rank among the best of those. For this state was built by others before us, and eventually will be left to others who will follow. It is ours to love only for a time. May we love it wisely, and lead it well. Ten years from now – whether I run again or not – I will be working in my garden, and will look back with pride. And if I can borrow a sentiment from Ronald Reagan, I will be uplifted knowing we weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made this great state stronger; we made it freer; and we left her in good hands. May God bless us in that work, and may God forever bless and protect the great State of Arizona and the United States of America. Thank you. TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Jan Brewer is the Republican governor of Arizona. http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/opinion/report/011314_brewer_sos/brewer-announces-cps-dissolution-state-state/

Arizona has no choice but to overhaul CPS

December 15, 2013 12:00 am • By Sarah Garrecht GassenLoading… Info box The CARE Team that is examining the 6,554 unexamined child abuse and neglect reports will make recommendations on how to improve Child Protective Services. They're taking suggestions and comments from the public via toll-free phone line 1-855-394-3253 and online at azcareteam.az.gov Arizona’s child-protection and -welfare system does not work — and, as we have noted, it is not built to work. In fact, to state that the Child Protective Services system has been “built” suggests a process of intentional development that no one with common sense could find in its jumble of bureaucracy, paperwork and contradictory missions. The latest scandal, the discovery of 6,554 reports of child abuse and neglect going back to 2009 that were set aside and never investigated, a practice that put unknown numbers of children in danger, must be the last in a depressingly long list of CPS failures. But without an exhaustive examination of how Arizona responds to families in crisis and the commitment to making large-scale improvements, including those we know will cost money and lots of it, no amount of bemoaning a broken system will make a whit of difference. Over several decades Arizona has swung between emphasizing family reunification, child safety and reducing the number of kids placed in foster care. The changes in direction have been prompted by murders or serious injury of children who were known to CPS, sometimes combined with agency leadership changes spurred by tragedy or politics. It’s a national trend, according to Theresa Costello, the executive director of ACTION for Child Protection and director of the National Resources Center for Child Protective Services. The organization has worked with Arizona within the last decade on procedures for determining if a child is safe, but is not now involved. “I think our child protective services, at large, are very reactive to those kind of tragedies,” she said. “We have seen many, many circumstances where policies are changed based on one bad case and it doesn’t end up to be good changes.” The instability that creates prevents improvements from taking hold, Costello said. Arizona was an early adopter of what is now being recognized as an effective way to keep children safe and allocating resources. It’s often called “differential response” or “family assessment response” and is based on the effective triaging of initial reports of child abuse or neglect. Minnesota has had good results, Costello said, and other communities are beginning to use it. Reports coming in are assessed at the beginning; those that include sexual abuse or severe physical abuse, for example, are sent to child-welfare caseworkers for full investigation. Low-risk families are referred directly to community agencies that help with child care, parenting classes, drug treatment and similar support services, and the family participates voluntarily. “By differentiating between these two and saying not all families are the same, that has allowed communities to put resources into investigating,” Costello said. Arizona did this until 2003, when the Legislature required that every report be investigated — it was a reaction to the deaths of children who had been known to CPS. The change is understandable, to demand that every case be investigated. But what sounds like a good idea can have unintended consequences. A flood of reports can overwhelm a system beset by high employee turnover and crushing caseloads. An independent team headed by Charles Flanagan, director of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, is examining those 6,554 cases and will create a set of reform recommendations, which is planned by Jan. 31, said Jennifer Bowser, spokeswoman for the Child Advocate Response Evaluation, or CARE, Team. The evidence is clear that the existing CPS system is not capable of keeping up with the needs of Arizona children and families. Every option, including returning to a differential-response approach, must be carefully considered. We have no choice but to change. http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/arizona-has-no-choice-but-to-overhaul-cps/article_c53e4f8d-e6ee-536e-b564-e01024be529c.html

AZ Governor Uses ‘State Of State’ Address To Get Rid Of Child Protective Services

With the scandal of over 6000 uninvestigated child abuse cases hanging over her head, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer dissolved Child Protective Services (CPS) by executive order. She made the unexpected announcement on Monday during her State of the State address to the legislature. Child advocacy groups and politically progressive groups have been calling on her to take action over the scandal. They especially wanted her to dismiss the Department of Economic Security director, Clarence Carter. Carter, who was appointed to his position by Brewer, was responsible for the oversight of CPS. He still has not been fired but, if Brewer has her way, CPS itself will disappear right out from under him. The 6,000 abuse cases were ‘mis-classified.’ The cases came to light last November. A local police department was investigating allegations that had already been reported to CPS. A CPS worker found that, while the report came through the state’s child-abuse hotline, it was ‘mis-classified’ as ‘not investigated’. That classification meant that someone decided that it, along with 6,000 other reports, should not be investigated. At the time, CPS’s caseloads were climbing. They are currently at 177 percent of the national standard. Brewer’s solution to the problem is to create a cabinet-level, free-standing agency. The head of it will report directly to her. The man she chose in her executive order is Charles Flanagan, her appointed director of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Flanagan has already been dealing with the abuse cases since December, as head of a special team. Brewer charged them with finding out why the cases were ignored in the first place. Legislators of both parties question Brewer’s methods regarding CPS. While some see the governor’s announcement as progress, others are skeptical. House minority leader, Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, disputed the idea that Brewer could dissolve CPS. Plus, he was wary of her choices. In response to her announcement, he said: Quite frankly, her appointee that was heading up CPS is what got us in this mess in the first place. And now she just did another appointee for what seems like a new entity without any input from us [the legislature] again. Other lawmakers expressed similar discomfort with the governor’s heavy-handedness, particularly in not consulting them. Sen. Chester Crandall, R-Heber, pointed out that changing the name of the responsible agency means nothing without laws to govern it and money to run it. Those missing ingredients can only come from the legislature. This isn’t the first time Brewer has tried to strong-arm the body into doing her bidding. Apparently, she has a campaign underway to burnish her tarnished image before she leaves office at the end of the year. Last spring, she bullied her own party into accepting Medicaid expansion in the state, which meant a windfall of additional federal dollars for the state. Both that and reforming the handling of child abuse cases are commendable goals, whatever the governor’s motivation. But putting the change at risk of failure due to the tactics she uses could prove to be very unfortunate. There are children who are suffering, and they have already suffered enough. http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/01/14/jan-brewer-dissolves-cps/

2 Arizona child welfare investigators fired

Originally published: Mar 22, 2014 - 2:40 pm PHOENIX -- State officials on Friday said none of the cases handled by two fired child-welfare investigators have been compromised. Two investigators with the state Office of Child Welfare Investigations were recently dismissed after it was revealed their resumes had false or incomplete information. Child welfare investigations office spokeswoman Jennifer Bowser told the Arizona Capitol Times that none of their cases are at risk of being invalidated. Bowser declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the dismissals. Some attorneys, however, said false backgrounds of investigators who may have served as witnesses can raise credibility issues in criminal and juvenile court proceedings. Bill Owsley, at attorney with the Maricopa County Office of the Legal Advocate who represents children in Child Protective Services cases, said questions about investigators' integrity can jeopardize information they gathered that nobody else can corroborate. The allegations made against the fired officers include lying about prior employment and omitting the reason for a past departure. According to a summary of an Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board investigation, investigator David Neuss admitted to sending an explicit cellphone photo of himself to a girlfriend while he on duty at the Pima County Sheriff's Office. The report also shows that Neuss quit after the admission but was also officially fired. Neuss told the Times that he didn't offer the information because Greg McKay, the agency's chief of child welfare investigations, never asked. "If he didn't look into it, it's his problem," Neuss said. Neuss also still believes his firing was because of a political spat between McKay and the Pima County Sheriff's Office. Records show investigator Joshua Ekrem was dismissed after it was discovered he lied about being a former deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "Based on conversations with this employee, OCWI Chief Greg McKay began to question the veracity of some of the information this employee shared with him," Bowser said. Ekrem was not immediately available for comment. The agency was established by the Legislature in 2012 after a task force recommended the idea in the wake of several high-profile child deaths. A group appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer currently working on legislation to make Child Protective Services a stand-alone agency has not yet figured out what role the Office of Child Welfare Investigations will play. The group last week removed language from a draft giving police authority to investigators. ___ Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, http://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com Associated Press http://ktar.com/22/1716113/2-Arizona-child-welfare-investigators-fired

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

RIP Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini)

RIP Tony Soprano, you will forever be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, and loved ones.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Phoenix mom accused of injecting child with drugs


PHOENIX (AP) - A Phoenix woman is in custody on allegations that she injected her 5-year-old daughter with methamphetamine and amphetamine.

Police say 30-year-old Jacqueline Trousdale is being held on suspicion of child abuse and endangering the life and health of a minor.

A family member called authorities in October, saying Trousdale was doing drugs in front of her two daughters, ages 5 and 6.

Authorities say the girls told police their mother had injected them with drugs, and state Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

Police say a urine sample from the 5-year-old girl last week came back positive for drugs in her system.

Trousdale was found in the Phoenix suburb of Tolleson and arrested.

She was arraigned on the charges Wednesday in a Tolleson court and does not yet have an attorney for the case.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Wanton Endangerment Law & Legal Definition

Endangerment refers to an act or an instance of putting someone or something in danger or exposure to peril or harm.

In Kentucky, a person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, someone wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another. This is a class D felony.

Likewise, a person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the second degree when he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of physical injury to another person. This is a Class A misdemeanor

The various degrees of endangerment differ depending upon the state in which the crime takes place.

The relevant law as it appears in the statute.

KRS § 508.060. Wanton endangerment in the first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.

(2) Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony.

KRS § 508.070 Wanton endangerment in the second degree.

(1) A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the second degree when he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of physical injury to another person.

(2) Wanton endangerment in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Child, 2, dies after judge ignores Child Protective Services' warning




Thursday, June 06, 2013

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A 2-year-old child died after a judge ignored a strong warning from Child Protective Services.

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Story: Boy, 2, dies after shooting himself in the face

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The judge who signed the order, ultimately placing the children where a shooting happened in that home, declined to comment on Wednesday, but the lawyer who recommended the placement in the home did comment, saying it was a tragic accident that could have happened anywhere.

In March, Child Protective Services told a judge that the home in Cherokee County was not a good location to place three children. A case worker said there was strong odor, clutter and a lack of supervision.

"Anytime a home assessment is denied, we obviously don't want the children in the placement," said Jennifer Davis, a lawyer for CPS.

A lawyer for the children, Jeff Marsh, argued against CPS, saying the home was safe. The judge signed the order approved the placement, and the kids were allowed to stay.

Two months later, on May 29, two-year-old Trenton Mathis found a gun in the home and fatally shot himself in the face.

On Wednesday, we asked Marsh if he stood by his recommendation.

"This is a tragic mistake that happens unfortunately in too many houses," he said.

Marsh maintains his opinion about the placement of the children in spite of the tragedy, saying the children were loved and he wanted them to be with relatives.

"It was family, they knew them and they were comfortable. The history that had been there, and it fit," Marsh said.

In December 2012, the children and a fourth sibling were taken away from their parents due to allegations of abuse and neglect. They had failed to comply with court requirements to be reunited with their children and they refused to comment to Eyewitness News about it.

One of the couple's children was not placed in the home where the shooting happened, but instead placed in a Houston foster home. The 23-month-old had suffered rib fractures and starvation. Since the shooting, two surviving children had been at that Houston home. On Wednesday, another judge said they could stay.

So far, no charges have been filed in this case, but the Cherokee County DA's office says it's still investigating.

Find Katie on Facebook at ABC13KatieMcCall or on Twitter at @13katiemccall

(Copyright ©2013 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Foster Care


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"Foster child" redirects here. For the 1989 film, see Foster Child.


Children of the United Kingdom's Children's Migrant Programme, many of whom were placed in foster care in Australia.

Foster care is the term used for a system in which a minor who has been made a ward is placed in an institution, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver referred to as a "foster parent". The placement of the child is usually arranged through the government or a social-service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is compensated for expenses.[1]

The state via the family court and child protection agency stand in loco parentis to the minor, making all legal decisions while the foster parent is responsible for the day-to-day care of said minor. The foster parent receives a stipend from the state for expenses incurred.



This section requires expansion. (September 2012)

Flyer seeking foster families for children on an Orphan Train.

The foster care system in the modern sense had its beginnings in 1853 in both the United Kingdom and the United States. In the U.K. the Reverend John Armistead removed children from a workhouse in Cheshire, and placed them with foster families. The local council was legally responsible for the children and paid the foster parents for their maintenance. In the U.S. the Children's Aid Society founded by Charles Loring Brace started the Orphan Train Movement to help get orphaned, abused and neglected children off the streets of New York City, and afterwards other overcrowded cities on the East Coast of the United States, and sent via train to foster homes across the United States.[2]

Foster care placement

Family-based foster care is generally preferred to other forms of out of home care.[3] Foster care is intended to be a short term solution until a permanent placement can be made.[4] Generally the first choice of adoptive parents is a relative such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent. If no related family member is willing or able to adopt, the next preference is for the child to be adopted by the foster parents or by someone else involved in the child's life (such as a teacher or coach). This is to maintain continuity in the child's life. If neither above option are available, the child may be adopted by someone who is a stranger to the child.

If none of these options are viable the plan for the minor may be to enter OPPLA (Other Planned Permanent Living Arrangement). This option allows the child to stay in custody of the state and the child can stay placed in a foster home, with a relative or a long term care facility (for children with development disabilities, physical disabilities or mental disabilities).

547,415 children were in publicly supported foster care in the United States in September 2000.[5] In 2009, there were 423,773 children in foster care, a drop of about 20% in a decade.[6]

In 2013, there were about 104,000 children ready for adoptive families in the nation's foster care systems.[7] African American children represented 41% of children in foster care, white children represented 40% and Hispanic children represented 15% in 2000.[5]. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer, LGBTQ youth represent a large percentage due to families of origin placing their children in foster care due to their sexuality or gender expression. Once in care, some "75% are physically harassed by staff or other youth'. After emancipation, LGBTQ foster youth represent a larger percentage of foster youth who end up homeless--'up to 40%'. America's Most Unwanted,

LGBTQ foster youth film. [8]

Children may only enter foster care voluntarily. Voluntary placement may occur when a biological parent or lawful guardian is unable to care for a child. Involuntary placement occurs when a child is removed from their biological parent or lawful guardian due to the risk or actual occurrence of physical or psychological harm. In the US, most children enter foster care due to neglect.[9] If a biological parent or lawful guardian is unwilling to care for a child, the child is deemed to be dependent and is placed under the care of the child protection agency. The policies regarding foster care as well as the criteria to be met in order to become a foster parent vary according to legal jurisdiction.

Especially egregious failures of child protective services often serve as a catalyst for increased removal of children from the homes of biological parents. An example is the brutal torture and murder of 17-month-old Peter Connelly, a British toddler who died in London Borough of Haringey, North London after suffering more than 50 severe injuries over an eight-month period, including eight broken ribs and a broken back. Throughout the period of time in which he was being tortured he was repeatedly seen by Haringey Children's services and NHS health professionals.[10] Haringey Children's services already failed ten years earlier in the case of Victoria Climbié.[11] In the time since his death in 2007 cases have reached a record rate in England surpassing 10,000 in the reporting year ending in March 2012.[12]

There have been recorded neglects and deaths that occur in foster care; The State Department of Human Services reported 32 neglect or abuse deaths [13]

Abuse and negligence

From 1993 through 2002 there were 107 recorded deaths; there are approximately 400,000 children in out-of-home care, in the United States. Almost 10% of children in foster care have stayed in foster care for five or more years. Nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems. 8% of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems, 11% of children exiting foster care aged out of the system, in 2011.[14] Children in foster care experience high rates of child abuse, emotional deprivation, and physical neglect. In one study in the United Kingdom "foster children were 7–8 times, and children in residential care 6 times more likely to be assessed by a pediatrician for abuse than a child in the general population".[15] A study of foster children in Oregon and Washington State found that nearly one third reported being abused by a foster parent or another adult in a foster home.[16] These statistics do not speak to the situation these children are coming from, but it does show the very large problem of child-on-child sexual abuse within the system.

Medical and psychiatric disorders

A higher prevalence of physical, psychological, cognitive and epigenetic disorders for children in foster care has been established in studies in various countries. The Casey Family Programs Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study was a fairly extensive study of various aspects of children who had been in foster care. It noted that 80% of ex-foster children are doing "poorly".

Individuals who were in foster care experience higher rates of physical and psychiatric morbidity than the general population and suffer from not being able to trust and that can lead to placements breaking down.[17] In the Casey study of foster children in Oregon and Washington state, they were found to have double the incidence of depression, 20% as compared to 10% and were found to have a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than combat veterans with 25% of those studied having PTSD. Children in foster care have a higher probability of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and deficits in executive functioning, anxiety as well as other developmental problems.[18][19][20][21] These children experience higher degrees of incarceration, poverty, homelessness, and suicide. Studies in the U.S. have suggested that some foster care placements may be more detrimental to children than remaining in a troubled home,[22] but a more recent study suggested that these findings may have been affected by selection bias, and that foster care has little effect on behavioral problems.[23]


Foster children have elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in comparison to children raised by their biological parents. Elevated cortisol levels can compromise the immune system. (Harden BJ, 2004).[24] Most of the processes involved in healthy neurodevelopment are predicated upon the establishment of close nurturing relationships and environmental stimulation. Negative environmental influences during this critical period of brain development can have lifelong consequences.[25][26][27][28]

Posttraumatic stress disorder

Regions of the brain associated with stress and posttraumatic stress disorder[29]

Children in foster care have a higher incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In one study,[30] 60% of children in foster care who had experienced sexual abuse had PTSD, and 42% of those who had been physically abused fulfilled the PTSD criteria. PTSD was also found in 18% of the children who were not abused. These children may have developed PTSD due to witnessing violence in the home. (Marsenich, 2002).

In a study conducted in Oregon and Washington state, the rate of PTSD in adults who were in foster care for one year between the ages of 14–18 was found to be higher than that of combat veterans, with 25 percent of those in the study meeting the diagnostic criteria as compared to 12–13 percent of Iraq war veterans and 15 percent of Vietnam war veterans, and a rate of 4% in the general population. The recovery rate for foster home alumni was 28.2% as opposed to 47% in the general population.

"More than half the study participants reported clinical levels of mental illness, compared to less than a quarter of the general population".[31][32]

Eating disorders

Foster children are at increased risk for a variety of eating disorders in comparison to the general population. In a study done in the United Kingdom, 35% of foster children experienced an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) once in care.[33] Food Maintenance Syndrome is characterized by a set of aberrant eating behaviors of children in foster care. It is "a pattern of excessive eating and food acquisition and maintenance behaviors without concurrent obesity"; it resembles "the behavioral correlates of Hyperphagic Short Stature". It is hypothesised that this syndrome is triggered by the stress and maltreatment foster children are subjected to, it was prevalent amongst 25 percent of the study group in New Zealand.[19] Bulimia nervosa is seven times more prevalent among former foster children than in the general population.[34]

Poverty and homelessness

New York street children; 1890

Nearly half of foster kids in the U.S. become homeless when they turn 18.[35][36] "One of every 10 foster children stays in foster care longer than seven years, and each year about 15,000 reach the age of majority and leave foster care without a permanent family—many to join the ranks of the homeless or to commit crimes and be imprisoned.[37][38]

Three out of 10 of the United States homeless are former foster children.[39] According to the results of the Casey Family Study of Foster Care Alumni, up to 80 percent are doing poorly—with a quarter to a third of former foster children at or below the poverty line, three times the national poverty rate.[40] Very frequently, people who are homeless had multiple placements as children: some were in foster care, but others experienced "unofficial" placements in the homes of family or friends.

Individuals with a history of foster care tend to become homeless at an earlier age than those who were not in foster care.[citation needed] The length of time a person remains homeless is longer in individuals who were in foster care.[41]

Suicide-death rate

Children in foster care are at a greater risk of suicide,[42] the increased risk of suicide is still prevalent after leaving foster care and occurs at a higher rate than the general population. In a small study of twenty-two Texan youths who aged out of the system, 23 percent had a history of suicide attempts.[43]

A Swedish study utilizing the data of almost one million people including 22,305 former foster children who had been in care prior to their teens, concluded:

Former child welfare clients were in year of birth and sex standardised risk ratios (RRs) four to five times more likely than peers in the general population to have been hospitalised for suicide attempts....Individuals who had been in long-term foster care tended to have the most dismal outcome...former child welfare/protection clients should be considered a high-risk group for suicide attempts and severe psychiatric morbidity.[44]

Death rate

Children in foster care have an overall higher mortality rate than children in the general population.[45] A study conducted in Finland among current and former foster children up to age 24 found a higher mortality rate due to substance abuse, accidents, suicide and illness. The deaths due to illness were attributed to an increased incidence of acute and chronic medical conditions and developmental delays among children in foster care.[46]

Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer published a report "The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services"[47] stating:

"The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to official “safety”, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual molestation than in the general population".[47]

Academic prospects

Educational outcomes of ex-foster children in the Northwest Alumni Study:[48]

  • 56% completed high school compared to 82% of the general population, although an additional 29% of former foster children received a G.E.D. compared to an additional 5% of the general population.
  • 42.7% completed some education beyond high school.
  • 20.6% completed any degree or certificate beyond high school
  • 16.1% completed a vocational degree; 21.9% for those over 25.
  • 1.8% complete a bachelors degree, 2.7% for over 25, the completion rate for the general population in the same age group is 24%, a sizable difference.

The study reviewed case records for 659 foster care alumni in Northwest USA, and interviewed 479 of them between September 2000 and January 2002.[48]

Psychotropic medication use

Studies have revealed that youth in foster care covered by Medicaid insurance receive psychotropic medication at a rate that was 3 times higher than that of Medicaid-insured youth who qualify by low family income. In a review (September 2003 to August 2004) of the medical records of 32,135 Texas foster care 0–19 years-old, 12,189 were prescribed psychotropic medication, resulting in an annual prevalence of 37.9% of these children being prescribed medication. 41.3% received 3 different classes of these drugs during July 2004, and 15.9% received 4 different classes. The most frequently used medications were antidepressants (56.8%), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drugs (55.9%), and antipsychotic agents (53.2%). The study also showed that youth in foster care are frequently treated with concomitant psychotropic medication, for which sufficient evidence regarding safety and effectiveness is not available.[49]

The use of expensive, brand name, patent protected medication was prevalent. In the case of SSRIs the use of the most expensive medications was noted to be 74%; in the general market only 28% are for brand name SSRI's vs generics. The average out-of-pocket expense per prescription was $34.75 for generics and $90.17 for branded products, a $55.42, difference.[50]

Therapeutic intervention

Children in the child welfare system have often experienced significant and repeated traumas and having a background in foster homes—especially in instances of sexual abuse—can be the precipitating factor in a wide variety of psychological and cognitive deficits[51] it may also serve to obfuscate the true cause of underlying issues. The foster care experience may have nothing to do with the symptoms, or on the other hand, a disorder may be exacerbated by having a history of foster care and attendant abuses. The human brain however has been shown to have a fair degree of neuroplasticity.[52][53][54] and adult neurogenesis has been shown to be an ongoing process.[55]

Cross-Cultural Adoption Policies

George Shanti, Nico Van Oudenhoven, and Ekha Wazir, co-author's of Foster Care Beyond the Crossroads: Lessons from an International Comparative Analysis, say that there are four types of Government foster care systems. The first one is that of developing countries. These countries do not have policies implemented to take care of the basic needs of these children and these children mostly receive assistance from relatives. The second system is that of former socialist governments. The historical context of these states has not allowed for the evolution of their foster care system. NGO's have urged them to evolve; however the traditional system of institutionalizing these children is still in place. Thirdly, liberal democracies do not have the support from its political system in order to take care of these children, even though they have the resources. Finally, social democracies are the most advanced governments in regards to their foster care system. These governments have a massive infrastructure, funding, and support system in order to help foster care children.[59]

Foster care adoption

See also: Adoption

Foster care adoption is a type of domestic adoption where the child is initially placed into a foster care system and is subsequently placed for adoption. Children may be placed into foster care for a variety of reasons, including removal from the home by a governmental agency because of maltreatment.[60] In some jurisdictions, adoptive parents are licensed as and technically considered foster parents while the adoption is being finalized.[61] According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, there were approximately 408,425 children in foster care in 2010. Of those children, twenty-five percent had a goal of adoption. In 2010, 254,114 children exited foster care and twenty-one percent were adopted.[62] Nationwide, there are more than one hundred thousand children in the U.S. foster care system waiting for permanent families.[63]

Foster care in popular culture

Fictional characters who have been in foster care have been represented in a variety of mass entertainment media throughout the years including the following television shows:

Famous former foster children:

See also


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  2. ^ The Children's Aid Society: The Orphan Trains
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  4. ^ Dorsey et Al. Current status and evidence base of training for foster and treatment foster parents
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  8. ^ America's Most Unwanted

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  10. ^ BBC: A short life of misery and pain [1]
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    . PMID 18166534


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External links

  • The impact of foster care on development [3]
  • Effects of early psychosocial deprivation on the development of memory and executive function [4]
  • Enduring neurobehavioral effects of early life trauma mediated through learning and corticosterone suppression [5]

Further reading

  • Hurley, Kendra (2002). "Almost Home"

    Retrieved June 27, 2006.

  • Carlson, E.A. (1998). "A prospective longitudinal study of disorganized/disoriented attachment". Child Development 69 (4): 1107–1128. PMID 9768489


  • Knowlton, Paul E. (2001). "The Original Foster Care Survival Guide"; A first person account directed to successfully aging out of foster care.
  • McCutcheon, James, 2010. "Historical Analysis and Contemporary Assessment of Foster Care in Texas: Perceptions of Social Workers in a Private, Non-Profit Foster Care Agency". Applied Research Projects. Texas State University Paper 332.

External links