Media

Child Welfare in the News


New California Budget Includes $31 Million to Support Foster Parents with Child Care

Jeremy Loudenback, Chronicle of Social Change, June 19, 2017
Passed by legislators on June 15th, the 2017 budget sets aside money for the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program, which would provide child care vouchers to foster parents and parenting foster youth for children ages 0 to 5 living with them.

The Opioid Crisis is Straining the Nation’s Foster Care System

Perry Stein and Lindsey Bever, The Washington Post, July 1, 2017
Trends in Maine and Massachusetts are echoed in foster-care systems throughout the country, especially in rural areas that have been hit hard by addiction. Many are becoming overwhelmed as the opioid crisis has forced more and more children into state custody.

A Hidden Population: Youth Homelessness is on the Rise

Teresa Wiltz, Pew Charitable Trusts, July 7, 2017
Youth homelessness is on the rise across the country, in Atlanta, Seattle, San Diego and elsewhere. Young homeless people are at risk for a host of troubles with long lasting impact including substance abuse and sexual exploitation. Many get caught up in the criminal justice system. Up to 40 percent of homeless youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Foster Care: Underfunded

Sarah Craig, KCRW, June 9, 2017
LA County has thousands of foster care children. Advocates say the state’s budget hasn’t kept pace with need, when it comes to funding for providers and legal counsel. The state budget deadline is June 15th and advocates are pushing for $22 million more in funding for dependency counseling.

How Foster Youth Shadow Day Helped Me Find Peace

Ruth Contreras-Arnold, Teen Vogue, June 13, 2017
In this op-ed, Ruth Contreras-Arnold explains what it’s like to be in the foster care system, and how a day on Capitol Hill empowered her.

Pregnant and Addicted to Heroin, with Nowhere to Turn for Help

Stephanie Dubick, Broadly, June 15, 2017
As the American opioid epidemic rages, pregnant women with addiction issues are being forced to choose between seeking health care and avoiding arrest.

They Call Us Monsters: A New Lense on Teens Facing Life in Prison

Sarah Craig, KQED News, May 20, 2017
Filmmaker Ben Lear had been visiting “The Compound,” a high-security facility where Los Angeles houses its most violent juvenile criminals. When he heard about the bill, he joined forces with screenwriter Gabriel Cowan to produce the documentary “They Call Us Monsters.”

Foster Kids Spend the Day Shadowing California Members of Congress

Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2017
More than 100 other young people participated in the Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Program in a speech on the House floor. Rep. Karen Bass started the Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Program six years ago.

Break the Sad Cycle of Foster Kids Having Foster Kids

Alexis Barries, Fresno Bee Opinion, June 5, 2017
Juvenile justice reform cannot happen without child welfare as an engaged partner. Research has demonstrated that as many as two-thirds of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have a maltreatment background.

A California Court for Young Adults Calls on Science

Tim Requarth, New York Times, April 17, 2017
San Francisco’s Young Adult Court offers youth with felony charges an alternative to traditional, punitive, court proceedings. For about a year, the youth attend weekly therapy sessions and life-skills classes. Court administrators coordinate employment, housing and education support for them.

California Needs More Foster Homes, Incentives for Foster Parents

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Jennifer Rexroad, Sacramento Bee, May 1, 2017
California is in dire need of more foster homes. In Los Angeles County, the number of foster homes decreased from more than 8,000 in 2005 to fewer than 4,000 in 2015; and the need for new foster homes is increasing.The Emergency Child Care Bridge Program, Assembly Bill 1164, would provide an emergency child care voucher to give foster parents immediate access to child care.

Why Juvenile Justice Reform Needs Child Welfare at the Table

Melissa Blom, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, May 15, 2017
Juvenile justice reform cannot happen without child welfare as an engaged partner. Research has demonstrated that as many as two-thirds of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have a maltreatment background.

Managing the Flow: Predictive Analytics in Child Welfare

Daneil Heimpel,  Chronicle of Social Change, April 6, 2017
Beyond saving time for the countless hotline workers across the LA county who receive over 600 calls a day, predictive analytics promises to help this harried workforce better understand which children are in danger of abuse. This, proponents of the practice argue, allows child protection systems to better target those cases that should be investigated.

Supply-Side Economics, but for Liberals

Neil Irwin, New York Times, April 15, 2017
According to an emerging body of research, certain social welfare policies that support expansion of the safety-net,, may actually encourage more people to work and enable them to do so more productively. That is the conclusion of work that aims to understand in granular detail how different government interventions affect people’s behavior. It amounts to a liberal version of “supply-side economics.”

 


May is National Foster Care Month

Children’s Bureau Express, May 2017
This year’s National Foster Care Month (NFCM) theme, “Empowering Caregivers, Strengthening Families,” highlights the importance of identifying, developing, and supporting prospective and current foster parents and kinship caregivers.

Bill aims to make being a foster parent easier

Rina Palta,  KPCC, March 29, 2017
AB 1104 would provide foster parents with immediate childcare for the young kids they take in. In Los Angeles and around the state, lack of child care is one issue that’s created a shortage of slots for babies and toddlers removed from their homes.

Want foster students to succeed in college? Bills make financial aid easier to get

Robin Opsahl, Sacramento Bee, March 17, 2017
State lawmakers are considering legislation to help foster youths navigate the college application process. Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, introduced Senate Bill 12 to require social workers to set up an application help network for foster youths interested in college. It also would coordinate systems to automatically verify applicants’ foster youth status when applying for federal Pell Grants.

 


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Children’s Bureau Express, April 2017
Every April, the Children’s Bureau observes National Child Abuse Prevention Month to raise public awareness of child abuse and neglect, recommit efforts and resources aimed at protecting children and strengthening families, and promote community involvement through activities that support the cause. The theme of this year’s Child Abuse Prevention Month initiative continues to mirror the theme of the 20th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, “Building Community, Building Hope.”

Break up the family? White House weighs new border deterrent.

Harry Bruinius,  Christian Science Monitor, March 11, 2017
Violence in Central America has caused a surge in families requesting asylum. The Trump administration has confirmed it’s looking at bold moves to discourage them. But separating moms from kids may prove too draconian, and difficult.

Ventura County Tries An Alternative to Juvenile Hall

Claudia Boyd-Barrett, California Health Report, March 12, 2017
For youths on probation, clubs like the local Boys and Girls Club, act as Evening Reporting Centers, which provide an alternative to juvenile hall. Those assigned to the center by the Ventura County Probation Agency must attend the Boys & Girls Club’s Teen Center every day after school, usually for between 20 and 45 days.

 


Attorneys: More funding needed to help East Bay foster youths.

Malaika Fraley, East Bay Times, March 13, 2017
Because of state funding issues, attorneys at the East Bay Children’s Law Offices are finding it increasingly difficult to continue representing some 2,000 Alameda County children each year who have been orphaned or removed from their parents or guardians.

Why do more L.A. County black children end up in Foster Care? Experts clash over the reason.

Garrett Therolf, The L.A. Times, February 16, 2017
Black children account for eight out of 100 Los Angeles County children, yet they make up 28 out of 100 foster children, according to Department of Children and Family Services data. There are basically two theories, and the approach an agency takes to addressing the problem depends, at least in part, on which theory it accepts. One holds that social worker bias against black parents is to blame. The other argues that black children truly are victimized at higher rates.

 


Inside a mom’s months-long fight to get back her children

Garrett Therolf,  L.A. Times, February 16, 2017
Los Angeles County’s child abuse hotline receives a call every three minutes, on average. The calls are heavily concentrated in communities of South Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley where large numbers of black families reside, DCFS records show. Roughly one out of three black children in Los Angeles County is reported to the hotline by the time they are 5 years old, according to research by Emily Putnam-Hornstein, a professor at USC’s School of Social Work.

Superior Court officials blast 2017-18 California budget

Sam Richards, East Bay Times, February 21, 2017
Superior Court officers from 49 of California’s 58 counties are telling Gov. Jerry Brown the state’s courts will need substantially more money to preserve existing levels of service, which they say already have been hit hard by the requirements of recent voter-approved and legislative actions.

Being incarcerated as a Juvenile tied to poor health later

Andrew, M. Seaman, Reuters, Jan 23, 2017
People incarcerated as juveniles may have worse physical and mental health as adults than youths who did not spend time in detention centers or correctional facilities, according to a new study.

 


Young Victims of the Opioid Epidemic

Editorial Board, New York Times, January  16, 2017
Officials cited parental substance abuse as a reason for removing children from families in 32.2 percent of cases in 2015, up from 28.5 percent in 2012. But these numbers very likely understate the problem, because local officials often fail to report drug and alcohol abuse and list most cases under the broad category of “parental neglect.”

Dozens of women and children rescued in human-trafficking sweep in California that nets 474 arrests

Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times,  February 2, 2017
A multi-agency crackdown on human trafficking in California last week ended with hundreds of arrests and dozens of victimized women and children being rescued, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced.

A Bridge to Child Care for Foster Kids in California

Tim Morrison, Youth Today, October 5, 2016
In today’s economy, most potential caregivers work outside the home. In order for them to step up and take in a foster child, they need access to child care during their working hours. Unfortunately, with California child care costs hovering around $1,100 per month for the youngest children, many prospective foster parents cannot afford to cover the cost of child care.

Better Integrating Behavioral Health, Juvenile Justice Systems Will Rescue More Kids

Jeffrey J. Venderploeg, Juvenile Justice Information Exhchange, October 10, 2016
A multisite study conducted by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice reported that among youth involved in the juvenile justice system: 70 percent met criteria for a mental health disorder, 40 percent met criteria for a substance use disorder, and 90 percent had been exposed to one or more traumatic events (such as abuse, neglect or witnessing violence).

 


The New Focus on Children’s Mental Health

Emily Golderber, The Atlantic, October 17, 2016
With a lack of mental-health professionals placed in schools, the responsibility to address the needs of children with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges often falls on classroom teachers. This amplifies the call to incorporate learning that focuses on students’ mental health and well-being into daily classroom activities—something that can be beneficial for all children, not just those with diagnosable conditions.

For the first time, California releases test scores for foster youth –  and they’re not good

Joy Resmovits, LA Times, September 22, 2016
For the first time, California education officials have separated out the standardized test scores of the state’s foster youth — and advocates now have sobering proof of what they long suspected: These students are learning far less than their peers. Foster students also had somewhat lower rates of participation on the tests.

San Jose’s family-friendly court part of national trend

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Tracey Kaplan, East Bay Times, Sept. 25, 2016
Last month, the dilapidated Terraine courthouse and five other rundown courthouses in San Jose were replaced by the new $208 million Family Justice Center Courthouse — one of only a few in the nation devoted solely to cases involving families and children. The new building is part of a national trend of providing a homier environment for people seeking to mend lives unraveled by divorce, addiction or mental illness.

 


California changes laws so children can no longer be prostitutes

Ellen Wulfhorst, KFGO, September 27, 2016
Children will no longer be classified as prostitutes in the U.S. state of California after a new law decriminalized prostitution for minors in a move praised by child rights campaigners. Coming on the back of a public campaign coined “There is No Such Thing” as a child prostitute, crimes of solicitation and prostitution will no longer apply to anyone aged under 18.

California Court Helps Kids By Healing Parents Addictions”

khn_drug_court_0107_edited-3d57fa62e069a1c388376eb8eb17636af6e4cfeb-s800-c85Jenny Gold, NPR Shots, Aug 16, 2016
Substance abuse is a factor in up to 80 percent of cases where a child is removed from a home. And there are signs that the opioid epidemic may be to blame.

The Development Set

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Medium, September 14, 2016
Stories and conversations about global health and social impact: “Reflections from Reporting on Child Welfare”, “Shining the Light on Child Welfare”, and other reports and features.

In Mental Health Care, Are We Treating the Symptom But Not the Cause?

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Anna Challet, New America MediaSeptember 16, 2016
[W]hen it comes to young people, service providers who work with some of the youth most vulnerable to mental health issues are finding that their clients’ most significant social and emotional issues are ones that aren’t necessarily treated with traditional mental health care like therapy and medication.

California Deposes its “Welfare Queen”

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The New York Times, Editorial Board, July 23, 2016
As part of a larger budget deal, Gov. Jerry Brown quietly signed into law the repeal of the so-called maximum family grant cap.

Undercover LA County Detectives Catch Child Traffickers Online

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NBC Los Angeles, July 29, 2016
A Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force cracked down this week on pimps and others trying to lure kids into prostitution and porn. The task force has made more than 200 arrests and rescued more than 100 children since the program began last November, officials said.

State lawmakers’ competing ideas on how to stop human trafficking prevent steps forward, critics say

Jazmine Ulloa, LA Times, August 2, 2016
More than 30 bills this legislative session alone have attempted to combat a multibillion-dollar industry that now operates as much online, if not more, as it does on the streets. But much of the legislation, still pending as lawmakers return to Sacramento for their final month of deliberations, varies in its approach to the problem. Critics say the competing proposals present a difficult path forward.

Changes in brain network may help youth adapt to childhood adversity

Science News, July 5, 2016
A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging reports a neural signature of emotional adaptation that could help researchers understand how the brain adapts to childhood adversity and predict which kids may be vulnerable to developing later psychopathology.

Why Does America Invest so Little in its Children?

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The Atlantic, Lillian Mongeau, July 12, 2016
On every level—local, state, and federal—this country invests little to nothing in the first five years of a child’s life, putting it decades and dollars behind the rest of the developed world. In 2012, the U.S. ranked 35th among developed economies in pre-primary- or primary-school enrollment for 3- to 5-year-olds, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international economic association.

Senate Leaves for Recess Without Acting on Family First Act

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Sarah Barr, Youth Today, July 15. 2016
The Golden State is in the bottom third of the nation for child well-being- 36th, in an annual survey released Tuesday by the child-advocacy groups the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now. California’s overall ranking in children’s well-being moved up two places from last year, when it was 38th.

Should Pediatricians Ask Parents If They’re Poor

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NPR, Elaine Korry, May 18, 2016
The Center for Youth Wellness, located in San Francisco’s low-income Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, is working with the pediatricians’ organization on a national campaign, Children Can Thrive, to raise awareness about the impact of a range of childhood stressors, known as adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs.

A rare consensus on juvenile detention (Opinion)

Mark Bonini & Sue Burrell, Sacramento Bee June 1, 2016
The Chief Probation Officers of California, the Ella Baker Center, Pacific Juvenile Defender Center and other advocacy groups are co-sponsoring Senate Bill 1143, which would limit room confinement in juvenile detention facilities and provide guidance on when it should be used.

California No. 36 in child well-being: Where the State Falls Short

Sharon Nogucho, San Jose Mercury News, June 20. 2016
The Golden State is in the bottom third of the nation for child well-being- 36th, in an annual survey released Tuesday by the child-advocacy groups the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now. California’s overall ranking in children’s well-being moved up two places from last year, when it was 38th.

LA County Supervisors vote to end solitary confinement for juveniles

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 KPCC, Christian Brown, May 3, 2016
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on May 3rd to permanently ban solitary confinement for minors at county juvenile halls and camps. Now that it’s been approved by the Board of Supervisors, solitary confinement must be replaced with new methods by September.

Once homeless and hungry, youths serve up antidote to foodie culture

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Maria L La Ganga, The Guardian, May 11, 2016
Photographs taken by formerly Homeless Youth reveal what food instability means in their lives.

5 ways to end the school to prison pipeline

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Stoebig, Marcelina, Vega, Fusion, May 26, 2016
Whether it be a result of increased police presence at schools, or the overuse of suspensions and expulsions, students across the nation are increasingly coming into contact with the criminal justice system through their schools.

To Help Newborns Dependent on Opioids, Hospitals Rethink Mom’s Role

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NPR, March 26, 2016
The Hospital of Central Connecticut is now trying to make sure everyone in patient care sees an addicted mother first as a mom. In some cases that means getting care providers to understand that addiction isn’t a moral failure, and that many people who are addicted come from a lifetime of trauma.

Broken Foster Care System May Be Contributing to Homelessness Crisis

homeless crisis
April Dinwoodie, SF Examiner, March 27, 2016
More than 5,000 children were adopted from the child welfare system in California in 2014, but many more are still in need of a permanent home. For youth who exit foster care without having been adopted, the outcomes are dire with higher rates of homelessness and unemployment, compared to their peers who are adopted.

So Little to Ask for: A Home

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, April 7, 2016
The United States has 64,000 families who are homeless, including 123,000 children, and many will be permanently harmed by the experience. We have growing evidence that traumas like homelessness impair brain development. The Housing First approach, is particularly cost-effective in combating poverty.

California’s two different visions for better foster care

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 Jessica Mendoza, The Christian Science Monitor, March 9, 2016
As California and other states continue to move toward placing children with foster families instead of in group homes some advocates and researchers are worried that the population may exceed the number of foster parents available.

Welcome to Parent College

 

 Olga Khazan,  The Atlantic, March 14, 2016
San Francisco based Triple P is a prominent player in a little-explored corner of the healthcare realm: Programs that aim to teach parents how to be parents. Classes like Triple P have proliferated in recent decades, and now, more than a dozen programs strive to curb child abuse through good parenting.

From East Oakland to lifesaving health careers

Tammerlin Drummon, East Bay Times, March 18, 2016
EMS Corps, a program run by the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, trains young men between the ages of 18 and 26 for careers in emergency medical services. The goal is to create a laser focus on improving the life outcomes for boys and men of color.

Latino Youths See Big Rise in Psychiatric Hospitalizations

Nubia Flores Miranda, 18, works part-time at Family Paths, a counseling and mental health organization in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, January 29, 2016. Miranda said she became interested in a career in mental health after she started experiencing depression and anxiety her freshman year at Life Academy of Health and Bioscience.

Jocelyn Wiener, Sacramento Bee, February 15, 2016
Psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino children and young adults in California are rising dramatically and at a much faster pace than among their peers, according to state data.

Removing Barriers to Students from the Juvenile Justice System

Removing barriers to students from the juvenile justice system

Alisah Kirby,  Cabinet Report, February 18, 2016
A California task force spent much of the past year reviewing district programs that successfully transition students from the juvenile justice system back to traditional school classrooms in an effort to create a statewide model for tracking and transferring student records and credits.

Two More Bills Aim to Protect California Foster Youth from Dangerous Psychiatric Drugs

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Karen de Sa, Inside Bay Area News, February 19, 2016
Doctors could lose their medical licenses if they over-prescribe psychiatric medications to California’s foster youth under a new Senate. Another bill, introduced Friday, would sanction government agencies that fail to offer nondrug therapy alternatives to help foster youth recover from their traumatic childhoods.