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The Imprint staff reports

9/28/2020

Riverside Families Seek Reimbursement for Illegal Juvenile Jail Fees

The families of children in Riverside County juvenile detention went to court Monday seeking reimbursement of millions of dollars in fees their lawyers say were illegally charged. 

The Western Center on Law & Poverty and the National Center for Youth Law, representing the locked-up youths’ families, filed an amended complaint in their existing lawsuit against the county, charging that although Riverside stopped collecting the administrative fees in April, that was not sufficient.

9/27/2020

New Study Confirms Risk of Prenatal Cannabis Use

A new study on mothers’ use of marijuana during pregnancy found links to a small increase in the child’s risk of developing a range of problems, including psychopathology, low birth weight and sleep problems.

9/25/2020

Ohio Senate Seeks Ban on Life Without Parole for Juveniles

Ohio made a strong move Wednesday toward becoming the 24th state to ban sentences of life without parole for crimes committed when the defendant was a juvenile.

The handful or two of people already serving such sentences in Ohio, and a number of others serving de facto life sentences, could be eligible for parole if the bill is passed by the Ohio House and signed into law.

9/24/2020

L.A. County, Foster Advocates Reach Settlement of 18-Year-Old Mental Health Court Case

After 17 years of operating under a consent decree, Los Angeles County has reached an agreement to extricate itself from a long-running federal lawsuit that sought to address gaps in mental health care services for children in foster care in California.

9/23/2020

Foster Youth and Alumni Speak Up for Special Groups Among Them

Foster youth often feel misunderstood and marginalized by society as a whole. Within the larger foster youth community, however, certain groups must deal with even more stress. Those groups, and how to help them build fulfilling lives, are the subjects of the latest set of policy recommendations by the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council.

9/22/2020

‘The Forgotten Students’: Report Calls on Congress to Help Hard-hit Foster Youth on Campus

The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to crush the college dreams of thousands of people who will soon be aging out of foster care, and Congress must take urgent steps to avoid these devastating outcomes, according to a report being released this week.

9/22/2020

Missouri Tigers Football Players Tackle Foster Care Prevention
Missouri’s football team will help Care Portal steer support to families in crisis. Photo courtesy of Athlon Sports

This weekend’s football season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide hasn’t been the only thing on the minds of the Missouri Tigers of late.

9/16/2020

U.S. Appeals Court: Retaining Unfounded Abuse Reports in Database Is Justified

A federal appellate court ruled late last week that Los Angeles County did not violate a man’s due process and privacy rights when it retained a closely held record of unfounded allegations of child sexual abuse against him – without providing him notice or an opportunity to challenge the allegations.

9/16/2020

Study Shows Why Quality Legal Representation is Key in Parent/Child Reunions

Last year, New York researchers determined that when parents have a child in foster care and are represented by teams of lawyers working in tandem with social workers and parent advocates, they were reunited with their child about four months sooner than those who were represented by a solo practitioner.

9/14/2020

National Center for Youth Law Hires New Deputy Director

The National Center for Youth Law is bringing in a longtime fighter for child, youth and community justice as the Oakland, California-based organization’s second in command.

Shakti Belway, a graduate of Stanford University’s law school like the center’s director, Jesse Hahnel, brings with her deep experience in community law, litigation, direct representation, policy development, legislative reform and strategic mobilization.

9/14/2020

Reckoning on Equity Necessary After Coronavirus, Report Says

The devastation that the coronavirus has piled on communities that have long suffered under the weight of racism and poverty – along with the fallout from a national uprising against police brutality – has also given rise to an opportunity for historic change in Los Angeles County and beyond, according to a new research report.

9/14/2020

Residential Care Giant Devereux Hires ex-U.S. Attorney General Lynch to Audit Child Safety Practices
President Barack Obama announces his nominee for Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, to succeed Eric Holder, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

One of the nation’s largest residential care providers announced last week it has hired former U.S.

9/10/2020

Youth-Oriented Drug-Fighting Grants Up for Grabs in California

When California voters easily approved the adult recreational use of cannabis in 2016, there were what might be called high hopes for the tax revenue, then projected to one day total $1 billion annually.

9/4/2020

California Issues Guidelines for School-Based Special Education

Aiming to bring some clarity to kids who need in-person, school-based services amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to anxious parents and staff, California health officials issued rules and guidelines last month for how that might be done safely.

9/4/2020

Georgia Dissolves Child Abuse and Neglect Registry

Georgia will no longer maintain its child abuse registry, which launched four years ago to help investigators quickly identify and locate substantiated cases and keep tabs on the scale of the problem. 

9/3/2020

Children’s Defense Fund Announces Historic Leadership Change

One of America’s most prominent child welfare groups, the Children’s Defense Fund, is saying goodbye to co-founder and longtime leader Marian Wright Edelman, and welcoming a new CEO at this crucial time in history.

9/3/2020

Pilot Programs Aim to Boost Future Parents’ Sense of Responsibility

Eight states are developing pilot programs to educate young expecting parents about their  responsibilities, including how to manage their finances, emotions and relationships.

The grant money for the programs will come from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

9/1/2020

Bill Would Strengthen Oral Health Coverage for U.S. Foster Youth

Foster youth would benefit from stronger access to dental health coverage under a bipartisan bill recently introduced in Congress.  

Foster youth already are entitled to dental coverage through Medicaid, but according to bill author Rep.

8/31/2020

Youth Recommendations Target Race Bias in Foster Care in Oregon

As protests against police violence against Black people played out this summer in Portland, some current and former foster youth in Oregon – disproportionately people of color – were thinking of how they might rid the foster care system of systemic racial bias.

8/28/2020

L.A. Homeless Youth Numbers Jump 19% Compared with 2019 – Before The Pandemic

Months before coronavirus appeared, youth homelessness in greater Los Angeles soared almost 19% from the previous annual point-in-time survey, according to results released Thursday, as regional efforts to house this vulnerable population failed to keep pace with the growing need.

8/28/2020

New Rule Puts Some Head Start Agencies Under Pressure to Improve

The federal government is hoping to improve the quality of local Head Start agencies’ programs by refining how it determines when grantees are falling short and must be thrown into competition for ongoing funding.

8/27/2020

Social Worker’s Death Due to COVID Prompts Union Calls for Additional Measures

The death of a San Diego County social worker has led her colleagues to call on the county to do more to protect them from the coronavirus, which they say the woman caught in the field.

8/26/2020

Florida Student Researchers to Dig Deep in Juvenile Justice Data

In exchange for helping Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice research and develop its next wave of innovations through internships and employment opportunities, some students from the historically Black Bethune-Cookman University will get an inside track for careers at the department.

8/26/2020

Two National Child Welfare-Focused Organizations Announce Merger

Two significant organizations in the fields of social, health and human services have agreed in principle to a merger early next year. 

The boards of the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the New York City-based Council on Accreditation announced Tuesday that they had signed a nonbinding letter of intent to combine forces if due diligence, now underway, doesn’t surface any unforeseen issues. 

8/25/2020

Wisconsin Juvenile Justice Plan Hits New Snag

Wisconsin’s plans to overhaul its juvenile justice system by building new lockups closer to juvenile offenders’ families and communities suffered a new blow this week when the state’s two largest counties declined millions of dollars in state funds for construction.

8/21/2020

House Democratic Report Rips Waiver Allowing LGBTQ Discrimination

Two significant developments occurred this week that have the potential to shape the limits of how far faith-based, publicly funded child welfare agencies can go in selectively choosing what foster or adoptive parents they are willing to work with.

8/21/2020

Penn State Develops Algorithm to Assess Substance Abuse Risk in Homeless Youth

Researchers think they’ve come up with a cutting-edge way to predict the likelihood of a given homeless youth running into trouble with substance abuse – and to devise individualized rehab strategies for those who nevertheless develop a disorder.

8/19/2020

Bill Would Dial Back Prices for Phone Calls, Canteen Items in Jails, Juvenile Lockups

It’s not cheap to keep people in California’s county-run jails and juvenile lockups.

So the law allows sheriffs to run commissary stores inside and to charge the residents to make outside phone calls, then tap the profits “primarily” to pay for programs and services that benefit the incarcerated people. 

8/16/2020

Most States Require Some Youth To Be on Sex Offender Registries

Forty-two states permit some youth to be included on their sex-offender registry, even though research shows that only small fractions of juvenile sex offenders recidivate as adults, according to the Juvenile Law Center.

8/13/2020

Religious Discrimination Case Moves Forward in South Carolina

A Catholic mother’s lawsuit alleging bedrock religious discrimination by South Carolina’s largest child-placement agency with the blessing of state and federal officials may proceed, a federal judge ruled this week, rejecting calls to throw out her case.

8/12/2020

Congressional Watchdog Says Feds Should Be More Proactive on Kinship Care

Relative caregivers are parenting 2.7 million American children in kinship care. This group of caregivers often goes without critical support that is available, sometimes to the detriment of their own well-being, according to a new audit by the congressional watchdog agency.

8/7/2020

Bay Area DA Calls for Closure of Juvenile Hall, Investing in Community Alternatives

Less than a week after joining dozens of other prosecutors, corrections officials and probation chiefs in signing an open letter calling for the closure of all youth prisons, one California district attorney took her first official step toward doing just that in her own county.

8/7/2020

National Youth Mentoring Model Faces Rigorous Final Test

A federal grant will allow for the completion of a major study on the effect of long-term professional mentoring on at-risk youth. 

Every single one of the 5- and 6-year-old kids in the study faced multiple daunting obstacles before they met their “friends” – the full-time professional mentors supplied by the nonprofit Friends of the Children – who have helped them navigate life’s inevitable challenges for at least the next 12 years.

8/5/2020

Michigan Latest State to Target Adoption of Older Foster Youth

Statistics show that the longer kids are in foster care, the harder it is to place them permanently in a loving home. Now, based on the track record of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Michigan is joining the growing number of states partnering with the national nonprofit to help tackle the problem.

8/5/2020

Federal Audit Slams Kansas Child Welfare System

Federal auditors recently faulted Kansas’ Department for Children and Families for allowing residents of its foster care group homes to be chronically exposed to potentially hazardous conditions, even though the state regularly inspected the facilities.

8/3/2020

Point Source Youth to Expand Footprint in Fight Against Youth Homelessness

Point Source Youth, a nonprofit that helps local partners in 30 communities fight to prevent youth homelessness, is preparing to meet a key organizational goal by expanding its work into 20 more communities across the country.

8/3/2020

Bill Prioritizes Placing Incarcerated Parents Close to Children

The 80,000 children of New York state whose parents are locked up in distant state correctional institutions might have an easier time visiting mom or dad under a bill sitting on Gov.

7/30/2020

Family Enrichment Centers Show Early Promise in New York City, Evaluation Reports

New York City’s child welfare agency launched a bold small experiment in 2018: Three new community rooms deep in the city’s most under-resourced neighborhoods would offer comfy, staffed spaces for families to seek no-strings-attached advice and support, computer access, meeting space or children’s playtime, all at no cost.

7/28/2020

Missouri Child Welfare Overhaul Includes Kinship Diversion, Access to Birth Documents

Missouri has made it easier for an adult relative to temporarily look after the children of kin without legally removing them into foster care.

That’s one of several substantive changes to the state’s child welfare system that Gov.

7/22/2020

Arizona Child Welfare Investigators Fired for ‘Professional Kidnapper’ T-Shirts

Several county workers investigating allegations of abuse and neglect in some of Arizona’s most struggling communities were reportedly fired last month, after they wore bright pink T-shirts to work declaring themselves a “professional kidnapper.”

7/21/2020

Federal Grant to Fund Behavioral Health Services for At-risk Youth

A federal grant of up $12 million will allow Kentucky to provide comprehensive behavioral health and social services for almost 1,500 children and youth in the state’s child welfare system.

The four-year grant of up to $3 million a year is intended to improve long-term outcomes for youth through age 21.

7/20/2020

Advocates Propose New Deal-style Assistance for Transitional Foster Youth

California lawmakers may have helped older foster youth from some of the immediate ravages of the coronavirus pandemic in the state’s recently passed budget, but the San Francisco-based Youth Law Center says it’s time to look forward and start planning now for long-term recovery strategies.

7/16/2020

New York City Adoption Agency You Gotta Believe Hires New Leader

You Gotta Believe, a pioneer in the field of finding permanent families for young adults, teens and pre-teens in foster care, has a new leader, allowing the former director, Mary Keane, to return to her first love, program work, after three years at the helm of the nonprofit agency.

7/16/2020

Bar Association Report: Funding Shifts Greatly Affect Legal Counsel for Kids, Parents

Research has shown that quality legal representation on behalf of all parties in the child welfare system improves the outcome for children and families alike. But until now, little research has been conducted on just how funding affects the ability to provide quality legal services.

7/14/2020

CHAMPS Report Finds States Struggling with Foster Parent Recruitment

The recruitment and retention of foster parents — a critical but often overlooked aspect of development for children in foster care — has never been easy, and the coronavirus pandemic has made it perhaps harder than ever, according to a new report from CHAMPS, a national policy campaign that focuses on promoting high-quality foster parenting.

7/10/2020

Lawsuit: Kansas Agrees to Ambitious Foster Care Reforms

Kansas has agreed to a slate of dramatic changes to its child welfare system aimed at ending housing and mental health failures that destabilize youth in foster care.

Child advocates who brought the civil rights lawsuit in 2018 said it was past time to end what they called “state-sanctioned homelessness.”

7/10/2020

What Works to Fight Youth Homelessness? We Don’t Know Much, Review Finds

A comprehensive new review of programs and practices aimed at tackling youth homelessness did not identify a silver bullet but rather suggested some promising areas for further study — and a crying need for more and better evidence of what works.

7/7/2020

Funding Increased, Not Cut, For New York City Foster Youth Mentor Program

New York City child welfare advocates are cheering a budget agreement that spares deep funding cuts from a program providing mentors for thousands of foster youth.

The program, known as Fair Futures, was slated for significant cuts last week, when the city adopted an $88 billion budget that was deeply constrained by the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

7/2/2020

Foundation Puts $12.5 Million Up to End Black Youth Criminalization in Oakland

Akonadi Foundation, an Oakland-based family grant maker, has announced a five-year, $12.5 million effort to end the criminalization of Black youth and other youth of color in Oakland.

Akonadi, which has been focused on fighting structural racism for two decades, selected 11 local grassroots organizations to receive funding for various projects under the project’s umbrella name of All in for Oakland.

7/2/2020

UPDATED: North Carolina Get-Tough Bill on Drug Exposed Newborns Passes, But Vetoed by Governor

Last week, the North Carolina legislature sent a bill to Gov. Roy Cooper (D) that would make it easier and faster to put babies born exposed to drugs and alcohol on a path to adoption, cutting off efforts to return them to their parents.

7/1/2020

Iowa Law to Test the Benefit of Early Legal Help in Child Welfare Cases

Iowa aims to find out if giving families in crisis early access to lawyers would improve outcomes, rather than being assigned a public defender only after a child is removed and enters the foster care system. 

6/25/2020

New Director, New Directions for Family Focused Treatment Association

Consonant with its expanded approach to developing, promoting and supporting children in the child welfare system, the recently renamed Family Focused Treatment Association has hired its first executive director to lead the nonprofit’s transition to tackling a broader mandate under a new, landmark federal law.

6/23/2020

International Study Recommends Phase-Out of Institutions for Children

A major new review of the effects of raising children in institutions — and the effects of getting those children into family-based care — concludes that institutionalization should be phased out.

6/18/2020

In a First, Parent Successfully Appeals Michigan Judge’s Removal of Child to Foster Care

A Michigan parent on Thursday became the state’s first to successfully appeal a judge’s decision to remove a child into foster care, a ruling that the family’s advocates hailed as “an important first step” toward ensuring that judges don’t put families through the trauma of separation without showing sufficient cause.

6/18/2020

CarePortal Aims to Connect Churches with Families Caught in COVID-19 Crisis

A new online portal will help children and families in crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic more easily get help from local churches.

When human services agencies who enroll on the CarePortal hear from someone who needs help, they can log on to the portal and post the relevant information about that need, and churches in the immediate area with the ability to help can do so.

6/17/2020

Youth Services Workers Implore De Blasio to Restore Summer Programs

Hoping to capitalize on mounting political pressure to defund the New York Police Department, nearly 2,000 of New York City’s youth services workers are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to reverse his plan to cut $175 million from the city’s youth-oriented summer programs, which serve more than 175,000 youth.

6/12/2020

Los Angeles Drops Need for Court Appearance for Uncontested Adoptions During Court Closures

Hundreds of uncontested adoptions in Los Angeles County have been hung up at the final stage since the coronavirus slowed in-person court appearances to a crawl, but that’s about to change.

6/12/2020

Pioneer in Juvenile Justice Retiring in Vermont

 Ken Schatz, who as commissioner of the Vermont Department for Children and Families pushed for the shut down of the state’s only remaining juvenile prison, is retiring at the end of the month after serving in the post since 2014 and will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Sean Brown.

6/11/2020

Anti-Poverty Grants Fund Platforms for Youth Voices

Advocates for the poor have long argued that most Americans’ assumptions about people who live in poverty are mostly wrong. If only, they say, Americans could see the world from the point of view of those who experience it every day, they might gain a more truer and more sympathetic understanding of the complex issues involved.

5/29/2020

Progress Reported on LGBTQ Inclusion by Child Welfare Agencies

The number of child welfare agencies working to create a more welcoming experience for thousands of LGBTQ foster youth took a big jump in the past year, according to a report released Thursday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. 

5/29/2020

Democrats Seek Answers From Justice Department on Juvenile Detainees Amid Virus Crisis

A group of Democratic senators wants to know what, if anything, the Trump administration has done to help state and local juvenile justice agencies comply with basic standards of care for youth locked up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

5/7/2020

Congressional Internship for Foster Youth Forced to Go Remote

The coronavirus pandemic has affected seemingly everything, and the 20th annual congressional summer internship program for former foster youth is no exception.

For the first time in the history of the Foster Youth Internship Program, familiarly known as FYI, participants in the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s program will take place not in Washington, D.C.,

5/7/2020

Survey Underway on Foster Youth Experience During Coronavirus

Foster care researchers in San Francisco are surveying as many current and recent American foster youth as they can to find out what they need and want in the age of the coronavirus and beyond. 

5/6/2020

Immigrant Rights Group Issues Guidance on Family Reunification Process Amid Coronavirus

COVID-19 has complicated the process of reuniting immigrant families with their children when a parent with an ongoing child welfare case is either in ICE custody in the U.S. or has been deported.

4/8/2020

ARCHIVED: Coronavirus, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice, A Running Thread

This thread includes all of The Imprint’s stories and articles on the coronavirus and its impact on children, youth and families published between March 13 and April 10.

For our continuing coverage of the pandemic and how it is changing child welfare and juvenile justice, visit: www.imprintnews.org/coronavirus-kids-and-families