Tag Archives: foster care

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First page of Book of John, part of illuminated manuscript known as Athelstan Gospels (late 9th or early 10th Century), British Library (Cotton MS Tiberius A.ii) (PD)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

The news comes crashing toward us at the speed of light these days.  We cope with it as best we can – ignoring some things, shrugging off others, arguing over (or worrying about) those that strike closest to home.

We can at times be grieved by the news, even wounded by it.  More often, in self-defense, we develop calluses.  Occasionally, we dare to hope.

  • Catholic Church Sex Scandal.   Catholic Cardinal, George Pell, the third highest ranking official at the Vatican, has been charged with multiple sexual offenses by Australia [1].  These involve more than one individual, and are believed to extend back decades.  Pell will be returning to Australia to mount a defense.
  • Mother’s Boyfriend a Threat.  Michael McCarthy, convicted of second-degree murder in the 2015 killing of his girlfriend’s two year old daughter, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Massachusetts court [2].  Evidently, Bella was killed because she did not want to go to bed.  Testimony indicated she had been harshly punished before.  Both McCarthy and Rachel Bond, the girl’s mother, were heroin addicts at the time.  McCarthy will be eligible for parole in 20 years.
  • Opioid Epidemic and Child Abuse/Neglect.   Tragically, incidents of this kind are becoming all too common.  The nation’s opioid epidemic is having a direct impact on children.
    • In urban areas, the number of infants born drug-dependent quadrupled between 2004-2013 [3A]. In rural areas, that number increased by a factor of seven, stretching limited hospital and medical resources to the breaking point [3B].
    • As might be expected, the children of addicts are entering foster care at an alarming rate [4].  Often these children live in deplorable conditions for an extended period before the system takes notice.  Trash and vermin, illicit drugs, and drug paraphernalia fill the home.  Milk and food are absent.
  • Preventing Hot Car Deaths. Meanwhile, Bishop Curry, an 11 year old Texas boy, has invented a device that may aid in preventing the deaths of children left unattended in a vehicle [5].  When the “Oasis” detects a child inside a vehicle alone, it texts parents and police while blowing cold air until assistance arrives.  Toyota is exploring the possibilities.

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse

Fault Line

A 7 y.o. Philadelphia girl is reported to have been sexually assaulted by her 59 y.o. foster father [1].

A first assault had been reported. However, the child’s natural mother and the child, herself, were not initially believed. The girl was placed in foster care after her natural father accused the mother of abuse she adamantly denies.

The story is much like thousands of others across the country. A governmental entity charged with the protection of at risk children removes them from one perilous setting only to place them in another.

Often this is not the result of neglect and callousness, so much as overwork. Caseloads can be overwhelmingly high, even for the most dedicated social workers.

Funds for human services departments are chronically inadequate and foster parents few, trustworthy or not. Other governmental (or political) obligations are routinely viewed as more pressing, and given priority in budgets. There are not many well-heeled lobbyists for at risk children. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Politics, Sexual Abuse

Even Solomon

New Jersey police recently found two children, aged 5 and 10, living in an unheated storage unit. The situation came to light when the boys’ mother was arrested for allegedly slashing her boyfriend’s tires.

How are those of us concerned with the welfare of children to respond?  If these children are placed into the foster system, we cannot be sure of the quality of care they will receive.  Clearly, their mother would benefit from counseling – not to mention employment training.  And what of their father?  Does he bear no responsibility?

Social workers wrestle with such imponderables daily.  Solomon would be at a loss to supply an answer. All the rest of can do is support programs that benefit abused and neglected children, in the hope one life may be salvaged at a time.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty