Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ohio Bill Would Require Teachers to Out Transgender Students to Parents

From USA Today:

Teachers would be required to "out" transgender kids to their parents under a new GOP bill introduced in the Ohio state legislature.

House Bill 658 requires any government agent (which includes teachers) immediately report to all parents or guardians if a child "demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner opposite the child's biological sex" or exhibits symptoms of gender dysphoria, which is when someone identifies with a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth.

Under the proposed law, it would also be a fourth-degree felony for aschool or any "government entity" to provide gender dysphoria treatment without consent from each parent or guardian. Treatment includes "educational materials, classes, or programs, and medical, psychological, social, or other professional treatment, therapy, counseling, or other services." 

Read more here.

July 12, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Immigration Protests Across the United States

From CNN:

Americans young and old took to the streets of US cities Saturday to say "Families Belong Together" nearly two months after the Trump administration implemented its "zero tolerance" policy toward undocumented immigrants, prompting the separation of thousands of children from their parents.

The main rally was in Washington, DC, but hundreds of marches, protests and rallies took place across the country in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, Miami, St. Louis, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where crowds called for the immediate reunification of migrant families and an end to family detentions and separations.

According to organizers, protesters have three demands:

They want separated migrant families to be reunited immediately.
They want the government to end family detentions.
And they want the Trump administration to end its zero tolerance policy.

Read more here.

 

July 2, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Deported Into A Nightmare

From The Atlantic:

Edwin Vásquez, a 16-year-old, is learning how to live with fear. One afternoon last fall, as he played soccer on a field near his house in La Rivera Hernández in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, gunfire suddenly rang out, and he barely dodged bullets meant for him. Lurking around the field were members of the Olanchanos, one of six gangs in La Rivera. Although Edwin is not a member of MS-13, the Olanchanos’ rival, it does control the street he lives on. This fact alone marks him as an enemy of the Olanchanos.

After the shooting, he considered joining MS-13 for protection, but suspected the threat was so imminent that he didn’t have time. “Our greatest challenge here is to stay alive,” he said. “To be together with your mom, your family, and to make it to 18 or 22.” So at sunrise the day after the shooting, Edwin and his half brother left for the United States. They passed through Mexico atop la bestia, the train that migrants often ride for part of their journey, notorious for robberies and assaults. Gripping white-knuckled to its roof one night, he watched a man tumble to his death while fending off two men attempting to rape his teenage daughter, Edwin said.

Read more here.

June 26, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Government Proposes New Draft Law to Ban Early Marriage

From Egypt Today:

Egypt's government has proposed a new draft law that includes amendments to the child law article 12 of 1996 which states cases in which parents could be deprived from the authority of guardianship over the girl or her property.

A father who participates in marrying his daughter or son who is under 18 years of age shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not less than one year and deprived from his guardianship over her or him. Any person who signs such the marriage contract shall be punished by the same penalty.

A marriage registrar who witnesses a case of child marriage shall notify the Attorney General. The marriage registrar who doesn't notify the Attorney General shall be subjected to imprisonment for a period no less than a year.

Read more here.

June 25, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act Passes Senate

From Senator Susan Collins:

Today, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA) celebrated the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S. 1091), which would create a federal task force charged with supporting grandparents raising grandchildren as the opioid epidemic increases their numbers. The U.S. House of Representatives must pass the legislation before it becomes law. The bill is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 15 senators and supported by a wide array of child welfare and aging organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics and AARP.

Approximately 2.6 million children are being raised by their grandparents and experts say this number is rising as the opioid epidemic devastates communities across the country. Senators Collins and Casey, who are both members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act last year after an Aging Committee hearing during which witnesses testified about the need for grandparents to have easy access to information about resources available to assist them.

Read more here.

June 10, 2018 in Adoption, Child Abuse, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Refugee Office Loses 1500 Kids

From the Huffington Post:

The government program meant to place unaccompanied children taken from the U.S.-Mexico border into the care of a parent or sponsor admitted last month it lost nearly 1,500 of them.

And it said it isn’t responsible for finding them either.

Senate testimony that was released last month but came to light more recently details how the Office of Refugee Resettlement ― part of the Department of Health and Human Services ― “was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 [children].” That was according to Steve Wagner, acting assistant secretary with the Administration for Children and Families.

Read more here.

May 31, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Former Playmate Kills Self, Son, in Custody Battle

From The New York Post:

A former Playboy Playmate killed herself and her 7-year-old son in a murder-suicide leap from a Midtown hotel penthouse Friday amid a bitter custody battle with her estranged husband, sources told The Post.

The bodies of Stephanie Adams and her son, Vincent, were found on a second-floor balcony area by a guest at the Gotham Hotel, police said.

Adams, 47, had been battling with her husband, Manhattan chiropractor Charles Nicolai, in court, and the dispute had heated up Tuesday when he filed a motion for sole custody of the boy, said his lawyer, William Beslow.

Read more here.

May 24, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

PA Couple Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse, Starvation

From Fox News:

A Pennsylvania couple has pleaded guilty in a case in which prosecutors say three children were so starved for food they peeled paint off the walls to survive.

Joshua and Brandi Weyant pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of aggravated assault, conspiracy, false imprisonment, unlawful restraining and child endangerment.

Police, acting on anonymous tip, discovered the three children, a 6-year-old boy and two girls, ages 4 and 5, locked inside a room at the couple's Halifax Township home in December. Prosecutors say two of the children were close to dying of malnutrition.

Read more here.

February 25, 2018 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Utah Step Closer to Changing Definition of Domestic Violence

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

After another record year of domestic violence in Utah, two bills aiming to shield victims from their abusers moved a step closer to being signed into law.

Eight members of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Friday listened to — and unanimously approved — Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, and Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, as they pitched SB27 and HB165, respectively.

The bills were inspired by the death of Memorez Rackley and her six-year-old son Jase. The two were killed June 6 in Sandy when a man Rackley had dated shot them in the middle of the street. The man, Jeremy Patterson, killed himself shortly after.

Read more here.

 

February 5, 2018 in Child Abuse, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

SnapChat Has A Child Porn Problem

From Bloomberg:

Last year a 13-year-old Illinois boy learned an old, painful lesson about online relationships. After swapping messages with someone who claimed to be a 19-year-old woman in search of nude photos, he eventually sent an indecent video of himself. When he had second thoughts and tried to break off contact, “she” threatened to post the video publicly. He told his parents instead, and they called the police. The culprit turned out to be a 24-year-old man in California who had used similar “sextortion” tactics to exploit five other boys.

While pedophiles have been taking advantage of kids online for about as long as there’s been an internet, law enforcement officials say tactics employed by the 24-year-old Californian are becoming more common in at least one way: He found the 13-year-old on Snapchat, which he told police had become his preferred venue for obtaining child porn.

Read more here.

December 2, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Penn State Child Sex Abuse Admins Surrender for Jail Sentence

From The Los Angeles Times:

Two former high-ranking Penn State administrators surrendered Saturday morning to serve jail sentences for how they responded to a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy.

Former university Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley turned themselves in, according to Lt. Michael Woods, the shift commander at the Centre County Correctional Facility. Wood confirmed their surrender, but said he was not authorized to release any other details from the jail, which is about 135 miles east of Pittsburgh. The lockup is about 7 miles northeast of Penn State's main campus.

Read more here.

July 22, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ending Child Abuse in the U.S.

From Huffington Post:

According to recent data from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, one in 34 children is confirmed as abused or neglected in Massachusetts each year. That’s one case confirmed every 15 minutes.

To get a better picture of the issue, I sat down with Suzin Bartley, executive director of the Children’s Trust, an organization with a mission to stop child abuse in Massachusetts. Bartley also serves as a co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislative Task Force on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. In our interview, we discuss some of the systemic contributors to child abuse, the costs that abuse incurs for the individual and the community, and the most effective ways to end the epidemic.

Does public understanding and definition of child abuse differ across culture and region?

Yes, cultural norms play an important role in shaping parenting practices.

There have been social workers or others who are not necessarily sensitive to cultural parenting practices like corporal punishment or non-Western medicine, and will call them child abuse.

Are they? Yes. Are they intentional or malicious? No.

The key is working with parents to help them create a toolkit of positive disciplinary techniques. Once parents see that those techniques are effective, they will use them. Most parents don’t want to hurt their child.

Read more here.

 
 

June 22, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Family in Indiana Awarded $25M in Child Death Suit

From The Washington Post:

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana officials have agreed to pay $25 million to a couple who was wrongfully accused in the death of their 14-year-old daughter.

The lawsuit filed by Jessica Salyer’s family was dismissed Wednesday after the settlement was reached.

Court documents allege the state Department of Child Services pursued a neglect case against her parents, Roman and Lynnette Finnegan, despite an investigation that showed Jessica died in 2005 from taking prescribed medications that had a fatal interaction.

The department removed two of the Finnegan’s other children from their home and placed them in foster care. The Finnegans were arrested, but the charges were later dropped. They then sued three of the department’s workers, an Indiana State Police detective and a doctor in 2008.

Read more here.

 

 

June 6, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Facebook's Manual on Child Abuse

From The Guardian:

At first, Facebook’s policies seem clear enough. Most start with a clear explanation of what it does and doesn’t tolerate. But often there are caveats. The Guardian has been told some moderators struggle to understand distinctions – and some feel overwhelmed by the task. Updates reflect shifting attitudes and political pressure but can further complicate the job.

Facebook’s policies on graphic violence, non-sexual child abuse and animal abuse reveal its attempts to remain open while trying to ban horrific images. Moderators remove content ‘upon report only’, meaning graphic content could be seen by millions before it is flagged. Facebook says publishing certain images can help children to be rescued. The Guardian is publishing a small selection of slides from the moderation manuals. Some use language we would not usually publish, but to understand Facebook’s content policies, we have decided to include it. See for yourself how Facebook polices what users post.

Read more here.

May 27, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Child Webcam Sex Bust Reveals Widespread Issue

From the Detroit News:

Mabalacat, Philippines — The suspected pedophile could see people banging on his front door through his security cameras. Were they neighbors? Cops?

One had letters on her jacket. As David Timothy Deakin googled “What is NBI?” from the laptop on his bed, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation smashed their way into his cybersex den.

Children’s underwear, toddler shoes, cameras, bondage cuffs, fetish ropes, meth pipes and stacks of hard drives and photo albums cluttered the stuffy, two-bedroom townhouse. Penciled on the wall, someone had scrawled “My Mom and Dad love me” and a broken heart. In his computer were videos and images of young boys and girls engaged in sex acts.

“Why is everyone asking about children coming into my house?” said Deakin, 53, his wrists bound with a zip tie.

Deakin’s arrest on April 20 reveals one of the darkest corners of the internet, where pedophiles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia pay facilitators on the other side of the world to sexually abuse children, even babies, directing their moves through online livestreaming services.

Read more here.

 

May 21, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Judge Shreds Wisconsin Law on Unborn Child Abuse

From Courthouse News Service:

Siding with a woman who spent weeks in jail after she was accused of abusing her unborn child, a federal judge struck down a Wisconsin law that purports to address pregnant women with “habitual lack of self-control.”

Passed in 1997,  Act 292 allowed the state to treat fetuses as children in need of protection or state services if their mothers demonstrate problems with drug or alcohol abuse.

Finding the law unconstitutionally vague on April 27, U.S. District Judge James Peterson rejected Wisconsin’s claims that the statute is merely written in plain English, eschewing “technical words and phrases.”

“The state’s dictionary-definition approach is a festival of circularity, in which the statutory terms are simply replaced with synonyms that add no real meaning,” the 40-page opinion states.

Read more here.

May 6, 2017 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What's behind Indiana's increase in child abuse reports?

From The Greensburg Daily News:

Shortly after an elementary principal alerted deputies something might be wrong with a child who had been absent from school for a few days, the frightened 9-year-old boy was laying in the fetal position in the lobby of the Johnson County Sherriff’s Office.

The boy’s pale face was bruised, scratched and cut. His eyes were partially shut and droopy, strained with broken blood vessels. Dried blood and drainage was coming from his ears. His neck was branded with ligature marks. He was shaking.

When a deputy tried to speak to him that night in October, the boy was disoriented. He couldn’t talk clearly and cried out that he was hungry and asked for food, according to court documents.

The boy’s mother demonstrated to police how she had intentionally and repeatedly hit her son in the groin three or four times, causing swelling, the documents said. She indicated she had lost control and knew it was wrong, but that she did it anyways. She didn’t send him or his brother to school because of their visible injuries.

The boy’s mother, Krystle Nikole Case, 31, was recently charged with two felonies: neglect of a dependent and battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a child. A judge issued a no-contact order that will keep her from seeing her son, even if she is released during her case.

This story is one of nearly 27,000 confirmed child abuse or neglect cases in Indiana each year.

The number of Hoosier child abuse and neglect cases has risen consistently since 2011, according to the Indiana Youth Institute’s annual KIDS COUNT in Indiana Data Book.

The report — which also gives data on homelessness, infant mortality, youth suicide and other topics — details how children are “surviving, not thriving” through 2015 statistics and year-to-year comparisons of the various challenges they face.

James Wide, deputy communications director for Indiana’s Department of Child Services, said although the number of child abuse reports are going up, it’s not for a bad reason. Wide attributes the increased number of reports to more cases being filed because of more awareness about child abuse issues, not necessarily because more incidents are occurring.

His office deals with all sorts of child welfare issues, including handling child support and protecting children from all types of abuse and neglect.

Before 2012, the state didn’t have a centralized child abuse and neglect hotline. Before the hotline, Wide said there were more than 300 numbers scattered across the state that weren’t always answered by a professional — or answered at all.

But the introduction of the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline streamlined reporting. Anyone who calls 1-800-800-5556, any time, is connected to a trained family case manager to describe what they think might be going on with a child.

Read more here.

March 4, 2017 in Child Abuse, Resources - Child Custody, Resources - Children & the Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Court of Appeals finds parents unfit, affirms termination of parental rights

From The Indiana Lawyer:

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Monday a decision to terminate parental rights after both parents failed to show evidence that allowing them to maintain their rights would be in the best interest of the children.

T.B. was born to the mother and father in 2009, then the mother gave birth to a second child, R.K., who had a different father who is now deceased, in 2010. After being convicted of multiple drug charges, the mother was incarcerated in 2013 and has not seen the children since. T.B. and R.K. were placed in the father’s care shortly thereafter.

After father reached out to the Department of Child Services for help in 2014, the department filed a children in need of services petition on behalf of T.B. and R.K. — as well as the father’s two older children — and the court found that the children could remain in the father’s care as long as a safety plan was developed.

A well-child check in May 2014 found R.K. with second-degree burns on his feet, which prompted his and T.B.’s removal from the home and placement in foster care. The children were subsequently adjudicated CHINS, and the father was ordered to participate in visitation, Fatherhood Engagement and individual therapy.

However, father was often vocal about his distrust of DCS and refused to participate in the department’s services. The mother was limited in her ability to participate in DCS services due to her incarceration.

In February 2016, the Tippecanoe Superior Court entered an order terminating the mother’ s parental rights to T.B. and R.K. and the father’s parental rights to T.B., prompting both parents to appeal.

Read more here.

October 1, 2016 in Child Abuse, Custody (parenting plans), Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 8, 2016

New York Law Requires Child Abuse Hotline to be Posted in Schools

From News10:

New York is now requiring that every public and charter school posts the phone number the the state's child abuse hotline. The post must be in a place where students can see the sign. The law requiring such action has resulted in calls from children "around the clock every day."

Read more here.

August 8, 2016 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Child Maltreatment History Should Be a Bar to Being a Foster Parent

 From Youth Today:

It’s just common sense: An adult's past criminal history or history of child maltreatment is not to be balanced against the safety of a child. This is not to say a person with any criminal record should be barred as a foster parent, but certainly an applicant with a substantiated history of child maltreatment, no matter how far in the distant past, should be permanently barred.

Foster care agencies have a legitimate reason to inquire about a prospective foster parent’s criminal and child maltreatment history, be it an inquiry, arrest, charge or conviction. Why? Quite simply, the agency seeks to maximize child safety.

In addition, a good background check helps identify a superior applicant while simultaneously reducing the agency’s potential liability. In many states, the agency responsible for approving foster parent licenses is permitted to waive or not even take into account an applicant's child maltreatment or criminal history if the offense happened many years ago or if the agency's internal risk analysis indicates no cause for concern.

Read more here.

August 5, 2016 in Adoption, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)