Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Oklahoma School Shuts Down After Parents Threaten Transgender 7th Grader

From Time:

A school district in southern Oklahoma was forced to shut down for two days after parents used a Facebook group to threaten violence against a transgender seventh-grade student.

Superintendent Rick Beene closed Achille Public Schools on Monday and Tuesday after parents posted claims on a Facebook group “Achille ISD Parents Group” that the student, who identifies as a girl, was looking over the stalls in the girls’ bathroom.

“Heads up parents of 5th through 7th grade,” parent Jamie Crenshaw said in a now-deleted post. “The transgender is already using the girls bathroom. We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY… Looks like its going to be a long year.”

Read more here.

September 11, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Childhood Trauma Brings its Own Health Problems for Foster Families

From The Washington Post:

“Raise your hand if you think every child deserves a loving home,” the social worker said.

She held up a photo of five brothers and sisters, all teenagers.

I glanced around the room and tried to read the eyes of other potential foster-care parents at the information session. A dozen couples and a handful of singles ranging in age from late 20s to mid-50s sat in the conference room of a private nonprofit agency in Maryland that handles foster placements. Did they feel as uncertain as I did?

People often say they can’t be a foster parent because it would be too painful to grow close to a child only to say goodbye. But with more than 430,000 kids in foster care in the United States and a decline in the number of available beds in licensed foster homes, according to the Chronicle of Social Change, I wondered whether the real reason for the shortage of foster parents stems from the unspoken fear I harbored: concern about the health and behavioral challenges of kids who had experienced trauma.

Read more here.

September 4, 2018 in Adoption, Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Vatican Expresses Shame and Sorrow Over PA Child Abuse Scandal

From the Guardian:

The Vatican has expressed “shame and sorrow” over the sexual abuse of at least 1,000 children by more than 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, and has said Pope Francis is “on the side” of survivors.

In response to the publication on Tuesday of a detailed grand jury investigation into abuse in the state over a 70-year period, the pope’s spokesman issued a statement on Thursday saying “the Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors”.

“There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow,” said the statement issued in the name of Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See press office.

“The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”

Read more here.

August 20, 2018 in Child Abuse, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Texas Opens Investigation of Child's Death After Leaving ICE Custody

From ABC News:

Texas state officials are investigating allegations that a child died after being detained in unsanitary conditions at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement family facility, the state's child welfare agency announced.

The incident was publicly reported earlier this month and drew the attention of the media and state legislators, but no case was opened because authorities did not know the identity of the child, officials said.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said it formally opened the investigation Thursday after receiving the name of the child.

Read more here.

August 18, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Reunited Migrant Families Share Experiences

From USA Today:

At a sparkling mid-century office building in the heart of Phoenix's financial district, an unusual scene continues to play out.

A van pulls up multiple times each day and out climb several pairs of parents and children, each clutching their belongings in duffel bags or clear plastics bags stamped with the words Department of Homeland Security on the side.

Their arrival at the office building marks the last agonizing chapter as well as the start of an uncertain future for hundreds of asylum-seeking families separated at the border and now being quietly reunited in Phoenix before a fast-approaching, court-ordered deadline. 

Read more here.

August 11, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

11-Year-Old Girl Raped By 17 Men in India

From ABC Channel 13 Eye Witness News:

There is shock in the city of Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu after 17 men were arrested for allegedly raping an 11-year-old-girl, CNN reports.

Anger at the accused was clear when a group of lawyers charged at them as they were exiting court.

The men, who range in age from their 20s to their 60s, could potentially face the death penalty. This is after the government rushed through an emergency law in April introducing capital punishment in rape cases involving minor girls under 12.

That measure was in response to growing public outrage at a string of sexual assaults involving minors.

Now the police say the girl in this latest case suffers from a hearing disability and she was attacked by men who worked in the building where she lives with her family.

Read more here.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Faith-Healing Couple Pleads Guilty to Negligent Homicide After Child Dies

From The Daily Beast:

Two members of an Oregon church that believes in faith healing pleaded guilty to negligent homicide this week in the death of their newborn daughter, who spent hours struggling to breath without ever receiving medical treatment.

Travis and Sarah Mitchell—who prayed over their dying child instead of seeking medical care—were sentenced to six years and eight months in prison on Monday, Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote said in a statement.

“We should have sought adequate medical care for our children and everyone in the church should always seek adequate medical care for our children,” the couple said in a statement.

Read more here.

July 24, 2018 in Child Abuse, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 20, 2018

London Protests Against Trump for Women's Rights, Refugees, Climate Change

From Reuters:

With colorful banners, loud chants and pots and pans banging, tens of thousands of people marched through central London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change, refugee policies, and treatment of women.

Organizers estimated more than 80,000 people demonstrated in London against Trump’s first official visit to Britain as president, and other protests were expected in major cities around the country.

“Trump represents everything I hate: racism, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe. As a mother of daughters I want to show that he can’t treat women like he does,” said Diana Yates, 67, as demonstrators cheered and drivers honked horns in support.

Read more here.

July 20, 2018 in Abortion, Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)