Twelve Things That Caught My Eye: Foster Care/Adoption/Child-Welfare Edition (September 8, 2020)

1. The Nation: Why Are We Still Ignoring Former Foster Children’s Votes?

During the primaries, the child welfare system barely came up. Julián Castro, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration, was the only candidate to release a child welfare plan. But he dropped out of the race in January. The only mention of the child welfare system in the Democratic Party platform is focused on the sovereignty of indigenous tribal nations under the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law that governs the removal of Native American children from their families.

. . .

Child welfare was an awkward fit for a primary focused on defeating Trump, whose record on the issue has been mixed. While his cuts to basic social services and harsh immigration policies sent more children into foster care, his administration also passed the Family First Act, which had the backing of many child welfare advocates. And some former foster youth praised particular political appointees under the administration.

2.  Austin American-Statesman: What is Texas doing to save foster kids?

The court-appointed monitors in the foster care lawsuit provided a 363-page report this summer detailing “substantial threats to children’s safety” in some larger foster care facilities.

. . .

“Some of these facilities are horrible,” state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, said last  week. “They need to be completely redone or new facilities have to be built to handle the kids in a humane way. (Foster children are) under our care as a state, and we need to spend the resources on that.”

That means making a greater investment — not cutting funds. Earlier this summer the Texas Health and Human Services Commission provided a list of possible budget cuts that included reduced oversight of child care centers and other facilities. We recognize Texas faces difficult spending cuts because of our coronavirus-battered economy. But we must not make up those dollars at the expense of children’s safety.

3. Elise Cutini: The First Basic Income Pilot Program for Foster Youth Is a No-Brainer

The pilot program provides unconditional cash payments of $1,000 to 72 youth between the ages of 21 and 24, with priority given to those closer to 24. It levels their playing field just a little bit more and makes it possible for these youth to pursue the skills training they need to reach a life of self-sufficiency. While 89% of foster youth want to go to college, only 3% graduate. Left to fend for themselves when they emancipate from the foster care system at age 21, they face an impossible choice:  Pay the rent today or stay the course to achieve success tomorrow. 

4. The Yucatan Times: Historic number of adoptions in Yucatan

5. Kerala: 2.5-year-old baby swept off beach by waves while mother clicks selfies

This missing boy, identified as Adhikrishna, was just two and a half years old.

6. York Daily Record: ‘Horrific conditions’: Boy, 12, found dead in feces-ridden room; father and fiancee charged

Police found the boy’s naked body on a bed, covered in feces.

“Claw marks appeared in the child victim’s sheets,” according to a news release from Lebanon County District Attorney’s office. “Max Schollenberger’s bedroom was entirely devoid of light and furniture, aside from the bed wherein he died. The bedroom’s windows contained shades and doors. The shades were taped to the window frames and the doors were screwed shut; the window coverings rendered the child unable to see in or out.”

. . .

Several other children who lived in the home — both from Maurer’s previous relationship and biological children from Schollenberger and Maurer — appeared to be well-adjusted and healthy, the district attorney’s office reported.

7. Back End News: Expert: Cybersex trafficking is a ‘family-based crime’

“OSEC [online sexual exploitation of children] is a serious threat to children and possibly the most devastating form of modern-day slavery,” said Atty. Samson Inocencio Jr., VP, IJM Global OSEC Hub and national director, IJM Philippines. “OSEC involves the actual sexual abuse of children — it is not just sending nude photos as some think. In the cases IJM has been a part of, we know that very young Filipino children were molested by adults, forced to have sex with other children, made to use sex toys to portray sex acts, made to touch themselves, and do other sexually explicit conduct.”

. . .

The “comforts of the home” phrase spins a new meaning for the peddlers or what social welfare organizations label as “facilitators.” Home privacy shields them from being caught committing a crime that sometimes even relatives recruit other children and partake in the payment in return.

8. Times of India: 17-year-old fights to have her child marriage annulled

The man she was forcibly married to is 20 years older, does drugs, ill-treats her and threatens to kill her and her family members unless she moves back with him, she told TOI.

9. Huffpost: ‘It’s Out of Control’: How QAnon Undermines Legitimate Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Child sex trafficking is a dire problem: It happens in all 50 states, almost always at the hands of people the victims know and trust. But QAnon — in its virulent campaign to expose a supposed underground pedophilia ring run by the liberal elite — is exacerbating the very crisis it claims to be fighting. As the movement appropriates and sensationalizes the issue to recruit more followers into its conspiratorial web, legitimate anti-trafficking organizations are suffering significant collateral damage.

10. Psychology Today: What Our Faces Say to Our Children

As if nature is giving us a hint about where important information might come from, babies are born with a preference for face-like shapes (Johnson & Morton, 1991), and in fact, there is evidence that this preference develops before the baby is even born (Reid, Dunn, Young, Amu, Donovan, & Reissland, 2017).

11. Daily Mail: Actress Sally Phillips slams Amazon for selling Down’s syndrome ‘hatewear’ after T-shirts with a slogan calling for the condition to be ‘made extinct’ appear on the site AGAIN


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