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Despite more than a decade of intended reform, the nation's foster care system is still overcrowded and rife with problems. But taxpayers are spending $22 billion a year - or $40,000 a child, on foster care programs.
California CPS News Archive
California News Coverage
Child Protective Services can do more
The mission of CPS is to protect children from abuse and to remove children from conditions where they are not safe.
The law stipulates that if safe conditions can be provided, it is best to keep the child with the family or relatives.
Ventura County Star
October 5, 2010
For those looking to take in foster children, myths abound
STOCKTON - When Janice Henry first went through the adoption process, she had a husband and an adult biological daughter. About 15 years later, her husband had died, but she was ready to become an adoptive parent again, this time as a single mom in her 60
"Sometimes I'm really tired and frustrated, but I say a prayer: 'Lord, just give me the strength to do what's right for my babies,' " said Henry, who now has five daughters, 2, 5, 20, 21 and 48. "I know that it can be done. It's harder, and it can be a struggle, but I believe in God. He makes a way."
October 5, 2010
Former Riverside County Child Welfare Worker Sentenced
A former Riverside County Child Protective Services worker will spend the next five years in jail.
That's because Sean Lamont Birdsong pleaded guilty to having sex with a 15 year-old-boy he used to take care of.
KPSP News 2
October 1, 2010
California reduces possession of marijuana from misdemeanor to 'infraction'
A month before California voters decide the fate of a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that puts those caught possessing small amounts on the same level as those caught speeding.
No more time and expense wasted on potential jury trials for those caught with an ounce or less of weed, in other words - and no more criminal records for offenders. The latest poll on Prop 19, by the way, has 52 percent in favor.
October 1, 2010
Former County child welfare worker pleads guilty to imprisoning and committing lewd acts on a minor in his care
RIVERSIDE -- A former Riverside County child welfare worker pleaded guilty today to imprisoning and committing lewd acts on a 15-year-old boy who had been under his care.
Sean Lamont Birdsong admitted one count each of assault with intent to rape or sodomize, lewd acts on a minor, child endangerment, false imprisonment and witness intimidation, with an enhancement for committing the latter crime while out on bail. The plea was made during a status hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Richard T. Fields, who sentenced the 38-year-old defendant to five years in state prison.
The Valley News
September 30, 2010
Sara Kruzan, Sentenced as a Teenager to Life Without Parole, Asks Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for Her Release 16 Years Later
Sacramento, CA - Sara Kruzan, who was just two months past her 16th birthday when she shot her 36-year-old pimp in 1994, has filed a clemency petition asking California Gov. Schwarzenegger to commute her life without parole sentence to time served.
Now 32, Sara has spent half her life in prison, where she is a model prisoner and working toward a college degree. At the time of her sentencing, the California Youth Authority evaluated Sara and determined that she could be rehabilitated in the juvenile system, which would have resulted in her release at age 25. Instead, Sara was sentenced to serve the rest of her life in adult prison.
National Center for Youth Law
September 29, 2010
Los Angeles County Settles Civil Rights Case Arising From Alleged Misconduct of its Social Workers for $220,000
Frank and Ola Marshall, the maternal grandparents of the two minors who were removed from their home and detained in foster care for forty-four days in 2006, alleged that social workers removed the children in the absence of probable cause.
The County of Los Angeles settled a civil rights action brought by the grandparents of two minors for the warrantless removal of the children from their home in violation of the family's constitutional rights to familial association free from unwarranted government interference.
September 18, 2010
California Court of Appeal Affirms Mom's $4.9 Million Award Against Social Services Agency
A California Appellate Court found this week against Orange County and its Social Services Agency, and Affirmed what is called a "Substantial" damages award arising from a Civil Rights Verdict obtained in May 2007.
After in depth review of extensive briefs and a complex record, Division Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal for the State of California issues its opinion today affirming an Orange County jury's verdict awarding Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick approximately $4.9 million against the County of Orange, and two of its social workers.
September 18, 2010
Social Services Department launches online customer survey
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. -- The Lake County Social Services Department is beginning an online customer service survey to gauge how it's serving the community.
The agency, headquartered in Lower Lake, is the county department with the largest budget - $45 million - most of which comes from the state, as Lake County News has reported. It oversees numerous offerings, from In-Home Supportive Services to Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, food stamps and a variety of other relief-based programs.
Lake County News
September 17, 2010
Readers' Forum: Expanding chances for state's most vulnerable kids
ON AUG. 31, the very last day of the legislative session, the state Senate passed a bill that will make sweeping changes to California's Child Welfare System.
Passed by the Assembly earlier in the year, AB12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, now sits on the governor's desk. With the stroke of his pen, the bill would become law, bringing millions of federal dollars to the state every year, and providing older foster youth a chance at the bright, productive future they deserve.
Contra Costa Times
September 11, 2010
Vaccine refusals are on the rise
Getting inoculated for diseases such as whooping cough and measles used to be a childhood rite of passage. Now with shifting parental attitudes about vaccine safety, a growing number of California children are entering kindergarten without shots.
The Watchdog Institute, found that waivers signed by parents who choose to exempt their children from immunizations for kindergarten enrollment have nearly quadrupled since 1990. California allows parents to opt out of some or all shots on the basis of personal beliefs, be it religious objections or distrust of the medical establishment.
Schools with the highest exemption rates tend to be private schools, public charter schools, and traditional public schools in affluent areas. Among schools with 25 or more kindergartners last year, 14 had immunization opt-outs for more than 15 percent of their kindergarten class. The top was the Waldorf School of San Diego in City Heights, at 51 percent.
Sign On San Diego
August 23, 2010
'Unschool Your Teen' seminar coming to California
Looking for a self-directed high school experience for your homeschooled teen? Look no further than Diane Flynn Keith's upcoming seminar entitled, "Unschool Your Teen" Seminar coming October 2, 2010.
The all-day workshop takes place in Palo Alto, CA, and promises to answer some of the biggest unschooling questions yet! The seminar is designed to remove the guesswork, frustration and fear, save you time and money, and give you the confidence you need to succeed.
National Homeschooling Examiner
August 11, 2010
For L.A. County's child protective services agency, change is slow
For years, the top director of Los Angeles County's child protective services agency sat in an office hidden behind an unmarked, locked door.
When current director Philip Browning arrived, he made an early decision to use a doorstop to prop it open. And he publicly posted his own name and picture as well as those of his managers, prompting protests by some who feared for their safety.
August 3, 2010
Foster mother, boyfriend arrested in connection with hammer-beating death of 2-year-old girl
Los Angeles police have arrested a foster mother and her boyfriend in connection with the March death of 2-year-old foster child Viola Vanclief.
Prior to Viola's death, Barker had been the subject of five previous child-abuse complaints, including one substantiated allegation that she had severely neglected her own biological child in 2002, confidential records show. Under state rules, both adults should have been disqualified from caring for or living with foster children.
Los Angeles Times
July 20, 2010
Accused Walmart Baby Sellers No Representation
SALINAS, Calif.- Patrick Fousek and Samantha Tomasini had to wait a long time as the judge got through all his other cases Wednesday, and they will have to wait longer to hear if the judge thinks there is enough evidence to go to trial.
Samantha's mother who told us the family is working toward custody of "Peanut" was not in court today, but Samantha's aunt was. She is working closely with Child Protective Services to keep "Peanut" in the family.
KION Right Now
July 8, 2010
No Charges Filed Against Parents Who Left Baby In Car Overnight
ANTIOCH, Calif. -- Prosecutors Wednesday decided not to file charges against an Antioch couple whose 7-month-old baby died after they accidentally left her in the car overnight.
The couple has lost custody of their other child, Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney John Cope said. He said his decision not to file charges does not mean the legal system is ignoring the case, and the parents are being monitored by Child Protective Services and family court.
KTVU San Francisco
July 8, 2010
Foster care program aims to unite teens with permanent families
Aspiranet, one of the largest nonprofit social service agencies in California, has launched a new program, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care, one of the first programs of its kind in Ventura County.
Created for at-risk youths requiring intensive support and structure, MTFC teams foster parents with an Aspiranet program supervisor, individual and family therapists and a life skills coach to work collaboratively with troubled foster teens to reunite them with permanent families (birth, relative or foster) within six to nine months.
Thousand Oaks Acorn
July 8, 2010
Minimum Wage Order - Sonora News
Governor Schwarzenegger is ordering that 200,000 state employees have their salary dropped to the federal minimum wage.
It is in response to July 1st passing without a budget in place. The Governor's plan calls for the workers be paid back in full retroactively once the budget is passed.
July 2, 2010
Editorial: CPS finally comes to terms with itself
It took a long time, but Sacramento County's Child Protective Services finally confessed its sins. Top officials acknowledged Thursday that CPS' own mistakes contributed to the January 2008 death of a 4 1/2-year-old foster child in its care.
Now the agency's duty - and its challenge - is to follow through on the fixes, in hopes that no other child will end up like Amariana Crenshaw, found burned beyond recognition on the floor of a vacant house. The report concluded that several CPS workers took at "face value" the explanations of the girl's foster mother, Tracy Dossman, and had a "bias" against Amariana's birth mother.
The Sacramento Bee
June 28, 2010
Couple tries to sell baby at Walmart
A couple in California tried to sell their baby in Walmart. The baby they were trying to sell is 6 months old, and was put up on sale by the couple for $25 outside a Walmart store.
The couple is Patrick Fousek, 38, and Samantha Tomasini, 20. The couple was arrested on child endangerment charges. The Child Protective Services has taken the baby away from the couple. The wife reported that she had breast fed the baby while under influence of drugs.
June 26, 2010
Sacramento CPS says bias against birth mother may have contributed to foster child's abuse
Bias against the birth mother of Amariana Crenshaw led Sacramento County Child Protective Services workers to "discount" her concerns that Amariana was being abused in her foster home, according to an internal review released by CPS Thursday.
Amariana was taken from her parents, only to die under mysterious circumstances in a foster home with a long history of serious problems. That is the lead that should have begun the Sacramento Bee's story today about the release of CPS' internal investigation into Amariana's death.
June 25, 2010
Six kids with special needs raise money to fight childhood cancer
The Chapman children earn $550 by selling lemonade outside their Roseville house.
Normally this wouldn't be that big of a deal, said mom Laura Chapman. She and her husband Jim are currently raising four sons and two daughters. But these young salespeople are something unique -- all six children are special needs adopted out of foster care. Each child has neurological, genetic or emotional disorders, including autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment issues and more.
June 16, 2010
Abby Sunderland: A lesson in brave parenting
The parents of 16-year-old solo sailor Abby Sunderland aren't crazy or insane, they're subversives, bucking the overprotective parenting trend.
Not at all. Unusual, yes. But hardly "the worst parents in the world," as I've heard them called recently. In fact, they may be the opposite. Like Paul Romero, the father of Jordan Romero, the 13-year-old Big Bear Lake teenager who climbed Mt. Everest last month, the Sunderlands are practicing something bold and rare these days: brave parenting.
Los Angeles Times
June 16, 2010
Oxnard project to house, teach teens in foster care
Six teenage girls who have bounced around the Ventura County foster care system for much of their lives will soon have a place of their own to call home.
The nonprofit group Aspiranet is renting a two-story house in a quiet Oxnard neighborhood as part of its new Transitional Housing Placement Program for foster care teens. The program is designed to teach independence and responsibility, and prepare the girls for the rigors of life after they are forced out of the foster care system, typically at age 18.
Ventura County Star
June 14, 2010
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