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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.
Pennsylvania CPS News Archive
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DHS Releases 2016 Child Protective Services Report
HARRISBURG - Today, the Department of Human Services (DHS) released the 2016 Child Protective Services report.
In 2016, 46 children lost their lives as a result of abuse, up from 36 in 2015. Seventy-nine nearly died as a result of abuse, an increase from 57 in 2015. Every child fatality and near fatality is closely examined by review teams to determine what, if any, risk factors may have contributed to the child's death with an eye toward preventing future child fatalities.
May 3, 2017
OPEN MINDS To Host Web Briefing On Innovative Technologies Influencing The Child Welfare System
GETTYSBURG, Pa., Dec. 3, 2015 -- Children in the foster care system have very unique needs as a result of high levels of trauma, transiency, psychotropic medication use, and higher rates of hospitalization and readmissions.
They are also subject to more "touch points" - interacting with foster families, biological and kinship relations, medical consenters, child protective services, judges, health care providers, child placing agencies, and advocacy groups, for example. To meet these unique needs and better coordinate care for children in the foster care system, many provider organizations are turning to technology. From smartphone apps that help find placements for children, to e-communications for coordinating care, to remote service delivery via iPad - there are a number of new technologies that are improving care for this special population.
December 3, 2015
Some hospital visits can't wait for Pope Francis to leave Phila.
Given that massive security for the papal visit could make it tough to get to city hospitals on Sept. 26 and 27, health-care providers are striving to reassure patients - even though plans are in flux.
City officials have outlined layers of security - including bridge and road closures, security checkpoints, and limited public transit - to protect the pope and up to 1.5 million visitors. Measures will be phased in the evening of Sept. 25 and continue through the morning of Sept. 28, making for four very unusual days.
August 23, 2015
Robert And Holly Greiner: Husband And Wife Shared Taste For Sex Acts With Children
Like most married couples, Robert and Holly Ann Greiner shared interests in common. According to the charges they now face after they were arrested on Friday, the interest that bound this couple together was deviant sex acts with children.
The Greiners, of West Manheim Township, Pennsylvania, were busted on Friday after a police investigation into the reported sexual abuse of two children, a 10-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. According to a criminal complaint against Robert and Holly Ann Greiner, the couple abused the two children over a period of several years, touching them...
June 29, 2015
Drug overdoses surpass car accident deaths in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is near the top of the list for deaths from drug overdoses, but West Virginia and Ohio face worse epidemic, a report says.
Use of prescription drugs and heroin is fueling the problem, and the number of deaths from drug overdoses now surpasses car accident-related deaths in Pennsylvania and 35 other states. "We are really one of the epicenters in the country," said Dr. Neil Capretto, medical director at Gateway Rehabilitation Center, a private nonprofit with locations across Pennsylvania.
June 23, 2015
New changes to child protective services law take effect Wednesday
After nearly a decade on the House floor, amendments to Pennsylvania's child protective services law officially go into effect this week. And the changes are plenty.
As a result of changes to the law, the requirement of inflicted pain has been reduced from severe to substantial. The definition of serious physical injury also has been broadened, to bodily injury. According to Revay's presentation, bodily injury is defined as impairment or substantial pain, rather than severe pain or lasting impairment, as the previous standard dictated.
December 28, 2014
Book details experiments on orphans
A half century later, Charlie Dyer still vividly remembers the day he was picked to join what was called the "Fernald Science Club." It was 1954 and at age 14, he had already spent nearly half his life in a succession of Massachusetts institutions.
It took decades before Mr. Dyer learned that he and the boys he still considers brothers were little more than guinea pigs. A state task force in 1994 found Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists fed the unwitting boys radioactive oatmeal and milk for a Quaker Oats nutrition study.
November 4, 2014
After death, VA persists to collect 59 cents
AVONDALE, Pa. - The first letter addressed to the late David Perry arrived five weeks after he died at home June 5.
Sent from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the envelope was to be opened "by addressee only." Perry's wife Helena opened it anyway. "You remain eligible to receive (VA) health benefits," it read. A handwritten yellow sticky note added, "Please provide copy of death certificate."
October 3, 2014
Pennsylvania Parents Charged with Homicide in Starvation Death of 9-Year-Old Son
When 9-year-old Jarrod Tutko Jr.'s body was discovered on Aug. 1 in his Harrisburg, Pennsylvania home, he weighed just 16 pounds.
The child's parents, Jarrod Tutko Sr. and Kimberly Tutko, have been charged with criminal homicide, according to court documents obtained by WPMT. "He was dehydrated, malnourished," Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said during a press conference on Monday, according to the TV station. "There was dried, caked fecal matter on the bottom of the child's feet and his hands and fingers nails also had fecal matter on them."
October 2, 2014
State wants to revoke child care license at Greater Pittston YMCA
PITTSTON - The Department of Public Welfare has filed documents to revoke the child care license at the Greater Pittston YMCA Day Care.
Executive Director Mary Ann Dziak received notification by mail, which stated, "The Department of Public Welfare has made a decision to REVOKE your certificate of compliance to operate a child care center known as Greater Pittston YMCA Daycare located at 10 North Main Street, Pittston."
August 1, 2014
Infant Left in Car for 4 MINUTES and the PARAMEDICS Must Examine Her?
A Yardley Mother is facing charges, after police say she left her 10 week old daughter unattended in her car while shopping at a Lower Makefield drugstore.
Police say 47-year-old Cynthia Kelly left the baby in the car with the motor running shortly after 2pm on May 31st. The store's surveillance cameras showed that the child was left in the car for about four minutes before the baby was spotted in its car seat by a man in the parking lot.
July 14, 2014
Police Confiscate Healthy Baby Because It Was Born At Home
A Pennsylvania woman claims doctors took her seven-day-old healthy baby and called police and social workers simply because she gave birth at home. She also says that doctors at St. Joseph's Hospital transferred her baby to another hospital.
Doumbouya and her husband refused permission, but they didn't realize that the doctors had already decided to move their daughter to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, she says. The mother and her husband, Bilal Smith, only learned of the transfer when a nurse told them the baby was being moved. They had never given permission nor signed any paperwork authorizing the action. Doctors informed her that the baby would have to be transferred to Children's because St. Joseph's lacked the proper instruments to examine her.
June 25, 2014
Sandusky case leads to tougher stand on reporting child abuse
Amid a flurry of new state laws designed to bolster Pennsylvania's defenses against child abuse, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey proposes a national standard for identifying people who would be required to notify law enforcement when they suspect child abuse.
The measure was first proposed in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, and would require states to designate nine groups of people who work with or care for children as mandatory reporters. Pennsylvania's child abuse hotline registered 26,664 reports of suspected child abuse and/or neglect in 2012, more than any other year on record.
May 17, 2014
DISGUSTING. Unbelievable. Sickening. There are a thousand more adjectives to describe yesterday's astounding news that no criminal charges will be brought against the cops who terrorized 22 Philly bodega owners.
A Philadelphia plainclothes narcotics squad had barreled into the immigrants' bodegas, guns drawn. They had cut the wires on the stores' video surveillance systems, robbed thousands of dollars from the cash drawers, stolen food and merchandise and then trashed the shops on their way out the door. One bodega owner even had footage of the cops cutting the video wires.
April 25, 2014
New Child Welfare Specialization Available for Social Work Students at Penn
The School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania has announced a new child welfare specialization within its master's of social work program.
Designed to integrate clinical and macro social work practices across the field of child welfare, including child protective services, in-home services, foster care, school adjustment and social issues, the specialization guides students to integrate evidence-based practice and management strategies to successfully work with children and youth in a variety of situations.
March 17, 2014
Planned Parenthood caught covering up child rape in Philadelphia
In a review of inspection reports posted recently by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pro-Life Action League has uncovered some very disturbing findings concerning two Planned Parenthood facilities in Philadelphia.
Under Pennsylvania law, statutory rape is a mandated reportable incident. Planned Parenthood's policy was flat-out wrong. The Pennsylvania Department of Health made very clear in its report: Sexual intercourse with a child less than 13 years of age is always a crime without regard to the age or relationship of the offender, and without regard to the "consent" of the child. ... Under Pennsylvania law, a child less than 13 years of age is incapable of consent to sexual intercourse...
January 23, 2014
Case dropped against Sullivan County CY&S caseworker
The Commonwealth has dropped its case against Sullivan County Children & Youth Services caseworker Elaine Margaret Wich, who had been accused of failing to report a case of child abuse to a law enforcement agency.
After reviewing the case, prosecutors determined that Wich "had technically complied with the law," said Joe Peters, the communications director for the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. "It appeared (to the prosecutors) that she had technically and legally complied with the law in terms of reporting (requirements)," Peters added.
September 21, 2013
Philly Soft Pretzel Factory: An empty storefront, and a $32K tax bill
Shannon Melleady's dream collapsed on a Sunday in early April, when she locked the door on her Philly Soft Pretzel Factory franchise for the final time.
Less than five years before, Melleady cut a ribbon, handed out some hot ceremonial pretzels and officially opened the store in Clifton Park. She and her husband, Ray, put $350,000 in savings and loans on the line. Four of their five children worked with them, making something Ray ate daily while growing up in Philadelphia.
September 8, 2013
Kids snatched 'without warrants, without evidence'
Parents organize to fight child-services-agency abuse
There have been horror stories in abundance recently about the misbehavior of child protective services workers across America who abuse parental rights and traumatize children. Some of those tales have come out of Pennsylvania, and now a coalition of parents is saying they've had enough. They are organizing under the name of the Operation CYS Reform and Family Law Reform and aim to stamp out abuse first in the state, and then nationwide.
August 21, 2013
Shifting focus, York County reduces need for foster care
Despite a growing caseload, York County has decreased the number of children in foster care over the past six years, focusing on rehabilitating broken families and placing at-risk children with kin instead of strangers.
Recently released data from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shows the number of children placed in foster homes fell by 45 percent, dropping from 633 in 2006 to 345 as of this past March. The decrease is part of a statewide trend after a bundle of foster-care-reduction initiatives were unveiled several years ago. York's 45 percent decline outperformed the state's overall decrease of 34 percent during the same six-year period. The number of children in foster care statewide fell from 21,395
August 19, 2013
Judge won't drop murder charge against Pa. faith-healing parents; victim was 2nd child to die
A judge upheld murder charges Wednesday against a fundamentalist Christian couple in their infant's faith-healing death, saying things might be different if their toddler hadn't died four years ago "under strikingly similar circumstances."
Their probation in that case required Herbert and Catherine Schaible to seek immediate medical help if another child was sick or injured. But they instead prayed over 8-month-old son Brandon before he died of pneumonia in April, according to their police statements.
August 7, 2013
Judge Gets 28 Years After Making $2m for Sending Black Children to Jail
Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, 63, serves as an example of why the private prison industry can do more harm than good.
Ciavarella worked alongside owners of private juvenile facilities to ensure that the prison remained occupied. The more prisoners equated to more profits for the owners of the prison. As a result, Ciavarella would sentence offenders with small offenses to months and, at times, years behind bars. He once sentenced a teen to three months in jail for creating a MySpace page that mocked her school's assistant principal. Ciavarella also sentenced another teen to 90 days in jail after a simple schoolyard fight. But after a federal investigation, it was discovered that Ciavarella and his colleague, Judge Michael Conahan, received more than $2.6 million from privately run youth centers owned by PA Child Care.
August 3, 2013
Feds seize gold coins worth $80 mln from Pennsylvania family
A federal judge has upheld a verdict that strips a Pennsylvania family of their grandfather's gold coins - worth an estimated $80 million - and has ordered ownership transferred to the US government.
In the midst of the Great Depression, then-President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that America's supply of double eagles manufactured at the Philadelphia Mint be destroyed and melted into gold bars. Of the 445,500 or so coins created, though, some managed to escape the kiln and ended up into the hands of collectors. In 2003, Switt's family opened a safe deposit back that their grandfather kept, revealing 10 coins among that turned out to be among the world's most valuable collectables in the currency realm today.
July 21, 2013
Religious exemption for child abuse needs repealed
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Prince v. Massachusetts (1944) that parents' religious beliefs do not give them a constitutional right to engage in practices that compromise a child's health or safety.
Why, then, does Pennsylvania have a religious exemption clause that protects parents from child abuse and neglect laws? Why is it that both pending Pennsylvania House and Senate bills, which are attempting to redefine child abuse, continue to endorse the religious exemption clause? This exemption has contributed to scores of preventable deaths of children.
July 16, 2013
Suit: Workers fired for recommending interracial adoption
TWO BLACK MEN, both of whom are former employees of the Women's Christian Alliance Foster Care Agency in Philadelphia, claim they were fired for recommending that a white, married couple adopt a black child.
Akeem Dixon, a former recruiter, and Randolph Sanders, a former intake supervisor, filed a federal lawsuit last week against the Women's Christian Alliance (WCA) Foster Care Agency, which contracts with the city Department of Human Services. The 2-year-old boy at the center of the suit, who is referred to only as "Child X," was in the care of a single, black foster mother in June 2012 when his placement goal was changed from foster care to adoption.
July 2, 2013
Alert Kidjacked to Pennsylvania CPS news!
Foster Child Bill of Rights
The Foster Child Bill of Rights was voted on and passed, in Pennsylvania (1973) and in Virginia (1983), and has been adopted by various other states in recent years. This is a new section, data will be added regularly so be sure to check back.
June 24, 2012
Playdate Gone Seriously Wrong
A two-year-old visiting with a playmate happened upon pain medication and apparently ate it. The parents immediately rushed the child to the emergency room where CPS was promptly called, along with the police who are charging these parents with endangering the welfare of a child. Maybe the parents should have just let nature take it's course, instead of seeking proper care for an accident.
June 24, 2012
Jacked Up: PA: Help Needed
The Pennsylvania Office of Children Youth and Families (OCYF), are out of control. They are removing children from loving, caring families and letting the real child abusers keep their children. My children were taken over 20 months ago, we have done everything CYS has asked for and are not even close to having our children returned.
May 15, 2010