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As many as 47% of all sexual abuse allegations are false. Some estimates are much higher.

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California CPS News Archive

California News Coverage

by Joe Gould

When Spc. Alexis Hutchinson's airplane left Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., for Afghanistan on Nov. 5, she was not on board.

The 21-year-old single mom stayed home because she had no one to care for her 10-month-old son. Her mother in Oakland, Calif., initially took the boy in but became "overwhelmed" and refused to keep him for the deployment. Hutchinson, an Army cook assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, was arrested the day after she skipped her flight. She is confined to Fort Stewart, Ga., hoping for a discharge instead of a court-martial.

Army Times

November 28, 2009

by Robert Stacy McCain

Sexual abuse accusations by St. HOPE Academy students against Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson were apparently covered up, possibly with "hush money," according to a 61-page report issued by congressional investigators.

Failure of school officials to report sexual abuse of minors violates California state law, investigative staff of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) noted in their report on the June firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin.

The American Spectator

November 23, 2009

by Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera

Vacaville police took custody of a 6-year-old boy on Friday evening after they arrested his father, who they say kept a sophisticated indoor marijuana grow room in their house.

The boy was removed from the house and is currently under the custody of Child Protective Services, Sgt. Denise Quatman said. "Obviously, with the type of narcotics in the residence, there was some level of child endangerment," she said.

San Francisco Chronicle

November 14, 2009

by Rene Lynch

How do you lose 17 pounds in one week, set a record for being the first woman to lose 100 pounds in nine weeks -- and then go home for not losing enough weight?

The 30-year-old social worker from Newport Beach had a heartbreaking history: She ended up in foster care because her mother was a homeless drug addict, and then ate her way up to nearly 500 pounds as a way to deal with the pain.

Los Angeles Times

November 11, 2009

by Deia De Brito

The school's Wellness Center, staffed with six to 10 adults, provides full-time therapists who deal with issues ranging from reproductive health to gang violence.

The 24-hour center at SF General Hospital collaborates with Child Protective Services, the police department and the district attorney to investigate crimes against youth. Interviews are conducted at the hospital's multidisciplinary interview center, where forensic staff question adolescents behind a one-way mirror.

San Francisco Mission Local

November 3, 2009

by Thadeus Greenson

As disgust with the California Legislature continues to grow to record levels, a ballot initiative entered circulation this week to revert state legislators back to part-time status.

Holt's initiative proposes to reduce the Legislature's regular session by more than half, whittling it down to no more than 95 days a year. It would also slash lawmakers' pay by "at least 50 percent." Currently, legislators receive a $116,208 annual salary, which is intended to allow them to maintain two homes. Lawmakers also currently receive $162 per diem on days when the Legislature is in session.

Contra Costa Times

November 2, 2009

by Gregory Smart

All it takes to begin the potential destruction of a family is a call to one of the child protective "hotlines" in every state. The call can be made anonymously, making the hotlines potent tools for harassment.

Though state laws generally encourage, or require, reports if you have "reasonable cause to suspect" maltreatment, child savers urge us to call in our slightest suspicions about almost any parental behavior. (One group has published a comic book telling children to turn in their parents to "other grown-up friends" if they get a spanking). The hotlines then forward the calls to Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies who send workers to investigate. These workers can go to a child's school or day care center and interrogate them without warning.

San Diego Courts Examiner

October 31, 2009

by Liz Kellar

A trial in a lawsuit filed last year alleging a school counselor forced a 12-year-old student at Seven Hills Middle School to take a pregnancy test has been pushed out until spring.

Local lawyer Troy Vahidi - with the help of the Pacific Justice Institute - filed suit in October 2009 on behalf of the girl, identified in court documents as C.R. The trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 27, but in a pre-trial conference Friday, Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tamietti rescheduled it for March 23.

The Union

October 17, 2009

by James Rainey

Gail Helms told me how she happened on the pictures and the headline on the front page of Sunday's Times: "Flawed County System Lets Children Die Invisibly." The tears came to her eyes. She put the paper aside for a while.

Reading about two teenagers dying in foster care would be painful for anyone, but doubly so for Helms. The stories served up another reminder of the anger and despair she felt 14 years ago, when her grandson Lance was beaten to death after a judge returned the boy to his violent, drug-plagued father.

Los Angeles Times

October 16, 2009

"One cannot be neutral in situations of injustice, and in his memoir, That Bird Has My Wings, Jarvis Jay Masters exposes the complex problems of a system that has resulted in a disproportionate number of blacks in the U.S. prison system.

Jarvis Jay Masters spent years in foster care before he was sent to various juvenile detention facilities and, ultimately, San Quentin. While serving a sentence for armed robbery he was implicated in the death of a prison guard, and though he takes full responsibility for his past actions, Masters maintains his innocence in regards to the murder that landed him on death row.

PR Web

October 16, 2009

by Geoff Johnson

Six children have entered Child Protective Services after agents from the Tehama Inter-agency Drug Enforcement Agency broke up a marijuana operation worth at least $160,000 Tuesday morning on Dream Way.

Gerald Franklin Williams, 33, and Shawna Marie Murphy, 37, both of Red Bluff, may face charges of willful cruelty to a child on top of marijuana growth and distribution charges. The couple left a 7-month-old infant in a master bedroom that had been converted to dry processed marijuana.

Contra Costa Times

October 15, 2009

by Annie

Local schools are gearing up to provide the H1N1 Vaccine to children. An Tuolumne County health official has the audacity to compare this highly controversial vaccine to food in a statement, which was published today by MyMotherLode News.

Parents should be aware that these vaccines are experimental and have not been properly tested. Are you willing to allow your children to be treated as Guinea pigs? Before you subject your child to the H1N1 vaccine or FluMist the nasal spray equivalent, please do your homework.

Twain Harte Times

October 13, 2009

by Bill Johnson

Sonora, CA -- While some Mother Lode residents may be concerned about the risk of the new H1N1 vaccine, Tuolumne County Health Officer Dr. Todd Stolp assures the public this is a pure vaccine.

By the end of the month an additional 8,000 doses will be on hand. Dr. Stolp adds, "At that time we'll be able to initiate our school vaccination program. Students will only be vaccinated upon the approval of their parents or legal guardians."

My Mother Lode

October 13, 2009

Community activists today are calling for the appointment of a federal monitor to oversee the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services after reports in The Times about the deaths of children in that system.

The Times series has examined flaws in the safety net for children being monitored by the county. From January 2008 to early August 2009, at least 268 children who had passed through the child welfare system died, according to internal county records obtained by The Times.

Los Angeles Times

October 12, 2009

by Karen de Sa

Declaring that troubled kids deserve care in family homes, not institutions, Santa Clara County will close its decades-old shelter for abused and neglected children.

The closure Thursday of the 132-bed shelter is years in the works, following lawsuits and biting grand jury reports. National child welfare experts have repeatedly called for the county to stop housing vulnerable children in large groups.

San Jose Mercury News

September 25, 2009

by Rick Radin

Roadblocks and delays have forced Contra Costa County's grand jury to shelve its plan to examine the county's foster care program.

The jury successfully sued the county in January for access to case files of foster children. The nine redacted cases the jury received from the county were edited so extensively and delivered so slowly that the jury was unable to begin a meaningful investigation before its term expired June 30, jury foreman Ron Tervelt said.

Contra Costa Times

September 25, 2009

by GateHouse Media News Service

"I can't say what happened in that house that night because I wasn't there," Loriann Britton said in an interview last Wednesday at the home of Diane Stewart in Lake Shastina. "I was with him in the park that day, and he was fine.

Then they called the next day and said he passed away." Britton, 22, who resides in Montague, was talking about her son, Craig Britton, who would have been 2 years old Sept. 11. The child passed away Aug. 29 in the home of the third foster mother with whom he had been placed since he was taken from Britton, his birth mother, by Siskiyou County's Child Protective Services Dec. 9, 2008.

Mount Shasta Herald

September 23, 2009

by Richard Wexler

Recent tragedies could make the system more dangerous for children. Gerardo R., as he is known in court documents, never beat his children. He did not torture them or stab them or brutalize them.

He was a loving father who'd always been a part of his children's lives -- and when their mother lost custody, he immediately stepped forward. But he had to fight for his children's right to live with him. Why? Because he was unable to afford housing deemed satisfactory to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. For that, his children were denied the chance to live with their father and even had their right to have him in their lives terminated forever, until a California appellate court intervened.

Los Angeles Times

September 16, 2009

by Daniel Heimpel

Roughly 4,000 foster youth age out of California's foster care system every year. For most their 18th birthday is not so much a day of celebration as one of total isolation.

In the twilight of his Presidency, George W. Bush signed The Fostering Connections to Success and Increased Adoptions Act of 2008, marking a fundamental shift in the priorities of Child Welfare in this Country. On Tuesday a subcommittee of the Congress' Committee on Ways and Means will convene to discuss the law's lagging implementation.

The Huffington Post

September 15, 2009

by Troy Anderson

FOSTER CARE: Some fear agencies may rashly take youngsters from parents in wake of county fatalities.

Following a series of high-profile deaths of children in Los Angeles County, child welfare experts are warning that foster care agencies could overreact to the renewed scrutiny by tearing hundreds of children needlessly from their families.

Contra Costa Times

September 5, 2009

by Troy Anderson

To prevent a "foster-care panic" in which social service agencies needlessly remove children from homes, foster care expert Richard Wexler offers a few recommendations for the Board of Supervisors...

-- Expand any investigation of high-profile death cases to include equal attention to cases of wrongful removal. -- Seek changes in state law to provide for "total transparency," including opening court hearings in child welfare cases, and most case records, to the public and press.

Los Angeles Daily News

September 4, 2009

BAKERSFIELD -- A former Kern County foster mother who was once suspected in the death of a foster baby has been arrested on suspicion of murdering her adoptive child near Sacramento.

Sabrina Banks, formerly known as Sabrina Stafford was arrested in Visalia for the May 2008 death of her 3-year-old adopted daughter, Lavender Banks. Banks was arrested and charged with two counts of felony willful child neglect.

KERO Bakersfield

September 4, 2009

by Steve E. Swenson

A former Bakersfield foster mother once arrested on charges of willful child cruelty in Kern County is now facing murder charges in Sacramento County in a child's death.

Sabrina Banks, 41, formerly known as Sabrina Stafford, was arrested by Bakersfield police in September 2003 after foster child Angelic Clary, 3 months old, was found dead in her home on Castleford Street.

Bakersfield News

September 3, 2009

by Tracey Kaplan

Rena Alspaw was only 16 when she pulled out a stolen pistol along an isolated wooded trail and shot her ex-boyfriend four times - three to the body and one to the back of the head.

Her case is getting a second look thanks to a 2002 state law that allows certain convictions to be overturned because jurors didn't get a chance to take into account substantial evidence of the role of battering. Alspaw was particularly vulnerable to feeling helpless because she'd been beaten and sexually abused as a child, placed in foster care, emancipated at 15 and had no one to turn to.

The San Jose Mercury News

September 3, 2009

by I-Team

A California appeals court may help to decide the future of Nevada's child welfare system. At issue is whether a lawsuit against the state and Clark County should include all foster children.

The National Center for Youth Law, a California-based child advocacy firm, filed the case in 2006 on behalf of all foster children. It alleges kids in the custody of Clark County regularly suffer from physical abuse, a denial of medical and mental health care, and a lack of a permanent home due to the failures of the system that's supposed to protect them.

September 2, 2009

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