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Federal programs helping states cover the cost of placing a child in foster care, grew from $300 million in 1981 to nearly $2.7 billion in 1991. Yet, there is no federal program to help keep a child in his home.

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California CPS News Archive

California News Coverage

by Anthony Bond

An eight-month-old boy died after drinking his mother's milk which contained a lethal cocktail of drugs, it has emerged.

Just five months before his death, court documents say his mother, Sarah Ann Stephens, 32, had been warned to stop breastfeeding because of the high levels of methadone found in Ryder's bloodstream.

September 2, 2013

by Elisha Fieldstadt

The wildfire burning in and around Yosemite National Park has become the fourth-largest in modern California history, fire officials said Sunday as they tackled a blaze which is still only 45 percent contained after two weeks.

The Rim Fire has scorched almost 225,000 acres of California forests and over 100 structures have been destroyed by the fire, according to state fire officials. Eleven residences have burned down so far but a majority of the 5,506 structures currently threatened by the fire are homes, The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported.


September 2, 2013

by Brad Branan

In April 2012, five months before Ryder Salmen was killed by a drug overdose - the result of breast-feeding by his drug-abusing mother, police say - he was the subject of a report to Sacramento County Child Protective Services.

Then 4 months old, Ryder was brought to a hospital because he was lethargic. A drug test found methadone in his system, the same drug that caused him to show withdrawal symptoms when he was born. Court documents say that Stephens was warned to stop breast-feeding Ryder. After receiving the April report, a CPS social worker determined that Ryder was at risk because he was a "drug-exposed infant."

September 1, 2013

TUOLUMNE CITY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Crews fighting the Rim Fire near Yosemite are making progress but the fire continues to grow in the Stanislaus National Forest.

The fire - now the seventh-largest California wildfire in records dating to 1932 - was threatening about 4,500 structures and has destroyed at least 23. Thousands of firefighters have arrived since the fire erupted Aug. 17 west of Yosemite in the Stanislaus National Forest, where the slopes of the Sierra begin to rise above the eastern side of California's Central Valley. An expected increase in humidity Tuesday afternoon could help suppress flames, said Matt Mehle, a National Weather Service meteorologist assigned to the fire.

August 27, 2013

by Seema Mehta and Abby Sewell

The head of Los Angeles County's embattled child welfare agency said Tuesday the agency is moving to hire 150 new social workers to help ease the caseload of a strained workforce tasked with caring for abused and neglected children.

But members of the county Board of Supervisors expressed frustration that the hirings had not already occurred: Money for the extra workers had been appropriated three years ago, but agency officials apparently left it untapped, thinking they needed additional authorizations. Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas faulted county managers for failing to make an "assertive push" to fill the positions sooner.

August 14, 2013

by Michael Walsh

A Gulf War veteran and his wife claim San Diego County senselessly cracked down on his use of medical marijuana by taking their two young children for one year.

"As a result, they (the children) were deprived of regular, open, and free contact and companionship of family and friends, including their parents," the couple states in a complaint against the county. Michael Lewis says he was exposed to chemical weapons during the war that left him with incapacitating migraines, so he sought a medical marijuana prescription to alleviate the pain - never thinking it would cost him his kids.

August 13, 2013

A family from southern California is suing the City of Coronado after their children were taken away for nearly a year because the father admitted to legally smoking medical marijuana.

According to legal filings obtained this week by the Courthouse News Service, Michael Lewis and Lauren Taylor have filed a lawsuit against Coronado, CA, San Diego County and nine local police officers for what they say is a violation of civil rights that started with a routine visit from law enforcement in August 2011. Attorneys for the family say Lewis was recommended medical marijuana by his physician in order to counter the debilitating migraines he started suffering from after being exposed to chemicals during the Gulf War, but investigators who stopped by their Coronado home two summers ago disregarded the prescription.

August 12, 2013

The director of the Yuba County's Health and Human Services Department acknowledged it was "possible" a mistake was made when a mother was allowed to keep a baby who tested positive for drugs at birth.

Born early on July 13, the infant died 11 days later inside a Linda motel room surrounded by heroin-filled hypodermic needles, witnesses and investigators said. Sierra was arrested for allegedly endangering her other child, a 5-year-old boy, but has not been charged with any wrongdoing in connection with the baby girl's death.

August 12, 2013

by Zach Weissmueller

In April 2013, police officers and a social worker from Sacramento County's Child Protective Services entered the home of Anna and Alex Nikolayev and took their baby, Sammy, away from them. They had no warrant.

The secrecy surrounding CPS stems from the nature of California's juvenile dependency courts which only allow limited press access and seal all court records. While media and other interested parties can petition the court to open the records, this can be a lengthy process and by no means guarantees results. ReasonTV petitioned the court to open the records in the Nikolayev's case and, almost two months later, we have still not received a ruling from the judge.

August 12, 2013

Yuba County Child Protective Services workers noted the mother of a newborn found dead likely had a drug problem and that the mother admitted to using heroin three days before the baby was born, according to court documents.

Her name was Destany. She lived for only 11 days and died inside a room filled with drugs and needles at Linda's Rio Inn and Suites. Yuba County CPS knew something according to court documents. They knew the baby's mother, Jennifer Sierra, likely had a drug problem after the hospital notified the agency that baby Destany "tested positive for morphine and codeine at the time of birth."

August 3, 2013

Monte, Micke Grove Zoo’s 16-year-old mountain lion, was euthanized Tuesday, July 30, 2013, after a long battle with age-related kidney failure.

August 3, 2013

by Brad Branan

The adoptive parents of an emotionally disturbed 6-year-old boy have sued Sacramento County in U.S. District Court, alleging that the county stopped the boy from receiving the care he's guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Robin and Larry Mammen have provided foster care to more than 20 children but encountered a number of difficulties trying to get needed care for Anthony Platz, who has a sensory processing disorder that causes him to have regular outbursts and behave recklessly.

August 3, 2013

A Red Bluff couple charged in the death of a 13-month-old baby will be back in court on Monday.

Isabell Deanna Rios, 19, the mother of the child, David Didio, is scheduled to appear for trial readiness conference, and Daniel Walter Llamas, 20, who waived his right to a preliminary hearing on July 16, is to appear for arraignment on information. Both have pleaded not guilty to charges with felony child abuse with a special allegation of abuse resulting in death.

July 27, 2013

by Gina Loudon

Abruptly, and shortly after an audit was announced for California's Child Protective Services, the agency has completed its controversial investigation into one family's actions, and confirmed there will be no more monitoring.

WND had reported earlier this month that California lawmakers voted unanimously to order an audit of the state's powerful Department of Child Protective Services after parents stunned their representatives with testimony of atrocities.

July 25, 2013

by Toni McAllister

The Board of Supervisors today directed the Executive Office to respond to a Riverside County grand jury report critical of the Department of Child Protective Services for its handling of some abuse and neglect cases, as well as apparent deficiencies in personnel training and standards. Without comment, the board voted 5-0 for staffers to address jurors' concerns within 60 days. The 19-member grand jury submitted a nine-page analysis that identified shortcomings in Child Protective Services' operations.

July 16, 2013

by Juniper Rose

Instances of child abuse in Butte County have decreased steadily as preventive programs reach out to high-risk families.

Over the past five years, the number of children in foster care has dropped from 740 in 2005 to 472 in May 2013. In 2008, there were 4,582 child abuse reports in Butte County and in 2012, there were 3,689. From January through May of this year, there were 1,558 reports of child abuse.

July 16, 2013

by Maggie Avants

The father of the 11-year-old Menifee boy now feared to be dead after human remains fitting his description were found Wednesday said he will make every effort to bring his son's ashes home.

Terry Dewayne Smith Sr. also told Patch late Thursday in a telephone interview that he feels the 16-year-old half-brother of his son, Skylor Atilano-who the Riverside County District Attorney's Office announced Friday it has decided to file a murder charge against in the case - may have been harboring a deep-seeded anger against the boy.

July 13, 2013

by Toni McAllister

Riverside County child welfare workers are not adequately investigating some abuse and neglect cases because they're often swamped, need more training and lack effective procedural guidelines, according to a county grand jury report.

The 19-member grand jury submitted a nine-page analysis of Riverside County Child Protective Services' operations that criticized how the agency and its personnel conduct some investigations. CPS, which is a component of the Department of Public Social Services, is tasked with removing children from homes where they're exposed to danger, as well as placing abused and neglected children in foster homes and aiding in the adoption process.

July 13, 2013

Brooke Mueller is in grave danger of losing her parental rights of her twins with actor Charlie Sheen.

Social workers have determined that the troubled socialite ditched the sober living facility where she was seeking treatment and is now renting a nearby beach cottage in San Clemente, Calif., so her boyfriend can visit, a source revealed. Mueller, 35, has temporarily lost custody of Bob and Max, four, while attempting to get clean.

July 13, 2013

by Victor A. Patton

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict Friday in a civil lawsuit against the city of Merced and a Merced police officer who used a Taser on a legless man during a confrontation in 2009.

The eight-member jury in federal court here began deliberations about 2:30 p.m., but at 6 p.m. their deliberations were deadlocked - 4 to 4 - and a hung jury was declared. Williams also claimed officers humiliated him by leaving him on the pavement with his pants down and genitals exposed after he'd been shocked with the Taser.

July 12, 2013

by Knowles Adkisson

A DUI checkpoint at Carbon Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway resulted in 25 arrests Friday night, five of which were alcohol-related.

One driver was arrested for driving under the influence, while four suspects were arrested for open alcohol containers and sent to court, according to a Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station press release. 17 unlicensed drivers were arrested and sent to court. Two suspects were arrested for outstanding warrants, while another person driving with a suspended/revoked license was arrested and sent to court.

July 1, 2013

by Alexis Driggs

The Malibu City Council will consider a resolution that aims to curb sales and the use of rodenticides in the city next week.

The resolution, if passed, will urge local business against selling anticoagulant rodenticides, urge residents and property owners against using rodenticide on their properties and commit the city to not using rodenticide for maintenance work. The resolution is sponsored by Councilmembers Lou LaMonte and John Sibert, and will be considered at the council meeting on July 8. According the agenda, this type of secondary poisoning is known to affect hawks, owls, foxes and coyotes, among other California wildlife.

July 1, 2013

Although marijuana may still be illegal in most states, moms and dads across the country are starting to voice their support for its use and legalization.

Diane Fornbacher is the publisher of LadyBud magazine and has worked in marijuana advocacy for over 20 years. On HuffPost Live, she recounted how her son's mention of hemp at school led to a visit from Child Protective Services.

June 25, 2013

by Nathan Lean

During the last weekend in July, The Kolbe Academy, a Catholic homeschool program located in Napa, will host a conference in Sacramento where educators and home school instructors will gather to discuss how they can "engage the culture in a year of faith.

Ordinarily, such a program would come and go unnoticed. But this year, featured amongst a lineup of distinguished speakers, is a controversial anti-Muslim blogger who civil rights organizations have labeled a "hate group leader." His scheduled appearance casts a negative light on what should be a positive event. It also raises questions about why a man whose writing was cited thirteen dozen times by the Norway terrorist Anders Breivik, a man who slaughtered 77 youth campers in Oslo in 2010, was ever invited to speak about youth education in the first place.

June 25, 2013

by Rachel Swan

Deeming early childhood education an effective shield against crime, the income gap and high school truancy, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors recently passed a recommendation to funnel $5 million in Measure A tax revenue...

The proposal - which originated from District 2 Supervisor Carole Groom and a broad coalition of teachers, child care workers and policy researchers - intends to solve a learning achievement gap that's become a scourge in the county, with 42 percent of third-graders not reading proficiently.

June 25, 2013

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