Weekly Roundup

Photo Exhibit, film, speaker to address juvenile justice issues, Eric Jome, Illinois State University, March 1, 2016.

A photo exhibition focused on juvenile detention centers, the screening of a documentary on the lives of troubled young women, and a presentation on a prison art program will draw attention to issues surrounding the American juvenile justice system. The events, held in March, are presented in collaboration with Illinois State University’s 2016 Social Work Day Conference, which focuses on ways to keep youth out of the justice system.

ADHD in Juvenile Offenders: Treatment Issues Nurses Need to Know, Deborah Shelton, PhD, RN, BC; Gerald Pearson, PhD, APRN, March 5, 2016

It is estimated that 45% to 75% of the young people in the juvenile justice system have one or more disabilities (National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice, 2001; Shelton, 2001), including emotional and behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and developmental disabilities. The most common diagnoses are ADHD, learning disabilities, depression, developmental disabilities, conduct disorder, anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In many cases, young people are dually diagnosed and experience co-occurring emotional and substance abuse problems; more than half also have a diagnosis of chemical dependence (Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2003). Among juvenile offenders, it is estimated that more than 30% may have ADHD (Shelton, in press,), and 40% of boys with untreated ADHD will be arrested for a felony by the time they reach their 16th birthdays (Wasserman, Miller, & Cothern, 2000).

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China’s Two-Child Policy: What’s Next? By Emily Feng, March 4, 2016.

Policies to promote gender equality and support non-marital births have had better luck achieving tangible results in the Scandinavian and European countries, but these policies are unlikely to be adopted by China. “I suspect there will be a bit of a backlash against the gains made by women, similar to the backlash in U.S. post world war when men returned from war and there was pushback for women to resume maternal, homemaker roles,” says Mei Fong, a journalist whose forthcoming book One Child draws from her extensive reporting on the policy. In China, couples who give birth out of wedlock are still fined and their children denied hukou,making them ineligible to access basic social services such as public education.

However, the greatest obstacle to creating programs and provincial laws to implement the two-child policy is economic inequality. The brunt of the demographic imbalance has been dealt unequally among China’s provinces. Cities like Shanghai and Beijing attract millions of transplants and migrant workers each year and have been cushioned from the effects of the labor shortage. Higher living costs and better social welfare systems (for those who have urban hukou, at least) have caused many of China’s urban middle class to voluntarily forgohaving more than one child. Meanwhile, couples in areas like Anhui or Shandong who supply much of the labor that powers China’s labor-intensive industries are more likely to have more than one child – but gauging exactly how much material support and through what channels that support should be offered is unclear. The cost of having a second child can be so prohibitive that some couples who would otherwise want to raise two childrenmay not be able to afford to.

House votes 117-0 to approve Juvenile Detention Cost Sharing Bill, By Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, March 9, 2016.

A bill intended to end the fight over juvenile detention costs is headed to the governor.The Florida House voted 117-0 to approve the measure (SB 1322). The approval came just days after the Florida Senate voted 38-0 to approve the bill. The proposal requires counties that aren’t considered fiscally constrained, usually more affluent, urban areas, to pay $42.5 million for all detention costs in fiscal 2016-17. The state would pay the remaining costs. In the years that follow, the state would spit detention costs 50-50. The state would continue to cover the costs for detention facilities in fiscally constrained counties, usually poorer or rural areas. The state would also cover the cost of detaining juveniles who are out of state.

10 Missing Children Cases Potentially Linked to Greek Mystery Girl

http://news.yahoo.com/mystery-girl-greek-roma-camp-abandoned-mother-lawyers-181620606.html

From Elinda Labropoulou and Laura Smith-Spark at CNN:

About 10 cases of missing children are “being taken very seriously” in connection with the suspected abduction of a girl by a Roma couple in Greece, a spokesman for a Greek children’s charity said Tuesday.

“They include children from the United States, Canada, Poland and France,” said Panagiotis Pardalis of the Smile of the Child charity.

In a case that has generated huge interest in Greece, authorities have charged the Roma couple with abducting the child they call “Maria.” They appeared in court Monday and were remanded into custody pending a trial.

A lawyer for the couple says the pair adopted the child from her biological mother.

The Smile of the Child said the girl, who was found Thursday in a Roma community near Larissa, central Greece, is now being cared for in a group home.

Medical tests carried out on the girl since she was found indicate she is between 5 and 6 years old, slightly older than initially thought, said Pardalis.Police have said they are suspicious of the records the couple provided for the child and for other children in their care. In addition to the abduction charge, the couple is accused of falsifying official documents.

Four officials, including the head of the registry office from which Maria got her birth certificate, have been suspended while a police investigation is under way, the media office of the Athens municipality said Tuesday.

The girl received the document this year, it said. It is unusual for a birth certificate to be issued years later.

1,000 years of Roma discrimination

Authorities asked questions about Maria because she has fair skin and blond hair, while her parents have darker complexions typical of Roma, a race descended from Indian nomads who face widespread discrimination in Europe.

Haralambos Dimitriou, head of the local Roma community, said the couple took the girl in because her Bulgarian mother couldn’t keep her. He said Maria was raised like a “normal” child.

Pardalis said Sunday that she was found in “bad living conditions, poor hygiene.”

Calls about the girl

Thousands of calls poured into Greece after authorities released photos of the girl last week.

Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, whose daughter Lisa Irwin vanished from their home in Kansas City, Missouri, two years ago aged about 11 months, asked the FBI to get in touch with Greek authorities when they heard about the case.

“There is no such thing as a tip too small,” said Bradley, whose hopes were raised despite the apparent disparity in age between their missing daughter and the girl found in Greece.

Authorities released photos of the two adults charged in the case Monday — Eleftheria Dimopoulou, age 40, and 39-year-old Christos Salis — in the hope that the publicity would reach someone who can provide more information about them.

Police said the blond child looked nothing like the man and woman with her, and DNA testing confirmed that they were not her biological parents.

A police statement said the couple “changed repeatedly their story about how they got the child.”

A government news agency said police found suspicious birth and baptism records as well as family registrations that claimed the woman had given birth to 10 children and the man was the father of four more.

Prejudice against the Roma

Prejudice and discrimination against the Roma are widespread in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, Amnesty International says.

Maria’s case plays into old prejudices about them stealing children for forced labor.

Pardalis mentioned such a possibility, saying, “We don’t have any other information if this girl was forced to work or to beg on streets.”

And the government news agency raised “the possibility of the existence of a ring bringing pregnant women to Greece from Bulgaria and then taking their children for sale.” The agency also cited past “reports” that empty coffins were found for infants who supposedly were stillborn to foreign mothers in Athens.

While there is a risk that old prejudices are at work here leading to these suspicions, DNA tests can prove who her parents are as well as the other 10 missing children. This story has given more light to the grave issue of human trafficking. Not only is human trafficking prevalent in the rest of the world, it is sadly all too common in the United States, with Houston, Texas as a hub for trafficked victims.

Kids for Sale? A Dangerous, New Alternative to Working Within the Child Custody System

ABA Journal picked up on a fascinatingly disturbing new trend some parents are taking advantage of when their foreign adoptions aren’t working out: put them up for sale.

Adopting a child requires, at minimum, court approval and legal paperwork.

Abandoning a child, biological or adopted, can result in civil liability or even criminal charges.

Traditionally, a child who proves too much for a family to handle might be sent to live with relatives or placed in a boarding school, entirely at the discretion of his or her family. But the Internet now offers another option, and it can be disastrous, reports Reuters.

With no government oversight or approval, parents simply offer a troublesome child in an online ad for placement with strangers. Providing them with a power of attorney rather than formal custody of the child allows the new adults in his or her life to enroll the child in school and apply for government benefits without scrutiny from authorities, the article says.

And perhaps the most eye-opening quote from the article:

“I would have given her away to a serial killer, I was so desperate,” wrote one mother in a 2012 post about her 12-year-old daughter.

See Reuters for the entire series on this new phenomenon, called “private re-homing.” Over a 5-year period, 261 children were advertised on Yahoo alone. Thankfully, Yahoo took notice of the practice and shut it down. At least 70% of the kids were foreign-born and the vast majority were identified as having special needs.

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The reason it appears most families are interested in buying? The price. Families can now “purchase” a child for free and forego the typical price tag that can range into the tens of thousands. Hopefully legislators take notice of this problem and make this practice a thing of the past. The first step (if the Reuters story is accurate): it should take a lot more to gain temporary custody over a child than to sign a form power of attorney.