Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

National Juvenile Defender Center releases Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Delinquency Cases 

Schaible Children to Get Court Ordered Medical Care, The Philadelphia Enquirer

Herbert and Catherine Schaible’s seven [remaining] children were placed in temporary foster care after the couple told police they did not bring their 8-month-old, Brandon, to a doctor when he showed serious signs of illness last month. The Schaibles – members of a church that shuns medical care – are on probation for the 2009 death of their 2-year-old son, Kent.

While authorities await the results of Brandon Schaible’s autopsy, child welfare workers are monitoring the medical needs of the seven other Schaible children, said Mythri Jayaraman, a lawyer for Catharine Schaible, after a probationary status hearing Monday at the Criminal Justice Center.

At a Family Court hearing last week, a judge ordered Department of Human Services workers to ensure the children’s “routine and special” medical needs were being met, Jayaraman said . . .  All of the children have received medical examinations and any needed immunizations, and appear to be healthy, Hoof said.

Mother’s Quest to Find Treatment for Son Highlights Mental Health System’s Limitations: Chicago Woman Says She Faced Many Barriers to Acquiring Long-Term Care for Child, Who Spiraled Downward into Drug Use, Incarceration, Chicago Tribune

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Marciano bounced from emergency room to jail to the streets. When he believes he is Jesus Christ or Tupac Shakur or tells his mother she needs to “watch her back,” Gabel said, she double-checks the locks on her house in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood and alerts her neighbors that her son might come home. She estimates he has been hospitalized 45 times.

Americans have longed for better ways to prevent and treat mental illness in children for years, and the desire is especially amplified after school shootings such as Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 or Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December. The haunting questions stubbornly remain the same: Are parents clueless? In denial? Why don’t they just do something about their troubled children?

Gabel has tried so hard for so long that she is emotionally and financially drained, she said. Her quest illuminates the challenges of navigating a mental health care system that many say is broken, leaving too many children and young adults with psychosis and nowhere to turn . . .

Of the 15 million U.S. youths with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, less than half will get medical attention, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  There are treatments that work, “but frequently you cannot get them to the people in crisis,” said Susan Resko, executive director of the Balanced Mind Foundation, a national children’s mental health advocacy group based in Chicago.

The hurdles are especially high in Illinois, which slashed more than $100 million in mental health services from 2009 to 2011 and perennially dwells at the bottom of state rankings, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. During Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget address in March, he emphasized mental illness should be a “top priority” and proposed an additional $25 million investment to improve care.

Gabel, an administrative assistant and mother of three, fears her 24-year-old middle child is now too ill to respond to medical intervention, not unlike a cancer patient who ignored early symptoms and is left with a body riddled with tumors.  “He’s just so far gone now,” she said . . .

“My mom has fought long and hard for that boy,” Stephanie Marciano said. “She’s talked to anybody and everybody that she possibly could, and he’s just fallen through the cracks every time.”

Specific events in Marciano’s life — such as the state’s decision to not provide him with an Individual Care Grant and his incarcerations — stand out as turning points in what his 26-year-old brother calls “a slow, gradual spiral downward.”

“He should have been one of the ones accepted, and he got shunned,” said Tim Marciano, who works in banking. “In the meantime, he was just rotting in prison, when he should have been getting help in a mental health facility somewhere. Look at where it’s gotten him.”

Ex-Browerville Athlete Admits to Sexual Assaults on Teammates, Minneapolis StarTribune

A former Browerville High School student has admitted that he was among athletes who sexually assaulted teammates in incidents that stretched from the small western Minnesota community to a downtown Minneapolis hotel.

Seth Kellen, 19, pleaded guilty Monday in Todd County District Court to felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for using force or coercion during sexual contact. Specifically, Kellen admitted to digitally penetrating a 17-year-old teammate in March 2012 while the basketball team was in Minneapolis for the state tournament.

Kellen also was accused of pulling down his pants while in a Minneapolis parking-ramp elevator with his teammates and two student managers, ages 11 and 12. He then jumped on teammates’ backs and hit them with his penis, the charges say. He had also been accused of sexually assaulting football and basketball teammates numerous times . . .

When sentenced, Kellen is expected to be given a 30-day jail term and placed on probation for 10 years. Terms of probation include being assessed for anger management and counseled about sexual boundaries. If he complies and doesn’t violate probation, the felony case will be dismissed, said County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen.

In November, co-defendant Connor S. Burns, 19, pleaded to an agreement that will dismiss charges against him if he has no similar offenses during his five years of probation. Burns will not have to serve any time. Another player, Seth Christiansen, was tried as a juvenile and also came to a plea agreement.

Attorneys for Kellen and Burns had argued that the alleged assaults were part of a common culture of horseplay and hazing that’s gone on for years at the school in Browerville, which has about 790 residents. They insisted that the acts weren’t sexual.

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