Friday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Research crucial to save kids, Atlanta Journal Constitution

The prostitution of children is a crime so heinous that few want to believe it exists. In Georgia in 1999, when youthSpark Inc. (originally the Juvenile Justice Fund) was founded, there were no metrics or methodology by which to measure what we knew to be true. Working on the front line with the Fulton County Juvenile Court, youthSpark pioneered the early movement to combat child sex trafficking and committed to building partnerships, bringing together lawmakers and law enforcement, community leaders, foundations and citizens.

Establishing a body of empirical research in a new arena is groundbreaking, critical work that must be done.

Children With Autism Frequent Victims of Bullying, Education Week “On Special Education” Blog

So let’s just start, with a conversation about bullying: It’s at the top of list of concerns for many educators these days, and a recent article in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics shows that the topic should be of particular concern when it comes to students with autism. The study surveyed 1,221 families of children with autism spectrum disorders, and 38 percent of them reported being bullied in the past month. Twenty-eight percent said they were bullied frequently. The study also found that about 9 percent of children with autism were perpetrators of bullying, with about 5 percent described as “frequent” perpetrators. Close to 70 percent of the victims of bullying reported having experienced emotional trauma as a result of their treatment.

Juvenile Court Judges Latest to Express Concern over Armed Security in Schools\, JJIE

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is voicing concern over the push to put armed police or guards into American schools following the Newtown school massacre of 20 first-graders and six staff last December.

On Tuesday, the Reno, Nev.-based group posted an excerpt of a letter sent to Vice President Biden, who has been leading a month-long effort to gather ideas for more effective gun restrictions and improved school safety. The White House is reportedly poised to reveal some recommendations Wednesday at a midday press conference.

Massachusetts Child Welfare Case Goes to Trial on Tuesday, Children’s Rights

U.S. District Judge William Young has determined that the trial for a federal class action lawsuit seeking to reform Massachusetts’ deeply-troubled child welfare system will begin on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom #18, 5th Floor, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02210.

According to 2011 federal data, Massachusetts ranked ninth worst among 52 jurisdictions in terms of the rate of maltreatment of children in foster care. A December 2011 U.S. Government Accountability Office study shows that almost 40 percent of foster children in Massachusetts were prescribed psychiatric medications, compared to slightly more than 10 percent of children outside of Massachusetts state custody.

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