Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Student’s Questioning Violated Fourth Amendment, Court Rules, Education Week

A school resource officer violated the rights of an 8-year-old student when he detained the youth and intimidated him into crying, all to coax a confession from another student who was the real suspect in the theft of a dollar bill, the state’s highest court has ruled.

The Delaware Supreme Court held that the student was “seized” under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and that the officer lacked immunity for his actions. The 3-0 ruling by a panel of the court also reinstated state law claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment against the officer, the state, and the Cape Henlopen school district.

Single Iranian Women Over 30 Can Adopt Girls, Tehran Times

The director of children and adolescence office at the Welfare Organization has announced that a regulation is being introduced that would allow single women over 30 to adopt girls.

Hamidreza Alvand, in an interview with the Persian service of the Mehr news published on Friday, said that the conditions under which single women over 30 could adopt girls are: having no criminal records in following Islamic rules, having good financial status, being in sound physical and psychological conditions, practicing one of the religions stated in the Iranian constitution, not having any sort of addiction to drugs or alcohol, and being free of sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) and other sort of incurable diseases.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 4 million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school, or with peers.  Additionally, 21% of children between ages 9 and 17 have been diagnosed with a mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment.  Despite this high prevalence rate, NAMI reports that in any given year, only 20% of children with a mental disorder are identified and treated. That’s a lot of kids to not receive treatment, and the consequences can be tragic.  Suicide is now the third leading cause of death among youth aged 15 to 24.  Of those children who commit suicide, over 90% have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.   Additionally, 50% of teens with a mental disorder will drop out of school.  Many of these youth will wind up in the criminal justice system.  The National Institute of Mental Health found that 65% of boys and 75% of girls in juvenile detention have at least one mental disorder.  And why are these children so undeserved?  Well one reason is that we continue to cut funding for mental health programs.  In the last three years, states have cut a combined $1.8 billion for mental health care from their budgets.  Additionally, in the last five years, we have eliminated 4,000 inpatient hospital beds.  Dr. Denise Dowd, who authored a paper on firearm-related injuries on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated, “We have plenty of beds for kids with gunshot wounds, but a kid with a mental health problem, that’s another issue.  We don’t have beds for those kids.”  In addition, we have a woefully inadequate number of child and adolescent psychiatrists.  The federal government estimates that we will need 12,624 child and adolescent psychiatrists by the year 2020.  The projected number is just 8,312.  Currently, we have only 6,300 nationally.  Nebraska has only 30 child psychiatrists in the entire state, or one for every 11,000 children.