Extra Extra : Social services

Judge 'sickened' by abuse program's failures

Minnesota law mandates that child-protection agencies investigate child abuse cases with evidence of egregious harm and substantial endangerment. Yet since 2005, more than 20,000 cases of children deemed at “high risk” for more abuse have been routed to family assessment, in which social workers don’t investigate the cases and instead try to work with families.

A Star Tribune review of more than 400 child abuse cases found family assessment was used after children were reported to have been severely physically and sexually abused or abandoned. The review showed that dozens of children were later harmed, including at least ...

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In Virginia, thousands of day-care providers receive no oversight

Day-care providers existing on the unregulated side of Virginia’s two-pronged child-care industry operate largely in an environment short on rules. By keeping their operations to five children or less, providers avoid licensing and regulations, training requirements, inspections and background checks.

The result: Of the at least 60 children who’ve died in Virginia child-care homes since 2004, 43 were in unregulated establishments.

Read the full story from The Washington Post here.

Reports to child protection agencies overlooked in Minnesota

A flawed system of investigating suspected child abuse and neglect has contributed to a disturbing statistic in Minnesota. Since 2005, 54 children have died from maltreatment despite reports to child protection agencies indicating that the kids could be in danger, according to a special report from the Star Tribune.

The story follows the case of Eric Dean, who died at age 4 after various daycare workers and others had filed a combined 15 reports of suspected abuse, only one of which was shared with local authorities.

7 children lived in filth despite child welfare visits

The Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare did not consider a home so filthy it had to be condemned an imminent threat to the seven children living inside, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found.

The deplorable conditions prompted the district attorney’s office to charge a 26-year-old woman already on probation for child abuse with multiple counts of child neglect.

The family was already well-known by child protective services, according to court documents. Still, caseworkers did not raise any red flags about the conditions of their home, which included floors covered in excrement and walls crawling with bugs.

Fifty-nine 911 calls this year to sex offender group homes

Police have been called to two residential facilities housing sex offenders nearly 60 times since the beginning of the year, according to a report by WIVB in Buffalo, New York. Twice police reported sex offenders missing from the homes. Neighbors and officials are concerned about the number of calls as well as the close proximity to a children’s playground.

Sex offenders were relocated to the community after a secure facility was shuttered.

Extra Extra Monday: Peace Corps medical care, homeless students in the suburbs, license plate cameras

Trail of medical missteps in a Peace Corps death | The New York Times

A Peace Corps spokeswoman called Nick Castle’s death, from a gastrointestinal illness, “a tragic experience.” To examine its own conduct, the agency took the unusual step of engaging an outside American expert, whose report concluded that despite medical missteps by a Peace Corps doctor who missed signs of serious illness, Mr. Castle’s death could not have been prevented.

But the story of his death — pieced together from interviews and confidential reports and documents, including his autopsy — raises serious questions about Peace Corps medical care and ...

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Extra Extra Monday: ATF stings, voter fraud and the new subprime bubble

Investigation: ATF drug stings targeted minorities | USA TODAY

The nation's top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not ...

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Group home for disabled children struggled to provide adequate care

"The recent death of a 10-year-old disabled foster child at an Anne Arundel County group home was just the latest in a series of problems at LifeLine, the state contractor that has been paid millions in taxpayer funds to care for “medically fragile” individuals, a two-month investigation by The Baltimore Sun has found."

Read the full story from The Baltimore Sun here.

Sudden infant death: Agency-linked babies more at risk

"Children in homes supervised by state social workers die suddenly and unexpectedly at least twice the rate of infants statewide, according to an analysis of the most recent available data by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. That suggests to child welfare advocates that more should be done to educate caretakers of some of the state’s most vulnerable children about how to minimize the risk of sudden death."

Read the full story from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting here.

D.C. family homeless shelter beset by dysfunction, decay

"The D.C. General emergency shelter is supposed to be a cleaner place to stay than an alley, but records show that a young girl woke up with so many insect bites on her legs and her bottom that she had to be taken to the hospital.

It is supposed to be safer than a crime-ridden street corner, but a log shows that shelter officials were told that two teens pinned a 9-year-old to the floor of a bathroom and one urinated in the boy’s mouth."

Read the full story from The Washington Post here.