Category Archives: News
Recent news articles related to foster care and adoption.
UNION COUNTY, N.C. —
A Child Protective Services supervisor is being investigated after deputies found an 11-year-old boy handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck, according to a press release from the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Wanda Larson is now behind bars and so is her husband, Dorian Harper.
The deputy was answering an animal service complaint at 4116 Austin Road when he came across the shivering child handcuffed by the ankle to the railing.
Moments later, a man appeared on the porch along with another child that released several dogs onto the officer.
The deputy retreated back to his patrol car and the man then removed the handcuffed child from the porch and put the dead chicken on a barrel.
When backup authorities arrived, the officers entered the dwelling and found five children between the ages of 8-14 and removed them from the home.
The couple adopted four of the children and were the foster parents of the 11-year-old child.
Harper and Larson were charged with intentional child abuse, inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment and cruelty to animals.
Larson was also charged with willful failure to discharge her duty as a public officer. Larson is currently employed as a supervisor with Union County Department of Social Services.
They are in jail. Harper is being held under a $500,000 secured bond.
Larson’s bond is set at $525,000.
Both will be in court Monday.
*Special thanks to a Foster Care Survivors Facebook friend for sharing this with us.
- Must Read – Facts About Foster Care (fostercaresurvivors.wordpress.com)
- Family changes futures through adoption (emilyabrak.wordpress.com)
- RaiseAChild.US Launches National Adoption Month Campaign to Encourage LGBT People to Build Families Through Fostering and Adoption (prweb.com)
- US: Foster care and sex trafficking survivor testifies on Hill (abcnews.go.com)
A first-of-its-kind study released on Nov. 12 links birth and child protective services records in Los Angeles County, revealing new insights regarding births to teens involved with the child welfare system. The new data documented that one in four teens in foster care gives birth before age 20 and as many as 40 percent of these young mothers have a second child during their teen years.
In the county overall, four in 10 teen mothers have been reported as alleged victims of abuse or neglect before pregnancy, and 20 percent have a history of substantiated maltreatment. Rates of abuse and neglect among children born to teens with a history of maltreatment victimization are two to more than three times the rates of children whose teen mothers had no involvement of child protective services. Read More…
14/11/2013 10:45:00 By Cynthia Monticue
Funded by the Hilton Foundation, the study was also led by Julie Cederbaum of USC and Barbara Needell and Bryn King of UC Berkeley.
- Must Read – Facts About Foster Care (fostercaresurvivors.wordpress.com)
- Family changes futures through adoption (emilyabrak.wordpress.com)
- CPS alarmed at number of foster deaths (kxan.com)
- Children & Youth: More in foster care for parents’ habits (republicanherald.com)
BY definition, foster children have been delinquent, abandoned, neglected, physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused, and that does not take into account non-statutory abuses like heartache. About two-thirds never go to college and very few graduate, so it’s a safe bet that those who do have an uncommon resilience. Read More…
By MICHAEL WINERIP Published: October 30, 2013
A version of this article appears in print on November 3, 2013, on page ED20 of Education Life with the headline: Children of the State, Students on Their Own.
Three children who were victims of a swinger’s club in a small East Texas town have been removed from the custody of their foster parents after accusing their caretakers of physical and emotional abuse, a child welfare official said Wednesday.
A judge in Wood County on Tuesday ordered that the three siblings — a 13-year-old girl, 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl — plus a 17-year-old boy be placed in the temporary custody of Child Protective Services, said Shari Pulliam, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
The siblings had been living with John and Margaret Cantrell, who is the person who had first alerted authorities about the swinger’s club in Mineola, located about 80 miles east of Dallas. The couple had been taking care of the children since 2005. The 17-year-old boy was adopted by the Cantrells.
Sarah King, an attorney for the Cantrells, declined to comment Wednesday. No charges have been filed against the couple.
Officials said the three siblings had been some of the victims of a “kindergarten” where young children learned to dance provocatively at the so-called Mineola Swinger’s Club in 2004. To help them perform, prosecutors said the children were given Vicodin-like drugs the adults passed off as “silly pills.” Seven people were convicted in the case.
Pulliam said CPS was alerted on Oct. 31 when the 16-year-old girl ran away from the Cantrells home in Mineola after a “physical altercation between her and Mrs. Cantrell.”
“We were called by the Cantrells to pick up that 16 year old,” Pulliam said. “They were refusing to parent that child any longer.”
CPS workers interviewed the girl as well as the other three children, all of whom made allegations of abuse, Pulliam said.
According to court documents, the 16-year-old girl alleged she had been “slapped across the face” and “popped in the mouth” by Margaret Cantrell. Another child was allegedly beaten with a wooden back scratcher until it broke.
CPS had previously investigated similar allegations made against the Cantrells but they were not substantiated, Pulliam said.
The agency had also known that John Cantrell had faced charges in 2008 of a lewd act with a child related to a case from California. But nothing from that case could be used because the charges were later dropped, she said.
A judge had ordered that the three siblings be placed with the Cantrells, though CPS was not in favor of it, Pulliam said. The agency also didn’t approve of the Cantrells’ adoptions of the 17-year-old boy or another child who is now an adult.
“We felt there were problems with the home and we did not want the children to stay there,” she said.
Pulliam said CPS is still investigating the abuse allegations and will work with the Cantrells, offering them counseling and other services.
A status update on the case is scheduled for Dec. 6.
Copyright Associated Press
| Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 | Updated 9:15 AM CST
Tracy and Greg Hacker have parented 34 kids and counting. Six and half years ago the couple chose to open their home to foster children, and since that time, they have changed the lives of several kids as well as their own lives. This month, the Hackers are trying to raise awareness about foster care and adoption with “Walk Me Home…to the place I belong,” a 5K walk set for Nov. 23 in Gardendale.
“For us, to be real honest it has been a God story from day one,” Tracy Hacker said. “We were going to adopt and weren’t really sure how that was going to happen or how that was going to work. God just really opened the door for foster care, an idea that we never really thought about. We knew that was where we needed to be. And the rest has been blessing on top of blessing.”
In addition to the 34 foster kids they have cared for, the Hackers have two biological daughters. They learned about foster care through a teacher at Snow Rodgers Elementary School when the girls were attending. By the time they brought their first foster child into their home their daughters were 11 and 13 years old. Their oldest daughter is now off at college, with the other one not too far behind. But now, the family also includes two adopted sons, Kenny and Evan. The boys were 3 and 4 years old when they are adopted, and they are now 5 and 6 years old.
Adopting Kenny and Evan is just one of the many blessings of being a foster parent, Hacker said.
“It’s a hard process,” she said at a recent Gardendale City Council meeting when promoting the 5K walk. “It’s a hard thing for your heart when they go home, but it’s an incredible blessing for your family and to a community that will open their homes and hearts to do that. We’re honored to be a part of it.”
Right now the family has six children in the home, including one of their daughters, their two adopted sons, and three foster girls. They have had as many as eight kids in the home at one time. Hacker said she will continue to welcome foster kids until, “God says that’s enough.”
“There are a lot of kids in the world that really need families,” she said.
At the council meeting, Hacker said she was surprised to learn a lot of those kids live right in her community. “Of the 34 kids that we’ve had in our home, all 34 have lived within 30 minutes of my house here in Gardendale,” Hacker said. “That has hit me over the years. This is something that people need to be aware of. They need somebody to open their heart and their home and just to love them.”
Buddy Hooper with Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association also spoke at the council meeting and said the “Walk Me Home…to the place I belong” 5K walk serves two purposes. “One is to bring awareness for the need for foster parents to help the children in the area, and the other is to raise funds for a scholarship fund that our association has been doing since 1999,” he said. “This is our way of giving back to foster children. Our goal this year is $20,000 for our walk. I think that’s going to be easily accomplished for all the support we’re getting statewide. I want this to be an event that Gardendale is proud of.”
The walk will be held Saturday, Nov. 23, which is National Adoption Day, starting at Buffalo Wild Wings in Gardendale. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and the walk will begin at 10 a.m. Adults are asked to pay a $10 registration fee, and children under the age of 18 years old are encouraged to attend free of charge. There will be tents, vendors, inflatables, hot chocolate and other activities at the event. Strollers will be allowed during the walk. To register for the walk and for more information visit www.walkmehome.org.
“We’re just looking for people to come out and support us and be there that day,” Hacker said. “Hopefully it will touch someone who will open their home and be a foster parent.”
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Virginia has the highest rate of children who enter the foster care system only to never find a permanent home, according to state rankings. It’s called “aging out,” when a child turns 18 and goes out on their own.
That’s about to happen to Mark, who lives at a group home in Richmond. Since he is in the custody of the state, we can only give his first name.
Mark turns 18 in December and will be on his own, with no permanent family to turn to, if he is not adopted by then. Read More
22 Aug 2013 / Posted by cr
Jed Maddalon entered foster care after he was found chained to a bed. While he now has a loving family, Jed’s journey through North Carolina’s child welfare system was harrowing. WCNC Charlotte featured his story and it begins with Jed almost dying:
“He was severely neglected to the point of dehydration and starvation, almost death. He was basically left to fend for himself, physically abused,” says Brooks Shelley, Jed’s dad. Shelley and his partner, Billy Maddalon, formally adopted Jed in 2010.
“He was locked in a room and fed from a dish on the floor in a pretty primitive way. I don’t know how else to describe it, except he was raised as a dog,” Billy says.
Jed and his family know this because Jed has his foster care files. The files show that he went through about 30 different placements–all before he turned 13 years old. The trauma of being moved around so much took its toll–Jedwould destroy things in his foster homes to see if his new parents would abandon him like all the rest:
“Once you’ve been backstabbed so many times, it’s just hard for you to trust and love,” he says.
Because Jed often ran away from foster homes, the state sent him to a mental institution. That’s where Brooks and Billy first met Jed, and their memories of that time show what it’s like for some kids who end up institutionalized. According to Brooks, ” “”He seemed lost and defeated.”
“That was a nightmare. Probably the worst place I’ve ever been to in my life,” Jed recalls.
“I’ve likened it to One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest but you know you see that kind of stuff on TV and you don’t actually think it’s real. I’m here to tell you, it’s the juvenile version of it,” Billy says.
Billy and Brooks soon decided to become foster parents and go through the challenging process of getting Jed out of the institution. While both of them had specialized training for dealing with Jed’s PTSD, they were stunned by the level of trauma Jed had been through:
Brooks says, “He liked to eat beneath the table. He would hoard food because he was convinced there wouldn’t be enough food.”
Jed tried to run away, but his new parents refused to give up. Instead, they gave him the love and help he needed. Jed is now 19 and knows that he’s finally with a family that won’t abandon him:
“It took me a while to say that I actually trust them and love them,” Jed admits. “Because I had never trusted anyone or loved anyone.”
Article Obtained From www.childrensrights.org
Too many children are trapped in foster care.
- On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in out-of-home care in the United States.
- During the last year about 650,000 children spent some time in out-of-home care in the United States.
- Children entering foster care remain there on average for nearly two years.
- Despite the common perception that most children in foster care are young children, the average age of the children in foster care is over nine years old.
- The median amount of time children spent in foster care increased between 2000 (12 months) and 2011 (13.5 months). On average, children in the American child welfare systems spend about two years — 23.9 months — in foster care. Ten percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.
- While most children in foster care live in family settings, a substantial minority — 15 percent — live in institutions and group homes.
- Nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems.
- About half of children under five years old in foster care have developmental delays.
- Up to 80 percent of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems.
- More than 60,000 children living in foster care have had their biological parental rights permanently terminated. The assumption is that once parental rights have been terminated, the State should work as rapidly as possible to ensure that the child is safely in a new adoptive home and that the adoption is finalized. Yet of these children, the average time they’ve been waiting to be adopted is nearly two years (23.6 months).
- In 2011, 11 percent of the children (over 26,000) exiting foster care aged out of the system. Research has shown that teens aging out of the system are highly likely as adults to experience homelessness, poor health, unemployment, incarceration, and other poor outcomes.
- Sixteen percent of children in foster care in 2011 were in foster care for three or more years before they were emancipated.
Information Obtained from www.childrensrights.org
- Today, 400,000 kids… (peachypatchyblog.wordpress.com)
“Forever,” Lisa Cantanese whispered to her newly adopted daughters Ashley, 8, and Maryann, 5.
The two siblings sat around a courtroom table with Cantanese, her husband, Shaun Fryling, and two children they already had adopted: Justice, 12, and DeAndre, 7.
Together, they had officially become a “forever family” during a heartwarming adoption ceremony conducted last week by Erie County Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin.
“I didn’t know we were having a party,” said Rodwin, kidding the girls before handing each their presents – a stuffed animal and big picture book in which the judge wrote: “Happy Adoption Day.”
“Believe it or not,” Rodwin said. “I’ve been working on this case for a long time, and I’m excited, too.”
November is National Adoption Month. Nationwide, there are more than 500,000 children in foster care, and approximately 114,000 children waiting for an adoptive family…Read More…