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NEWS
November 15, 2011
Baltimore is the preferred venue for same-sex adoptions. That makes me so proud to be born and bred in Baltimore. The city's circuit court obviously puts the welfare of the children before politics. What difference does it make if it is a "same-sex" or "traditional" couple as long as the child or children will be raised in a loving environment? How many children have been abused or killed in "traditional" households? How many children are in foster or other care in need of a loving home?
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NEWS
August 2, 2014
Maryland families who are involved in low risk child maltreatment cases - such as leaving a child unattended - now have an option called Alternative Response that allows them to receive a social service response that is appropriately measured to suit their circumstances. In the past, families with children who experienced a rough patch had only option - to be investigated by the local Department of Social Services - no matter whether the incident was minor or severe. As a result, the relationship between families needing help and the caseworkers whose job it was to provide it was often adversarial.
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NEWS
August 2, 2014
Maryland families who are involved in low risk child maltreatment cases - such as leaving a child unattended - now have an option called Alternative Response that allows them to receive a social service response that is appropriately measured to suit their circumstances. In the past, families with children who experienced a rough patch had only option - to be investigated by the local Department of Social Services - no matter whether the incident was minor or severe. As a result, the relationship between families needing help and the caseworkers whose job it was to provide it was often adversarial.
NEWS
July 22, 2014
The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation is out with its 25th Kids Count data book, measuring the wellbeing of children nationwide across a variety of health, economic, educational and community measures. In some ways, kids are much better off than they were in 1990, when the first book was published, and in some ways they are faring worse. For the good, we can credit a number of wise public policy efforts over the last generation, and for the ill, we can blame macroeconomic and social changes for which we have been unable - or unwilling - to mount a policy response.
NEWS
By Christopher J. McCabe | November 26, 2003
LIKE MOST states, Maryland faces the enormous challenge of significantly improving the way we protect our most vulnerable children. Many problems have existed for far too long in our child welfare system. One example is the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, the largest of our local agencies, which has operated under a federal consent decree for child welfare for 15 years in the child abuse case of L. J. vs. Massinga. The consent decree requires the state Department of Human Resources to comply with certain conditions to protect children.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | October 2, 2009
Two days after a state senator said Maryland Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald's signature child welfare program was "not working," Donald received a warm reception - even applause - when she appeared before another group of lawmakers Thursday. At a briefing for the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families, Donald summarized how she believes "Place Matters," which she launched two years ago, is working to improve outcomes for vulnerable children. Under this new approach, the department focuses on reuniting foster children with their own families or keeping them in family settings, which has reduced the state's reliance on group home beds by nearly half.
NEWS
By LYNN ANDERSON and LYNN ANDERSON,SUN REPORTER | January 19, 2006
A hearing on the status of Maryland's child welfare programs turned confrontational yesterday as legislators in Annapolis grilled Department of Human Resources officials on an audit that exposed flaws in the agency's staffing numbers, abuse and neglect investigations, and recordkeeping. DHR Secretary Christopher J. McCabe, responding publicly for the first time to the audit that was released last week, said he and his team of administrators recognize that there is room for improvement, but emphasized that they have made important changes, such as increasing staffing.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,sun reporter | April 29, 2008
Reform of child welfare systems in Maryland and several other states is hampered by "misguided and secretive policies" that restrict disclosure of information about deaths and serious injuries resulting from abuse or neglect, according to a report to be released today by two national child advocacy groups. Maryland was among 10 states that received an "F" grade because they "place confidentiality above the welfare" of children. The report by the University of San Diego School of Law's Children's Advocacy Institute and Washington- based First Star argues for greater transparency so child welfare systems can be held accountable and future tragedies can be averted.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Lynn Anderson and Greg Garland and Lynn Anderson,sun reporters | February 12, 2008
The O'Malley administration's spending plan doesn't provide enough money to carry out reforms of Maryland's child welfare system, which has come under increased scrutiny in the wake of a Baltimore toddler's death, children's advocates told a legislative panel yesterday. The proposed $606 million budget for the Department of Human Resources provides a 3.2 percent increase that fails to keep up with the rate of inflation, advocates told members of a House appropriations subcommittee. They say up to $30 million more is needed to pay for enhancements at the agency, which is struggling to respond to the death of 2-year-old Bryanna Harris after local child protective workers allowed her to stay with her drug-addicted mother.
NEWS
By LYNN ANDERSON and LYNN ANDERSON,SUN REPORTER | January 10, 2006
Legislative auditors issued a stinging rebuke of Maryland's child welfare system yesterday, charging in a special report that state officials misreported caseworker staffing numbers, failed to initiate or complete investigations into reports of abuse, and provided unreliable information to advocates. As a result of the audit, top lawmakers vowed to investigate the deaths in 2004 of 11 children who were under the care of the state Department of Human Resources, which oversees child welfare programs, including foster care.
NEWS
By Daniel Heimpel | July 17, 2014
Earlier this month, The Baltimore Sun published an important story describing the expansion of Alternative Response (AR) across Maryland (" A new tactic to halt child abuse in Maryland ," July 5). The new system assigns child abuse and neglect cases to one of two tiered tracks based upon whether they are deemed low or high risk. High risk cases are formally investigated, low risk ones are not. While Maryland's Department of Human Resources, certain advocates, and a clot of consultants and evaluators celebrate the move to what they see as an evolution in the state's response to child abuse, they are missing - or worse, disregarding - simple documented truths that should shake any reasonable person's confidence.
NEWS
November 15, 2011
Baltimore is the preferred venue for same-sex adoptions. That makes me so proud to be born and bred in Baltimore. The city's circuit court obviously puts the welfare of the children before politics. What difference does it make if it is a "same-sex" or "traditional" couple as long as the child or children will be raised in a loving environment? How many children have been abused or killed in "traditional" households? How many children are in foster or other care in need of a loving home?
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | August 17, 2011
Maryland has one of the lowest rates of childhood poverty in the nation, but is in the middle of the pack in overall children's well-being, according to a report released Wednesday by the Baltimore-basedAnnie E. Casey Foundation. The state is 23rd overall in the 2011 Kids Count Data Book, an annual assessment of child welfare organized with the help of local child advocacy groups. Maryland ranks two spots better than last year's report, but continues to have relatively high child and infant death rankings.
NEWS
By Brenda Donald | July 22, 2010
At the beginning of the O'Malley-Brown administration, Maryland had far too many children in foster care, too many foster children in group homes and too few foster parents. The law virtually required the Department of Human Resources to license any new group home meeting minimum standards, despite the fact that most of the state was already oversaturated with group homes. Our procedures for processing applications for social service programs were outdated and inefficient. It had been more than 20 years since the law was changed to update the amount of child support a parent had to pay. We knew our reforms would require a steady commitment, patience, tenacity and a willingness to challenge the status quo. We faced budget cuts, staff shortages and a skeptical group of advocates — most of whom were unconvinced that a historically troubled and underfunded agency could make real progress.
NEWS
By Shelley L. Tinney | October 19, 2009
In recent days, a misguided and unfocused debate related to the closing of group homes serving foster children would have us believe providers' only interest is self preservation. This has obscured issues of far greater importance to the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children. For more than a decade, the state allowed unprecedented, unplanned and unguided growth in the number of group homes, concentrated in a handful of least resistant communities. This development did not result in the most beneficial array of services, nor did it ensure the development of services where they are needed.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | October 2, 2009
Two days after a state senator said Maryland Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald's signature child welfare program was "not working," Donald received a warm reception - even applause - when she appeared before another group of lawmakers Thursday. At a briefing for the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families, Donald summarized how she believes "Place Matters," which she launched two years ago, is working to improve outcomes for vulnerable children. Under this new approach, the department focuses on reuniting foster children with their own families or keeping them in family settings, which has reduced the state's reliance on group home beds by nearly half.
NEWS
By Martin C. Evans | July 23, 1991
Shirley E. Marcus, who in 1989 took over a Baltimore welfare department that was reeling from efforts to unseat former director George G. Musgrove, yesterday announced plans to resign in August to take over as deputy director of the Child Welfare League of America."
NEWS
June 25, 2009
The stories were horrifying and heart-wrenching: a boy beaten bloody while in foster care; a 15-year-old girl tortured and starved to death by a mentally ill guardian; a 5-year-old fatally scalded by his mother after state officials removed him from a safe foster home. It's no wonder such egregious cases of abuse and neglect have helped drive a 25-year-old lawsuit over how the Maryland Department of Human Resources and the Baltimore Department of Social Services care for the state's most vulnerable children and adolescents.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | June 24, 2009
For a quarter-century, lawyers for Baltimore foster children have been telling a judge horrific stories of abuse and neglect and indifference. The child welfare system itself, the attorneys said, failed these children time and again by shrugging off reforms it was ordered to make as a result of a federal lawsuit. That has changed, the lawyers said Tuesday. Convinced that the state Department of Human Resources, which oversees child welfare and the city's more than 5,000 foster children, has finally made enough progress on changes first ordered by a judge in 1988, the lawyers on Monday filed a motion that could eventually end federal court oversight.
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