Press Watch for December 2002 – January 2003

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The Demons of Childhood: Young Brains Break. Then Comes the Broken Care System.
U.S. News and World Report

According to some estimates, 20 percent of children and adolescents in the United States have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. Parents seeking care for their children are hampered by government budget cuts, fewer beds at inpatient facilities and uncooperative insurance companies. Nov. 11.

The Truth Dies With Them
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A series of stories looks at child deaths in Washington. State death records indicate that official statistics significantly underestimate how many children die due to abuse and neglect, partly because authorities fail to identify and track such cases. A lack of state qualifications for county coroners might contribute to the problem. Oct. 31.

Troubled Teen’s Case Points To Justice System’s Failures
Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle

Nearly five years after the U.S. Department of Justice accused the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice of violating the federal rights of juvenile offenders, the state has failed to improve conditions for many of its charges. More than 1,000 youth incarcerated by the state justice system suffer some kind of psychological disorder, and many are not getting the kind of help they need. The story uses the case of one teen to illustrate the problem. Oct. 28.

Burden Grows on Services For Teenagers
The New York Times

After five years of declines, the number of children entering foster care in New York City is expected to grow dramatically. A new state law allows parents of children up to age 17 to give the city custody of their “truant, incorrigible or ungovernable” kids. Raising the age limit from 15 could double the number of children the city handles. Oct. 28. Requires registration.

DCF Workers Hard to Hold On To
St. Petersburg Times

An unexpected jump in child abuse cases devoured the extra resources Florida recently poured into its child welfare system to hire new caseworkers, providing no relief for the caseworkers who were already stressed, overworked and discouraged. The turnover rate of workers remains at 30 percent as state officials seek new options. Nov. 4.

Plan Would Limit Schools’ Use of ‘Time-Out’ Rooms
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Minnesota state education officials are considering new rules that would prohibit teachers from confining special education students in locked time-out rooms. Instead, disruptive students could be placed in unlocked, supervised rooms for up to 15 minutes at a time. Oct. 21.

Compiled from news reports, the Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families, and Connect for Kids.