For a mother of two daughters in Will County, Illinois, known in legal papers as Kelly, the morning of May 1 began with her being thrown against a wall so hard she saw stars. When she looked up, she saw the man who did that to her — the father of her children — holding a gun and threatening to use it. Then the father took one of the children and fled. Kelly was terrified the father would hurt her child.
Seven days of deadlocked jury deliberations in the sex abuse trial of a single foster father are over. Despite allegations that he abused multiple children for almost 20 years while receiving $1.5 million in foster care payments, after three weeks of testimony a Long Island jury acquitted Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu of all 17 counts on May 2. The jury found he was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, thus sparing him from 25 years in prison at age 60.
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Let’s assume that there has been a real increase in parental substance abuse. The biggest flaw in HHS’ logic is the implicit assumption that the only way to respond to this is to throw the children into foster care.
New data in a recent Health and Human Services report shows both that the number of youth in the foster care system has risen for three straight years, and that the main culprit is parental drug abuse.
In 2015, for the third year in a row, the number of children taken from their parents, and the number of children trapped in foster care on any given day, increased. Odds are the story will be the same for 2016.