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Archive for July, 2023

New Report Shows Florida Has Nation’s Highest Rate of Kids Visiting ERs For Preventable Dental Issues

July 21st, 2023   No Comments   Uncategorized

As reported by Florida Politics, a new report shows that most young children’s visits to emergency departments were related to a lack of preventive care, even when Medicaid covers the services.


Jury Awards $485 Million in Damages in Foster Child Sexual Abuse Case

July 21st, 2023   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

A New Mexico jury has awarded $485 million in damages in a civil case involving a child sexually assaulted in foster care.

As reported by AP, the program allegedly placed the girl in the home of a foster parent despite knowing that he had been accused of sexual assault.


Federal judge orders Florida child welfare and health administrators to stop placing medically fragile kids in nursing homes

U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks has ruled that Florida must find better placement options for medically fragile kids and neglected disabled children who are placed in nursing homes. According to an article in the Miami Herald, about 140 medically fragile children live in nursing homes, with another 1,800 at risk.


Recent Updates to the Roles and Duties of Guardian ad Litems in Illinois

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is an important advocate for children who may be the victims of child abuse or child neglect.

With the passing of House Bill 1555, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the statute currently governing the roles and duties) has been amended to prevent trial surprises and ensure transparency.   Among the changes are provisions requiring a written report not less than 30 days before final hearing or trial, allowing the GAL to propose an allocation order in addition to the report, and admission of the report into evidence without foundation.  The bill also grants GALs discretionary powers including presence in all proceedings, issuing subpoenas for records and filing pleadings.  Read more here.


Bill Reforming Sentencing for Victims of Child Sex Trafficking by Considering Child’s Involvement in Welfare System

Illinois’ General Assembly recently passed legislation that aims to reform criminal sentencing for minors, particularly those who are victims of child sex trafficking.  House Bill 3414 adds to the factors that judges must consider when sentencing a child found guilty of a crime.  Judges will now be required to consider a child’s involvement in the child welfare system, whether they have a history of domestic abuse or child-on-child sexual abuse, and the results of any mental health evaluations the child has undergone.  Sadly, many of these children are victims of sexual abuse or they are neglected disabled children.


State Senator’s Legislation Reinforcing DCFS’ Permanency Goals to Protect Child Welfare Passes the Senate

Recently introduced House Bill 3705 amends the Illinois’ Children and Family Services Act to reinforce the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services’ (DCFS) duty to children in foster care as well as its responsibility for placing youth in permanent family homes through guardianship or adoption (as opposed to adoptive homes) when restoration to the biological family is not safe, possible or otherwise appropriate. Proper placements are crucial in preventing foster child abuse, child sexual abuse, and child neglect.


Judge Strikes Qualified Immunity for Illinois Child Abuse Offenders and DCFS

A federal lawsuit recently held child abuse pediatricians, hospitals, and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) accountable for their actions with regard to situations involving Illinois child welfare.  In his recent ruling, Judge Joe B. McDade of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, denied the motion to dismiss filed by Dr. Channing Petrak, thereby establishing that she does not have qualified immunity.