Child Support Calculator

Welcome to the Arizona Child Support Calculator webpage! From this page you can access the 2005 and the 2011 child support calculators and link to other documents that provide information about calculating your child support order.

Which child support calculator should I use?

2011 Calculator: Use the 2011 child support calculator for all child support orders entered after May 31, 2011, whether they are original orders or modifications of pre-existing orders, unless the court determines otherwise based on good cause shown. In case of default, the guidelines in effect at the time of filing the action will be used. The parties may agree to use either the guidelines in effect at the time of filing the action or those in effect at the time the order is entered.

Continue to 2011 http://www.azcourts.gov/familylaw/2011ChildSupportCalculator.aspx

2005 Calculator: The 2005 Child Support Calculator is still available for calculating all child support orders entered after December 31, 2004, and before June 1, 2011, whether they are original orders or modifications of pre-existing orders, unless the court determines otherwise based on good cause shown. In cases of default, the guidelines in effect at the time of filing the action will be used. The parties may agree to use either the guidelines in effect at the time of filing the action or those in effect at the time the order is entered.

Continue to 2005 http://www.azcourts.gov/familylaw/2005ChildSupportCalculator.aspx

Posted: Apr 22, 2013 5:34 PM Updated: Apr 22, 2013 5:34 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - The parents of a Tucson girl missing for more than a year now say they're still praying for their daughter's safe return.

Tucson police say there are no major breaks in the case of 7-year-old Isabel Celis although they've followed up on thousands of tips and still get two or three a week.

Sergio and Becky Celis say they last saw their first-grader in her room the night of April 20, 2012. They discovered her missing the next morning.

At the time, police said they believed Isabel was abducted but investigators never named any suspects.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor told the Arizona Daily Star (http://bit.ly/ZzfRpL) that detectives still are assigned to the case.

He says "all we want to do is bring resolution to the case" and find Isabel.

Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Posted: Apr 24, 2013 4:27 AM Updated: Apr 24, 2013 4:27 AM

PHOENIX (AP) - The father of a 10-year-old Arizona girl who authorities say died after another relative padlocked her in a footlocker is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing in Phoenix Wednesday on a charge that he abused the child.

Fifty-3-year-old David Martin Deal faces a felony child abuse charge for either causing or allowing his daughter Ame Deal to be thrown into a pool while she was locked inside the footlocker.

He also is accused of putting the child in the plastic box as a form of punishment.

David Deal isn't charged in his daughter's death.

He has denied the allegation against him and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The child's aunt has already pleaded guilty to abuse charges.

Two other Deal relatives are charged with first-degree murder in the child's death.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Posted: Apr 25, 2013 11:21 AM Updated: Apr 25, 2013 11:21 AM

PHOENIX (AP) - A former Paradise Valley High School teacher who was accused of having sex with a female student last year has been sentenced to 3½ years in prison.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge sentenced Jordan Doneskey on Wednesday.

He previously pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Doneskey was arrested last August. He taught English at Paradise Valley High and had been at the school since 2009.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.





Posted: Apr 25, 2013 4:33 PM Updated: Apr 25, 2013 4:33 PM

PHOENIX (AP) - A Gilbert High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation for allegedly assaulting a student.

A report by Gilbert police says Daniel A. Dunn allegedly slapped a 15-year-old student in the face with the back of his hand on April 17.

At the time, Dunn reportedly was yelling at another student about bad behavior and the alleged victim began to laugh.

The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/14eNUaW) reports that students in the class gave varying accounts of whether they thought Dunn was intentionally trying to hit the student in the face.

Police arrested Dunn and forwarded the report to Town Prosecutor Lynn Arouh, whose office will decide within a few weeks whether to pursue the case.

The 67-year-old Dunn was Gilbert High's football coach from 2009 to 2011.

Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Posted: Apr 26, 2013 10:54 AM Updated: Apr 26, 2013 10:54 AM

PHOENIX (AP) - A Phoenix man faces a June 5 sentencing in the 2011 shaking death of his 4-month-old daughter.

A Maricopa County Superior Court spokesman says Amos Andreas pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and attempted child abuse.

The girl died Aug. 15, 2011, three weeks after Andreas and the girl's mother took her to Phoenix Children's Hospital on July 22.

Andreas said the girl was sleeping on his chest when she fell on the floor the night before.

However, a forensic pediatrician found that the girl's injuries were consistent with being shaken.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Posted: Apr 27, 2013 3:14 AM Updated: Apr 27, 2013 8:18 AM

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - A Tucson baby sitter accused in the death of a 10-month-old girl has been convicted of negligent homicide.

Pima County prosecutors say 28-year-old Zada Davis was found guilty by a jury Friday and will be sentenced June 17.

Davis was accused of leaving the infant in a tub with running water and an open drain that became plugged with a plastic toy cup on June 12, 2012.

Prosecutors say Davis put the baby in the tub to help soothe a diaper rash. She then left the bathroom to care for another child, browsed the internet and sorted clothes and didn't check on the child for at least 40 minutes.

When she did, water was overflowing from the tub and the baby was floating face down. The baby later died at a hospital.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re




Posted: Apr 26, 2013 2:38 PM Updated: Apr 26, 2013 2:38 PM

PHOENIX (AP) - A Phoenix woman is in custody for allegedly fatally smothering her newborn daughter.

Phoenix police announced Friday that 36-year-old Nina Koistinen is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Officers were called to a home April 8 on a report of a baby who had stopped breathing.

They say the infant girl named Maya was found on a bed and taken to Paradise Valley Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

During the autopsy, authorities say signs of suffocation were discovered.

Police say Koistinen told officers that she suffocated her daughter because she felt she had too many children and was jealous of the attention the baby received.

Authorities didn't immediately know Friday afternoon if Koistinen has a lawyer yet.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Posted: Apr 27, 2013 10:26 AM Updated: Apr 27, 2013 10:26 AM

PHOENIX (AP) - Thousands of elementary school teachers in Arizona are using small groups and other techniques to boost their students' reading skills in preparation for a literacy law that will kick in next year.

Under the law, third-graders must pass a state reading test or risk being held back.

The Arizona Republic reports (http://bit.ly/14oHdTJ) that the new requirement is putting added pressure on teachers already faced with dwindling resources and larger class sizes.

Arizona is among 32 states that have passed laws that identify and retain students if they are unable to read by third grade. Research shows that third-graders' ability to read is a clear link to future academic and career success.

Educators say success of the new law will depend on identifying at-risk students early on and providing them with tools to succeed.

Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Posted: Apr 29, 2013 11:41 AM Updated: Apr 29, 2013 9:45 PM

PHOENIX (AP) - The grandmother of a 10-year-old Arizona girl who authorities say died after another relative padlocked her in a footlocker has pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse.

Seventy-4-year-old Judith Deal wasn't charged in Ame Deal's death in July 2011, but was accused of putting hot sauce on the child's mouth, hitting her with a paddle and putting her inside the footlocker as a form of discipline.

She pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of attempted child abuse and faces a punishment ranging from probation to 30 years in prison.

Sentencing is set for June 4.

Ame Deal's father and aunt also have pleaded guilty to abuse charges.

Two other relatives, Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen and John Michael Allen, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in Ame's death.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Posted: Apr 30, 2013 7:55 AM Updated: Apr 30, 2013 7:55 AM

AP Medical Writer

CHICAGO (AP) - A 2-year-old born without a windpipe now has a new one grown from her own stem cells.

She's the youngest patient in the world to benefit from the experimental treatment.

Hannah Warren had been unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own since she was born in 2010 in South Korea. Until the operation three weeks ago in Peoria, Ill., she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there told her parents there was no hope and they expected her to die.

Doctors in Illinois announced Tuesday that the little girl is recovering and will likely lead a normal life.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.






By Andrew Rafferty, Staff Writer, NBC News

An Ohio student was in critical condition after shooting himself in an apparent suicide attempt that took place during a class Monday at an all-male Catholic high school in Cincinnati, police said.

Follow @NBCNewsUS

The student, whose name has not been released at the request of the parents, pulled out a semi-automatic handgun shortly after 9 a.m. on Monday during an honors-level leadership class at La Salle High School, according to authorities. 

Then, in the same room as 22 other students, he tried to end his life, police said.

The school was immediately placed on lock down and no other students were injured.

The youth was taken to a nearby hospital where the student is "fighting for his life," Greg Tankersley, La Salle's director of community development, told reporters.

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Tankersley said the teen is an honors student who has completed more than 80 hours of community service and is working to become an Eagle Scout.

Following the incident, the family released a statement:  “We thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers. We ask that the media please respect our privacy at this time so we can do what we need to do for our son and our family. We also ask that friends of our son and family please refrain from Facebook and Twitter comments. We appreciate the heroic efforts of UC Medical Center staff as they care for our son.”

Authorities have thus far not commented on how the student brought the gun into a classroom. Late Monday police swept the school with K-9 units as a precaution.

Distressed 911 calls from students reveal the chaos and panic that ensued following the single gun shot. Many in the room were unaware at the time that it was a suicide attempt and thought it could be an active shooter.

"We're at La Salle High School and there is a guy with a gun," one student frantically told the Hamilton County 911 dispatcher.
Groups of students huddled together throughout the high school as authorities arrived.

School officials praised Green Township Police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office for quickly responding and securing the scene. After the scene was deemed secure, students who had gathered in the gym were allowed to leave with parents. Counselors were also on hand to speak with the kids.

Classes will resume Tuesday with an all-school prayer service at LaSalle, officials said.

"We think it's important to have our young men back in the building so we can talk about it with them and help them deal with this situation," said Tankersley.




By Jen Maxfield, NBCNewYork.com

A former "teacher of the year" won't serve any prison time after admitting she had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.

A state Superior Court judge in Newark, New Jersey, sentenced 33-year-old Erica DePalo to lifetime parole supervision.

She also will have to forfeit her teaching certificate and register as a sex offender.

A tearful DePalo made a brief statement in court Monday expressing regret for her actions, and saying she was trying to rebuild her life.

She pleaded guilty in February to child endangerment.

Read more from NBCNewYork.com

Prosecutors said the Montclair resident had a brief sexual relationship with a student in her honors English class at West Orange High School.

She initially was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and child endangerment and could have faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Her attorney, Anthony Alfano, said DePalo suffers from bipolar disorder and was on bad medication that can cause errors in judgment.




By Ian Johnston, Staff Writer, NBC News

A newborn baby girl was found abandoned on a beach in Hawaii, according to reports.

The 8-pound child was “abandoned immediately after birth,” state Department of Human Services Director Patricia McManaman said, according to the Star Advertiser newspaper. She was found just before midnight on Sunday.

McManaman said the girl was “doing quite well” and drinking formula, HawaiiNewsNow.com reported.

Both reports said the child was found on Sandy Beach by a 21-year-old woman, who took her to a local medical center. The woman is not a suspect, according to police.

The mother has not been identified, HawaiiNewsNow.com said.

Jonathan Kamai, a Sandy Beach regular, told the website that he was glad “the child had an angel that came and helped her out.”

“It would have to be something tragic for someone to just leave their newborn here," he added. “Just as a father, how somebody could actually just do that kind of stuff – it's just crazy.”





Protecting Your Family from Child Protective Services

Last month, The I.O. began a series with CPS expert Mike Gibson, “Protecting Your Family from Child Protective Services.” Highlighted in that article: how at risk any family truly is, the importance of never allowing a CPS investigator into your home, and how to prepare for the unexpected arrival of an investigator. This month, we continue the series on other strategies parents and caregivers need to protect their children from these marauders in the following interview with Mike Gibson.

I.O.: What other strategies are available to parents to turn the tide in their favor if they are ever under investigation?
MG: There are many strategies, but the best strategy is to be able to record the truth and facts surrounding an investigation in an unbiased manner. With the easy access and affordability of digital recording devices, i.e., digital voice and video recorders, all parents should have at least the ability to record all interactions with a civil authority on a voice recorder.
A video recorder is preferred as it also gives visual and non-verbal cues to the attitude of the authority involved . Sometimes those non-verbal cues are more important than what is actually said by a person. 
I.O.: Where can someone find the law that will cover their right to record?
MG: The legal right to record is covered in various state laws and also has been confirmed through supreme court decisions.  Each person would need to understand the specific laws of their states in regards to recording.  In Florida it is covered in Chapter 39 of the statutes.  Other states have general laws covering the right, and some also do as Florida and reaffirm that right in the statutes specifically dealing with CPS.
I.O.: What kind of response can someone expect from a CPS worker when they begin recording the encounter?
MG: Understand that you will most likely be challenged by an authority as to your legal right to record, but you must be able to adequately articulate to the authorities why you have a legal right to record and that you are going to avail yourself of that right. Most police and CPS are going to challenge you on exercising your rights, but you have to be adamant about exercising them.
If you back down and allow them to violate your rights, then your submission in most jurisdictions is seen as a waiver of your rights. This is why you must have a plan in place prior to their arrival so that other people will be able to witness and possibly record their abuses and violations of your rights.
I.O.: How can a parent get law enforcement of their side?
MG: One of the best strategies is to have your local sheriff on the side of the people. This comes through real dialog with him about the needs of the community and his duty to uphold the law. Most sheriffs are elected, but most people don’t treat their sheriff like any other elected official. There is an aura of the old west sheriff who is invincible and who comes riding in to take out the bad guys and save the town. This type of mythology is unrelated to the realities of modern law enforcement.  
Most sheriffs are under pressure mostly from other governmental bodies, such as county commissions and other state and federal agencies that use the purse strings of budgets to manipulate him.
People need to first come together to elect a sheriff whom they believe will represent their interests and then when the pressures comes from the feds and the strings are trying to be pulled by them, then the people need to step up and support their sheriff.
Many times this takes the form of actually having to give up money or lose some program in the community. People need to show their sheriffs that even if a program is lost, they still support him.
Remember, as an elected official, the sheriff normally wants to be reelected and is under considerable political pressure. Law enforcement is no longer about just upholding the law, but is more about conflicting political ideologies that get worked out in who gets what portion of the budgetary pies.
If the sheriff isn’t performing the way a county commission feels is in the best political interests of the commission, they many times will punish the sheriff by taking away funds. When the funds aren’t available to adequately do his job, when something bad happens (and it always does), then the sheriff is the obvious sacrificial political scapegoat. Unfortunately, many voters are easily manipulated and go along with the political winds. 
An example of how these conflicting ideologies interfere is the following case in point:
The local sheriff’s deputies were called out to a domestic dispute where the wife stated the husband hit her. The wife had no physical proof of any physical altercation. But, the deputy stated that if they get called out to a domestic violence situation, there is a no-tolerance policy with his agency and someone is going to jail.
The husband was arrested and forced to be out of his home and away from his children for over six months. When the truth finally came out, the wife had been having an affair with another man and had planned with her new boyfriend to have the husband arrested to get him out of the home.
Of course, since the children were home, CPS was called out to investigate. The husband could not have contact with his children for the six months because he was deemed a threat by CPS.
There is a twist to this story though. The wife’s new boyfriend ended up being an unregistered sexual predator from another state who had been convicted of molesting a six year old boy. Since this mom had two sons, one who was five and one seven, she eventually had her children removed by CPS because she allowed the predator to have contact and even bathe the children alone. The children have since disclosed that there was probable molestation by the predator.
The horror these children had to endure is the direct result of a sheriff’s office internal policy that they have a no-tolerance policy toward domestic violence. This seems to be playing out the same way as many of the no-tolerance policies towards drugs and school.
The innocent become entangled in destructive, life-changing processes and the “authorities” walk away without even saying they are sorry. This is a political pressure put on a sheriff’s office by special interest groups and the result is destructive for children and family. 
I.O.: Who makes the bulk of complaints to CPS? Teachers? Neighbors? Law enforcement?
MG: The bulk of complaints come from schools, mental health services (such as counselors, psychologists, etc), law enforcement, other workers involved in CPS, family, associates and neighbors, pretty much in that order.
I.O.: What drives a CPS bureaucrat to insist on removing children from a home when no felony has taken place?
MG: CPS workers live in a climate of fear. The most asked question by CPS management to a CPS worker is what would happen to you if six months or a year from now something happened to this child and you were the last person to see him?
They are constantly in a CYA mode and many have the attitude that it is better to remove the children and let a judge make the decision as to whether or not anything is going on. In this way, CPS can always say that they took the parents before a judge, but the judge denied them, so it is the judge’s fault. 
I.O.: It sounds like the first priority for a CPS investigator is to safeguard their career, not the child.
MG: Parents need to know that CPS is a very politically-motivated agency. Their worst nightmare is for something to happen to a child and for the media to pick up and run with the story. At this point, their careers are in jeopardy. And, nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important to CPS workers and management than their own careers.
I have heard statements through the years like, “I’m not taking a chance with these parents; I’m not losing my job because they won’t do what they need to do. I’m taking these children and letting the judge decide.” This is a very common experience within the ranks of CPS workers and management. 
On the other hand, there is the lesser seen person who is a control-freak and power hungry. This type of CPS worker in my experience is less often encountered than most people think. There is the occasional rogue who when given some power and authority will abuse that power and authority because they either have a political/ideological attitude that is socialistic or they think that their authority gives them license to do what they want and answer to no one. These are the ones who will tell you upfront that they are going to become a manager and no one is going to stop them.
They would cut the throat of their own grandmother if they thought it would get them a promotion. Unfortunately, they have a higher percentage of representation in upper management than the honest, hard-working person who feels they are trying to make a difference.
When these rogues come into power is what you now have in CPS. They set the institutional climate within the agency and are always trying to force their will on everyone else, both within the agency and in the community.
I.O.: Are their any real solutions for improving this rogue agency?
MG: This problem with rogue management is probably the greater threat to children and families at this time. As I see it there is really only one way to adequately deal with this:  the devolution of the agency. The primary function of investigations and making decisions needs to be put with the county sheriff.
In Florida, eight sheriffs have done this and the statistics always show a better community response and lower incidents of removal and abuse/neglect. This is probably due to many factors. The sheriff is responsible for the overall law enforcement in the county.
There is better training of investigative staff and more controls since law enforcement has to prove to both a judge and the community (at election time) that they are making sane, legal and moral decisions about their citizens. An unaccountable agency has to do none of the above. I have talked over the years with investigators from counties who work for the sheriff and most of the political pressure from the agency does not exist and the workers are normally freer to make responsible decisions and work with families.
Nothing short of revolution in the way lawmakers, parents, and law enforcement perceive the function of CPS will stop this rogue, marauding agency from totally destroying the foundational fabric of our country:  the family.

Mike and Linda Gibson are available for one day seminars. Contact them at 352-489-6521.




  • GPS Tracking Solutions for Child Protection

Your children are in motion. With our GPS tracking platform, parents have a variety of device options and customizations that they can use to locate their children if they become lost. Several devices even offer SOS buttons and two-way voice communication over the cellular network. Request a demo now, or keep reading to see how our GPS tracking platform can help you quickly locate a lost child.

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Time can be critical in finding a lost child.

GPS Tracking Solutions for Child Protection

There is nothing more frightening than losing a child in a crowded mall or amusement park. As a parent or childcare professional, it is important to have a constant eye on a child,  but when that child wanders away or the child is abducted. then what is a care giver to do about quickly locating and retrieving that child?

Business Needs:

How can a parent quickly track and retrieve a child when they are lost or taken?
In what way can a parent place a GPS tracking device on their child?
Does your child have special needs or wander off frequently?


When a child goes missing due to kidnapping or wandering away from parents, it is important for the well being of the child to find and retrieve them quickly. That is why a GPS tracking device and platform is important to have for parents of young and even older children.


With the Position Logic GPS tracking platform, parents have a variety of devices options and customizations that they can use to locate their children. Several devices offer customizable SOS buttons and even two-way voice communication over cellular network. All these features and many more are quickly accessible both from computer and mobile smartphone for quick retrieval of a child.


Losing a child for even a moment can be frightening. With the Position Logic platform, parents can equip themselves and their children to be protected. Personal trackers can be placed in common items such as a backpack to ensure that a child does not wander off somewhere or worse, become abducted by a kidnapper. Parents can quickly look up and reclaim their children before anything bad happens to them. Children can also be trained to hit a panic button or call button in case of emergency. Parents can set their contact information so that the moment an alert is delivered, the parent knows about it.

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Written by: Peter Christopher Lomtevas

Child Custody Lawyer


Commense a Family Court Proceeding

You want to "fight" for custody? Here's what can happen during the case.

The Abuse Allegations

While you are competing for an award of custody whether an initial award based upon the best interests standard or a modification based upon the changed circumstances standard, your adversary suddenly alleges you abused your child.

The Allegations

Popular abuse allegations are: sexual contact between the competing father and any of his daughters awakened through "dream therapy"; the children are "afraid" of the opposite parent; the parent was too unskillful or too conflictual with the child necessitating a flip of custody; over medicating a child (Munchhausen's by Proxy) or seeing too many doctors (where a treating physician calls in the report to CPS); administering dangerous drugs to a child; not feeding or not educating a child and a catchall provision whereby any of the protective "team" deems protection is needed.

Catchall Provision

In the typical child protective scheme, there are several players who are in a position to allege acts of neglect or abuse whether real or fabricated. The judge may look at the parent and decide the parent's appearance or demeanor is "threatening". The attorney for the child can decide to invoke "therapy" and make the decision whether therapy should cease. The foster care agency can invoke their authority to place a child in care or to deny his release. The child protective service can invoke its authority to file additional or different charges.

The Court Appointed Psychologist

This is the most privileged position among all the government's players in a neglect and abuse case. The psych's papers are all protected from disclosure by court order so the psych can write anything he wants whether it's real or false. Complaint's to the psych's licensing board go nowhere because you cannot get a judge to order a release of these reports for complaint purposes. The typical finding by these psychs is narcissistic personality disorder although there are no studies anywhere linking this "disorder" to bad parenting. The report is always a hearsay narrative of phone calls the psych made with others familiar with the parents: the psych can omit or include anything anyone says, can exaggerate or diminish anyone says and can describe a parent conduct as the opposite of the parent's personality. A cop is a criminal, a teacher is a porn addict and a career mother is unskillful with her kids. It's a hearsay fest concluding with a "recommendation" ending the case.

How The Case Gets Ruined

At any time during a proceeding to establish or modify custody, one parent makes an allegation of abuse against the other parent. Typically, the accuser has already established a privileged position in the case either by hiring the politically connected attorney or otherwise finding favor with any of the "team". This causes an immediate referral to supervised visitation. This act builds a negative record against the loser and hamstrings the rest of the case. The visiting parent gets adverse write ups at the supervised visitation center even though the supervisor says everything is going great. The loser's attorney asks to be relieved and is summarily granted his request. Here follow a string of attorneys capped by a court appointed lawyer who acts against the loser to get her to settle for the loss of the child.

The End of the Case

At this point, the matter is finished. Visitation can have no end and a return to court will result in appearances before the same judge and the same "team". These cases are akin to a poker parlor visit. You draw the wrong cards and you lose. The house controls all the rules and can change them at will. Be warned.












STORY: Sacramento couple fights to get their baby boy back from authorities

Anna Nikolayev claimed CPS had taken her 5-month-old son Sammy after she and her husband removed him from the Sutter Memorial Hospital intensive care unit without a proper discharge and before taking him to Kaiser Permanente for a second opinion.

Nikolayev said a CPS social worker told her Sammy was removed from their custody due to "severe neglect," but did not elaborate on the severity of the neglect, nor the specifics behind the decision to take the child. However, CPS did release the following statement:

"We are sensitive to the pain that such crises cause for families and aware of the complexity of the evaluations made by the social work, medical and court professionals involved. The laws and policies that guide agency practice are designed to ensure that there are adequate protections for the rights of everyone involved, while placing priority on children's health, safety, and well-being."

To better understand the varying circumstances under which a minor is removed from parents and placed into protective custody (as in the case of Sammy Nikolayev), the following information sheet from the Sacramento County CPS website has been presented verbatim:

What are the legal obligations of CPS to investigate child abuse or neglect?

CPS shall investigate reports of child abuse or neglect based onW&I §328 and§§ 16501(f), 16504. Both law enforcement agencies and CPS have authority to accept child abuse reports and investigate child abuse reports. PC §§11165.9, 11166.3.

CPS investigates allegations of abuse and neglect of children, as defined by Penal Code (PC) §11165.6, Welfare & Institutions Code (W&I) §300 and California Department of Social Services' Division 31-100 [PDF] Regulations.

How is CPS notified of possible child abuse or neglect?

Each county welfare department must maintain and operate a 24 hour response system to take reports of children endangered by abuse, neglect or exploitation. (W&I §16504(a).) Sacramento County has a CPS 24 hour hotline (874-kids). If a report needs an in-person response, there are 2 response times available:

1. A report that describes a child to be in immediate danger is an Immediate Response (IR), and requires an in-person response within 24 hours.

2. A report that describes risk to a child, but not immediate danger requires an in-person response within ten calendar days.

How does a social worker determine whether a child needs to be placed into Protective Custody?

As part of the social worker's investigation of the referral, CPS uses Structured Decision Making (SDM) Tools, which is an evidenced-based practice that ensures that every worker is assessing the same items in each case, and that the responses to these items lead to specific decisions regarding child safety.

SDM tools guide social workers to assess the child's safety in the home and to determine whether there are any protective measures or reasonable means available that would allow the child to remain in the care and custody of the parents while ensuring the child's safety.

Safety concerns can include: physical or sexual abuse of the child by someone in the home and a failure to protect the child; failure to provide proper supervision for a child; failure to provide basic provisions such as food, clothing, shelter or necessary medical treatment.

What is a Protective Custody Hold?

A child is placed into protective custody when he/she is removed from the custody of his/her parents by Law Enforcement or a CPS Social Worker and placed with relative, Non Related Extended Family Member (NREFM) or in a foster home because there is reasonable cause to believe the child is described by W&I §300 and there are no reasonable means to protect the child without removal.

How is a child placed into Protective Custody?

1. Exigent Circumstances

Exigent circumstances which justify a social worker placing a child into protective custody are those circumstances in which a social worker has reasonable cause to believe the child is a person described by WIC section 300 (b) or (g), and the child has an immediate need for medical care, or the child is at imminent risk of serious physical injury and there is no time to obtain a court order. (WIC 306; Rogers v County of San Joaquin (2007) 487 F. 3d 1288.)

Law enforcement can place a child into protective custody when the officer has reasonable cause to the believe the child is a person described by WIC section 300, and the child has an immediate need for medical care, or is at imminent risk of serious physical injury and there is no time to obtain a court order. (WIC 305) , Rogers v County of San Joaquin (2007) 487 F. 3d 1288)

2. Protective Custody Warrant

Written order by a judge or other judicial officer directing a law enforcement officer or a social worker to place a child into protective custody due to suspected abuse or neglect, or risk thereof. (See WIC §340.)

The court will make the order based on the petition and the written declaration (warrant application) of the social worker which contains the facts and evidence gathered during the investigation regarding the risk to the child.

3. Removal at the Initial Hearing

A court may order the removal of the child from the custody of the parents based on the evidence presented in the Detention Report.

This is generally done when the children are not residing with their parents, but are residing in a safe place such that the current home environment does not endanger the child (i.e. parent voluntarily places child with a safe relative or at the crisis nursery, etc.)

4. Consent for Removal by the Parent, Guardian, Relative, Non Related Extended Family Member

The parent consents to the child's removal. The consent is given knowingly and voluntarily (i.e. parent is not under the influence or mentally incapacitated at the time consent is given.)

What happens after a child is placed into Protective Custody?

Once a child is removed from the custody of the parents, CPS must locate temporary placement. CPS shall first assess able and willing relatives and Non Related Extended Family Members (NREFM) who request temporary placement of the child and who pass the requirements set forth in W&I §309, which include an in-home safety inspection, a criminal records check, and a child welfare records check. If there are no relatives or NREFMs available, a foster care placement will be made for the child.

CPS must take steps to immediately notify all parents/guardians of a child's removal and the date, time and location of the detention hearing.

CPS must make diligent and reasonable efforts to ensure regular telephone contact between the parent and child of any age, prior to the detention hearing, unless that contact would be detrimental to the child. The initial telephone contact shall take place as soon as practicable, but no later than five hours after the child is taken into custody.

CPS must obtain contact information from parents and/or the child about any additional relatives to consider for placement.

CPS must conduct home assessments on all relatives that come forward.

A Detention Hearing before the Sacramento County Juvenile Court will be held within 2 business days from the day of the child's removal. At that hearing, the judge will decide whether or not the child will be returned to the parents or remain detained out of the home based on the information gathered during the investigation by CPS.

If the child is not returned to the parents and is detained out of the home with a relative, NREFM, or a foster home, the judge will order CPS to provide services to the family and to complete further assessment regarding the child's safety in the parent's home. A second Court hearing, Jurisdiction/Disposition hearing will be scheduled in 15 judicial/business days as defined by Section 361.3.

If the child is returned to the home, the judge may order the family to participate in services until the Jurisdiction/Disposition hearing, which will be scheduled in 15 business days as defined by Section 361.3.


The judge could dismiss the petitions due to lack of sufficient evidence showing the child is in danger in the parent's custody.

A Non-Detaining Petition can be filed in court to keep a child in their home, with specific court orders in place to keep the child safe.

More information can be found on the Sacramento County Child Protective Services web page.

















  • Tell-Tale Signs of Child Abuse Important for Citizens to Know

  • Given the life-long impact abuse and neglect have on the lives of children, it’s important to prevent it when possible and identify its signs when necessary, said Thomas Pristow, director of Children and Family Services in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
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  • Updated Apr. 22, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    Lincoln, Neb.  --  
    Given the life-long impact abuse and neglect have on the lives of children, it’s important to  prevent it when possible and identify its signs when necessary, said Thomas Pristow, director of Children and Family Services in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
    “April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our observance, we remind Nebraskans that anyone can step up to help a child and their family when they are struggling, and that help may prevent future child abuse or neglect,” he said.  “But when child abuse or neglect is suspected, everyone has a responsibility to report it, so it’s good to know indicators of abuse.
    “While our goal is to build a system that puts more resources toward preventing the abuse or neglect that result in more children entering the child welfare system, we must also focus on protecting children who are not safe,” he said.
    For someone never exposed to child abuse or neglect, the signs may not be obvious. Pristow said abuse can be more than physical, but also emotional or sexual abuse, or neglect.
    For example, he said, emotional abuse involves constant belittling, shaming, humiliating, or frequent yelling, threatening or bullying. It also can include ignoring or rejecting a child as punishment or limiting physical contact and signs of affection.
    Emotionally abused children can be withdrawn, fearful or anxious about doing something wrong, he said. Or, they may show extremes in behavior (overly compliant or demanding, or overly passive or aggressive). They also could act inappropriately adult or infantile.
    Neglect occurs when the basic needs of children aren’t consistently provided, whether its clothing, supervision, hygiene, or food. “It can be hard to detect,” Pristow said. He acknowledged that sometimes parents are unable to care for a child because they are physically or mentally incapable or alcohol or drug abuse impairs their judgment and ability to keep a child safe.
    The clothes on neglected children may be very dirty, not fit them or inappropriate for weather conditions. Hygiene is consistently poor, or illnesses or physical injuries are untreated, he said. Neglect also may involve frequent lack of supervision, including playing in unsafe situations, or frequently missing school or arriving late. In some situations, community resources can be deployed to support the family so that these factors can be overcome and do not result in a neglect case.

It’s not unusual for physical abusers to state their actions are merely discipline. “The purpose of discipline is to teach children what is right and what is wrong, and not to live in fear,” he said. Signs of physical abuse are not always obvious. Bruises, cuts or welts may be covered by clothing that’s not appropriate for the weather. Or, children may pull back from touches, flinch at sudden movements or not want to return home. They also may appear watching for something bad to happen. Injuries may appear as marks from a hand or strap.
Sexual abuse is not limited to touching, Pristow said, and it could include exposing children to sexual situations or materials, Pristow said. Most often close relatives are the perpetrators.  Children also can be concerned adults won’t believe them or that they will become angry. Therefore, it’s important to be receptive if a child mentions inappropriate touching or that someone makes them uncomfortable.
Besides possible physical harm, sexually abused children usually suffer guilt and shame that can inhibit them from talking about it, he said. Later in the life, this can result in promiscuity or reluctance for intimate relations.
“The sooner abuse is identified and reported, the more likely a child is to receive helpful services and recover,” Pristow said. “That’s why it’s very important to know the signs of child abuse.”
Persons in a crisis, or who know a family in crisis, are urged to contact the Nebraska Family Helpline at 1-888-866-8660, he said.
State law requires every citizen to report suspected child abuse and neglect to law enforcement, or the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-652-1999, he said. In the event of an emergency, law enforcement should be called immediately. All reports made to authorities are confidential.
For more information about the Child Abuse Hotline, visit the DHHS website at http://dhhs.ne.gov/children_family_services/ under Child Welfare, Juvenile & Adult Protective Services.http://www.ncnewspress.com/article/20130422/NEWS/130429984

 NIAGARA FALLS – An infant girl suffered five broken ribs and a head injury when she was allegedly shaken by her father late last month at a home on Ninth Street. “He assaulted his own baby,” said Niagara Falls Police Capt. William M. Thomson.
Jeremy R. Hayes, 24, was arrested by detectives Tuesday for his role in the March 28 assault and arraigned in City Court on felony charges of first-degree assault and reckless assault. He was remanded to Niagara County Jail on $100,000 bail. A hearing is set for today.Thursday.
Thomson said the baby was treated at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo and has since been discharged and is recovering.
The infant girl was removed from her home by social workers from Niagara County Child and Protective Services and has been placed in the care of another family member.


By Gary Ridley | gridley@mlive.com
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on April 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM, updated April 23, 2013 at 10:45 PM

 Michael Thomas Bradley

 BURTON, MI -- A Burton foster parent accused in a child pornography case is facing a dozen more serious charges that prosecutors filed against him. Michael Thomas Bradley, 57, was charged last week with six counts of possession of child sexually abusive material. Tuesday, April 23, he was arraigned on a dozen  new charges of child sexual abusive activity and using a computer to commit a crime. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
A preliminary exam was initially scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, but was delayed after the charges were added Friday, April 19.
Burton Detective Shawn Duncanson said the investigation is still ongoing.
Bradley's attorney, Frank J. Manley, said his firm is handling the case.
"The problem with these types of cases is (people) immediately believing that you're guilty," said Manley, adding that he will not be intimidated by the new charges. "I guarantee we will not be run over."
Amanda Holdsworth, director of communications for Lutheran Service of Michigan, said Bradley had been licensed through the agency as well as the state’s Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing.
Two foster children in Bradley’s care were immediately removed from his home Thursday, April 17, when the organization was notified by Burton police of the charges, she said.
Those children have been placed with other foster parents. Bradley has had other foster children, but Holdsworth said she could not release the exact number.
She noted people hoping to become foster parents in the organization go through “a pretty thorough background check,” including a criminal check, provide personal and professional recommendations and perform 20 hours of state-mandated foster parent training.
Holdsworth said foster parents are required to renew their position every two years with the state, but LSSM also requires a renewal each year along with six hours of foster parent training and they are notified when any legal incident arises.
An independent investigation by the agency has begun that will include Child Protective Services, criminal investigators and LSSM staff. The organization handles up to 800 foster children at any given time.


Nineteen-month-old Chantel Craig died Oct. 8. She and her sister were found in a car on the Tulalip Reservation. The girls were suffering from malnutrition and severe dehydration.
Nineteen-month-old Chantel Craig died Oct. 8. She and her sister were found in a car on the Tulalip Reservation. The girls were suffering from malnutrition and severe dehydration.

Maybe somehow it can be woven tighter so another little girl won't fall through, dying before she learns to twirl on tiptoes or color inside the lines or dream of being a princess or a firefighter.

It seems an insurmountable job -- searching for all the potential gaps. How do you predict the unimaginable?

It happened in October down a dirt road on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Chantel Craig and her sister were left in a broken down car, going without food or water for days. The toddlers' world was restricted to the car seats they were kept buckled into. Their bodies were covered with sores, feces and maggots.

Chantel wasn't breathing. She had no pulse. She suffered, for how long no one can really say, and then her body gave out. Her sister, 3, fought to stay alive.

Chantel died from neglect, five months shy of her second birthday. Her mother, Christina Carlson, is charged with murder.

Last month, state social workers faced tough questions about their interaction with the girl's family as a team of experts reviewed the circumstances surrounding Chantel's death. The examination was required by state law. Findings were made public Thursday.

After six hours of discussion the team didn't find what the state calls "critical errors" on the part of Children's Administration employees.

Instead, the panelists made some findings and recommendations for the future, mainly focused on what child welfare workers do to locate families. There's a need for experienced social workers to handle the cases governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act and consistent review by supervisors. And the girls' case demonstrates the need to more clearly define the responsibilities of state and Tulalip tribal social workers when conducting joint investigations.

The six-member fatality review committee included a medical doctor, a Marysville police detective, a Snohomish County human services manager and three other professionals connected to social services. They asked questions of the state social worker and her two supervisors. Panelists agreed they were there because of a horrible tragedy. Their conversation, however, was tempered. They all work with families, often in crisis. They know others will slip through.

"These reviews are so important," said Cammy Hart-Anderson, the division manager for Snohomish County Human Services Department. "I volunteer as a way to assist, offering my perspective from the alcohol and drug field.

"I also believe it's a way to honor the child who died. We're trying to do something so her death won't be in vain."

The law required the state Department of Social and Health Services to convene the search mission into Chantel's death -- to look for any gaps in a system that relies on cops, courts and social workers to save other people's children and to help patch together families, many affected by generational poverty, addiction and violence.

The Children's Administration, a division of DSHS, is tasked with completing a fatality review within six months after a child under state care or receiving state services dies unexpectedly, or nearly dies. The idea is to closely examine how state workers were involved with the child and family, and whether policies and practices can be changed to tighten the safety net.

"We would all love to have a system in place where we never have a child in these circumstances," said Ronda Haun, a critical incident review specialist with the Children's Administration.

The state invited a Herald reporter to observe the typically closed-door discussion. The reporter agreed not to attribute to individual participants any statements made during the process. The Herald also agreed not to report information about the child or her family that hadn't already appeared in public records. The newspaper also delayed publishing a story until the review was completed and available to the public on the state's website.

Tribal law prevented anyone from the tribes to formally participate in the review.

The committee was advised at the start that they weren't being asked to conduct a forensic, criminal or personnel investigation. They also were reminded of the complex legal framework that limits the actions of state social workers.

The courts have called parental rights natural and sacred, said Sheila Huber, an assistant attorney general who represents the Children's Administration.

"Parents have constitutional rights when it comes to the care, custody and control of their children," Huber said.

There are restrictions on when the state can interfere with those rights, she added.

State and tribal social workers had been investigating allegations that Chantel and her sister were being neglected after receiving a call from their grandmother in December 2011.

Generally the law requires state social workers to close a Child Protective Services investigation within three months. In this case, the social worker kept the investigation open for 10 months, citing concerns because of the mother's past and her lack of contact with her own family. By keeping it open, the state could offer voluntary services to the parents. In a terrible coincidence, state social workers closed the case hours before Chantel died because they hadn't been able to find her or her mother.

The state social worker last saw the girls on Dec. 14, 2011. There was no evidence then that they were in imminent danger, which would have been necessary to remove them. There also were no signs of abuse or neglect. The social workers agreed to continue to try to assist the family.

About two weeks after the first visit, the tribal social worker learned that the parents weren't seeking help for their alcohol and drug abuse problems, as they claimed they were.

The fatality review committee last month questioned the state social worker about the protocols followed to locate families. The team was concerned that there appeared to be a stretch of time that no attempts were made to find the children.

Social workers are allowed to check state databases, including the rolls for those receiving state benefits. Police generally aren't asked to get involved unless there is concern that a child is a victim of a crime.

Relatives told social workers that Carlson likely was hiding from authorities. She had lost custody of at least three other children because of her drug use and neglect, court papers said.

It is unclear if the Tulalip authorities continued to search for the family.

The Tulalips declined to participate in last month's child fatality review.

Tribal authorities sent a letter to the state, explaining that the Tribes' own laws prevent anyone from the tribes from commenting on their social service investigations. That is done to protect children and avoid stigmatizing families, tribal officials told The Herald last year.

Tribal social workers are allowed to share sensitive information with state social workers to assist protecting children and to provide them and their families with services. However, tribal laws don't contain provisions about information-sharing once a child has died. That conflict prevented the tribal social workers from participating in the review.

In the letter, the Tribes asked the panel to begin the review with a prayer, seeking guidance and healing. The daylong session opened with a moment of silence.

The committee acknowledged the challenge of fully understanding the history of the case without input from tribal social workers. They knew that they were only receiving part of the story and would be left with unanswered questions.

"They were asked to look at the state's work. I think that objective was accomplished by the committee," said Haun, who served as one of facilitators. "We are not in the position to review the work of the Tulalip Tribes. That is their responsibility."

The Tulalips and DSHS have an agreement sharing responsibility for child welfare investigations and providing services to Tulalip children. The agreement is meant to define the role of the state and create cooperation between the two governments.

The role of tribal and state social workers varies depending on the local agreements with specific tribes. There are additional layers of complexity because of the state and federal Indian Child Welfare Acts. The laws govern how states should respond to cases involving Indian children and spell out the tribes' jurisdiction over their children. The federal act was passed in 1978 in response to the disproportionate number of Indian children being removed from their homes and placed in non-Indian homes away from their tribes.

The Tulalips began assuming jurisdiction over dependency cases more than a decade ago. Their child welfare services program, beda?chelh, investigates all reports of child abuse and neglect. This includes any allegations that aren't accepted for further investigation by the state.

Among the main recommendations, the panelists encouraged the state and the Tulalips to revisit their local agreement for handling child welfare cases. They concluded that state social workers need more clarification about their individual responsibilities.

For example, state workers have protocols to locate families, but aren't allowed to seek out tribal families without permission from the tribes to be on the reservation.

The team also urged the state to provide more consistency and stability in the unit specifically assigned to investigate allegations involving tribal children. Social workers need to be familiar with the Indian Child Welfare Act. They should be seasoned workers. Increased stability in the unit would go a long way in building relationships with tribal social workers, the group said.

The team also recommended that if a supervisor leaves the unit, the cases should be reviewed by both the outgoing and incoming supervisor to make sure complex cases don't get overlooked. The team pointed out that the Carlson case hadn't been reviewed by a supervisor for months. They questioned whether that was because there had been a change in supervisors.

The panelists also concluded that DSHS should make it a priority to hire CPS social workers and supervisors.

Hart-Anderson said she also walked away from the review convinced that more needs to be done to offer drug and alcohol treatment resources to families.

The county used to partner with DSHS and stationed drug and alcohol counselors in local CPS offices. They were an immediate resource for parents. That program was cut about five years ago for lack of funding.

"Alcohol and drugs are so prevalent in so many CPS cases," Hart-Anderson said.

In the Carlson neglect case, she is accused of leaving her girls alone for hours on Oct. 8 while she tried to contact a drug dealer. Witnesses told investigators that the 36-year-old mother smoked heroin in the car while the girls were in the backseat. Tests showed that the surviving child had been exposed to opiates.

It is hard to fathom a parent's neglect for a child, Hart-Anderson said.

"Addiction is a very powerful disease, so powerful that some people are not capable of parenting, and their number one priority is their addiction," she said.

Social workers have an overwhelming job, Hart-Anderson said.

"As a society we don't appreciate that enough," she added.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.


MANSFIELD — Ohio’s reliance on local funds to provide child welfare services ranging from adoption to child abuse investigations creates inequity that a coalition of county children services agencies hopes to solve with a $70 million infusion of state dollars.
The Public Children Services Association of Ohio, a coalition of the state’s 88 child welfare agencies, asked members of the Ohio House of Representative’s Finance Committee last week for an additional $70 million in the next two-year budget to fairly finance child welfare services. Currently, state dollars equal 10 percent of all child welfare funding — one of the lowest percentages in the country.
To receive those dollars, 62 Ohio counties would have to contribute more local funds to child welfare services, whether from a levy, county general fund revenue or sales tax, the association’s executive director Crystal Allen said. The other 26 counties are contributing to the extent their property values will allow, according to the association’s formula.
“This would not benefit all counties equally,” Allen said.
Currently, state and local funding varies dramatically between Ohio’s counties from $441 per child in Athens County to $27 per child in Putnam County. Counties with levies, including Richland and Crawford, among others received an average of $198 per child from state and local revenues compared to an average of $60 per child in the 43 counties without levies.
Federal contributions, which comprised 46 percent of the state’s child welfare funding in 2011, are matched to local dollars, but have been shrinking over the years, said Shadi Houshyar, vice president of child welfare policy at First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy group.
Under PCSAO’s proposal, each county would receive $164 per child to fund child welfare services from state and local revenues. The $164 per child figure was chosen because it is close to the current county average of state and local contributions of $169 per child in fiscal year 2011 and equates to about 80 percent of property valuation on a 1.25-mill levy, Allen said.
The amount of state assistance would vary based on county property values, whether the county has a levy and current contributions to the services, Allen said.
In Richland County, officials would reach the $164 per child benchmark with $74.28 in state revenue and $90.26 in local revenue, including the county’s pair of 1-mill levies. To reach that level, an additional $1,073,169 in state dollars and no additional local dollars would have to be collected, according to estimates from the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.
Because numbers are based on the $164 per child benchmark and an average levy of 1.25 mills, figures would change if legislators set different thresholds, Allen said.
The concept behind the proposed formula — using state dollars as an incentive to spur local spending — is an important goal regardless of the thresholds, Allen said. If counties do not come up with the required local funds, they could still receive a percent of state dollars for children protective services, she said.
Funding makes a difference in outcomes, Allen said. Counties without a levy or flexible federal funding took at least five-and-a-half years to match foster care children with an adoptive parent compared to three-and-a-half years for counties with one of those sources and one-and-a-half years for both, according to a recent University of Rochester review.
“We feel this is a really good solution,” Allen said. “It would help to drive federal dollars into the state.”
But Morrow County Job and Family Services Director Don Wake doubts the incentive will work in his county, where levies have failed repeatedly despite $415,000 in debt from unpaid foster care placement fees.
“There is great diversity between counties. There are counties flush with funds, and there is Morrow County, where passing a levy is monumental to say the least,” said Wake, adding that he appreciates the Public Children Services Association of Ohio’s attempt to bring more state dollars to the county level but an incentive won’t help.
Allen said legislators she’s spoken with, including members of the Ohio House of Representative’s Finance Committee, appreciate the inequity and support the proposed solution, but don’t know where to find the funds. Allen said a severance tax on oil and gas drilling could fund the program.
“It doesn’t have to come from fracking, but it seems like to me that would be a good place,” Allen said.
Ben Johnson, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokesman, said department officials are aware of the proposal, but have not seen any legislation or taken a position. Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget would maintain child welfare funding and expand other programs, including a partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
Twitter: @jbalmert


April 24, 2013 12:00 am
Before lawmakers adjourn the 2013 session, Montanans should be aware of unintended consequences from decisions made in 90 busy workdays.
One unintended result of legislative budgeting will make the work of Child Protective Services employees even more difficult. The Child and Family Services Division has seen high turnover – 43 percent last year. A study commissioned by the division showed that the reasons for high turnover are primarily work stress and the feeling of not being able to do enough to help clients because of work overload.
The Schweitzer administration last year agreed to a temporary staff increase of 13.5 full-time-equivalent child protection workers to help reduce the high caseloads and burnout that was contributing to an unacceptably high turnover rate.
Unfortunately, the budget approved by the Legislature eliminated a request to make those positions permanent.
“The staff positions were removed from the division that protects children from abuse and is suffering from the one of the worst work overload issues in the agency,” Richard Opper, director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services, told The Gazette last week. “The number of children in care continues to increase as do the number of reports, so workload is higher than it has been historically.”
The number of Montana kids in foster care has increased by 175 since January and totaled 2,198 this month.
CFSD is working with the University of Montana School of Social Work on stress and resiliency training that has decreased turnover for child protection workers in other states.
The division is also looking to provide improved mobile technology for all staff to increase efficiency. By the end of June 2013, the Division plans to have tablets for all field staff, so that they can enter case notes and do other work while in the field.
However better training and technology won’t close the gap with an increasing caseload.
“If no additional positions are granted, it will be difficult to manage an increasing workload without more people – and it is likely that the turnover issue may actually get worse instead of better,” Opper said.
Children’s lives depend on the division having adequate staffing with well-qualified child protection specialists. A competent caseworker who addresses the children’s needs promptly will prevent further trauma and probably shorten the time they spend in foster care.
The state budget isn’t law yet. We ask Gov. Steve Bullock and legislative leaders to consider Montana’s most vulnerable children and fulfill this modest request to increase child protection staff.
— The Billings Gazette


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Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.

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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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