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County Chuild Abuse

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Paul Nagy View Drop Down
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    Posted: Dec 27 2015 at 11:23am

County investigates thousands of child abuse reports annually

12/26/15

By Lauren Pack

Staff Writer

BUTLER COUNTY —

Every year millions of reports of child abuse are made in the United States, involving more than 6 million children. The U.S. has one of the worst records among industrialized nations in child abuse deaths, losing an average of four to seven children per day to child abuse and neglect.

About 6.3 million children are referred to state agencies each year because of abuse.

The numbers can be startling and part of an ongoing challenge for those tasked with protecting children in Butler County While the most horrific cases that result in the death of a child grab headlines, county Children Services officials say the agency opened thousands of investigations this year with the majority having more positive results.

So far this year, Butler County Children Services has seen seven cases where a child had to be taken to the hospital due to abuse, according to Bill Morrison, the agency’s director.

Two incidents this year ended with the death of babies, most recently 2-year-old Madison Twp. toddler, Kinsley Kinner. In 2012, the county saw a five-year high of 30 child abuse cases that required a trip to the hospital. Morrison said the parents are almost always involved and often the mom’s boyfriend is the culprit.

“I wouldn’t say it is a prevalent problem, but one is too many,” he said. “You hate to see it any time it occurs. I don’t have any reason to believe…Butler County is any different statistically from any other counties around the state.”

Kinsley’s mother, Rebekah Kinner, who is pregnant with a son due in February, is charged with involuntary manslaughter because sheriff’s detectives say she watched her boyfriend, Bradley Young, beat the toddler and did nothing to intervene. Young is charged with murder for the alleged fatal beating.

Earlier this year, Phillip J. Cunningham, 27, of Hamilton, was charged with murder after he allegedly dropped his 2-month-old daughter and shook her, according to Hamilton police. The baby later died from her injuries, which included intracranial bleeding, skull fractures and “serious brain injuries,” police said.

Cunningham, who remains housed in the county Jail is scheduled to appear in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Jan. 21.

Through November, Butler County Children Services has opened 2,553 cases this year based on an allegation of a child in need, which includes anything from physical abuse to emotional maltreatment to homelessness and neglect. For the intakes investigated, there were out of home placement in 191, which includes foster care and relative placements.

“Some of the most difficult case are those involving infants and toddlers, because they can’t talk, or defend themselves,” Morrison said.

He said when Children Services opens a cause involving a young child, they are also challenged with finding out who may be inflicting the harm, which can be difficult if many people and family members have access to the child.

Depending on the circumstances of the situation, such as if a crime has been committed and the police are involved, the child can be removed from the home. But often the child is placed with the other parent, a safe family member or friend of the family.

“We have a some wonderful foster families, but think about it: If you are a child, four of five years old, and you are taken from your home and given to people you have never met before, that is a class A, 911 event for that child,” Morrison said. “We know growing up in foster care causes a lot of childhood problems.”

Case workers assigned to a case are required by law to check and speak with the child and parents, depending on the situation, with regularity.

The case and a disposition of the validity of the allegations must be completed in 45 days.

On the “front end” of a case, according to Julie Gilbert, a children services supervisor who spent many years as a case worker, they are trying to determine if there has been any physical abuse. That means something other than marks on the buttocks from corporal punishment. And also if the child has been exposed to violent acts, drug abuse, mental illness or if they simply have no food or shelter.

“We meet with the child victim and at least one person caring for them,” she said. Follow up is done every five days with the worker attempting to visually see the child, Gilbert said.

Morrison said the agency works within the system and the structure they have to keep children safe, but the bottom line is the agency is not about breaking up families, when counseling and other services can make life better for all.

“We are future thinking for the child and the family,” Morrison said. “But the reality is, we don’t have the ability to predict human nature.”

Morrison said the agency was not involved with Rebekah Kinner as a parent prior to her daughter’s death, and they don’t have jurisdiction over any unborn children.

“But we will be watching (once the child is born),” Morrison said.

If a person should suspect a child is being abused or neglected, they can call Butler County Children Services on its 24-hour hotline: 513- 868-0888. Callers can remain anonymous.

Officials said, however, if someone sees a child being harmed, and they believe it is an emergency, they should call 911.


Butler County Children Services investigations through November 2015

Emotional maltreatment — 40

Medical neglect — 71

Neglect — 778

Stranger danger — 10

Physical abuse — 1109

Sexual abuse — 278

Dependency — 101

Family in need of Services (homelessness, lack of food) — 166

 

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Paul Nagy View Drop Down
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MUSA Citizen


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Nagy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 27 2015 at 11:42am

 

     Lauren Pack should get some sort of award for this very important and informative article about child abuse in Butler County.Please note all of the important statements by Bill Morrison and the great work of Butler County Children's Services.

     We need you to help change our childcare laws and practices,  locally, statewide and nationally. The basic fallacy is our childcare priorities. The priority today is rehabilitation. Time has proven rehabilitation with biological parents  to be less than successful due to the epidemic of drug abuse. It is a grand ideal to reunite abused children with dysfunctional parents after they have supposedly been rehabilitated. But in most cases it has proven not to be successful and the children pay the price. In those cases where it is successful it is wonderful and we should encourage it. However, rehabilitation and reunification of families should be a secondary priority with Child Protection being the first priority. If our protection laws are made stronger and enforced isn’t it more reasonable to expect less child abuse and dysfunctional families? Of course it is! 

       Our abused children have four possible placements under our present childcare system:

1.       Back to their biological parents.

2.       Adoptive parents.

3.       Foster care.

4.       Children’s residential or group homes.

       Each of these choices need some new laws and clear understandings to protect our children.

       Biological parents need to clearly understand their responsibilities and new stronger penalties for child abuse should be established. If they abuse their children, their children will be removed from the home and the parents will pay severe penalties.

        Adoptions need to be streamlined and waiting times for adoptions need to be lessened. Many people go out of the country and adopt children because our waiting times are so long. When adoptions don’t work the alternatives need to be exercised within a reasonable amount of time based on the best interests of the child and the parents. The alternatives need to be plainly and clearly spelled out.

        Our Foster care Program is a disaster. It needs total overhaul. There are many wonderful foster parents but there are more abusive ones under our foster care system. Our children service agencies must be given new guidelines to identify abuse and how to immediately deal with the abuse and the foster parents should be heavily penalized immediately to ensure the child’s safety and security.   Our children services agencies must have a policy that the child’s interests, safety and protection are first and everything else is second. No one must be allowed to be a foster care parent if they are doing it just for the money or to have extra free labor around the house or if they are going to make the foster child feel like a second class citizen. Sometimes children are put into as many as two to twenty foster homes before they are eighteen. The courts refer to them as the plastic bag brigade. Children in the foster care program must not be allowed to be put in more than two foster homes in their lifetime. It is essential that the child feels wanted, safe and secure.

       Children’s homes are a wonderful alternative when reunification, adoptions and foster care do not work out. Some children are just not adoptable and foster care does not work for them. In those instances the children’s home alternative is a wonderful haven for children. We have many wonderful children’s homes in the United States that provide safety, security, great educations, moral values and preparation for lifetime choices by the child. There are those who through lack of experience or any practical frame of reference have the idea that all children’s home are like the 18th century Dickensian, Oliver Twist type of cruel orphanage where a child has his hand out with a bowl asking for a second helping of gruel. Those days are long gone and the children’s homes of today are ideal in temporary and long term childcare. We need to change our federal and state guidelines for children’s homes and relax some of the regulations and let the homes do what they are specialist in doing for children and not be hindered by bureaucratic red tape and theory. Please encourage the proper use of more children’s homes to help solve our childcare problems. There is a shortage of children’s home that are for disadvantaged children who are not at-risk.

     Wherever we place our displaced children we need to practice Preventive Childcare that gives children the best care and development in life to keep them from getting into trouble and helps them to become good solid citizens. 

      Please get proactive in behalf of our children. They didn’t ask to come into this world. It is a sad testament to our national values that we are more willing to rehabilitate than to protect our children. You can be of great value in behalf our (homeless) children.  Please do what you can. Write and call your local

Judges, prosecutor, and representatives and demand new and severe childcare laws.

 

 

 

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