4 December 2013, 23:00

249 child abuses in state custody reported in Massachusetts

249 child abuses in state custody reported in Massachusetts

A recent report claims that over 200 children were abused in the care of the state of Massachusetts. Thirty percent of the registered cases took place in foster homes, 29 percent in treatment programs, 19 percent in day cares, 18 percent was recorded in schools and 4 percent — in "others."

The Boston Herald reports: "State officials found evidence supporting 249 allegations of physical and sexual abuse and poor care involving youngsters in state-watched settings last year, according to the Office of the Child Advocate’s 2013 report, a copy of which was obtained by the Herald."

Thirty percent of the registered cases took place in foster homes, 29 percent in treatment programs, 19 percent in day cares, 18 percent was recorded in schools and 4 percent — in "others."

The Department of Children and Families spokeswoman said "the state works hard to protect all children."

The Herald's report coincided with the Arizona child abuse scandal. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has been showered with criticisms after the state's Child Protective Services department has been revealed to have failed tinvestigation of more than 6,000 abuses.

Arizona governor slammed for ignoring child abuse

By Olga Yazhgunovich

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is facing great pressure and potential political damage, as her administration appeared to have ignored thousands of child abuse reports, which triggered calls to replace her hand-picked leader of the state’s social services agency.

Brewer is so far rejecting to substitute the agency's leader, and pledges to ensure the cases were made public and those responsible were punished.

In the past several years, Brewer has claimed reforming Child Protective Services one of her top priorities, but this looks like a cheap talk now. Clarence Carter, director of the Department of Economic Security, which oversees CPS revealed last week that more than 6,000 reports generated by the state's child abuse hotline hadn't been investigated since 2009, most in the past 20 months, The Washington Post reports.

Carter promises every case meriting a full investigation will be handled by the end of January. He's assigned more than 200 CPS supervisors and program managers to the job.

Last January, Brewer personally took credit in her State of the State address for "overhauling" the hotline system so urgent calls received priority. Now, she is facing criticism coming from both Democrats and members of Brewer's own GOP party.

"I have to ask the question, what else might not be working?" said Kate Brophy McGee, a Phoenix Republican who co-chairs the Legislature's CPS oversight committee. "Is it a systemic problem?"

Republican Senator Nancy Barto, the committee's other co-chair, said the problem was system-wide.

"The public must know that this neglect of duty will never happen again and that the people responsible for this disturbing practice are held accountable," Barto said in a statement. "In addition, a long-term reform of the agency is warranted to restore public confidence."

The controversy is certain to become a major source of debate when the full Legislature returns in January.

Meanwhile, the head of a leading Arizona child advocacy group sent an open letter to Brewer demanding that Carter be removed.

"Since this practice of leaving reports uninvestigated has continued over several years from different units within the Department of Economic Security, it’s clear it was not one or two rogue employees, but a systemic policy," wrote Dana Naimark, president of the Children’s Action Alliance. "Director Clarence Carter is responsible for this lapse and we urge you to ask for his resignation."

However, Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder brushed off the calls for Carter to resign.

"The calls for Carter's resignation have come from largely predictable people," he told The Associated Press Wednesday. "She's not entertaining calls like that right now, because her first concern is to ensure that every child whose case went uninvestigated is safe. That's the immediate task at hand."

Voice of Russia, Huffington Post

  •  
    and share via