FOSTER-CARE RECEIVERSHIP REMAINS AN OPEN ISSUE IN THE OLIVIA Y. LAWSUITState Agrees Not to Contest Noncompliance in Most Recent Period and to Implement Expert RecommendationsOlivia Y. v. Bryant, Case No. 3:04-CV-251-LN, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, Jackson Division
The judge in the federal court foster-care lawsuit Olivia Y. v. Bryant today approved an agreement, once again postponing court action on plaintiffs’ request for the appointment of a receiver to take over the Mississippi foster care system. In the agreement, the state acknowledged that it would “not contest a finding of noncompliance” for the most recent period, which ran through June 2015. The state also agreed to take on a number of additional commitments recommended by an expert consulting group as part of the pending contempt motion filed in March 2015.
Attorneys for the plaintiff foster children have agreed to postpone until October 17 their motion asking the federal court to appoint a receiver over the Mississippi foster care system. However, the plaintiffs can move forward with that motion at any time after receiving an update on the state’s progress, which will take place no later than July 15.
The state is currently obligated to implement recommendations made by the expert group, Public Catalyst, within specified time periods, as a result of the contempt motion. Under this new interim agreement the state is also required to accept new caseload standards set by the expert group and to reduce the number of children in unlicensed facilities and homes at a rate and within time periods set by the expert group. According to a report by the court monitor prepared in December 2015, during the period ending June 2015 there were 697 children in such placements.
The other areas in which the state is already directed to make measurable changes are in management, caseloads, increased salaries for workers and smartphones or computers for them, and the development of new placements. The expert group is responsible for providing technical assistance to the state and for reporting on whether the state is complying with the court-ordered requirements.
Within the next six months, the expert group will also conduct a second desk audit of the agency’s caseloads and make determinations of how many children are in unlicensed foster homes and how many foster-care placements are available for children.
The agreement also provides that by October 1 the court monitor will complete an in-depth analysis of whether the state’s screening and investigation of maltreatment of children in Mississippi foster care comports with professional standards and with the requirements of the settlement agreement in the lawsuit.
“Mississippi has profound and unaddressed shortcomings in its foster-care system that have subjected far too many of its children to grievous harm,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, the executive director of A Better Childhood and the lead attorney for the plaintiff children. “Under the pressure of this contempt motion, the state has indicated that it may finally be committed to addressing these shortcomings. Right now, we are watching carefully to see whether the state can finally demonstrate that it can do so or whether we need to ask the federal court to act.”
I know its been a while and with good reason, we pick up and left MA and moved to MS. For the most part we love it here. However, after settling in, we decided to foster to adopt again. Our son has been doing so well and we have been to get the services we need that it was time to add to our family and hopefully give another child a forever home. HOWEVER, MS is the worst child welfare state in the nation, literally, it ranks dead last among the entire nation. I didn't know about the the Olivia Y case until after I moved here, I will post that case after I finish posting this blog post. This state is on the verge of federal receivership, the can't keep children safe, have a deficit of almost 50 million dollars this year and can't follow policy, procedure, mandates or the law. I attened a grievance hearing, however I never received any notification , written or otherwise. I attended what I thought was a meeting to discuss an office supervisor who wasn't doing her job, however when I arrived this agent decided to do a duo meeting without my prior notification or consent. However I had just driven 1.5 hours so I just went with it, thank god I had and carry my paperwork with me and know like the back of my hand, regardless of the state there are certain ways that a government agency must process information. Let us be clear, this agency does not follow due dilegnce not due process. IMHO, I also feel there is a huge racial element here, at least in the office in my town. There is a resistance to place white kids with black parents, YET they have not issue placing black kids with white parents. Color evidently is a big thing here STILL in SOME parts. Not only have been denied to foster I have also been denied to adopt. They say my husband isn't a resident of MS, even though he has a MS license, auto insurance, works for the federal government, has a homestead exception and pays MS taxes. By MS law he is a resident, however this agency feels they are above the law and give their opinion of residency. YES THEY DID THAT. In addition, they expect ANY foster parent to provide visitation services with the bio parents. NO VISITING ROOMS at the offices, YOU take the child to Mcdonalds or a Park and have the visit, I have NEVER seen a bio parent clapping hands for child services to take the small children and be ok with the foster parents. This is a social workers job, but NOT HERE IN MS, its not about keeping the child safe, there will be more to come. I understand I now will have to attend a meeting with the Attorney General's office and that will be a 3.5 hour drive. Please see my facebook live video in the blog.
Terry Alves-Hunter, Foster Parent Advocate
Not in my womb, always in my heart
Learning & Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) The Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital assesses students and children ages 2 to 22 who have developmental difficulties and consults with their parents, teachers and care providers.
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Our experienced professional staff includes Child psychologists, Licensed clinical psychologists, Neuropsychologists, Certified school psychologists, clinical psychology interns and postgraduate fellows.
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Boston Medical Center
Dr. Augustyn is the Director of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and is a Professor at Boston University School of Medicine. She went to medical school at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, completed her pediatric residency at UCLA and her Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric Fellowship at Boston University-Boston City Hospital. Her clinical work at BMC primarily involves the evaluation of children with various developmental delays including autism,speech and language delays, global developmental delay, learning disabilities, ADHD to mention a few.
Her research work has varied across her career and includes work on the effects of both in utero cocaine exposure and violence on early childhood and parenting and recently she has been a leader in developing the Center for Family Navigation at BU, a national leader in promoting and developing the use of navigators to support families of children with developmental disabilities.
Dr. Augustyn is co-editor of The Zuckerman Parker Handbook of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for Primary Care and the section co-editor for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for the online journal UpToDate. She currently sits on the sub board of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the American Board of Pediatrics and is on the Board of Directors of the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She is also on the American Academy of Pediatrics planning committee for Practical Pediatrics, their national CME Program.
Deborah Frank, MD
Dr. Frank is the Director of the Grow Clinic for Children and a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center (BMC). She is also a Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Frank attended Harvard Medical School and completed her residency at Children's Hospital Seattle. After her residency, she went on to complete a fellowship in Child Development at Children's Hospital Boston. Dr. Frank specializes in issues of growth and nutrition and the impact of hunger on child development.
Dr. Frank has written numerous scientific articles and papers. Her work has focused on breastfeeding promotion, women and children affected by substance use, nutrition among homeless pregnant women and children, Failure to Thrive, food insecurity, and the “heat or eat” phenomenon, the dilemma that many low-income families face in the winter when they have to make the critical choice between heating their homes and feeding their children. She is especially proud of successfully mentoring many pre-professional and professional colleagues.
Cited as a respected authority in her fields, Dr. Frank has frequently given testimony to state and federal legislative committees on the growing problem of hunger and associated hardships in the United States and its effects on our youngest children. She has recently been nominated by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to the newly established National Commission on Hunger. She is also an invited member of the Aspen’s Dialogue on Food Insecurity and Health Care Costs.
L. Kari Hironaka MD, MPH
Dr. Hironaka is a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. She completed her fellowship at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Hironaka specializes in health services research, health literacy and ADHD, as well as residency training.
John Maypole, MD
Dr. Maypole completed Pediatric Residency in 1999, and Pediatric Chief Residency in 2000 following his training at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Maypole has consistently included primary care, medical education, and in participating in and developing innovative clinical programs for complex children and their families. Dr. Maypole served as Associate Director of the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Education Project and performing Holistic Medicine consults and medical education at Children’s Hospital from 2003-2005. In 2005, Dr. Maypole became Director of the Department of Pediatrics at the South End Community Health Center while serving as an attending physician for the Comprehensive Care Program (CCP) in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. CCP is a multi-disciplinary team of providers who provide enhanced and coordinated primary care to the most medically complex patients and higher risk families in the Pediatric Department, including ex-premature infants, children with special health needs and neurodevelopmental disabilities. In February of 2013, Dr. Maypole came to Boston University/Boston Medical Center to work full time to develop approaches and programs to address this fast-growing segment of the pediatric population. In September of 2014, Dr. Maypole received an award from the Center for Medicare Medicaid Innovation, supporting a 3 year effort for the Massachusetts Alliance for Complex Care/4C program--a consultative, multidisciplinary care support model of care for PCPs and families of medically complex children, of which he is co-principal investigator. He is an associate professor of Pediatrics at BUSM. Dr. Maypole writes child health-related articles for a lay audience, for mainstream media and online publications.
Jenny Radesky, MD
Dr. Radesky is a board-eligible Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician and a board-certified general pediatrician who recently joined the faculty at Boston Medical Center after completing her fellowship training here. She attended Harvard Medical School and completed her pediatrics training at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Radesky is a clinician-investigator whose clinical interests include early childhood adversity, attachment relationships, and child self-regulation, as well as teaching trainees methods of observing parent-child interaction. Her research examines mobile/interactive media use by parents and young children and how this effects parent-child interaction and child social-emotional development. She is an active member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media.
Arathi Reddy, DO
Dr. Reddy is a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. She attended medical school at Western University of Allied Health Sciences in Pomona, CA and completed her residency at Morristown Memorial Hospital/ University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Morristown, NJ. She completed her fellowship at Einstein Montefiore and worked in NYC prior to joining the faculty in March 2011.
Jodi Santosuosso, NP, MSN
Jodi is a certified nurse practitioner in the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Division at Boston Medical Center. She attended University of Massachusetts College of Nursing and Health Sciences and completed her residency at University of Massachusetts, Boston. She joined the Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine faculty in April 2007. Jodi has had extensive training in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, gastrointestinal (GI) diseases and ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders.
Laura Sices, MD, MSDr. Sices is a board-certified Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Medical Center (BMC). She attended medical school at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, completed her residency at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and completed her fellowship at University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Dr. Sices was on the faculty at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH before joining BMC in 2007. Dr. Sices’ clinical work focuses on assessment and management of children with a variety of different concerns, including developmental delays, speech and language delays and conditions, ADHD, learning disabilities and differences, and autism spectrum conditions. Her academic focus is on developmental screening and the early identification of developmental delays.
Naomi Steiner, MD
Dr. Steiner is the Director of Training at the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Steiner studies how computers train the brain, which is an area of great interest in overlapping fields of ADHD, psychology, neuroscience and education, and closely followed by many as a complimentary or alternative approach to the traditional psychopharmacological treatment of ADHD. She is specifically interested in implementing neurofeedback attention training in schools. She is also interested in teaching self-regulation skills and relaxation breathing in schools. Dr. Steiner is multicultural and multilingual. In 2030 more than 50% of children will be raised bilingual in the United States! Dr. Steiner has written a book on how to successfully raise children bilingual (7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child), and instructs medical professional, teachers and parents on how children learn two languages, and how English Language Learners can be successful at school.
Mary Ellen Stolecki, NP, MSN
Mary Ellen is a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner in the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Division at Boston Medical Center and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.
She specializes in primary care of the Child with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) in the Comprehensive Care Program. She also practices in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Division providing specialty care for gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.
Her clinical interests are primary care for medically complex children (as well as GI issues) of CSHCN including: care of the premature infant, autism, cerebral palsy, seizures, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, Turner syndrome,achrondroplasia,and multiple congenital anomalies.
Jodi Wenger, MD
Jodi Wenger, MD is a graduate of Dartmouth Medical School who completed her pediatric residency at Boston Medical Center. She spent several years on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona before transitioning back to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. She served as a pediatric hospitalist, outpatient provider and educator at Dartmouth Medical School.
She has always had an interest in children with special health care needs. She worked in the Comprehensive Care Program at BMC as a resident and is thrilled to return. She was the general pediatrician at the multidisciplinary spina bifida clinic at Dartmouth Hitchcock and cared for children with neurologic challenges while on the Navajo Reservation.
Dr. Wenger has also had an interest in resident work hour reform and continues to support the software she and her husband created during her chief resident year. Amion, continues to allow one to make fair physician call schedules that can be easily accessed online.
Barry Zuckerman, MD
Dr. Zuckerman is Professor and Chair Emeritus of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center. He is a national and international leader in child health and development. His research focuses on the interplay among biological, social and psychological factors as they contribute to children's health and development. Dr. Zuckerman and colleagues have developed four programs that transformed health care to better meet the needs of low income and minority children. The success of these efforts is that they are now all national programs; Reach Out and Read, Medical-Legal Partnership, Health Leads and Healthy Steps. In addition to more than 250 scientific publications, he has edited nine books, including three editions of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics: Handbook for Primary Care. He has served on prestigious national committees; National Commission on Children, Carnegie Commission on Young Children, Bright Futures, and has received numerous national and international awards including the C. Anderson Aldrich for Child Development and the Joseph St Geme Award for Leadership from AAP, and the Policy and Advocacy award and Health Care Delivery Award from the APA. He has consulted in Turkey, Bangladesh, and Thailand regarding child development.
- See more at: http://www.bmc.org/pediatrics-developmentalbehavioral/team.htm#sthash.UrLgPWRv.dpuf
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