Youth Services Law

Showing 10 posts from September 2009.

We Can Be Sued for What?!

Posted In Youth Camps

My presentation at the American Camping Association Southeastern Region conference was about good ways to avoid, or at least lessen the chances of, lawsuits.  Although I focused youth camps, and the ACA standards, my suggestions also might be helpful to other groups.

If you have any questions, disagreements, or suggestions, definitely let me know.

American Camping Association

Posted In Youth Camps

I'm teaching a session this week at the American Camping Association Southeastern Conference. If you're there, look me up and say hello.

Why We Can't Forget

Posted In Miscellaneous

I enjoy posting funny stories on Fridays, to end the week on a humorous note. Today, though, is a day for remembering. I like this cartoon's reminder of why we can't forget 9-11.

Child Sexual Behavior -- Normal Curiosity or Cause for Concern?

This month's edition of Pediatrics magazine has a report about evaluating sexual behavior in children. It does not break any new ground, but offers an excellent overview of the current state of research into the range of child sexual behaviors.   It notes, for example, the connection with parental neglect, as well as witnessing domestic violence.

Children and Domestic Violence

The latest of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence has a fascinating study about the effect of domestic violence on children. It included a small sample, and needs to be replicated, but it is the first major study to look at the effect of the relationship between a child who witnesses domestic violence and the perpetrator. It found no significant difference in regard to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but found that children with multiple father figures showed significantly more troublesome behaviors.

CDC Guidance on Swine Flu

The CDC has issued an updated bulletin for early childhood programs on how to respond to an outbreak of the H1N1 virus. At the head of the list is vaccinations, both ordinary flu and H1N1 (when available) for staff. Next, the CDC recommends having staff and children stay home for at least 3-5 days after exhibiting flu symptoms. The CDC also recommends frequent health checks, separating staff and children who exhibit flu symptoms, and renewed attention to environmental cleanliness and handwashing.

The most difficult recommendation to follow is likely to be having staff stay home for at least 3-5 days, or longer if the flu symptoms persist. Few schools or child care centers have extra staff sitting around, and finding substitutes on short notice for sick staff members will be a constant challenge. Groups will have to find creative solutions this flu season, whether banding together to share a pool of on-call, trained substitute teachers, or just hiring an extra staff person or two in anticipation of the inevitable illnesses over the next few months.

Teen Dies from H1N1 virus

A teenager in Texas died last month from swine flu. What struck me about this particular report is that he also had an MRSA infection at the time. Last year, a report in Pediatrics magazine noted a five-fold increase in flu deaths where a child also had MRSA. Given the prevalence of MRSA in many communities, youth-serving organizations need to be as alert to the symptoms of MRSA as to flu symptoms.

The History of Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Thanks to World of Psychology, I found an excellent article by American Scholar on Dr. Aaron Beck, the founder of Cognitive Behavior Therapy.   The article describes, not just Dr. Beck, but the early history of CBT.  It's well worth reading.

I have been an enthusiastic supporter of CBT ever since I discovered it ten or so years ago.  I like to think that my enthusiasm stems not from any bias caused by my legal cases, but from my time as a social worker in the early 80s.  I spent a lot of time working with abused children and dysfunctional families, and became quite disenchanted with traditional psychoanalysis.  It seemed to me to be analogous to using a treadmill instead of going on a hike -- the exercise might be good for you, but you always find yourself in the same place.

Ibuprofen Best for Simple Fractures

Posted In Personal Injury

The Annals of Emergency Medicine recently published a study in which ibuprofen proved to be better than acetaminophen with codeine at managing children's pain after an acute fracture.  The researchers only studied the first three days after the fracture, but it is nevertheless an interesting finding.

Hat tip: Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog

Good Instincts

Posted In Child Abuse

Like everyone else, I have been following (and fascinated by) the story of Jaycee Dugard, found 18 years after she was kidnapped. Now 29, she has two daughters, apparently fathered by her kidnapper. It will take a long time to understand why she did not take opportunities to leave her kidnapper, but we adults often forget how very vulnerable children are, and how powerless they feel.  

For now, though, I want to focus on the police work that led to the discovery. A Berkeley police officer says that she sensed something very wrong with the relationship between the kidnapper and the two younger children, but did not have strong enough facts to warrant a report to protective services. Fortunately, she did not leave the question there, but called the kidnapper's parole officer, who was surprised to learn that he claimed to have two daughters. That officer's interview led to the unravelling of the entire affair.

It is good that the Berkeley officer followed up on her suspicions. Law enforcement officers always have to make difficult judgment calls, and always have someone second-guessing them. This time, it was the right call.

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