Youth Services Law

Showing 6 posts from April 2019.

Mandated Reporting is Not a Cure-All

Child in foster care

Minnesota Public Radio recently had an excellent report on the problems of homeless youth. One aspect that struck me was the unintentional consequences of mandated reporter policies:

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Child Protection Policies Don’t Work When No One Does Their Job

Sad woman sitting alone with hands covering her face

This story from Los Angeles illustrates that even the best child protection policies do not work if staff and supervisors do not follow through. In this analysis, I’m relying on the reporter’s facts, most of which come from later police reports and depositions in a civil suit against the LA school system. According to the reporter, in November 2014 a parent of a female water polo player at Kennedy High School told the head coach, Eric Pierce, that a 21-year-old coach, Joshua Owens, was dating their 15-year-old girl. Pierce told the investigating officer that he “didn’t take it seriously,” and did not follow up beyond asking Owens about the allegations. Owens, of course, denied any inappropriate conduct.

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Are Anti-Bullying Programs Effective?

Posted In Bullying

Teacher intervening children bullying

Anti-bullying programs get a lot of attention these days, because everyone wants to spare children the trauma of true bullying. Yet in spite of our best efforts, the problem is not getting better, and some experts worry that we are creating new problems for our kids.

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Which Parent Has Authority?

Two parents and their child

One common question that I get is which parents have authority over the children in a program. As with all legal questions, it depends.

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Background Checks: Child Abuse Registries

Child Abuse Registry Background Checks

Youth-serving organizations that are conscientious about background checks often overlook another important resource for screening staff, namely state child abuse registries. Most states have some sort of registry that compiles substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect. While the registries often are not open to the public, organizations that serve minors usually have some sort of access to them.

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Anxiety in Kids? Treat the Adults!

Parent comforting anxious child

An interesting study from the Yale Child Study Center that works with parents instead of their children is being hailed as “an innovative way to address an epidemic of anxiety disorders” in children. While the findings certainly challenge conventional wisdom, they are not all that new. My grandmother and her mother before her would have recognized the principles.

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