Archive for children

“GET BLUE” – NATIONAL EFFORT TO EDUCATE AMERICA DURING APRIL, NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

April marks the 29th anniversary of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time dedicated to child abuse education, awareness and prevention activities. To observe National Child Abuse Prevention month, Love Our Children USA, (a national organization headquartered in New York whose mission is to break the cycle of violence against children) begins its ninth annual GET BLUE campaign – a national effort to educate and raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention.

The “Blue Ribbon” is the symbol for child abuse prevention. Love Our Children USA urges every person across the country to GET BLUE. By wearing a Blue Ribbon pin during April and throughout the year, we can educate families, children, neighbors and communities on how to prevent child abuse and neglect — encourage communities and individuals in recognizing and preventing child abuse, assist families in achieving healthy parenting practices through education and resources and empower individuals to report child victimization and intervene in situations where violence and neglect harm children.

To signify the importance of the month, Love Our Children USA announces the Ninth Annual National Love Our Children Day on Saturday, April 14th. Created by Love Our Children USA, National Love Our Children Day is celebrated annually to honor children, strengthen families and raise awareness for efforts to keep children safe. Each year the day is recognized with a proclamation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

National Love Our Children Day is like Mother’s and Father’s Day for children and is celebrated across the U.S. This day was created to acknowledge the value of children and to educate parents on the importance of giving them love, protection and respect, the three essential elements children need to become strong and successful adults. By promoting healthy and happy children and strengthening families we can keep kids safe.

To create a greater awareness Love Our Children USA has created a virtual i-Walk which will take place online during the month of April. The awareness and funds raised will go towards parenting education programs to keep children safe and strengthen families. The i-Walk is sponsored by Karma 411, Rolemommy.com, Project You Magazine, Kenn Viselman Presents and the Oogieloves.

In just one year the number of child sexual abuse by teachers was alarming. There were five cases in New York City alone just in February and the scandal at the Miramonte School in Los Angeles shook the education community there. The Penn State and Syracuse scandals shook college campuses and all of the parents in the country who harmed or killed there children this year was tragic.

According to Love Our Children USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ross Ellis “Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and the unnecessary tragedies we’ve seen this past year calls for educating the public immediately and often.” Reports of child abuse nationwide have increased by 30-percent in the last 10-years. If the country thinks child abuse isn’t a problem, they need to think again. More than 3 million children are victims of child abuse each year and almost 1.8 million children are reported missing each year, many of whom are abducted from their homes and front yards. Those are only the ones that are reported.

“It is of critical importance that we educate the American public and raise a greater awareness to break the cycle of violence against children – before it starts,” says Ellis.

Ross Ellis said “A child’s voice is small, ignored and unheard. We must raise the volume so that everyone hears their message. Imagine if everyone in the country wore a Blue Ribbon — we could make such an impact in raising awareness to break the cycle that breaks children’s hearts, spirits and lives. We must protect our children instead of protecting the people who are supposed to be protecting our most innocent. ”

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is not only a timely opportunity to remind ourselves of our collective responsibility to protect America’s children and strengthen America’s families, but it is time to accelerate education and awareness of this very public epidemic and make our children a priority NOW. The country, our communities, concerned citizens, and even youth must work together to break the cycle.

Leave a comment »

Penn State Students Riot Over Firing of Football Coach Joe Paterno

         
  

The fact that this story is being written shows us what seems to be more important in the minds of Penn State students – and it’s not the fact that innocent children have been sexually abused and the abuse was covered up. It’s all about money-making college football.

Last night thousands of Penn State students rioted after hearing about the firing of 84 year-old Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Students screamed and chanted “We want Joe.” They threw rocks and bottles and tipped over a news van.

A 20-year-old junior from Scranton, PA and an 18 year-old freshman from Baltimore told news sources that they thought the decision was a little harsh and said they are just allegations.

Do these students not understand that it is against the law NOT to report child abuse? Are students that immune to horrific and immoral behavior against children, that they would rather see a football coach keep his job?

Do they not understand that child sexual abuse is as bad as it gets? That an adult who took advantage of young boys and took away their very foundation?

What are the parents of the rioters thinking?

There was a witness to the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy by coach Jerry Sandusky who told Joe Paterno about the abuse. And many more victims have come forward. Paterno did nothing. He might as well have abused the boys himself.

Paterno, Penn State President Graham Spanier and Penn State have been under great scrutiny since former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged last weekend with 40 counts of sexual abuse of children. I repeat 40 counts of child sexual abuse.

Sandusky was arrested last Saturday on charges that he preyed on boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths. Two high-ranking Penn State administrators also face charges they lied about knowledge of the crimes to a grand jury.

It’s no mistake that child sexual abusers choose careers that deal with children. The Second Mile began as group foster home to help troubled boys.

The grand jury report Read the grand jury report is startling and portrays the actions of a typical child molester.

As a child advocate for over 20 years, it is appalling enough to read the grand jury report because our weakest ones have been egregiously abused, hurt and taken advantage of. Yet to see young adults take the side of Paterno and riot over his dismissal because football is more important – because Penn State will somehow not be able to go on without Paterno leaves one shaking their head in complete disbelief and anger – because where have we as a society gone wrong with teaching our young adults values and morals?

The behavior of the rioting Penn State students needs discussion, education and awareness. The silence of Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier needs criminal investigation. And the audacious acts of Jerry Sandusky need a trial that will convict him of being the child molester he is.

As far as college football, I don’t really know much about it or care to, but I am told there is quite a bit of money to made from this sport.

We’ve been dealing with corporate greed and now it’s come down to the greed of a football coach who made millions and who kept silent for a football team and a college and allowed young boys to be sexually abused.

What does that say about our society and how can we explain this to our child victims?

Ross Ellis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Love Our Children USA

Leave a comment »

School Cover Up: Injustice to a Little Girl in Naples, Fl

Recently, I wrote an article about Steven Noyes, a teacher in Naples, Florida who  has been accused of inappropriately touching his former 9 year-old female  student Jane Doe. (See blog post May 21st.)

Why former?

The school expelled little Jane Doe. The  teacher has refused to cooperate with  police and has returned to teaching at the private Christian Village School in Naples, Fl. which is affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church,

Not only does Noyes refuse to cooperate with police, but he has recently been seen hugging children in school and holding hands with students. Odd that should happen especially when the parents reported the abuse to Ginger Sauter, the school’s principal, and she told the parents “this is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children.”

It’s bad enough that Noyes has been accused of inappropriately touching a child, but why is he holding hands with a student? Why is he hugging students?

The injustice to Jane Doe is unfair. She has not only been violated but she has been forced to go to a new school, make new friends and leave everything behind because of a teacher’s indiscretions and a school’s incompetence to handle the situation properly.

As reported earlier, the teacher is by all accounts “beloved” and has a clean record. The same scenario goes for the “priests” who sexually abuse children and all of the other people who choose careers working with children, only to groom them and then sexually abuse them. That’s the typical M.O. of a child molester.

And holding hands and hugging little children is beyond their realm of “wrong.”

We must seek justice for Jane Doe and her family – and for all of the other Jane and John Does who this happens to.

This case should serve as a wake-up call to all parents. Never say “It won’t happen to my kid” because it happened to Jane Doe who comes from a lovely Christian family with parents who entrusted the care and well-being to this school – to this teacher.

Jane Doe deserves justice! Her claim must be corroborated. Local news comments are aimed at discrediting her and her family.

Steven Noyes lived and taught in Harrington, Maine and moved Naples, Fl where he teaches at the Christian Village School.

Why is the teacher being protected by the school when it’s Jane Doe who should be protected?

Teacher child abuse happens in every state, but never has a student been told to leave school for telling the truth.
If you know of a case like this in Florida – Report it to law enforcement and call Child Protective Services in Florida (800) 962-2873

If you know of a case like this in Maine – Report it to law enforcement and call Child Protective Services in Maine (800) 452-1999

Or you can call the National Child Abuse Hotline at National Hotline 1-800-422-4453

Please help Jane Doe get the justice she deserves.

Leave a comment »

New York child welfare workers held accountable in child’s death

 
According to media sources, two former child welfare workers were indicted yesterday in the death of a 4 year-old Brooklyn girl who was starved, beaten and drugged.

This is the first such prosecution in city history thanks to Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes.

If ACS caseworker Damon Adams did his job and visited Marchella Brett-Pierce in her Bedford-Stuyvesant home, she might be alive today. Instead records indicate that he did not visit the home, but did falsify records after the girl died weighing just 18 pounds. Chereece Bell, 34, the caseworker’s direct supervisor, was charged with failing to monitor his work.

Yesterday Judge Patricia DiMango told news sources: “To say there was no failure here would just defy logic and common sense.”

Adams and Bell pleaded not guilty to charges of criminally negligent homicide, official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child.

Bell’s bail was set at $25,000. Adams, who was charged with additional tampering and falsifying records, was ordered held on $35,000 bail.

Caseworkers first became involved with the Brett-Pierce family in November 2009 when Marchella’s youngest brother was born with illegal drugs in his system.

Prosecutors said caseworker Adams was supposed to make biweekly visits to the home. He only made two entries in the agency’s computer records between March and September which included a phone call with a source involved in the hospital incident and an attempt to visit the home in June. Six days afterwards Marchella died.  Adams then posted bogus entries saying he visited the home in March, April, June and August, prosecutors said.

“His failure to make the visits is what ultimately led to her death,” Kagan said.

The two ACS workers resigned a month after Marchella was found dead.

Prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan said “This child was wasting away. Had the ACS workers done their job, “this child would have been removed” from the home.”

Marchella’s grandmother Loretta Brett, 56, was also indicted Wednesday, pleading not guilty to second-degree manslaughter.

According to prosecutors, Brett slept in the same room as the child night after night as she lay tied in her bed with no food and the grandmother never reported the suspected abuse.

The innocent 4 year-old was beaten, starved, bound to her bed and forced to take multiple doses of Benadryl and other adult medication between July and September.

She died severely malnourished on September 2nd – similar to the horrific abuse and death of  Nixzmary Brown in 2006.

Marchella’s mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, 30, was charged in November with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes vowed to investigate whether the city agency followed recommendations it implemented after Nixzmary’s death.

Hynes said: “We’re going to find at long last what they’re doing at ACS so there are no more children fatalities. “

Faye Moore, the head of the Social Service Employees Union, said ACS layoffs and program cuts have overburdened workers. Frankly we’ve been hearing that tired excuse for years. And it’s not just Marchella who died because of ACS failures. ACS has been linked to at least four other child abuse tragedies.

In a statement, ACS said the indictments “may have the opposite effect from what’s intended because it may discourage excellent, idealistic individuals from taking” jobs as social workers.

This is not true. First … ACS doesn’t hire just social workers as caseworkers. This reporter saw an ad in the NY Times a few years ago. ACS was looking for caseworkers and the ad read that all one needed was a college degree. They did not have to be a social worker. And while shopping in Bloomingdales this reporter overheard a salesperson saying she was going for an interview to ACS. When this reporter questioned the salesperson about the interview she had just graduated from college with a degree in fine arts and had no work experience other than being a salesperson.

Kudos to District Attorney Charles Hynes for arresting these caseworkers. Our children deserve to live in happy, healthy and safe homes. If their parents are abusive and neglectful than we need a system that will protect them at all costs!

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Let’s start protecting our kids instead of protecting the people who are supposed to be protecting them!

Leave a comment »

Kid healthy cooking “must haves’ that last in your freezer

As we know the Center for Disease Control reports that childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of childhood obesity among kids aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.

Although parents are so busy, many are finding that cooking at home with healthy foods helps in the way their kids are eating.

The idea of “fresh food” is wonderful but may not always be a reality with work and family schedules.

The next best thing is have staples in your freezer so that you can squeeze in a few homemade meals in for your family during your week.

READ MORE OF THE ENTIRE STORY HERE

Leave a comment »

The second leading cause of child deaths are from drowning: Learn water safety now

Swimming is a fun activity for many children to celebrate their summer vacation.

The water can be so much fun, yet it can also be dangerous for young children. Even for kids who know how to swim, there have still been drownings.

According to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years old and children 10 to 14 years. Children 4 and under actually have the highest drowning death rate in the U.S. and the majority of child drownings occur in backyard pools & spas.

Just this week, former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham’s 2-year-old son drowned in his parent’s pool spa in Las Vegas and last week NYC sixth grader Nicole Suriel drowned on a class trip to Long Beach. Two-year-old Joseph Anthony Daignault died on June 29th after drowning in his family’s swimming pool. Since the end of May, eight children died in pool drownings in Tennessee.

According to Dr. Mark Waltzman at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, toddlers have a difficult time keeping their top-heavy bodies balanced when sitting up and they often have a hard time getting back up after they fall, and can drown in just one inch of water.

READ THE ENTIRE STORY HERE AND SEE VIDEO

Leave a comment »

Mayor Bloomberg encourages NY fathers to be more active in their kids’ lives

Kudos to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he told news sources about his plans to hire a fatherhood-services coordinator as part of an initiative to encourage dads to be more active in their children’s lives.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, City agencies plan to offer parenting classes at homeless shelters and at public hospitals as well as publishing a guide to city services available to fathers.

This comes as great news to all of the child advocates in New York City.

Mayor Bloomberg told news sources that “Strong families make a strong New York. But too many children in this city are growing up without their fathers.” The administration reports that 32 percent of all children under 17 in New York City grow up in a fatherless household.

Read more of the story here

Leave a comment »