Report Urges State Agencies to Address Growing Kinship Care Needs

A new report finds that more American children are living under kinship care with relatives or family friends instead of their parents, than a decade ago. The report, published by Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT project , entitled “Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families”, found that approximately 2.7 million children are currently living with people other than their parents, an arrangement also known as kinship care. The report also found that about 9 percent of the nation’s youth will live under care of an extended family member for at least three months at some point in their childhood. The authors of the report claim that kinship care needs to be addressed by both community and government programs, as many times family members or friends that assume parental responsibilities are hampered by limited income and the legal inability to obtain basic medical services or authorize medical consent for the children in their care. According to the report, kinship care guardians are very likely to be poor, single, older, less educated and/or unemployed and are often unfamiliar with federal assistance programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Facebook May Change Rules to Allow Children Under 13

For the first time, Facebook is considering allowing children under 13 to join the social networking site, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. But a study last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found Facebook is already full of children younger than 13. According to the report, 46 percent of 12-year-olds are already using Facebook despite the prohibition, either with their parents’ permission or by lying about their age. The Wall Street Journal reports Facebook is researching policies and new technologies that will keep young children safe while using the page. Possibilities include giving parents control over their child’s account by linking the parent and child accounts together.

Controlling Parents More Likely to Have Delinquent Children, Study Finds

Demanding, highly controlling, authoritarian parents are more likely to have delinquent, disrespectful children than parents who are seen by their children as legitimate authority figures, according to research from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Relying on data from the New Hampshire Youth Study, a longitudinal survey of middle and high school children, researchers identified three distinct parenting styles — authoritative, authoritarian and permissive and looked at whether those styles influenced children’s beliefs about the legitimacy of their parents’ authority, according to a press release from UNH. “The style that parents used to rear their children had a direct influence on whether those children perceived their parents as legitimate authority figures,” said Rick Trinkner, a doctoral candidate at UNH and the lead researcher. “Adolescents who perceived parents as legitimate were then less likely to engage in delinquent behavior.”

Authoritative parents, who are demanding and controlling but also warm and receptive, are more likely to raise children who view their parents as having legitimate authority. Children of authoritarian parents, on the other hand, perceived their parents as the least legitimate, according to the study.

Two-week old Julia Walsh receives her social security card. Photo credit: Kurt Wagner/Flickr

Children at Higher Risk for Identity Theft than Adults, Study Says

Children, even toddlers and infants, are at risk of identity theft. In fact, kids under the age of 18 are 51 times more likely to become victims of identity theft than their parents, according to a recent report by Carnegie Mellon CyLab. Out of a representative sample of more than 40,000 juveniles, 10.2 percent, or 4,311 kids, fell prey to some sort of identity theft or fraud, compared to just 0.2 percent of adults in 2009 and 2010. According to CyLab, the main reason minors’ identities are so valuable — specifically their Social Security numbers — is that there’s no process in place to double check what name and birth date are officially attached to each number. Thus, “as long as the identity thief has a Social Security number with a clean history, the thief can attach any name and date of birth to it.”

Minors also make a tempting target because the theft may go undetected for years, according to the credit-reporting agency TransUnion.

In Alabama, Not All Daycare is Regulated the Same

One Alabama daycare center is drawing attention to a law that exempts centers associated with church ministries from licensing and regulation. Kids Space Daycare in Foley, Alabama, was denied a business license by the city, but The Mobile Press-Register reports city officials ultimately have no grounds to shut the center down because of its church affiliation. The city denied the center’s business license because of reports of problems at two previous facilities run by the same operator, Deborah Stokes. Stokes claims her daycare facility complies with the law and that children enrolled at the center are well cared for. Foley police say Stokes was arrested in Mobile County on charges of child endangerment that occurred at a facility she operated in that county.

Jessica Williams: One Parent’s Advice for the Juvenile Justice System

Sharon Smith’s daughter Angela died in 1998 of a heroin overdose. She was 18 years old. For four years before her death, Angie was in and out of 11 treatment centers, stood before a half dozen judges, and lived at one juvenile detention center. Sharon  formed MOMSTELL in 2000 to advocate for more effective, accessible drug treatment and greater family involvement across the continuum of care and in the policy-making process. “Because no family should have to face the disease of addiction alone,” MOMSTELL is committed to identifying and removing barriers to treatment, many of which Sharon encountered when trying to find help for her daughter. Sharon was one of the organizers of the “national dialogue” sponsored in 2009 by SAMHSA for Families of Youth with Substance Use Disorders. Here, she illustrates some of those barriers specific to juvenile justice. When Angie started to use drugs, were there adults in her life who tried to help her?

Part Five: The Big Trouble With Oxy

Just joining us? This is part five of a five part series. Start from the beginning. Scott Merritt, a certified addictions counselor and licensed therapist in metro Atlanta, estimates that about 40 percent of kids in Cobb County high schools use illegal drugs, including alcohol. Though federal officials say the rates nationwide are lower, Merritt isn’t pulling that 40 percent out of thin air.

Part Five: A Day In Drug Court

Just joining us? This is part five of a five part series. Start from the beginning. Cobb County, Ga’s., Juvenile Court Judge Juanita Stedman’s office overflows every Wednesday at 4 p.m. For an hour, with therapists and probation officers filling every chair and – with several sitting on the floor – Stedman and her juvenile drug court team do a rundown of every kid currently in the program. One by one, Stedman calls out the name of each of 30 or so kids.

Part Four: Redemption and Temptation

Just joining us? This is part four of a five part series. Start from the beginning. Kyle is now only a little more than four and a half months clean. His last relapse came during the Thanksgiving break of 2010.