Child Welfare in the News

Hello Members!
We hope that everyone had a nice break this week and was able to stay dry and warm! For the introduction this week we would like to call attention to the needs of the Children Advocacy Centers of Collin and Denton County. Many children are removed from their homes with very little clothing and hygiene products available. A warm jacket could mean the world to a child, or even a toothbrush.

Rainbow Room

“The Rainbow Room is a dedicated space for meeting emergency needs of the children and families we serve. Children who are removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect often leave home with nothing but the clothes on their back. Non-offending family members caring for a child who has been a victim of abuse may struggle to meet the unexpected needs of a child in crisis. The Rainbow Room provides immediate access to clothing, shoes, hygiene, products and baby items completely free of charge. It is also accessible for our partners from Child Protective Services to access the things they need to ensure safe environments for their clients.”

Current Needs:

Tops: Newborn; 0-3 months; 6-9 months; 12 months
Bottoms: 12 months; 18 months; 2T, 3T

Junior Girls:
Pants: 3; 5; 7; 9

Pants: 18 months, 5, 7, 8
Shirts: 6; 7; 8

Boys’ sizes: 9.5; 11; 13.5; 1; 1.5
Men’s size: 7.5

Girls’ sizes: 3; 4; 8; 11; 12.5; 13
Ladies’ sizes: 3; 4; 4.5; 6.5; 8.5


Size 5 diapers

Click here to visit our Rainbow Room Wish List on Amazon


Denton County Wishlist

CACDC cannot accepted used items. However, we partner with Charity Recycling Partners. CALL 1-888-891-4344 to schedule a curbside pick up. Tell the operator that your donation is for CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER FOR DENTON COUNTY. CACDC will receive a monetary donation based on every donation.

Donations of the following items are accepted at the CACDC’s Lewisville office, 1854 Cain Drive from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

  • Cereal
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Oatmeal / Cream of wheat
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned soup
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Pasta sauce
  • Spaghetti / Pasta noodles
  • Canned Fruit
  • Cake mix / Flour/ Baking items
  • Baby formula
  • cases of water, juice boxes
  • Snacks in individually wrapped packages – (ex:: granola bars, fruit chews, potato chips, pretzels, Goldfish, Cheez-its, peanut butter or cheese crackers)

Food Pantry (Hygiene):

  • Toothpaste
  • Body wash – men’s, women’s, kid’s
  • Soap bars
  • Body lotion
  • Q-tips / Cotton swabs
  • Women’s deodorant
  • Feminine Products
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Diapers (all sizes)

PitStop (Clothing Closet)-Items must be new with tags

  • Comforters, all sizes
  • 6x (boys & girls)
  • 12-14 (boys & girls)

Therapy Supplies

  • Paper craft bags
  • Tempra paint
  • Colored sand
  • Small glass bottles (Various shapes & sizes)
  • Sharpie® markers
  • Post-it® Easel Pads, 25″x30″
  • Lap desks
  • Glitter Glue
  • Drawing Pads
  • Stress Balls

Office & Building Supplies


  • Multi-player E-Rated Video Games for PS2
  • DVDs rated PG (appropriate for tweens and teens)
  • Children’s Toy Medical Kits


Now For The News:


 Colorado selects next child watchdog

Former Ritter deputy chief of staff is new child protection ombudsman

By Jennifer Brown
The Denver Post

POSTED:   11/25/2015 12:11:07 PM MST | UPDATED:   3 DAYS AGO

Stephanie Villafuerte

Stephanie Villafuerte (Denver Post file)

A former prosecutor and governor’s deputy chief of staff will become Colorado’s new child watchdog, in charge of investigating the way child welfare workers handle cases of abuse and neglect.

Stephanie Villafuerte, who for the last five years ran the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center representing kids in the foster system, was appointed Wednesday as the state’s next child protection ombudsman.

Villafuerte, who was Gov. Bill Ritter’s deputy chief of staff and a Denver chief deputy district attorney, fought for the ombudsman’s independence as a state agency, a contentious battle settled by legislation this year.

The legislature created a child protection ombudsman in 2010 and the office’s contract was controlled by the Colorado Department of Human Services, which also oversees the state child welfare system. This year, lawmakers removed the ombudsman from the purview of state human services and made it an independent state agency within the judicial department.

The human services department had been overseeing the ombudsman’s budget, contract and legal counsel, a structure that child advocates — including Villafuerte — and former foster children said hindered the ombudsman’s autonomy. Officials accused the state of interfering with an ombudsman investigation into the death of a toddler who died despite being known to child protection workers.

Besides overseeing the state child welfare system, the ombudsman also has the authority to investigate cases handled by county child welfare departments and make recommendations for improvement.

Villafuerte was among several candidates — including current ombudsman Dennis Goodwin, hired in May 2013 — who applied for the position. She was selected by the Child Protection Ombudsman Board.

Villafuerte, the third person to serve as ombudsman, thanked previous ombudsmen and released a statement saying the office “can serve a vitally important role in child protection by bringing stakeholders together to problem solve on behalf of Colorado’s abused and neglected children.”

The ombudsman’s office moves to the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in January.

Jennifer Brown: 303-954-1593, or @jbrowndpost


U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe: Let’s extend the blessings of adoption to more children

Posted: Friday, November 27, 2015 12:00 am


          Across our nation, Americans are commemorating November as a month of thankfulness. It’s a period of time where trials fade into the shadows while we pause to celebrate ways in which our basic needs are being met, whether it’s having food on the table, a season of good health or a home to rest in.

As both history and science confirm, the foundation to these blessings is most often derived from the love and support of a committed family.

         Today, more than 400,000 children in America and 10,000 in Oklahoma are in need of a loving family and a place to call home. In light of these facts, it is appropriate that Congress over the past decade has chosen November as a month for our nation to also celebrate the hope and blessing that comes from adoption.

          As a member and former Senate co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I have had the honor of working with my colleagues in the Senate to unanimously pass legislation each year to give advocates a dedicated national adoption day and month to promote and educate our nation about the benefits of adoption and the needs of children in the U.S. and abroad who are without a permanent home.

        This year, Congress has also advanced adoption policy to help ease the financial burden and red tape that slow down or cause unnecessary barriers to both domestic and international adoption.

The Adoptive Family Relief Act is the most recent piece of legislation Congress passed that was signed into law. It offers American families visa renewal relief when in the process of adopting overseas and confronted with extraordinary circumstances.

          With a granddaughter brought into our family many years ago from Ethiopia, I was proud to cosponsor this legislation that will give American families peace of mind as they navigate the cost and commitment of international adoption.

          This year, I also joined forces with a colleague in the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce The Protecting Adoption Act, which would provide for a defined process to help expedite the placement of children into stable, permanent families by creating a National Responsible Father Registry.

          Action is not just happening on the federal level, but in Oklahoma as well with the state’s recently announced Oklahoma Fosters Initiative, a campaign to recruit more foster and adoptive families for children in our state.

          While governments must continue looking for ways to help advance the life of every child in need of a family, it ultimately takes every-day people to be the solution. Whether it’s opening up your home and your family, extending your resources or taking the first step of being educated on what adoption entails, I hope you will take a moment this month to not only be thankful for what you have been given, but to also look for ways you can extend those blessings to the children around you in need.

Together we can stand in the gap for these children and give them a chance at a brighter future that they each deserve


Court Blocks Effort to License Family Detention Centers as Child-Care Facilities


The Texas-based organization Grassroots Leadership on Friday won a temporary injunction in its suit to stop the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from licensing family detention centers in Karnes and Dilley as child-care facilities under an emergency rule.

The emergency rule would eliminate minimum child safety standards applicable to all child-care facilities in Texas, according to advocates. The detention centers must now go through the traditional licensing procedure, which will enable both the public and advocacy organizations to offer feedback during that process.

Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, which works to end for-profit incarceration and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention, told RH Reality Check that the state of Texas issued an emergency rule in September allowing the licensing of these detention centers very quickly and under lower standards than normal child-care facility standards.

“What happened on Friday is that [district Judge Karin Crump] ruled there was no emergency because the facility [Dilley] has been open for more than a year and the state government had known about family detention facilities since Hutto, which operated as a family detention facility between 2006 and 2009.”

Libal said the state didn’t want to license detention centers as child-care facilities because there was an actual “emergency” or for the welfare of children; it sought to expedite the process and reduce the standards to meet the facilities’ needs.

Otherwise, it would have had to make the federally contracted facilities comply with state standards related to child welfare.

In an October letter, more than 140 people and organizations urged Texas officials to deny child-care licenses to private prison companies, outlining how the push to license the detention centers was merely an attempt to assist the federal government in complying with the federal district court’s order in Flores v. Lynch, which confirmed that children arriving to the United States with their mothers should not be held in unlicensed secure detention centers.

Advocates say that licensing facilities by exempting them from the Texas minimum care standards does not meet the child welfare concerns raised by the federal court and the 1997Flores settlement agreement.

“The licenses would serve two purposes that have nothing to do with child protection: 1) supporting the federal government’s litigation position in defense of the facilities, and 2) ensuring continued profit to The Geo Group, Inc. and the Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison companies that own and administer the Karnes and Dilley detention centers. Investing taxpayer dollars to license detention centers that are currently subject to ongoing lawsuits is reckless and is inconsistent with a conservative use of limited public resources,” the letter said.

“The Flores settlement basically said you cannot detain children in unlicensed detention centers; these places have to be licensed,” Libal said. “After that ruling, the state of Texas basically scrambled to try to provide a justification for these detention centers in order for them to meet the needs of the settlement requirement. So, the ‘emergency’ for the state was that there might be a court order to close them [detention centers].”

Both Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City and the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley have documented histories of human rights abuses, including the abuse of children.

Advocates say that allowing detention centers to operate as child-care facilities would mean that conditions that would never be acceptable to the children of American citizens are being requested to become more lax for the children of undocumented parents, despite findingsfrom the Women’s Refugee Commission and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service that found family detention cannot be carried out humanely. The report, Locking Up Family Values, Again: The Continued Failure of Immigration Family Detention, stated that conditions at detention centers are entirely inappropriate for mothers and children and that detention traumatizes families, undermines the basic family structure, and has a devastating psycho-social impact.

The letter sent to Texas officials outlined how licensing detention centers as child-care facilities and reducing their standards would adversely affect the children detained there. The size of these detention centers—2,400 capacity at Dilley and 1,100 planned for Karnes —contradicts evidence-based child welfare practices of avoiding large, congregate care facilities for children, according to the letter.

The organizations report that research has shown that children do better with their families in their communities. The conditions in the facilities run afoul of some of the most basic DFPS requirements for licensees that are not exempted by the emergency rule, including standards requiring access to basic medical care.

Both Karnes and Dilley have numerous documented failures to provide appropriate medical treatment to the mothers and children detained there.

“Licensing under reduced standards will not ensure child protection but condone neglect and abuse,” the letter continued. The exemptions seriously compromise children’s safety by permitting unrelated families in single rooms, requiring unrelated children of different genders and ages to sleep in the same enclosed space with unrelated adults. At least two instances of sexual abuse of children have already occurred at the detention centers and according to the letter, it was likely a result of the housing arrangements.

“Reducing the standards does nothing but codify the existing detention system,” Libal said. “This is really like putting the State of Texas’ seal of approval on a system that is harmful to children.”


To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at


Understanding the Refugee Crisis

Stay Informed and Welcome Others

In light of the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut, there have been varied reactions to the way countries address the influx of refugees, ranging from acceptance, to fear, hostility, and significant backlash.

As an organization that has a 90-year history of serving vulnerable populations that include refugees and migrants from a variety of countries, ISS-USA believes that refugees should be welcomed and helped rather than feared and discriminated against. It is often due to reasons related to violence, persecution, and terrorism that refugees are forced to flee their home countries and try to find a safe place for themselves and their families.

It is the responsibility of individuals to stay informed about the current refugee crisis and understand the complicated process by which refugees are resettled into another country.

We would like to arm our readers with resources by other experts in the field that address these topics in order to adequately understand these issues, create positive outcomes, and ultimately welcome others whose lives have been disrupted by violence and persecution.

• According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), up to 700,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea alone this year. More than half of them — an estimated 53% — are from Syria.
UNHCR published a Global Trends Report and this series of infographics through its UNHCR Innovation division, demonstrating the scale of the global displacement crisis.
• Lutheran Services in Georgia helps us understand how we should respond to the refugee crisis in light of the recent attacks in Paris & Beirut in this post .
• Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) produced a variety of helpful tools, articles, and infographics such as the one below to help us understand the refugee crisis in Syria, including this helpful Fact Sheet.
International Rescue Committee disbanded various myths that endanger refugees in this post.
lirs syrian crisis

While the attention now is on refugees in Europe, we can still help here in the U.S. by staying informed, welcoming others, and giving back to organizations who are advocating for, and providing humanitarian aid to, refugees.


 What Are the Signs of Abuse?

Children who are abused might show physical signs or sudden changes in their behavior or school performance. These signs don’t prove that children are being abused, but they could be a signal that the children or their families need help.

When children talk about being abused, take them seriously. Take steps to get help!

General Signs of Abuse

Abused children might seem:

  • Nervous around adults or afraid of certain adults.
  • Reluctant to go home (coming to school early or staying late, for example).
  • Very passive and withdrawn or aggressive and disruptive.
  • Tired a lot, or they might complain of nightmares or not sleeping well.
  • Fearful and anxious.

Signs of Neglect

  • Missing school a lot.
  • Begging for food, stealing food, or stealing money for food.
  • Lacking needed medical or dental care.
  • Being frequently dirty.
  • Using alcohol or other drugs.
  • Saying there is no one at home to take care of them.

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained burns, bruises, black eyes, or other injuries.
  • Apparent fear of a parent or caretaker.
  • Faded bruises or healing injuries after missing school.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Difficulty walking or sitting, or other indications of injury in the genital area.
  • Sexual knowledge or behavior beyond what is normal for the child’s age.
  • Running away from home.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Acting overly mature or immature for the child’s age.
  • Extreme changes in behavior.
  • Delays in physical or emotional development.
  • Attempted suicide.
  • Lack of emotional attachment to the parent



Being a parent is hard, and every parent needs help from time to time.

  • Are your kids driving you crazy?
  • Do you yell at them a lot?
  • Are you stressed out?
  • Trouble paying the bills?
  • Are drugs or alcohol a problem?
  • Feeling hopeless and don’t know where to turn?

Abuse and neglect affect people of every age, race, and family income level. The majority of parents who abuse their children love their children, but many factors can lead them to do things they regret.

  • Trouble managing stress. Problems with work, money, or relationships put a strain on family life. If a parent or caretaker has trouble managing stress, it can lead to abuse.
  • A lack of parenting skills. Some parents might not understand how to care for a child’s basic needs or they might have unrealistic ideas about a child’s abilities and behavior. They might punish behavior that is natural for a child.
  • A history of abuse. Many child abusers were abused or witnessed abuse as children.
  • A problem with alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol and other drugs impair a person’s ability to act as a responsible, caring parent. They can also make it harder to control emotions—especially anger.

These factors can be overcome, and abuse and neglect can be prevented. Don’t lash out when you are angry with your child—instead:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Call someone or ask a friend to watch your kids while you calm down.
  • Call one of the hotlines listed on this website to find someone to talk to.
  • Find a parenting class in your community to learn about ways to handle the stresses of dealing with kids.
  • Use this website to find programs in your area to help you resolve any underlying issues, such as alcohol or drug abuse.

When parents get help, there’s hope for kids.

Information provided by:

Help For Parents. Hope For Kids.


Report Suspected Abuse or Neglect:

If this is an emergency and you are deaf and equipped with a Teletypewriter (TTY), call Relay Texas by dialing 711 or 1-800-735-2989. Tell the relay agent you need to call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

We are their voice!


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