Trinity Mount Ministries

Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Understanding Child Abduction and Response:


Derek VanLuchene delivered chilling facts about child abductions to North Iowa law enforcement and emergency personnel on Wednesday.

While the number of sex offenders who abduct and kill children is low, those offenders "are the worst of the worst" who need to be feared and understood - and communities need to be ready with swift response to search for those kids when they are reported missing.

According to an exhaustive study done in the state of Washington and with the U.S. Department of Justice, 44 percent of children will be dead in the first hour after abduction; 74 percent are killed within three hours.

Only 1 percent survives one day. Forty percent die before anyone reported them missing.

VanLuchene, a former Division of Criminal Investigation agent and a police officer, is today head of Ryan United based in Helena, Mont., a non-profit agency committed to helping communities safeguard their children against predators. VanLuchene provides seminars and trainings for agencies across the country.

He has first-hand knowledge of the devastation that comes to a family of a missing child: His brother Ryan was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered in 1987, at the age of 8 years.

"I am driven" by helping others, to honor his brother, he said.

"You do what you can do to make a difference - that keeps me going," he said.

VanLuchene dispelled inaccurate information about sexual offenders. Public perception is often shaped by sensationalistic stories found in the media, he said. Getting a true understanding about offenders is an ongoing search. For instance, information about the number of juveniles who commit sex crimes against children is growing as more becomes known; sexual offenses overall remains at the top of list of crimes that are underreported.

How a community responds can make the difference between life and death for the child.

Frontline personnel - dispatchers - are among the most important people who have to act quickly, ask the right questions, formulate a description, and contact the proper people who must quickly organize a search.

Those precious first hours are often eaten up because parents will search for their children first before reporting a disappearance, he said. Getting the right information and game plan of response is vital to a successful recovery of a child, he said. Some communities have organized response teams trained and ready to search for children.

Those people know some key facts already: Most children are abducted within one quarter mile of where they were last seen - important to know, especially if businesses are proactive
and have surveillance video in stores; and most killers do not take children far. Most children are taken within 200 feet from their homes. Over 60 percent of killers live and work in the area in which they abduct children.

Those attending on Wednesday came from across the state. The pool included emergency management coordinators and law enforcement, as well as county supervisors, a retired judge, search and rescue personnel and interested parents.

Chance R. Kness, head of emergency management in Clinton County, has
participated in some trainings, but was interested in the "linkages between issues related to abductions and those with ground searches," he said.

"We want to be fully prepared," he said, with ready resources at hand, to conduct all types of searches.

Lois Hall, a member of the Clinton County Sheriff's Reserve, helps oversee the K-9 search and rescue operations. Understanding child abductions helps her group in preparation as well.

Both enjoyed VanLuchene's vast knowledge of the issue.

Hall said the biggest impact on her was knowing "that this can happen anywhere."

Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver echoed the thought.

"I don't want our area to be an Evansdale; we do not want to be a Dayton," referring to child kidnapping and murders that occurred there.

Ray Huftalin, emergency management director for Mitchell and Worth counties, thought the training was thorough and instructive - but not attended by enough people.

"I wanted to see that auditorium full ...because we know that it's not about if it will happen, it's about when it will happen. This (child abduction) can happen anywhere," he said. He added he would have liked to see more educators in attendance. He said Area Education Agency 267 was represented, which was encouraging.

Huftalin said he will be working with law enforcement to discuss and formulate future response plans.


Other facts:

* Most sexual offenders, the majority male, commit their first assault by age 21.

* The majority commit assaults for which they were never charged.

* Fifty percent of sexual offenders suffered sexual or physical abuse as a child.

* Vast majority of those abused as a child grow up to be non-abusive adults.

* The majority is not diagnosed as mentally ill.

* The median age of a sexual abuser is 33 years.

* Assaults are planned; sometimes months in advance.

***Source: Ryan United

Source Link

Monday, June 10, 2013

Virtual Global Taskforce - REPORT ABUSE


The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) is actively involved in investigating suspicious behaviour online with or towards a child.

The Report Abuse button is an effective mechanism for reporting suspected sexual predator behaviour.

Sexual predator behaviour includes:

Making and downloading images of children being sexually abused.

Approaching a child online for sex (e.g. sexual activity via text or webcam).

Grooming – this is the deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child online, with the intent of later facilitating sexual contact. This can take place in chat rooms, instant messaging, social networking sites and email contact offending – once contact has been made with a child online, child sex offenders then move towards meeting up in person for sexual purposes.

If you or a child is in immediate danger, contact your local police.

If there is no immediate danger to you or a child, you can report directly to the VGT:

Friday, May 31, 2013

147 children missing in El Paso County:

Texas currently has 4,400 active missing-children cases, and 147 of them are in El Paso County, Robert R. Almonte, U.S. marshal for the Western District of Texas, said Thursday.

Almonte provided other statistics during a news conference on missing children at the federal courthouse in Downtown El Paso.

"Each year, about 800,000 children are abducted nationally, and some 97 percent of them are recovered," he said. "About 56,000 of the abductions are non-family abductions. And in Texas about 46,000 children are abducted each year."

At the news conference, Almonte and other law enforcement officials and advocates highlighted "Take 25," a new national campaign designed to prevent child abductions.

David Boatright, executive Texas regional director of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, stressed the importance of child safety measures and awareness of how predators are using online media to target youths.

He said "Take 25" encourages families to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety and abduction prevention. It was launched to commemorate National Missing Children's Day on May 25.

"Teaching kids about safety online and in the real world plays a critical role in helping them to make safer choices," Boatright said. "In view of the recent recovery of three young women in Cleveland, who were kidnapped as children over a decade ago, providing simple yet effective child safety education becomes all the more important."

Authorities said the three young women who were rescued in Ohio allegedly were abducted by a man in their neighborhood who held them captive for 10 years.
Almonte said he still vividly remembers the 2001 disappearance and slaying of 5-year-old Alexandra Flores. The girl was abducted by a stranger in a Wal-Mart in the Lower Valley. Though security cameras helped to identify the abductor, and despite a huge mobilization of law enforcement, Alexandra's body was found the next day in an alley in West El Paso, her head covered with a plastic bag.

The killer was arrested, prosecuted and convicted.

The regional National Center for Missing & Exploited Children partnered Thursday with the El Paso Independent School District to provide child safety training to 10,200 students from 15 middle schools. Advocates said they would like the training to reach the rest of the schools.

Almonte, Boatright and nearly 20 law enforcement officers and advocates stood at the news conference to demonstrate their support for the campaign. The presentation took place against a backdrop of oversize pictures of El Paso's missing children.

Experts at the news conference, including El Paso's FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan, said families can use resources such as child identification kits and the FBI's child ID phone app.

"The worst criminal offenders are those who prey on our children," Morgan said.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials said new training has helped DPS officers who conduct traffic stops to detect potential child abductions, adding it has resulted in more than 20 arrests and the recovery of 78 missing children, including in El Paso.

Experts said parents should have a current photo of their child available, along with basic information about the child so authorities can launch a timely and effective search.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Texas DPS and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System run websites devoted to finding missing people.

Find child safety resources at and services/parents

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at; 546-6140

147 children missing in El Paso County - El Paso Times

Monday, May 13, 2013

FBI - Police Week: Honoring the Fallen:

May 13, 2013, 9 a.m. EDT
47 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Line of Duty in 2012

Police officers proceed from a memorial service honoring fallen law enforcement officers.

Preliminary statistics released today by the FBI show that 47 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed last year, 25 fewer than in 2011. Twelve of those killed last year died from injuries they sustained while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances. Eight were killed during traffic pursuits or stops, and five were killed in ambushes.

“Each of these losses reminds us that our safety and freedom come at great cost,” Director Mueller said in a May 13 video message to law enforcement colleagues. “We must continue to do everything in our power to reduce the threats to our officers, deputies, and agents and to keep our colleagues safe from harm.”

An additional 45 officers were accidentally killed in the line of
last year, eight fewer than in 2011.

According to preliminary statistics released today by the FBI, 47 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2012. The total number of officers killed is 25 fewer than the 72 officers who died in 2011. By region, 22 officers were killed as a result of criminal acts that occurred in the South, eight officers in the West, six officers in the Northeast, five officers died due to incidents in the Midwest, and six officers were killed in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

By circumstance, 12 officers died from injuries inflicted while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, eight who died were conducting traffic pursuits or stops, five were engaged in tactical situations, and five officers were killed as a result of ambushes (four due to entrapment/premeditated situations and one during an unprovoked attack). Four officers’ deaths occurred as a result of answering disturbance calls (two of which were domestic disturbance calls) and three officers were transporting, handling, or maintaining custody of prisoners. Two of the fallen officers sustained fatal injuries during drug-related matters, two were attempting to make other arrests, and two were performing investigative activities. Two officers were responding to robberies in progress, one was responding to a burglary in progress, and one officer was killed as a result of handling a person with a mental illness.

Offenders used firearms in 43 of the 47 felonious deaths. These included 30 incidents with handguns, seven incidents with rifles, and three incidents with shotguns. The type of firearm was not reported in three of the incidents. Two victim officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons; one was killed with a knife; and one officer died from injuries inflicted with personal weapons, such as hands, fists, or feet.

Twenty of the slain officers were wearing body armor at the times of the incidents. Six of the officers fired their own weapons and two officers attempted to fire their service weapons. Three victim officers had their weapons stolen; however, none of the officers were killed with their own weapons.

The 47 victim officers died from injuries sustained in 44 separate incidents. Forty-two of those incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means.

An additional 45 officers were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2012. This total represents eight fewer officers who died in accidents when compared with the 53 officers who were accidentally killed during the same time period in 2011. By region, 27 officers died due to accidents in the South, eight in the Northeast, seven in the West, and three in the Midwest.

Of the officers who died as a result of accidents, 22 died due to automobile accidents, 10 were struck by vehicles, and six officers were in motorcycle accidents. Three of the officers were killed due to aircraft accidents, two in accidental shootings, one from a fall, and one officer died as a result of an ATV accident.

Final statistics and complete details will be available in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2012, which will be published on the FBI’s Internet site in the fall.

FBI - Law Enforcement Fallen

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

USDOJ: Nationwide Sweep by U.S. Marshals Puts 345 Dangerous Sex Offenders Behind Bars:

USDOJ: Nationwide Sweep by U.S. Marshals Puts 345 Dangerous Sex Offenders Behind Bars:

Today the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) concluded Operation Guardian, a three-year, national initiative specifically targeting the country’s most dangerous noncompliant sex offenders. Deputy Marshals and law enforcement partners arrested 345 individuals who had failed to register with state authorities as required by law.

Marshals worked with state and local officials to identify specific non-registering fugitives based on their danger to the public and prior convictions for sex offenses.   As of today, USMS investigators have located 427 offenders of 444 sought (or 96 percent of those targeted), including 82 individuals found outside the United States. These individuals represent more than 500 prior convictions for sexual offenses.

“I’d like to thank each of the Deputy U.S. Marshals and state and local law enforcement officials who contributed to the success of this important operation.  These dedicated professionals have helped to make our communities safer by taking dangerous fugitives off the streets,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Today’s announcement sends a clear message: that the Justice Department and its allies are firmly committed to safeguarding our nation’s young people from all forms of exploitation and abuse.  And we are determined to bring noncompliant sex offenders to justice.”

“The U.S. Marshals Service will not tolerate noncompliant and violent sex offenders who evade the law.   The message we send to these individuals is there is nowhere you can hide,” said USMS Director Stacia Hylton. “Operation Guardian enabled us to bring to bear the full weight of international, federal, state and local law enforcement resources and intelligence to locate the most egregious sex offenders—those who have victimized innocent children.”

The USMS assigns 129 criminal investigators to conduct sex offender, non-registrant investigations on a full-time basis. Operation Guardian was a collaborative effort led by the USMS in cooperation with Interpol, the Diplomatic Security Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

“The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is proud to partner with the U.S. Marshals in helping to protect our nation’s children,” said John Ryan, chief executive officer, NCMEC.  “We applaud the overwhelming success of Operation Guardian which located hundreds of the country’s most dangerous noncompliant sex offenders.”

Among those arrested during Operation Guardian were:
·          Lee Roy Ramirez, one of “Wisconsin’s Most Wanted,” arrested on April 22, 2013, in Portland, Ore. Ramirez was wanted by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections since 2003 for probation violation on an original charge of second degree sexual assault of a child. The intensive fugitive investigation covered several states and ultimately led investigators to Oregon. Ramirez is in custody in Oregon awaiting extradition back to Wisconsin.

·          James K. Jenkins, arrested on Oct. 9, 2012, in Garland, Texas. Jenkins was wanted in DeKalb County, Ga., for failure to register as a sex offender and for probation violation based on a weapons offense.   His original offense occurred Dec. 15, 1999, when he raped a 15-year-old girl. He was convicted of statutory rape and sentenced to three years in prison, 7 years of probation and required to register as a sex offender in the state of Georgia. Jenkins moved and did not notify the probation office or the sheriff’s office of his location. In October 2012, a Crimestoppers program received an online tip that placed Jenkins in Garland. Investigators conducted surveillance and arrested Jenkins with a loaded .38-caliber handgun in close proximity.

·          David Sherant, arrested Oct. 3, 2012, by Deputy U.S. Marshals from the District of Nevada and members of the Las Vegas SOAP Task Force. Sherant was wanted by the Utah Department of Corrections for violating his term of supervision by failing to register as a sex offender. He was convicted in August 2000 of sexual exploitation of a minor. After release from the Utah State Prison, Sherant absconded parole, and failed to register as a sex offender as required by law. Investigators learned that the 31-year-old Sherant was passing himself off as 18-year-old “Mikey Miller” currently residing in Las Vegas.   On Oct. 15, 2012, Sherant was extradited to Utah. His probation was revoked and he was remanded to the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections.

·          Darrell Craig Sinclair, arrested on Feb. 28, 2012, in Mexico. Sinclair was wanted by the Riverside County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department for almost 10 years on a $500,000 arrest warrant for failure to register as a sex offender. He was previously convicted of one count of lewd acts against a child in Los Angeles County in 1976, and seven counts of lewd acts against a child in Orange County, Calif., in 1983. USMS investigators determined that Sinclair was in Ajajic, Mexico, and he was taken into custody by Mexican Immigration Officials. Mexican immigration officials escorted Sinclair to Los Angeles International Airport, where he was arrested by Deputy U.S. Marshals.

·          Michael Rybkin, arrested on Nov. 9, 2010, in New York. Rybkin was wanted by the Hudson County, N.J., Sheriff’s Department for a parole violation and by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a warrant of deportation, and is a sex offender in the State of New Jersey. Rybkin is a German citizen. USMS investigators developed information that Rybkin was residing in New York City and using the internet.   Rybkin, who was previously banned from New York City Public Libraries, was observed masturbating in front of two female children in October 2010 at a library, but eluded capture.   On Oct. 27, 2010, Rybkin was charged by the USMS with violating the Adam Walsh Act and a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.   On Nov. 9, 2010, USMS investigators arrested Rybkin at the Grand Central Branch of the New York City Public Library. On March 10, 2011, Rybkin pleaded guilty to the Adam Walsh Act violation, and was sentenced Jan. 19, 2012, by U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley to 63 months incarceration and lifetime supervised release on electronic monitoring.

The Behavioral Analysis Unit at the USMS National Sex Offender Targeting Center worked with the investigators to identify information related to the fugitives across a number of personal or social dimensions, including past sexual offending behavior.   The prior convictions of the located offenders represent hundreds of victims and   thousands of known sexual assaults. Most of the sexual assault events were engaged against children, and many involved extreme violence.

The NCMEC estimates more than 700,000 sex offenders reside in the United States and that more than 100,000 are classified as noncompliant or unregistered.  Since its inception in 2006, the Sex Offender Investigations Branch has planned and executed more than 900 sex offender compliance and enforcement operations.   During these operations, the USMS partnered with more than 4,800 state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct more than 150,000 compliance checks. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Missing persons shake-up ‘could lead to more child sex abuse’

By Tariq Tahir

Changes to the way police deal with missing people could lead to vulnerable children being more at risk of sex abuse, a charity has claimed.

Some 327,000 people are reported missing each year, two-thirds of whom are children and chief constables say dealing with every one the same way is a drain on their resources.

From next month there will be a new two tier approach and police will launch a full investigation only for people whose disappearance is out of character or who are thought to be at risk.

But David Tucker, head of policy at the NSPCC, said the children’s charity fears the new definitions could put children at risk.

‘We are very concerned that the new definition of ‘missing persons’ will put vulnerable children at risk of being groomed and sexually exploited,’ he said.

‘The length of time a child goes missing is irrelevant because they can fall into the clutches of abusers very quickly.

‘Children go missing for a variety of reasons; they may be bullied, abused or are generally unhappy. But whatever the reason, this problem must be taken seriously.

‘We expect all professionals including the police to invest the right amount of time and take the necessary action to protect all children as soon as they go missing.’

The Association of Chief Police Officers hopes the new policy will cut bureaucracy and stop officers from being seen as ‘taxi drivers’ sent to collect runaway children who regularly abscond.

In the sex abuse Rochdale case, nine men were jailed in May last year for grooming and abusing vulnerable teenage girls many of whom had gone missing from care.

Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: ‘The police are often the first agency to take a missing person report and our aim is to ensure we get the best possible response to those most at risk of harm.

‘This means identifying these cases early so that policing resources go where they are most needed. We need to move beyond a one-size-fits-all response.’

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Justice Department Women’s History Month Observance Program:

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole Speaks at the Justice Department Women’s History Month Observance Program:

Chairman Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member Scott, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on behalf of the Department of Justice regarding the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).  

This topic is particularly important to the Department because of the wide-ranging impact the statute has on public safety and both criminal and civil law enforcement operations.   We are pleased to engage with the Subcommittee in discussions about how ECPA is used and how it might be updated and improved.

ECPA includes the Pen Register Statute and the Stored Communications Act (SCA), as well as amendments to the Wiretap Act.   These statutes are part of a set of laws that control the collection and disclosure of both content and non-content information related to electronic communications, as well as content that has been stored remotely.   Although originally enacted in 1986, ECPA has been updated several times since, with significant revisions occurring in both 1994 and 2001.

I intend to focus the majority of my testimony on the SCA, which contains three primary components that regulate the disclosure of certain communications and related data.   First, section 2701 of Title 18 prohibits unlawful access to certain stored communications: anyone who obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to those communications is subject to criminal penalties. Second, section 2702 of Title 18 regulates voluntary disclosure by service providers of customer communications and records, both to government and non-governmental entities. Third, section 2703 of Title 18 regulates the government’s ability to compel disclosure of both stored content and non-content information from a service provider; it creates a set of rules that all governmental entities must follow in order to compel disclosure of stored communications and other records.

Since its inception, the SCA has served multiple purposes. It provides the rules governing how providers of communications services disclose stored information—including contents of communications, such as the body of an email, and non-content information—to a wide variety of government entities. in doing so, it imposes requirements on the government and providers to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected. 

The statute thus seeks to ensure public safety and other law enforcement imperatives, while at the same time ensuring individual privacy.   It is important that efforts to amend the SCA remain focused on maintaining both of these goals. 

Read More

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Organizations join to stop child sexual abuse in sports:

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is co-hosting a summit to discuss best practices

By Alison Matas, The Baltimore Sun

Following a string of recent cases in which coaches used their positions to sexually abuse children, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation says it is trying to help sports organizations better screen people who work with young athletes.
The foundation has created an online resource that offers training for employees and volunteers. The site also directs sports organization leaders to a legal research website where they can search potential staff members' criminal histories at a minimal cost.
"Most organizations serving kids do the bare minimum to protect them" because they feel overwhelmed just managing their day-to-day operations, and screening volunteers can be expensive, said Steve Salem, CEO of the foundation.
The online resource is one step the foundation has taken to help end abuse amid growing concerns about sexual abuse in the sports realm. Next week, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is partnering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to hold a summit about child sexual abuse in sports.
Event organizers saw a need for a conference after the sexual abuse scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky and the Pennsylvania State University football program.
"Although this was a wake-up call for many in America to learn about the scope and type of abuse children encounter in youth sports activities, it was an issue we were very familiar with and that our staff, frankly, deals with every day," said John Ryan, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Maryland has also seen recent cases of alleged child sexual abuse in sports. In October 2011, a coach with Michael Phelps' former swim club, the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, resigned following allegations of inappropriate conduct with a female swimmer in 1975.
A year later, Rick Curl, who founded the Washington Curl-Burke Swim Club, turned himself in to Montgomery County police on a charge of abusing one of his students in the 1980s. Curl pleaded guilty in February to one count of child sexual abuse and faces up to 15 years in prison.
In September 2012, ice dancer and coach Genrikh Sretenski was arrested in Howard County on New York charges of sexual abuse and endangering a child. He was released from jail a few days later on the condition he turn himself in to New York police.
Ryan said there's no data tracking the scope of child sexual abuse as it relates to sports but said the center's tip line has received about 1.8 million reports of children being exploited since 1998.
Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL defensive lineman who is speaking at the summit, said sports has paved the way for social change before with issues such as segregation and women's rights and that it could do the same for child sexual abuse.
"I think this could be a pivotal moment in the history of youth sports," he said.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Cass County Sheriff's Department assembles Missing Child Response Team:

Cass County Sheriff's Department assembles Missing Child Response Team

It's a situation every parent prays they'll never face, losing a child after a kidnapping or abduction.
Although the Amber Alert system has been around for more than ten years, some police departments have never conducted an investigation into an abducted child.
So there's still a need for training, especially assembling rapid response teams that can come together quickly and start searching for a child immediately.
Studies show the longer a child is missing, the higher the chances he or she will be murdered.
“The point is if you have a missing child, we can't wait until it’s an abduction,” says Captain Lyndon Parrish. “We have to act immediately. A lot of times we'll get a call from an adult where they have waited five or six hours.”
Cass County decided to name their team the Missing Child Response Team. They wanted to focus on the recovery of all children, not just ones lost in emergency situations.

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The Twin Cities Daily Planet - One missing child's story:

One missing child's story

Only five out of the six day treatment kids in your group get off of the buses and enter the classroom. You’re wondering where seven year-old Donavan is. (Child's name changed to protect privacy.) No one from his school called to let you know he would not be there or that he may have missed the bus. His dad didn’t call to let you know Donavan was sick and would not be in day treatment today.
You start to wonder what is going on, so you head to your office to contact the school. Finally, you get in touch with his teacher who has informed you that she called an ambulance to take Donavan to the hospital because he became “deregulated and regressed back to being two years old, again.” Since his school district only has two school social workers available and neither one of them were at Donavan’s school at the time of the incident, and according to his teacher, “Teachers are not trained to deal with these types of episodes,” the school decided it would be best to call an ambulance and let “professionals handle him.”
The fact that there was no one available to help Donavan during his meltdown shows him that his school and his teachers cannot keep him safe. These types of fearful feelings intensify trauma symptoms and increase the likelihood of more mental health crises taking place. The big question then is: What are we doing to show these kids that school is a safe place and adults there can help?
According to research findings by the Congress, “…Low socioeconomic status and certain family risk factors…are highly correlated with poor educational outcomes, with a concentration of low-performing schools in low-income and under-served communities.”
Teachers and principals working for these schools are often tasked with dealing not only with the academic needs of a child, but also the social, emotional, and behavioral needs that require the services of a school social worker or psychologist. Studies have shown that children who have experienced trauma, abuse, and/or who are homeless or placed in foster care have high rates of being put in special education programs, dropping out of school, having discipline problems, acquiring poor academic skills, and struggling from behavioral disorders and emotional issues. Caregivers of low-income families are known to be less involved with their children’s school activities and helping them with school work due to lack of resources and their own mental health constraints than middle to upper-class family caregivers which can make children feel less connected to their school and less likely to succeed. It has been found that positive differences in the school environment are largely attributable to the presence of more resources.
Acts such as the “Increased Student Achievement Through Increased Support Act” and “School Social Workers Improving Student Success Act” are important to children’s mental health and therefore should be re-evaluated to be enacted for it is a step in the right direction to benefiting kids from low-income environments who are expected to be successful in school despite their everyday challenges.
Some may say that schools do not need extra support, but I firmly believe they do, and statistics don’t lie. More support equals a decrease in mental health problems which also means less crime and jail time in the future for these children and ultimately less money spent by taxpayers to help fund the problems that occur from prolonged mental illness. Prevention is the most effective way to help kids in need as well as help communities to save money in the long run.
To help support bills such as these, there are many different steps you can take:
1) Send a letter to your legislator(s) outlining reasons why you support mental health services in schools and the positive impacts they have on children and society as a whole;
2) Do your research on the issue and talk with family, friends & colleagues about the topic;
3) Attend rallies and seminars at the capitol related to mental health and children; and
4) Advocate in any way possible to help support children in need of mental health services.
The focus here is on preventing chronic mental illness that will impede children’s opportunities for success.
Brittany Nosal is currently interning at Washburn Center for Children, and doing a policy research project on the issue of the lack of school social workers and psychologists present in low-income educational institutions. 

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Police chiefs attend training for missing children cases:

By TPR Staff 

Two South County police chiefs recently attended a national training seminar to improve the way missing children cases are handled when time is critical.

Pismo Beach Police Chief Jeff Norton and Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steven Annibali were two of 31 other chiefs, sheriff’s and 9-1-1 emergency managers chosen to attend the Chief Executive Officer Training Seminar.

“This has been one of the most valuable training experiences for me in my 28 years as a law enforcement officer,” Norton said.

The seminar, held at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va., is designed to provide attendees with a better understanding of the issues surrounding missing and sexually exploited children.

Instructors discuss the steps necessary to implement best practices for call takers, responding officers, investigators and command staff.

“The ability to bring the knowledge and resources of the (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) to both our communities can be the difference that leads to a successful conclusion in a child abduction case,” Annibali said.

To date, more than 5,000 law enforcement executives have completed the training.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Task Force on Research on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women:

U.S. Department of Justice
Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the Federal Advisory Task Force on Research on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women Living in Tribal Communities:
Thank you, Bea, for that kind introduction and your leadership on this task force and in our Office on Violence Against Women.

It’s a great privilege to be here and on behalf of all of us at the Department of Justice, I want to thank all of you, for your dedication to addressing violence against Native American women.

We have had a lot to celebrate the last couple days, and yesterday I was proud to witness President Obama sign the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act into law.   The reauthorization not only includes the provisions that Vice President Biden fought so hard for 20 years ago to protect all women, but it also includes the critical tribal jurisdiction provisions to help Indian tribes combat violence against Native women.   From the time non-Indians first came to this continent, and right up through the founding of our Nation, Indian tribes routinely exercised authority over all individuals who committed acts of violence on Indian lands.   In 1978, in the Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe case, the U.S. Supreme Court took that power away, holding that tribes lacked criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, absent express authorization from Congress.   Last week, thanks largely to your efforts, we got that authorization, and now perpetrators of domestic and dating violence will be held accountable, whether they’re Indian or non-Indian.   And countless Indian women will enjoy safer lives as a result.

I know that no one has fought harder for Native American women than the people in this room and serving on this Task Force, so I congratulate you on this landmark occasion.  

Now, our challenge, our collective challenge, is to make sure that this new law is well implemented.   This is important for at least three reasons.   First, it will benefit public safety.  Second, it will protect the legitimate rights of the accused.   And third, it will maximize our ability to protect this law from challenge.   So we've already begun to meet with tribes to talk about how we can best prepare tribal judicial systems for successful implementation.

This is also a great chapter in our government-to-government relationships.   You and your colleagues raised these issues with Senator Obama when he was running for President in 2008, and you raised it with Justice Department officials in a long series of formal and informal tribal consultations.   And we heard you, and we took action – just as the President promised more than four years ago.   In July 2011, the Department proposed the very language that, with a few tweaks, has now been enacted by Congress.   And every step of the way, we profited from the strength of tribal leaders and Federal officials, working hand in glove, in a true partnership.

Over the last four years, this Administration has cultivated that partnership, and under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, we at the Justice Department have worked hard to strengthen tribal sovereignty and improve tribal safety.   We have established the Office of Tribal Justice as a permanent component within the Justice Department.   We’ve created the Tribal Nations Leadership Council to facilitate consultation and advise the Attorney General on issues critical to tribal governments.   Under the leadership of Leslie Hagen, we’ve launched a National Indian Country Training Initiative, which has trained more than 2,000 criminal-justice professionals.   And we’ve assigned additional federal personnel to investigate and prosecute cases on Indian lands, including a dozen FBI Indian Country Victim Specialists.

So we’ve made some excellent progress.   While we celebrate the past and current successes, we must also look toward the future.   Our work in Indian country is far from over, and if we’re to build on that progress and tackle the uniquely difficult challenges that tribal communities still face, we cannot rest.

We cannot rest as long as crime rates in many tribal communities remain far above the national average.   We cannot rest as long as tribal members suffer disproportionately from violence, property offenses, and other criminal acts.  

As I have stated many times in the past, there is an urgent need for more and better research, evaluation, and data, and the Department is committed to making this happen.  

At the heart of our research efforts is NIJ’s research program on violence against women that will collect information from enrolled American Indian and Alaska Native women living in Indian country and Alaska Native villages.   This is the first comprehensive national research program of its kind.   NIJ’s groundbreaking program of research aims to achieve the mandates outlined in the the 2005 reauthorization of VAWA to decrease the incidence of violent crimes against Indian women; to strengthen the capacity of Indian tribes to exercise their sovereign authority to respond to violent crimes committed against Indian women; and to ensure that perpetrators of violent crimes committed against Indian women are held accountable for their criminal behavior.

Once again, I would like to thank each Task Force member for your participation. Your expertise and insights are invaluable, and this partnership--much like our partnership in the reauthorization of VAWA with critical tribal jurisdiction provisions--has been pivotal to developing, and now, implementing this much needed program of research.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Memorial to be held for fallen Santa Cruz officers:

Updated at 08:09 AM today

Today thousands of people will give a final salute to the two Santa Cruz officers killed in the line of duty.

A public memorial service will take place at noon for Det. Sgt. Butch Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler at HP Pavilion in San Jose. The crowd for the service could be as large as 18,000 and thousands of others may line the streets as a motorcade procession makes its way over the hills to San Jose. Police officers and other public safety officials will be visiting from all over the country.

The procession will begin at 8:45 a.m. at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The motorcade is expected to be at least two miles long. Fire trucks will line every single overpass along the route. It will head north on Highway 17, then travel southbound on Highway 85, then north on Highway 87 to HP Pavilion in San Jose. The procession is expected to arrive between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and guests are expected to arrive between 11 a.m. and noon. The service is estimated to last until 3 p.m. and the families will hold private events after it has concluded.

Some of the dignitaries and celebrities expected to attend include California Governor Jerry Brown, Calif. Attorney General Kamala Harris, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Congressman Sam Farr and former American Idol contestant James Durbin -- who is a Santa Cruz native and will perform at the memorial.

A public viewing took place Wednesday for the officers. Two flag-draped coffins with photographs of the officers were set up at a funeral home. Members of the public got the opportunity to have a quiet moment with the two police heroes, to pray if they wish, and to mingle with others who knew them. The officers were loved and respected in their community.

"To them, it was just another day at the office, but we have to realize what their office was like, in our community. Just heartfelt thanks and such sorrow for their family, and I'm grateful that the community and we're able to show this outpouring of support," said Santa Cruz resident Linda McPherson.

Caltrain is offering free service to the memorial for all members of law enforcement and the city of Santa Cruz is offering free Metro bus vouchers for those with no other way to the service.

A video feed of the service will be available in Santa Cruz at Kaiser Permanente Arena and the Del Mar Theater. A special performance will be given by Santa Cruz native James Durban, who was a finalist on the TV show "American Idol."

A Butch Baker and Elizabeth Butler Scholarship Fund has been established.

Donations can be made through the Santa Cruz city website.

ABC7 News will begin live coverage of the service Wednesday at 11 a.m. both on-air and online. Click here for more information on the day's events.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Mom, missing kids reunited after 911 caller spots car:

By Jolie Wolfe - email


Three Gresham children who were reported missing Sunday have been found safe thanks to someone who saw information about their grandmother's car on the news.
The children left the home of their 58-year-old grandmother, Barbara Cameron, in northeast Portland on Sunday afternoon. The children's mother called police from her Gresham home at 9:52 p.m. when Cameron and the kids didn't return to her home as planned.
Police feared Cameron may be experiencing mental health issues, and they sent out an alert to media to get the word out. Neither the children nor Cameron had a cell phone, so police were not able to use a "ping" to track her.

Police asked the public to keep an eye out for Cameron's car, a 2000 Toyota Corolla with Oregon license plate number 702BYF. 
At around 6:30 a.m., someone called 911 and said he saw the car in question and was following it in the area of Northeast 141st Avenue and Sandy Boulevard. The 911 caller stayed on the line until Portland police were able to respond and catch up to the car near 162nd Avenue and Glisan Street.
Police confirmed all the children were safe.
The children's mother thanked police and told FOX 12 she hopes her mother gets the help she needs.
She and other family members reunited with the children at the scene where the grandmother's car was stopped.
"I'm very excited and happy and that they're OK," the mother said.
Barbara Cameron went with officers to the Gresham Police Department to be interviewed, but once there, she turned around and left. Because she is not being charged with a crime, police did not stop her.
She told a FOX 12 reporter that the incident was a misunderstanding.

From left to right, Gage Melia, Amaya Cameron and Riley Melia were reported missing Sunday. // Photo: Gresham Police Department

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Missing Children’s Tournament next weekend in Au Sable Forks:

The Peru 5-6 grade boys basketball team won the 2012 Missing Children's Basketball Tournament, which will be held this year March 7-10 in Au Sable Forks.

By Keith Lobdell

 — Local fifth- and sixth-grade basketball players will take to the courts of the Jay Community Center and Holy Name School over the next weekend as the 24th Annual Missing Children’s Tournament tips off.
A total of 16 teams from 10 towns will compete in the annual event, which is sponsored by the Au Sable Forks Youth Boosters, the Jay/Black Brook Youth Commission and Holy Name School and benefits the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, features two games Thursday, March 7, two more Friday, March 8, and several more over the weekend (March 9-10) in a double-elimination format.
This year, the tournament is also dedicated to Luke Garcia, and Au Sable Forks boy born in 2009 with Congenital Mitral Stenosis, a defect of the mitral valve of the heart.
The opening games of the boys tournament will kick off in the Holy Name School gym Thursday, March 7, with games between Jay/Black Brook 1 and Willsboro at 6 p.m., followed by a 7:30 p.m. matchup between Jay/Black Brook 2 and the Saranac Lake Red Devils.
On March 8, fifth- and sixth-grade girls take to the court with a 6 p.m. game between the Jay/Black Brook Patriots and Peru and a 7:30 game between Morrisonville and Mooers Magic.
Games Saturday morning starts with Massena and Moriah Vikings in a boys game at Holy Name School at 9:30 a.m. and the girls at 9:30 at the Community Center gym with the Moriah Vikings and Mooers CTC. These games are followed by an 11 a.m. boys contest between Peru and the Westport Eagles at the Community Center Gym and an 11 a.m. girls game with the Westport Lady Eagles versus Champlain Thunder at Holy Name School.
Play down games will be played throughout the rest of the day Saturday, with competition resuming Sunday morning. Championship games will be played at 2:30 p.m. (boys and 4 p.m. (girls), with potential tie break games scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Sequestration Puts Children at Risk:


Michael Piraino

Sequestration is a scary word. Outside of Washington, D.C., it has the sense of seizing property or isolating juries. But the D.C. definition -- a general cut in funding -- carries a real likelihood of danger. Danger to children.
Many programs that keep children safe, educated and healthy are supported at least in part through federal discretionary spending. An eight percent reduction in those funds may not sound like an overwhelming amount. But it comes on top of already large cutbacks for children. In recent years, 31 federal programs for children have been entirely eliminated, and another 71 saw their funding reduced, affecting everything from child safety to health and education. 

It's not as though these programs aren't sorely needed. One of the programs, cut back by nearly 77 percent, was for violence prevention in schools. It's too bad it takes an awful incident in an elementary school for people to realize how important this funding is. Do children have to die before we think about investing in their safety?
Recent funding cutbacks have already threatened to interfere with core commitments our nation made to children. Among the most vulnerable are children who cannot live safely at home due to abuse and neglect. They are under the care of state child welfare systems -- which are already reeling from previous federal and state cutbacks. Yet funding for the four child abuse programs in the Victims of Child Abuse Act were targeted for elimination in the last two Administration budgets. Congress did step in and preserve funding, though at hugely reduced levels. These levels may be reduced even further through sequestration this Friday.
These federal funding trends would be of less concern if private charitable giving was helping to fill in at least part of the need. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. Charitable giving for human service organizations declined last year. Over the last five years, the number of new donors giving to human services has gone down.
It is downright expensive not to make investments in good programs that help children. For example, a foster youth who is connected to a trusted advocate and mentor is more likely to carry with her a varied set of protective factors. Research shows that this will lead to more positive outcomes. And the consequence of not doing right by a foster youth? Tens of thousands age out of that system every year and are at high risk for homelessness, unemployment and criminal behavior. The median cost of a single incarceration was $31,000 in 2010. We would all save money, and feel safer, if we invested that money in young people rather than wasting it on prison cells.
Politicians are fond of referring to every parent's dream of a better life for their children. If we believe in our children's safety and well-being, then budget decisions need to be based on a real understanding of the connection between funding and those dreams for our children.

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