Mothers Of Lost Children – Indiana

Support for Noncustodial Indiana Moms

Archive for November 2009

Children Who Witness Abuse or are Abused Need Help in Indiana: Will Anybody Listen?

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This article is from The Guardian in the United Kingdom.  However, with the lack of concern about domestic violence in Indiana and it’s affects on children, a program definitely needs to started here like this.  And while having school children learn about what is right and wrong, make the state legislators, all family court judges, and CPS/DSC personnel, who continue to turn their back on abuse if custody is involved, get some training on this also.  They all seem blind to the fact children are horribly affected by this….they don’t seem to care.  Family court judges willingly hand full custody to abusers here in Indiana, and refuse to consider bona fide abuse and expert testimony in their decisions.  Someone in this state has got to step up and do what is right for the children here.

What role should teachers have in preventing domestic violence?

Classes about abusive relationships are to become compulsory for children as young as five. Chris Keates says they could break the cycle of misery in homes

    Domestic violence. Photograph: Christopher ThomondDomestic violence and bullying are about the exploitation of power differentials.


    Evidence demonstrates that one in four women will experience some form of domestic violence during their lifetime. What is often overlooked is the impact of this abuse on the thousands of children and young people who witness, experience and in some cases perpetuate this violence.

    We know that the experience of domestic violence manifests itself in the behaviour of school pupils in a variety of ways. Children and young people who live in domestic abuse situations may have an increased risk of being bullied or be unable to fully participate in school life. Their anger and distress may also lead them to bully other pupils, and educational attainment often suffers.

    To argue, as some have done, that tackling domestic violence should not fall within schools‘ remit is to miss the point. The teaching union Nasuwt believes that educating young people about healthy relationships and tackling bullying, violence and other inappropriate behaviour towards women and young girls is central to schools’ purpose.

    The Nasuwt was the first union to launch a programme of work on prejudice-related bullying, and has worked closely with the TUC on tackling violence against women in the workplace. We have been at the forefront of raising this problem and have ensured it is included in government anti-bullying guidance.

    Both domestic violence and bullying are about the exploitation of power differentials: government figures show that in the 2006/07 academic year there were 3,500 temporary exclusions and 140 permanent exclusions from schools in England for sexual misconduct, including incidents such as groping, using sexually insulting nicknames, daubing obscene graffiti and serious sexual attacks.

    In total, 280 of the fixed-term expulsions were from primary schools, and in 20 cases the child responsible was just five years old.

    Using personal, social and health education to develop discussion and learning on domestic violence is an important starting point, and enables all of these issues to be considered coherently. However, this will be futile if the issue is not seen as the responsibility of the whole school. If behaviour in the playground and whole school environment is inconsistent with messages in the classroom, school pupils may not take the issue seriously. Staff, parents, governors and students all need to adopt a zero-tolerance attitude to all forms of violence and discrimination.

    Domestic violence is an emotive and complex issue and it will be critical that schools are able to draw upon the expertise of qualified staff (other than teachers) who are best able to deliver specific advice and knowledge. An increase in education on domestic violence and abuse may also lead to an increase in students disclosing violence in their homes. It will be important that appropriate training and support is provided for school staff to be able to deal with this.

    Domestic violence tends to repeat itself down the generations. Today’s announcement from the government is a welcome and important opportunity to break this cycle of abuse and ensure future generations are better equipped to resist the misery that domestic violence inflicts on all those caught up in it.

    • Chris Keates is general secretary of the Nasuwt teaching union

    New Ombudsman: Will Susan Hoppe Really Look Out for Indiana’s Children?

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    We’ll have to see if this will really improves the situation for Indiana’s children, or it is another case of the fox guarding the hen house…

    Ombudsman to shed light on child welfare

    Tim Evans

    November 14, 2009 by Tim Evans | Star staff

    Appointee says she has no agenda other than to improve the system

    An Indianapolis woman with 25 years of experience in the field of child welfare — from the front lines to policy consulting — will be the state’s first child services ombudsman.

    Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the appointment of Susan Hoppe to the post Friday. She will begin her job Dec. 14.

    “I have no agenda,” Hoppe said, “except to improve the system and certainly improve the public’s confidence in the Department of Child Services.

    “I am going into this job quite open-minded. I plan to do a lot of listening, reviewing and observing.”

    Hoppe said she will run the office — which has a budget of $145,000, including her $90,000 salary — as a one-person operation.

    The position was created by the legislature during the special session in June.

    Child and family rights activists had lobbied the past two years for the creation of an ombudsman. The calls were driven, in large part, by the deaths of several children involved with DCS and the growing number of children being removed from families by the agency, which was created by Daniels in 2005.

    Backers contend an independent monitor is needed to oversee a state child welfare system that does much of its work behind a mandated veil of secrecy. Although that confidentiality requirement is intended to protect victims, it leaves unanswered many important questions about the actions of DCS — particularly in controversial or high-profile cases in which children are injured or die.

    Ombudsmen in about 30 other states often review such cases and issue reports that shed light on how they were handled. That independent review can bolster public confidence in an agency’s actions or point out shortcomings that need to be addressed.

    Hoppe’s experience working in several areas of child welfare and her listening skills make her an ideal person for the post, said Sharon Pierce, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

    “Susan has a really rich background and will be a really outstanding advocate for everyone involved — children, families and the community,” said Pierce, who also heads The Villages, Indiana’s largest nonprofit children’s and family services provider.

    Hoppe, 65, is a social worker with Marion County Circuit and Superior courts, where she works with families involved in custody cases, according to a release from the governor’s office. In addition, she was the courts’ representative on the county’s child protection team.

    Prior to working for the courts, she held several positions with the Marion County Office of Family and Children, which handled state child welfare and protection functions before the creation of DCS. Her work included a six-year stint managing 50 employees who investigated child abuse and neglect allegations and provided services to families and children.

    “We look forward to meeting with her soon to discuss ways we can work together for the benefit of Indiana children and families,” said Ann Houseworth, spokeswoman for DCS.

    Hoppe earned her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and has a master’s degree from Butler University. She has two grown children.