HEAL International seminar – Protecting Refugee Youth and Learning the Law – 6/4/11

Notes by Rob Stall MD

Thoughts:
1. Support group (rather than just classes) for parents with “caregiver stress”?

I. Law enforcement – “peace in the street”

II. Family court – “peace in the home” – Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin

Types of cases:
1. Juvenile deliquent – minor commits crime (e.g. drugs, alcohol, violence against parent)
2. PINS – child out of control (joined a gang, taking drugs)
3. Abuse and neglect (Child Protective Services handles first, court if significant harm or refusal of CPS)
4. Custody issues (e.g. children of unmarried couples)
5. Domestic violence “we help the people being hurt and the people doing the hurting…”)

“We are not here to take your children away – we are here to help you have a safe, healthy home”

“Spanking with hand is not abuse… use of an object such as a belt or stick is…”

“There is evil everywhere… we hear the horrible things done to children every day… I don’t have a crystal ball to put in front of you to know who is telling the truth or not… [in Family Court] we try to get the facts, we try to find the truth…”

“We need to learn from you, and you need to learn from us… that is how we make the system better for all…”

Comment “What we have here is a culture clash”

III. Child Protective Services

“The important people in the room are you, not us… I don’t think of you as refugees, I think of you as new Americans…”

“We get 10000 reports every year about parents hurting their children. Of these, we know 7000 are just not true. Of the 3000, [many] are taken care of ny the family themselves. Of the remainder, we try to help the family get what they need to solve the problem [e.g. money, food, clothing]…”

“Of the 25000 involved in the reports, only 300 children are put in foster care, often with a relative [or someone in the same cultural community]. It used to be a lot more, but we found that the best place for the child [generally] is in the home…”

“Law says that we have to come out and tell you about the report… We don’t know anything about you except what is on the report…”

“Haven’t come into conflict with a culture [e.g. coining was an issue because it left marks, had to learn what it was about], seen a culture that approves of hurting a child…”

Yahye – “had four classes, applications were provided to ask for help…”

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