Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heart Gallery Comes to Roswell

New Advocates Sworn In

Congratulations to new CASA Volunteers
Melody Wakefield, Esther Purkey and Esmeralda Jaramillo!

Welcome to the CASA family.  Here there are with Judge Charles Currier and Volunteer Coordinator Amber Dollar at their november 16th Swearing In Ceremony.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wings For Life - Budgeting in Hard Times

Budgeting in hard Economic Times
Presented by: Eric Johnston-Ortiz, VP
Business Affairs, ENMU-Roswell

Roswell Boys &  Girls Club

Prize to the guest attending the most meetings

201 S. Garden
SUNDAY, November 20th, 2011

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Doors open at 5:45. Meeting starts at 6:00 Doors will be shut at 6:15.

For Questions call: Shelly @ 317-2042

Dinner provided and Arts & Crafts for Children in a family friendly environment
(Sitter available)

Generous Adoption Credit Available

IRS Tax Credit of $13,170 is Available to our Adoptive Families

In 2010 and 2011, you may be able to take a refundable tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child (including a child with special needs). This means that you could qualify for a tax refund even if you did not have federal income tax withheld. For tax years prior to 2010, the adoption credit is not refundable.

Under new Adoption Credit Rules for the 2010 tax year, you must attach one or more adoption-related documents (identified in the form instructions) with the completed Form 8839 (PDF), Qualified Adoption Expenses, and attach the form to your Form 1040 or Form 1040A return, to claim the adoption credit or income exclusion. The required documents are different if the adoption is foreign, or domestic, final or not final and if the adoption is for a special-needs child.

A tax credit, including the adoption credit, reduces your tax liability. For expenses paid prior to the year the adoption becomes final, the credit generally is allowed for the year following the year of payment. For expenses paid in and after the year the adoption becomes final, the credit is allowed in the year of payment. The adoption credit is not available for any reimbursed expense. In addition to the credit, certain amounts paid by your employer for qualifying adoption expenses may be excludable from your gross income.

A taxpayer who paid qualifying expenses in the current year for an adoption which became final in the current year, may be eligible to claim the credit for the expenses on the current year return, in addition to credit for expenses paid in a prior year.

For both the credit or the exclusion, qualifying expenses include reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home), and other expenses directly related to and for which the principal purpose is the legal adoption of an eligible child. An eligible child must be under 18 years old, or be physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself. The adoption credit or exclusion cannot be taken for a child who is not a United States citizen or resident unless the adoption becomes final. In the case of an adoption of a special-needs child, you may be eligible for a certain amount of credit or exclusion regardless of actual expenses paid or incurred. A child has special-needs if (1) the child otherwise meets the definition of eligible child, (2) the child is a United States citizen or resident, (3) a state determines that the child cannot or should not be returned to his or her parent's home, and (4) a state determines that the child probably will not be adopted unless assistance is provided. The credit and exclusion for qualifying adoption expenses are each subject to a dollar limit and an income limit.

The amount of your adoption credit or exclusion is limited to the dollar limit for that year for each effort to adopt an eligible child. If you can take a credit and exclusion, this dollar amount applies separately to each. For example, if we assume the dollar limit for the year is $13,170 and you paid $10,000 in qualifying adoption expenses for a final adoption, while your employer paid $4,000 of additional qualifying adoption expenses, you may be able to claim a credit of up to $10,000 and also exclude up to $4,000.

For more details go here.

Teaching Our Children About the Penn State Scandal

The New York Times Learning Network helps us to wade through this difficult subject.
By Katherine Schulten and Holly Epstein Ojalvo 

 Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Are you talking about the Penn State news this week in your classroom or at home with your children? Let us know how you’re handling it. Here are some ideas for discussion, writing or further research.

A good place to start to quickly understand the story and its implications is the Times Topics page, Penn State (Sex Abuse Scandal 2011), which features a short overview of the events, along with links to all articles, opinion pieces and multimedia on the topic.

The overview, as currently posted (it may change as events develop) ends with this paragraph:

Law enforcement officials have said that Paterno had met his legal obligation in alerting his superiors at the university when he learned of the allegation against Sandusky, but they suggested he might well have failed a moral test for what to do when confronted with such a disturbing allegation involving a child not even in his teens. No one at the university alerted the police or pursued the matter to determine the well-being of the child involved. 

The rest of this helpful article can be found here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

When Does Spanking Become Abuse?

Sheree L. Toth is executive director of the Mt. Hope Family Center and an associate professor of clinical and social sciences in psychology at the University of Rochester. She writes in response to the video of the judge beating his daughter.

Rochester, New York (CNN) -- As the director of a leading research center on child abuse, I have seen all too often that what a parent considers legitimate discipline can quickly deteriorate into violence fueled by anger.

Parents often say that they spank their children to teach them how to behave. The word discipline means "to teach," but does spanking really teach children to behave, or does it teach them to solve problems with violence?

At our center, we see many parents who spank their children to teach them not to hit their siblings. Spanking impressionable children may reduce undesirable behavior in the short term. In the long term, however, research shows that it offers children a poor example of how to solve problems or deal with difficult situations.

The posting of the video of a Texas judge beating his 16-year-old daughter with a belt, and the controversy surrounding deaths purportedly associated with the pro-spanking book "To Train Up a Child," have reignited the debate about corporal punishment. Even those viewing the disturbing video differ on whether or not it reflects the appropriate use of discipline. When does spanking cross the line and become physical abuse?

Sheree L. TothAlthough corporal punishment has been widely accepted throughout the history of the United States, psychologists and other professionals here are increasingly concerned about the harm it may cause. Many other countries have outlawed the practice, including Austria, Germany, Greece, Kenya, Norway, Romania and Spain. Despite growing evidence against and opposition to corporal punishment in the United States, the practice remains accepted by nearly half of adults and is legal in all states.

Among scientists, there is a consensus that actual physical abuse damages children, directly and over the course of a life. Although not all children who have been abused are affected the same way, decades of research show that child abuse initiates a cascade of negative social, emotional and health-related outcomes.

"Corporal punishment is of limited effectiveness and has potentially deleterious side effects," the American Academy of Pediatrics has said in a policy statement. A 2002 analysis of studies, published in the Psychological Bulletin, concluded that although corporal punishment can make a child obey in the short run, it also is linked with a number of long-term problems, including mental disorders and behavioral difficulties. Spanking in childhood also has been related to criminality.

Too much corporal punishment can also damage the parent-child relationship, as the parent becomes a source of both nurturing and danger. Disconcertingly, spanking in childhood also is associated with approval of hitting a spouse and increased marital conflict.

All the evidence and warnings, however, don't always stop parents from hitting their kids. Personal experiences and emotion continue to dictate whether or not parents choose physical punishment.

The video of the judge beating his daughter is disturbing not only because of the physical violence, but also because of the emotional abuse that is clearly present. Rather than learning not to download computer files, this girl may be learning to hide her behavior from her parents, to avoid bringing them her questions and concerns. She may become more likely to resolve conflict with violence, to become involved with people who are abusive, and eventually to hit her own children.

All parents surely want to raise well-adjusted children. Discipline and structure are key components of doing so. It would be naïve to think that even the most dedicated parents do not sometimes become frustrated with defiant children. There are many ways of disciplining children that are effective and nonviolent. We need to show parents what they are, and to make alternative approaches more widely accessible if we are to avoid tragic outcomes.

Winter Wonderland Event Friday the 18th

Please join us Friday for our gala Winter Wonderland Event!

Hundreds of Christmas trees and fabulous pieces of decor have been design and donated to support our very own Chaves County CASA Program. Food and drink have been donated by our amazing sponsors.

Entry is free.  Come enjoy the decor and get to know our CASA family. 

Frist American Bank, 111 East 5th, 5:00 till everything is gone!

Pocket Practitioner’s Guide for Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Youth

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has published a Pocket Practitioner’s Guide for alcohol screening and intervention for youth.  This is a great resource for advocates, parents and school personnel and easy to use; you can access it here.

Psychotropic Medication and Children in Foster Care: Tips for Advocates and Judges

Multiple studies have found that children in foster care are vulnerable to inappropriate or excessive use of psychotropic medication. Advocating for and presiding over cases involving children and teens in foster care who may have mental health disorders requires a solid understanding of the positive and negatives aspects of medication use in this population.

The ABA Center on Children and the Law is therefore pleased to announce the release of "Psychotropic Medication and Children in Foster Care: Tips for Advocates and Judges" by JoAnne Solchany, PhD, ARNP.

The Brief addresses:
* common child and adolescent mental health diagnoses

* a multimodal approach to managing mental health disorders

* the benefits, drawbacks, and side effects of psychotropic medications

* recommendations for best practice, and

* questions judges and advocates should ask about medication use.

The Brief is free and available online here.

CASA Approves of this Response to the Penn State Scandal

Omelas State University

November 10, 2011 By John Scalzi

These things should be simple:

1. When, as an adult, you come come across another adult raping a small child, you should a) do everything in your power to rescue that child from the rapist, b) call the police the moment it is practicable.

2. If your adult son calls you to tell you that he just saw another adult raping a small child, but then left that small child with the rapist, and then asks you what he should do, you should a) tell him to get off the phone with you and call the police immediately, b) call the police yourself and make a report, c) at the appropriate time in the future ask your adult son why the fuck he did not try to save that kid.

3. If your underling comes to you to report that he saw another man, also your underling, raping a small child, but then left that small child with the rapist, you should a) call the police immediately, b) alert your own superiors, c) immediately suspend the alleged rapist underling from his job responsibilities pending a full investigation, d) at the appropriate time in the future ask that first underling why the fuck he did not try to save that kid.

4. When, as the officials of an organization, you are approached by an underling who tells you that one of his people saw another of his people raping a small child at the organization, in organization property, you should a) call the police immediately, b) immediately suspend the alleged rapist from his job responsibilities if the immediate supervisor has not already done so, c) when called to a grand jury to testify on the matter, avoid perjuring yourself. At no time should you decide that the best way to handle the situation is to simply tell the alleged rapist not to bring small children onto organization property anymore.

You know, there’s a part of me who looks at the actions of each of non-raping grown men in the “Pennsylvania State University small-child-allegedly-being-raped-by-a-grown-man-who-is-part-of-the-football-hierarchy” scandal and can understand why those men could rationalize a) not immediately acting in the interests of a small child being raped, b) not immediately going to the police, c) doing only the minimum legal requirements in the situation, d) acting to keep from exposing their organization to a scandal. But here’s the thing: that part of me? The part that understands these actions? That part of me is a fucking coward. And so by their actions — and by their inactions — were these men.

At least one sports columnist has made the point that Joe Paterno, the 40+ year coach of Penn State, who was fired last night (along with the university’s president) by the university’s board of trustees, should be remembered for all the good things he has stood for, and for his generosity and principles, even as this scandal, which brought his downfall, is now inevitably part of his legacy as well. And, well. I suspect that in time, even this horrible event will fade, and Paterno’s legacy, to football and to Penn State, will rise above the tarnishment, especially because it can and will be argued that Paterno did all that was legally required of him, expressed regret and horror, and was not the man who was, after all, performing the acts.

Here’s what I think about that, right now. I’m a science fiction writer, and one of the great stories of science fiction is “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” which was written by Ursula K. Le Guin. The story posits a fantastic utopian city, where everything is beautiful, with one catch: In order for all this comfort and beauty to exist, one child must be kept in filth and misery. Every citizen of Omelas, when they come of age, is told about that one blameless child being put through hell. And they have a choice: Accept that is the price for their perfect lives in Omelas, or walk away from that paradise, into uncertainty and possibly chaos.

At Pennsylvania State University, a grown man found a blameless child being put through hell. Other grown men learned of it. Each of them had to make their choice, and decide, fundamentally, whether the continuation of their utopia — or at very least the illusion of their utopia — was worth the pain and suffering of that one child. Through their actions, and their inactions, we know the choice they made.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wings for L.I.F.E. Meeting - Reducing Stress

Wings for L.I.F.E.

(Life-skills Imparted to Families through Education
Presented by: Dr. Van Warren

*Specializing in Oriental Medicine*

Roswell Boys & Girls Club
201 S. Garden
SUNDAY, November 6th, 2011
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

For Questions call: Shelly @ 317-2042

Dinner provided and Arts & Crafts for Children in a family friendly environment
(Sitter available)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Issue of Judge’s Page Newsletter Focuses on Relative Placements

The November 2011 issue of the Judge’s Page Newsletter is now available at CASAforChildren.org. The current issue focuses on placement of foster children with relatives. This publication is produced three times a year by the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. You can subscribe to receive the Judge’s Page Newsletter via email. (Email subscribers will receive the November 2011 Judge’s Page e-newsletter on Wednesday.)