Friday, October 21, 2016

JPMorgan Chase Commits $20 Million to Revitalize Neighborhoods in Five U.S. Cities

Collaborative partnerships in Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and New York to develop solutions for distressed neighborhoods

October 19, 2016 (Detroit, MI) – JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced $20 million for five community development organizations working to create economic opportunity in disadvantaged neighborhoods. As part of the firm’s $125 million, five-year PRO Neighborhoods initiative, these five collaborative partnerships will revitalize neighborhoods in their respective cities that have been left behind by the recovery.

“The 2016 PRO Neighborhoods winners have come to the table with very exciting partnerships that aim to draw the urban renaissance and prosperity they are experiencing in their cities into the deeply distressed neighborhoods where they are working” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Community Development for Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud of the innovative approaches this cohort is taking to delivering capital to entrepreneurs of color, diverse neighborhoods, and urban food deserts.  Each is using a data-driven approach that will create opportunities for more people to share in the prosperity of the local economies of their hometowns of Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and New York.”

PRO Neighborhoods provides the necessary capital to local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to address the drivers of economic opportunity in neighborhoods. These CDFIs work together to pool resources and expand lending activities for building health and education facilities, open retail centers and support community services in area neighborhoods. The first grant recipients of this new initiative include:
  • Detroit Strategic Neighborhoods Initiative Collaborative (Detroit, MI) - $5 Million.
  This alliance will combine new loan capital and unique programs with existing funding capacity to provide economic development in the three targeted neighborhoods in Detroit. The focus on helping distressed neighborhoods is informed by and builds upon JPMorgan Chase’s $100 million, five-year commitment to the city’s economic recovery.

“This announcement from JPMorgan Chase is another example of its deep commitment to Detroit and revitalizing its neighborhoods,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to this funding, we are going to start seeing new small businesses open, existing businesses expand and new residential developments take place in several key areas of the city. This fits in perfectly with our strategy to revitalize our neighborhoods.”

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

DOJ and HHS Finally Team Up To Address Civil Rights Violations In Child Welfare

Well, it is about damn time!

The U.S. Department of Justice has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to offer joint guidance into civil rights violations in child welfare.
Child Welfare:  The Residuals of the Peculiar Institution

Why, you may inquire?

"So, why are there no civil rights in child welfare?", is the next logical query.
The answer is quite simple because the child welfare system is a residual of the peculiar institution, devoid of any feasibly constructed oversight.

Of course, there are those who will quickly defend the entire child welfare industry, but steadfast as they are, they fail to disclose their financial and political conflicts of interest for personal inurement, which is currently another scope of investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice.

An action, or inaction, of a civil rights violation, is even more egregious when it is perpetrated through the use of federal funds, in order to maximize revenues, in the name of God.

As these child welfare organizations are classified as nonprofits, many Christian, everyone knows that...say it with me..."you cannot audit God."

This means that the iron curtain of child welfare has been impenetrable since its Emancipation Proclamation inception.

This now begs the question, "How are the DOJ and HHS to investigate alleged civil rights violations in child welfare when the databases do not have mandated reported variables?"

The University of Michigan Law School has a civil rights database.

The Department of Education has a civil rights database.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families has a National Youth in Transition Database.

But there is no database on civil rights violations of children and families involved in the child welfare system.

There is not even an exclusionary database of child welfare organizations which have been found to engage in questionable billing practices in dealing with Medicaid, Title IV-B or IV-E.

Here we have U.S. Representative John Conyers speaking upon H.R. 40, a Bill to establish a commission to study the "residuals of the peculiar institution", affectionately misunderstood, as the Reparations Bill.

The study is to address the history of the means and ways of why and how the U.S. has ignored the civil rights (including human rights) violations of the poor but it must be inclusive of all targeted populations.

Only the poor are eligible for the programs in which this joint federal partnership is investigating; therefore, the only way to payback for the social assistance, where being impoverished is statutorily considered moral turpitude, is to lose one's children through termination of parental rights, the edifice of the 13th Amendment.

Canada issued a formal apology on how it has treated aboriginal children and families and did not even have slavery, but not the U.S.

This letter of guidance should be considered more along the lines of a notice of intent.

There are other areas of awakening within the DOJ and HHS, but the work will be slow and arduous as there are many, many, powerful players who do not want a single thing to change.

To my #Superfans ... you know where to find me.

Here is the guidance for the DOJ and HHS.

Who knows, perhaps one day when the U.S. admits child welfare has no civil rights, it will finally agree to sign on.

If you believe you or a child's civil rights have been violated, file up with your stories.

Information about filing a Title VI complaint with DOJ can be found at

Individuals who believe they have been aggrieved under Title VI should file complaints at the earliest opportunity. You can also file a Title VI complaint with OCR at

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CONYERS Blasts New GOP Conspiracy Theory About Secretary Clinton's Emails

No factual evidence shows a quid pro quo between the Department of State and the FBI

Washington, DC – Yesterday, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the House Judiciary Committee’s majority alleged that newly-released FBI interview notes “raise serious questions about whether Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy violated federal laws . . . by offering a ‘quid pro quo’ to the FBI.”  The interview notes contain no factual basis for these claims:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.

§  As early as January 2016, the Inspector General for the Department of State concluded that there was no undue or inappropriate influence in the review and classification of Secretary Clinton’s emails. 

§  The FBI released a public statement that categorically rejects the accusation, noting that “[a]lthough there was never a quid pro quo, these allegations were nonetheless referred to the appropriate officials for review.” 

§  The now-retired FBI agent who spoke to Undersecretary Kennedy has told reporters that the two matters—staffing overseas posts and the classification review of Secretary Clinton’s emails—were wholly unrelated discussions, and no exchange or deal linking the matters was ever proposed.
§  FBI files released weeks ago explained that Undersecretary Kennedy “‘categorically rejected’ allegations that he attempted [to] influence FOIA markings to protect and/or mask classified information.”

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), today released the following statement:

“The FBI, the Department of State, and virtually every individual with firsthand knowledge of the pertinent facts have flatly denied allegations of any attempt to arrange a quid pro quo on Secretary Clinton’s behalf.  The FBI looked into the matter and found no evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever.  There is no new factual information in these interview notes that would lead us to believe otherwise. 

“The majority will find few answers in unsupported and unsubstantiated speculation.  I hope that when we return to Washington in November, there is room for more substantive discussion.”

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kansas Privatizes Poor Children For Profit

In order to understand why Kansas and its "Michigan privatization revenue maximization replication
"Homes for Children" (pre-code for foster care)
is not going so well, let us reflect upon the history of the "residuals of the peculiar institution" in its child welfare system.

Kansas-Nebraska Act Just Alike


Kansas, Meet the Queen of Judicial Lobbying: Maura Corrigan

More the likely, no one even took the time to go through the links I have provided, above, but that is not the point, here.

The point is that there is a delicious trail of spectacular morsels which have been placed in the faces of the imperialistic morality parade, or as I like to call it, "Privatization in the name of God".

Kansas CPS snatching poor kids for free labor
Back in the days, after the "glorious" (stated with sarcasm) Emancipation Proclamation, selling children as chattel was a lucrative alternative form of labor acquisition called orphan trains, for the purposes of saving souls.

Yes, poor parents, typically immigrants and emancipated slaves, who could not afford foundling homes to care for their children while they worked in slave conditions, ended up witnessing their children being shipped of to the burgeoning West where parental prayers of hope for their children were met with an deafening silence all because the parents were poor, the mother was alone, and the child labor was free.

Kansas, living the residuals of stripping sweet grass for the American dream of agriculture, experienced the Great  Dust Bowl, and other ills of poverty..

The response, to glorify child poverty, was the "Wizard Of Oz".  " There is always hope in fantasy".

So, If the lawmakers, community leaders and all other stakeholders interested in the economic future of the State of Kansas have yet to follow the "Yellow Brick Road" to understanding that they are on the wrong path to socio-economic sustainability through privatization, then I guess, we must sit back and morbidly laugh at the reconstruction of the oldest form of survival, selling chattel, the oldest form of survival.

Look at your own data.

So, if the people of Kansas cannot understand what privatization is, then, let them continue to experience it first hand, until they repulse themselves.

New national report questions privatized government services like those in Kansas

 — At a time when the state of Kansas' privatized child welfare programs are coming under heightened scrutiny, a new national report says privatization generally leads to lower quality services, especially for the poor and people of color.

The report, by the Washington, D.C., think tank In the Public Interest, says that privatization, especially at the state and local level, is threatening the very mission of programs that provide public goods and services.

"Private companies have left social safety net programs in tatters," the report states. "Many workers employed by government contractors have plunged further into poverty because of declining wages and benefits. And as private interests continue to siphon money away from public services, the dismantling of public goods not only perpetuates pervasive economic inequality, but also contributes to increasing racial segregation."

In the Public Interest describes itself as a research and policy center whose goal is to "ensure that government contracts and agreements and related public policies increase transparency, accountability, efficiency, and shared prosperity and opportunity through the provision of quality public goods, services, and assets."

Over the last 20 years, Kansas has gone further than many other states in privatizing social safety net services for the poor and underprivileged.

In 1997, during former Republican Gov. Bill Graves' administration, Kansas became the first state in the country to hand over virtually all of its child welfare services, including foster care and child adoption programs, to outside contractors.

More recently, in 2012, Gov. Sam Brownback's administration fully privatized its Medicaid program, turning over responsibility for paying claims and managing patient care to three for-profit insurance companies and changing the name of the program to KanCare.

And in 2013, the Brownback administration outsourced its child support enforcement program to private contractors.

All of those moves have been controversial to varying degrees, but none more so than foster care and adoption, which is now the subject of an ongoing Legislative Post Audit review, which is due to be released in February.

Concerns about privatized child welfare services also came up Sept. 30 when the State Finance Council, a group made up of the governor and legislative leaders, approved paying $100,000 as partial settlement to the family of a 4-year-old boy who was killed while in custody of the state's foster care system.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, said after that meeting that he opposed privatizing child welfare services during the Graves administration, "because this is the type of thing that I think the government should be responsible for ... and this is a perfect example of why I believe I was right in opposing the privatization of our child welfare system."

According to In the Public Interest's report, such tragedies are not uncommon under privatized child welfare programs, and the negative consequences of privatization fall disproportionately on the poor and people of color.

"Researchers have found that Native American, African American, and Latino children in certain states are, compared with white children, removed from families at higher rates once identified by child protective services," the report states, citing a 2011 study in the journal Protecting Children.

"Children of color also stay in foster care for longer periods, experience more placement moves, and exit the foster care system without permanence, while their parents receive fewer services."

ITPI executive director Donald Cohen said the fundamental problem with privatization is that it's based on the promise of cutting costs. And while some contractors may be able to perform the job at a lower cost than government, he said, public agencies still need people to monitor the contractor to make sure the job is being done right.

"They always say they can save money by doing it," Cohen said during a telephone interview. "But agencies never increase their monitoring staff, because it’s all about saving money. If you don’t watch, bad things happen. When you contract to paint your house, if you’re not watching a little bit, bad things happen."

"It’s not all crookedness," he said. "It may be corruption or it may be incompetence. It may be unintended events. There’s no shortcut to doing high quality stuff in services. It costs money. It requires expertise."

Cohen also noted that monitoring the performance of an outside contractor is often more difficult than monitoring the state's own employees.

"The distance between the person doing the purchasing — which is who is accountable to the public and basically responsible for the outcomes — the distance between that person and the person providing the service is now longer because there are intermediaries," he said.

And the distance gets even greater under models like the one Kansas uses, where two major contractors provide services in different regions of the state, and those contractors then subcontract with more than a dozen local-area subcontractors.

Privatization still has its advocates in Kansas, especially within the Brownback administration which says KanCare — the privatization of Medicaid through managed care plans run by private insurance companies — marked a significant improvement to the state's Medicaid system.

Prior to KanCare, much of the Kansas Medicaid program was already privatized. Pregnant women, children and families, who make up the bulk of the Medicaid population but only a fraction of its cost, were enrolled in managed care plans administered by private insurance companies.

KanCare extended that model to the remaining Medicaid population, primarily the elderly and disabled, who make up a smaller share of the population but account for a much larger share of the overall cost.

"The previous system was a one-size-fits-all system which did not provide people with a choice of plans and services available to them under KanCare," Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said in an email statement.

"There are more than a dozen states following our lead and implementing KanCare" said Brownback's spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, argued that KanCare has slowed the rapidly spiraling cost of Medicaid while providing patients with better care.

"Each individual with a complex condition under KanCare has a care coordinator who makes sure they are getting the full care they need whether it is medical, mental health or home-based care," she said.

But even the supporters of privatization in Kansas concede that it still requires vigorous monitoring and oversight by the agencies that outsource public services.

In 2015, the conservative Wichita-based think tank Kansas Policy Institute and the libertarian think tank Reason published a paper on the benefits of privatization that included a list of "best practices." Among them were suggestions to focus on "best value" rather than "low bid" contracting, and ensuring accountability through "rigorous monitoring and performance evaluation."

"Governments should never sign a contract then walk away," the report said. "The public sector role does not end with privatization, but rather shifts to a position in which public managers are responsible for ensuring that their private partners live up to their contractual commitments."

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Has The Flint Water Crisis Made It Into Michigan's Investigative Gubernatorial Race?

Ah, the Flint water crisis has now made its way into the Michigan gubernatorial campaign! 

Perhaps, not intentionally, but it is now.

Feds side with Gov. Snyder, ask court to lift orders tied to Flint water crisis

FLINT, MI -- Federal health officials are joining with Gov. Rick Snyder and the state Department of Health and Human Services in asking that protective orders blocking state agencies from health information tied to the Flint water crisis be lifted.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed a brief Friday, Oct. 14, in support of the Michigan DHHS, which is asking the state Court of Appeals to block protective orders issued by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut.

The orders limit the information DHHS can receive from the Genesee County Health Department and McLaren-Flint regarding cases of Legionella and Legionnaires' disease while special prosecutors are still investigating criminal wrongdoing related to the Flint water crisis.

But, wait!  The Michigan Attorney General has his own special appointed investigation going on and it is pretty darn nasty.

DHHS involvement in water investigation would taint probe, attorneys tell court

FLINT, MI -- Allowing the state Department of Health and Human Services to investigate legionella cases at McLaren Flint hospital would serve no purpose but to compromise ongoing criminal investigations tied to the Flint water crisis, according to attorneys defending a Genesee County Circuit judge's ruling.

In filings with the Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday, Sept. 2, attorneys for the county countered a DHHS complaint, which seeks to give the agency access to and information from McLaren -- something protective orders issued by Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut forbid.

The orders limit information that DHHS can receive from the county Health Department and McLaren regarding cases of legionella and Legionnaires' disease while special prosecutors are still investigating criminal wrongdoing in the Flint water crisis.

So, why is the U.S. HHS taking the side of Governor Snyder?  I am guessing it has to do with one of those bullshit pitches about being able to care for the children.

If Michigan cannot even care for families and children not in foster care, then how do you think the rest of them are fairing? 

Perhaps Mr. Schuette and the boys will take this opportunity to look into the Michigan DHHS child welfare programs and its revenue maximization schemes.

Foster care families and children impacted by Flint's water crisis

FLINT (WJRT) - (08/31/16) - The water crisis is having an impact on foster care in Flint.

Children already go through a lot being put into the system, so for them and for the parents who take them in, the contaminated water adds another layer of intimidation and concern.

Jennifer Stevens, the Program Director at Samaritas Foster Care Services in Flint says, "They already experience, because of the trauma, educational issues, developmental issues, and medical issues. This could increase those concerns, immediately but also long-term, so it's really important for us to know what's going on with those children, so we can make sure their needs are being taken care of. "

Wednesday evening, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services held a resource fair for foster parents and for those considering opening their homes to children in need.

The goal is to make sure they know they're not alone in dealing with the water crisis fallout and to connect them with agencies who can help.

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Michigan Bills To Discuss Juvenile Justice Reform

The following are Michigan Bills to reform juvenile justice, but before reviewing the positions of the Michigan State Bar, here are links for background:

Michigan Juvenile Justice Reform To Battle Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare

Debtors' Prison For Kids: The Residuals Of The Peculiar Institution

Yes, That Is Correct, Michigan Prepares Youth For Human Trafficking

The Superpredator Mentality: We Treat Our Children In Poverty Like Animals, Too

Chattel Law Lives: White House Report on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color

Michigan Juvenile Justice Programs Need To Be Investigated, Again

DOJ Finds Kids Have No Civil Rights in Child Welfare

Rapes in prisons, foster care and residential facilities go unreported

Michigan Moves To Close Kiddie Jails 

I believe this is enough background to begin understanding the support of these Bills, but now, Michigan must address its issues with fraud, waste and abuse, along with the policies of poverty as a moral turpitude and its treatment of youth in residential institutions.

Always remember, it takes a judicial determination to turn the funding spigot!

Testimony Only:
HB 4947 Modify age of juvenile court jurisdiction and location of juvenile detention in some instances;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4947: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4947: Support.

HB 4948 Provide for jurisdiction in the family division of circuit court for juveniles under age 18 arrested for nonlisted offenses;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4948: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4948: Support.

HB 4949 Modify age of juvenile court jurisdiction in juvenile diversion act;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4949: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4949: Support.

HB 4950 Modify age of juvenile jurisdiction in youth rehabilitation services act;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4950: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4950: Support.

 Modify age of juvenile in disposition of persons found not guilty by reason of insanity;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4951: 
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4951: Support.

HB 4952 Revise code of criminal procedure to revise age limit for procedures for sentencing juveniles prosecuted for personal protection order violation;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4952: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4952: Support.

 Modify definition of adult in Michigan indigent defense commission act; 
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4953: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4953: Support.

HB 4954 Raise age eligibility for youthful trainee status to 18 years;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4954: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4954: Support.

HB 4955 Revise criteria for juveniles who may be sentenced in the same manner as an adult;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4955: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4955: Support.

HB 4956 Modify factors to consider when determining jurisdiction over juveniles in certain circumstances;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4956: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4956: Support.

HB 4957 Modify detention of juveniles in certain circumstances;
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4957: Support.

HB 4958 Preclude prejudication confinement of juveniles under 18 years of age in jail;
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4958: Support.

HB 4959 Prohibit of youth under 18 placement with adults during confinement, trial, or transport;
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4959: Support.

HB 4960 Eliminate certain offenses that do not require adult sentencing from the list of specified juvenile offenses in code of criminal procedure;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4960: Support.

HB 4961 Modify specified juvenile violation definition in the revised judicature act;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4961: Support.

HB 4962 Modify specified juvenile violation definition in probate code of 1939;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4962: Support.

HB 4963 Require monitoring and oversight of juveniles under the age of 18 placed under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections, and provide for certain reporting;

HB 4964 Increase county child care fund reimbursement rate;

HB 4965 Establish family advisory board;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4965: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4965: Support.

HB 4966 Develop policies to limit time confined in cells for incarcerated individuals under 21 years of age.

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Will The Lumos Foundation Push Into Global Child Welfare Include The U.S.?

The recent illumination of the Clinton Global Initiative and its child welfare programs in Haiti and
The Lumos Foundation
, along with the Foundation's move to restructure, has piqued my interest into a foreshadowing of nonprofit oversight.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is also demonstrating an interest in addressing the issues surrounding child welfare, but if it is willing to deal with the U.S. child welfare system, is another story which has yet to be written.

If the Lumos Foundation can take on such a daunting task as to end the orphanage system in Haiti, where there are plans to close at least 150 of such institutions, then, one can only hope that this type of action can be imported to address similar ills right here in our own backyard in how we deal with children in poverty.

The 'similar ills' of which I refer to in the U.S. child welfare system deal with revenue maximization schemes, lack of oversight, devoid of civil rights, codification of poverty as abuse and neglect, and the omission of reunification, termination and reinstatement of parental rights.

Think about it:  If foster care wouldn't be good enough for your child or a child you love, why would it be good enough for a child in the U.S.?

Stay tuned.

Ten Years Later: Lumos Foundation’s Push into Global Child Welfare

Think about it: If an orphanage wouldn’t be good enough for your child or a child you love, why would it be good enough for a child in Haiti, or anywhere else in the world?

This question is at the center of the work Lumos, the nonprofit started by J.K. Rowling in 2005, has been doing for over a decade. Named for the light-giving spell featured in the Harry Potter books, Lumos works to redirect the care of disadvantaged children away from orphanages and toward more supportive settings with their families or in the community.

Through advocacy, coalition-building and on-the-ground implementation of changes to the care provided for children without families, Lumos is helping to establish new approaches to global child welfare. These new approaches include reunifying institutionalized children with their extended families and providing more support to those families to remain together, and creating healthier community-based placements for children whose parents are truly not able to care for them.

As we reported last September, five months after Lumos officially opened its U.S. office in April 2015, the goal is to end the institutionalization of children by 2050. It’s an ambitious goal, and one the organization has already made steady progress on, moving forward with strategies on several fronts. Recently I caught up with Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos, to find out how progress is going.

In Haiti this work is particularly needed; poverty is high, and Mulheir said others warned them work there would be very difficult.

“People told us not to go to Haiti,” said Mulheir, which gave Lumos all the more reason to invest its time, resources and expertise there. Over 32,000 children reside in orphanages in Haiti; so far, Lumos has begun work with two institutions to move children into families and communities.
“We’ve got lots of really well-intentioned but misguided people who are putting money into orphanages in Haiti and what we want them to do is not to stop supporting Haiti, but to look at whether they can do something different with their financial and human resources,” Mulheir said.

“Could they be helping to do economic strengthening with those families so those families can keep their children?”

Lumos has been meeting with the government of Haiti, which has now established a national action plan to get children out of institutions and to establish community-based services.

Mulheir emphasized the importance of alliances in ending the practice of putting kids into orphanages. She sits on the governing council of the Global Alliance for Children (GAC), an organization that mobilizes targeted investments in childhood as a core component of a nation’s social and economic progress. GAC has been a major player in bringing together the resources and helping to collaborate on this work, she said.

About to visit Haiti, Mulheir expects to meet with a number of individuals and groups, including staff from the Clinton Foundation, to talk about ways in which their strategic agendas may intersect.

The Clinton Foundation began work in the island nations several years ago, and is now making a bigger push with its climate and women’s empowerment agenda there by launching the Women in Island Leadership Network. The network brings together young leaders in the STEM fields in the island nations, and helps them mentor and build skills to rise in leadership roles.

Mulheir has been impressed with the warm reception Lumos has received from U.S. nonprofits and foundations. She pointed to the Annie E. Casey Foundation in particular, which Lumos has met with to discuss strategy and learn from its “groundbreaking strategies for how to help local government officials change their policies.”

Another significant piece of Lumos’ strategy in coming to the United States involves forming alliances with religious organizations that support orphanages, and helping them to fund alternatives. Much of the funding of orphanages in the Caribbean comes from the evangelical Christian church community, and so Lumos is working with faith-based organizations–including the Faith to Action Initiative and the Christian Alliance for Orphans–and is also having discussions with Catholic Relief Services. Mulheir said one of the goals is to “get very senior members of different churches around the world to highlight this issue and make sure their congregations are aware that the best of intentions in orphanages are not going to result in the best of outcomes.”

“A century ago, the U.S. was challenging the orphanage model,” Mulheir said. “Western Europe got rid of this system decades ago,” she added. “But now we’re exporting this outdated model to other countries.”

Another key strategy that Lumos is using to end orphanages involves getting the European Union to change its funding regulations. The European Union had been spending money on renovating institutions that served as orphanages when Lumos began advocacy about six years ago to get them to end that work and invest in better options for kids.

“Now it’s a very high priority for the EU,” Mulheir said. As of January 2015, the EU is prohibited from spending EU money on the renovation of institutions, and instead the EU is investing in community-based care.

Also high on the strategic agenda for Lumos are the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which, despite their promise of leaving no one behind, do not include children in institutional care, or children without families. Mulheir said Lumos is continuing to advocate for data collection on children without families, since without any effort to count these children, there is no way to measure their progress on health and education or other outcomes.

Within the decade since its founding, Lumos has helped guide a historic shift away from orphanages and toward healthier living situations for vulnerable children. As the organization connects more with philanthropy’s power brokers in the U.S., and expands into Latin and Caribbean regions, it continues to do systems-level advocacy and cross-sector collaborative work to change the way children without families are treated, and raise the bar for providing quality care for the most vulnerable children across the globe.

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A new vision for Detroit’s children

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Children growing up in low-income communities face many challenges. But there is one that should be simple to fix: making sure every child with vision problems has the glasses necessary to succeed in the classroom.

Seventeen percent of students screened last school year by the Detroit Health Department were identified as needing glasses, but less than 2 percent of those who failed the screening actually got glasses.

Many of these children struggle at school because they can’t see properly. One in five students have vision problems that can affect their ability to achieve in school, a number that amounts to nearly two million children nationwide. The problem is especially acute for children in low-income communities. One study in Los Angeles found that 95 percent of first-graders in low-income communities who needed glasses did not have them.

The impacts on these children are profound. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. Studies indicate that vision problems not only lead to poor academic performance, but also tend to cause self-esteem issues and even anti-social behavior.

This should not be happening. Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Affordable Care Act all cover vision services for children. Every child is entitled under these programs to receive the glasses they need. The fact that millions of schoolchildren cannot see the board is actually about access to vision care, not coverage.

Thanks to the innovative work of community leaders in Detroit, the Detroit Public Health Department, the Detroit Public Schools and a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Vision To Learn, recently announced the launch of a new program designed to get glasses to children in need.

This new public-private partnership will bring mobile vision clinics to the Detroit schools where children in need of glasses spend their days. Instead of hoping that children find their way to a doctor’s office for a vision screening, the vision center will come to the student. If a screened child needs glasses, he or she will be provided with a stylish pair of their choosing—at no cost to the family. This entire effort costs about $100 per child; it represents a sound and savvy investment in our future.

Our challenge is to make sure that this kind of effort is sustainable over the long term and can be spread to other communities in Michigan and across the nation. While Vision To Learn is launching this program in Detroit through generous philanthropic donations, there are limits to what charities can do. A successful and expanded program requires us to rethink how vision services can be delivered to children. We need to ensure we do so in a manner that is efficient and eligible for reimbursement by federal and state programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should take note of what’s happening in Detroit and determine how the federal government can help expand these critical vision services to other jurisdictions in Michigan and throughout the country. When philanthropic efforts are combined with the innovative thinking of local government leaders like those in Detroit, we achieve great things for our communities and our children.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

I Am On TV Again

Ok, I am winging a format for the show.

No, I do not like doing this but I am grateful for my thespian training.

Feel free to leave comments.

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Yes, That Is Correct, Michigan Prepares Youth For Human Trafficking

Take notice of the ages of the girls who were rescued in this human trafficking bust.

In Michigan the rate is $21.27 a day
These girls are products of Michigan's child welfare industry.

Yes, that is correct.  Child welfare in Michigan is so bad that youth will seek out arrangements of sexual servitude for the purposes of food and shelter.

Yes, that is correct.  Michigan, continuing its failed socioeconomic policy experiment has shifted TANF funds to private universities, furthering a situation where a child has no other option to survive but to resort to a life on the streets.

Yes, that is correct.  Child Protective Services has continuously failed to protect children who are under the care of the state.

Typically, these girls, and boys, come from the foster care system or juvenile justice.

Foster care in Michigan is so bad, this age range is when girls, including boys, will learn that their only option for survival upon aging out of foster care is a life on the streets.

Mental health, including resources, for foster youth and youth in transition is so poor in the state, that this population can only survive by selling their bodies, and they start young, because they know they will never be adopted.

Then there are the sordid stories of families adopting these youth strictly for the adoption subsidies, forcing them to run away to a life on the streets, while the adoption subsidy checks continue to be cashed.

Yes, that is correct, if an adopted child runs away, or moves away into an independent living arrangement, the adoptive families are not obligated to hand over one penny to help.

If this population can successfully apply for SSI, $733 a month, they may be able to secure a boarding room, but then there is the issue of food as Michigan has, once again, cut SNAP benefits to $16 a month, leaving an individual with mental health issues to fend for themselves, a task far too difficult for many.

Poverty forced these girls, and boys, into this dark world of survival.

And yes, that is correct.  Michigan has created this population and has even acknowledged that the state is #1 in human trafficking and that these victims hail from foster care.

This is why there are looming discussions to reinstate parental rights, as many of these youth are fleeing the horrors of foster care.

And yes, that is correct.  These youth are running away from foster care because they can not go back home for fear of being recaptured and punished by the courts, subject to incarceration for being too poor to pay the court costs and fines.

And yes, that is correct, via the child welfare system of Michigan, these youth learn that selling chattel if the oldest form of survival.

Rescued girls in human trafficking bust were 12-17 years old

Nineteen children were rescued from a human trafficking ring selling local kids as sex slaves all over the country.

Twelve suspected pimps were arrested in the undercover sting. Cities the children were included Detroit, Madison Heights, Ferndale, Kalamazoo, Redford Township, Warren, Dearborn and Clinton Township.

Guns, teens clothing and condoms were found across metro Detroit as the FBI, state and local police were involved in the operation, announced on Tuesday.

"They were being assaulted either sexually, physically," said Sgt. Edward Price of Michigan State Police. "A lot of times they deal with mental abuse."

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