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Children's Rights Advocacy

News Items of Interest

This page has been added for the reason that certain events worth  passing along have been developing and due to the higher volume of traffic to this web site it has been proposed that an announcement page be added as another way to pass on these items of interest. Hopefully, what is being offered here will be of national interest as it is difficult for this web site to offer information specific to any state, or locality.

Any suggestions will be considered and it is hoped that an exchange of information will made available that will allow others to pressure legislators to consider the problems with child welfare throughout this nation.

The Honorable George Miller
United States Representative
375 G Street, Suite #1
Vallejo, California 94592
Fax: (707)-645-1870

Representative Miller has issued a press release worth looking at:

Statement by the Honorable George Miller Tuesday, May 6, 2003
Senior Democrat, Committee on Education and the Workforce
News Conference on the Report of the Child Welfare Summit

Related articles can be found here:

Center for the Study of Social Policy
1575 Eye Street N.W. Suite 500
Washington D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 371-1565
Fax: (202) 371-1472

On November 18, 2002 the Honorable George Miller, the Honorable Charles Rangel, and the Honorable Benjamin Cardin hosted a Child Welfare Summit that was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Social Policy and its Center for Community Partnerships in Child Welfare.

I am highly recommending that as many people as possible write to the Honorable George Miller in this context:

A sample letter may state:

The Honorable George Miller
United States Representative
375 G Street, Suite #1
Vallejo, California 94592
Fax: (707)-645-1870

Dear Senator Miller,

Having reviewed the issues presented in the Child Welfare Summit I would like to comment on the issues of judicial immunities as they relate to child welfare issues.

The judiciary has assured itself of almost total immunity for anything a judge does while wearing a black robe and the truth has come to be that any mistake a judge makes is going to be very expensive for those who must petition higher courts in order to have these errors corrected. In fact, the most ingenious system has been created and established by these judges that can best be described that a judge can truly say to the poor, the underprivileged and the child: "If I made an error, or a mistake, it is not my fault and you have to live with it, because you did not properly object when I made these mistakes.

The appeal process favors judicial convenience over the rights of children far too often.

If I could go through life blaming everyone else for the mistakes I made and also require others to have to pay for having my mistakes corrected I could not possibly better describe the current judicial system and appeal process. Not everyone who experiences the judicial processes are treated unfairly, but please remember children are not often capable of speaking out and do not understand much of what is happening to them anyway.

It cannot be stressed enough that when the courts are involved with any child's welfare these are not the rules to follow but as anyone can clearly see this is what the courts have found as proper as rules to apply even when it comes to the rights and welfare of our nation's children.

These judges know that many children who come before the courts are not having their best interests being considered but in fact are having their problems compounded because of the courts discretionary role in child welfare. These judges refusal to admit their own part they play in these many "child welfare" problems is also as outrageous as any other issues of misconduct you may hear about. These judges cannot be that naive not to know what they are doing. Removal of immunities for judges who knowingly participate in these legal abuses is a very important issue that needs addressing.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Sincerely Yours,

Angry Citizen!

Scientifically Valid Research on Child Abuse Interviewing Standards

WASHINGTON - Although young children can be suggestible, which can confound legal cases hinging on their eyewitness testimony, children vary in their degree of suggestibility. In response, psychologists have developed a new tool to assess aspects of suggestibility as well as individual differences among children. The research, published in the December issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, also helps to clear the misconception that all children are suggestible in the same ways, to the same degree, at all ages. The journal is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

In a two-phase study of 50 preschoolers at Cornell University, Matthew H. Scullin, Ph.D.; Tomoe Kanaya, M.A.; and Stephen J. Ceci, Ph.D. validated the constructs measured by the Video Suggestibility Scale for Children (VSSC) that Scullin and Ceci published in 2001. They did so by comparing VSSC results with children's responses to suggestive questioning about staged events. The high correlation between the two approaches confirm the test's potential utility for lawyers, judges, caseworkers and psychologists involved with cases of abuse and neglect, child custody, and Persons in Need of Supervision actions. Investigators need, say the authors, to "identify children who are prone to making erroneous reports following suggestions. The VSSC can provide important information about when special interviewing precautions should be taken."

More information on this issue:

Test identifies children who are unreliable witnesses

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Hundreds of thousands of young children are interviewed as eyewitnesses every year in the United States, but their testimony sometimes can be swayed by their interviewers. Now a new test developed at Cornell University can reliably identify children who have a tendency to change their testimony in response to leading questions or negative feedback.

The test, which consists of watching a video and then responding to suggestive questioning, is scientifically reliable for children who are at least 4-and-a-half years of age, says Stephen J. Ceci, the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell. The test assesses several aspects of suggestibility as well as individual differences among children.

"We hope that this Video Suggestibility Scale for Children (VSSC) will eventually prove useful for lawyers, police officers, judges, caseworkers and psychologists working on cases of abuse, neglect, child custody and persons in need of supervision," says Ceci. He adds that the test also could be used to train investigators. "By identifying children who are highly suggestible, the test can be used to alert interviewers and those involved in a case in which they need to take special interviewing precautions," he says.

Please watch this page for news and other items of interest!

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