(CNN)When parents read to their children the difference shows in children’s behavior and academic performance. And according to a new study, the difference also shows in their brain activity.


Researchers looked at children ages 3 to 5 who underwent brain scans called functional magnetic resonance imaging(fMRI) while listening to a pre-recorded story. The parents answered questions about how much they read to, and communicated with, their children.

The researchers saw that, when the young children were being told a story, a number of regions in the left part of the brain became active. These are the areas involved in understanding the meaning of words and concepts and also in memory. These same brain regions have been found to be active when older children listen to stories or read.

This study shows that the development of this area starts at a very young age, said Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, program director of the Reading and Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Horowitz-Kraus is one of the authors of the study, which was led by Dr. John S. Hutton, pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It was published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Even more interesting, according to Horowitz-Kraus, is how the brain activity in this region was higher among the children whose parents reported creating a more literacy-friendly home. “The more you read to your child the more you help the neurons in this region to grow and connect in a way that will benefit the child in the future in reading,” she said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start reading out loud to their children from the time they are born.

Read the rest of the article here.


Emotional child abuse may be just as bad as physical harm


Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/19/us-health-childabuse-emotional-idUSKCN0SD2C720151019#bI8AqhGQ7SbpE7rp.99

When it comes to psychological and behavioral health, both physical and emotional abuse can be equally damaging to children, a new study suggests.

Even though doctors and parents often believe physical or sexual abuse is more harmful than emotional mistreatment or neglect, the study found children suffered similar problems regardless of the type of maltreatment endured, researchers report in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

“The abused children had all types of problems, from anxiety and depression to rule-breaking and aggression,” lead study author David Vachon, of McGill University in Montreal, said by email.

His team was surprised, he said, that “different types of abuse had similar consequences; physically abused children and emotionally abused children had very similar problems.”

To compare the impact of different forms of child abuse on mental health, Vachon and colleagues studied almost 2,300 kids who attended a summer camp for…

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Does it ever break your heart?

This is a question staff here at Boone County CASA get asked quite often and are sure counselors, caseworkers, and many others hear this all the time. Doesn’t your work ever break your heart? or How do you do that everyday? We’ve also heard many version of Don’t you just want to take them all home?

peaceThe simple answer is yes. Yes, sometimes it breaks our hearts. Sometimes it almost physically hurts to be in a room with a child who can’t count, or read, or has reactive attachment disorder so badly they don’t know how to accept even the smallest kindness due to a short but reliable lifetime of abuse/neglect. Sometimes, when a child is underfed and homeless, bruised and scared, patched up in a cast or living a very hard life with a treatable illness, the job is very, very sad. If it didn’t strike a worker as sad, as wrong, then this probably wouldn’t be the right profession to be in.

However, there is more reason to smile than many people may think. We see victories, big and small, all the time. We get to hear about it and sometimes even see it when a child, born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, learns to walk and talk. Yes, it may be later than their peers. Yes, its still a victory worth celebrating. We get to see when a child who has rarely been hugged is able to climb on the lap of a foster parent for comfort. We get to see when a mother, once drug addicted, is able to look at her children sober and promise them she’s turned the corner. Those are things that make the hard days even a bit less stressful.

Also, importantly, we have to learn to let go. We cannot be accountable for other people’s decisions. We have to be able to go home or to our ‘happy’ place without carrying constant worry and sadness with us. This is a lesson nearly everyone in a field which serves at-risk populations must learn. Sometimes the only accomplishment we’ll be able to claim is I tried my hardest. That, too, is a victory.

From: Love What Matters

“The call came from a DHS supervisor at midnight: “We have a 3-year old girl at the hospital. Her mom was shot and is not expected to live through the night. Her dad has been arrested. Domestic violence. All clothing was taken by police as evidence so if you could bring a blanket that would be great. Can you come pick her up?” ‘Yes.’

“The call came from a CPS worker while I was making dinner: “I just came on the scene to find a 4-year old boy sitting in the back of a police car. His clothing is soaked with urine from his mentally unstable mother; he may have lice, and he is filthy. Can we bring him to your house?” ‘Yes.’

“The call came from another county as we were getting ready for bed. “We have a 2-year old who is sound asleep at the DHS office now. She was brought to the ER with an injury. Her mom was so high on drugs she could hardly function. This little girl is adorable. We just need someone who can take her for the night. Could you?” ‘Yes.’

“The call came from the placement desk while I was in the middle of a run. “We have a tiny 10-day old baby boy. Things aren’t working out with his current foster home, and we need to move him. Do you have an infant car seat?” ‘Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.’…

To read the rest visit Love What Matters, where the article was originally posted.

Intergenerational Childhood Maltreatment in Persons with DSM-IV Pathological Gambling and Their First-Degree Relatives

This post is a great example of how parental behaviors, whether witnessed by the children directly or not, affect the child’s development.

New Problem Gambling Research

This study investigates the characteristics of individuals with DSM-IV pathological gambling (PG) who experienced childhood maltreatment and rates of maltreatment occurring in their first-degree relatives (FDRs). 94 subjects with DSM-IV PG, 91 controls, and 312 FDRs were assessed for childhood maltreatment as part of a family study of PG. Maltreatment was evaluated using the Revised Childhood Experiences Questionnaire. The Family Assessment Device was used to evaluate the functionality of the PG subject’s (or control’s) family of origin. Data were analyzed using logistic regression by the method of generalized estimating equations. Rates of maltreatment were significantly higher in subjects with PG than controls (61 vs. 25 %, P < 0.001). Subjects with PG who experienced maltreatment were more likely to be female, had more severe PG symptoms, had co-occurring mood and anxiety disorders, and reported greater early family life dysfunction than those with PG who did not experience maltreatment…

Source: Shultz…

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Should We Medicate Them?

medsTIME Magazine has an article that is quite interesting, focusing on the questions Americans should ask before putting a child on medication for ADHD. Keep in mind “DSM-IV defined ADHD as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and more severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development”. Symptoms must have been present from before age 7, although many patients are diagnosed years later.

The article begins as follows-

American kids are now much more likely to be diagnosed and treated for ADHD than kids in any other country. For example, a teenager in the United States is now nearly 14 times more likely to be on medication for ADHD than a teenager in the United Kingdom. In my book The Collapse of Parenting, I explore some of the reasons why. One is that in the U.S., medication has become the first resort for almost any child who is struggling in school. Outside of North America, medication is usually a last resort. That’s especially of concern because of research showing that these medications for ADHD may affect the developing brain in significant ways.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before your start filling prescriptions for your child:

And the six questions include-

Am I sure my child really has ADHD, rather than some other problem which is causing him to be inattentive?

Has my child had problems in elementary school, or did teachers only start talking about attention in middle school?

Is my doctor suggesting we try medication even though he or she is not 100% that ADHD is the problem?

Am I comfortable with the risks of giving my kid ADHD medication?

Is it my child who needs to change, or the way he or she is taught?

Are we using the safest form of the medication?

To see the answers you should look for to these questions as well as to read the article in its entirety click here.

Attorney Client Privilege vs. CASA Confidentiality

This article did a great job at explaining attorney client privilege. This can sometimes be a very confusing concept, and this article helps to explain when it does and does not apply.

This, however, if very different from the CASA confidentiality standards. How so? Let’s explain. An advocate is compelled to share what they hear with the right people. Who are those people? Always CASA staff. If a CASA hears something concerning their first step is to call the CASA case manager or executive director. Next, if the information could lead to someone being hurt, something CASA refers to as ‘risk of harm’, or breaks a law/court order to CASA’s knowledge, the information has to be called in to the DCFS hotline. If the information is still concerning but not imminently so, the caseworker should be informed.  The difference?

Example A-

*Susie and her mother have been separated due to the Court’s decision to take Temporary Custody of the toddler female minor, due to the mother using and selling heroin in front of the child. The child, placed with a grandparent, tells the advocate that she has seen her mother overnight on the weekend. The advocate knows that the mother is supposed to have no unsupervised contact with the child and certainly no overnight visits.

What would a CASA do?

The CASA would immediately inform both the caseworker and CASA staff. The CASA would not question the child in detail but, after speaking with CASA staff, may ask the foster parent about visits with the mother- Are they going well? How often are they occurring? Does the child talk about visits? Has the mother asked about extended visits or overnights? Have the foster parents talked to their caseworker about these requests? The CASA would write down the child’s allegations and include them in the next court report for the Judge to read as well. CASA may make recommendations that drop-in unannounced visits to the foster home increase to make sure the child is where she is expected to be.

Example B-

*While visiting Susie in her foster home a CASA advocate sees a hyperactive Susie push her grandparents’ new television over, cracking the screen. Grandma reacts quickly, pulling Susie by her arm to her bedroom. The CASA does not witness Susie’s disciplining but hears a thwacking sound, quickly following by Susie’s sharp cries. When Susie leaves her timeout she has a visible red mark on her cheek.

What would CASA do?

The advocate would immediately call CASA staff, who would direct him/her to call the abuse hotline. The CASA would relay everything that was heard and seen to the hotline operator. The CASA would then write down what happened for inclusion in the next report. If, after the investigation was begun, the child was not removed from this foster placement the CASA office would request that the attorney file a motion for a hearing to discuss the implications of the event. The CASA would not question the foster parent or child about what happened. This would be the DCFS investigator’s job.

*These examples are not based on case information and are fictitious.

While information is shared freely with the CASA office and often with the caseworker and CASA attorney, only these protected parties are able to receive information from the CASA advocate. An advocate is not free to discuss any case details; names, presenting problems, addresses, diagnoses, etc. with friends or family. Even leaving out the name of clients is not enough. All case information is sealed, confidential knowledge that CASAs are sworn to guard in their role as an officer of the court. CASAs serve in a role to take in information and report it to the judge and staff. CASAs do not give out information as a rule.

The Attorney-Client Privilege

Most, but not all, of what you tell your lawyer is privileged.

The attorney-client privilege is a rule that preserves the confidentiality of communications between lawyers and clients. Under that rule, attorneys may not divulge their clients’ secrets, nor may others force them to. The purpose of the privilege is to encourage clients to openly share information with their lawyers and to let lawyers provide effective representation.

The Client’s Privilege

Generally, the attorney-client privilege applies when:

  • a client (actual or prospective) communicates with a lawyer regarding legal advice
  • the lawyer is acting in a professional capacity (rather than, for example, as a friend), and
  • the client intended the communications to be private and acted accordingly.

Lawyers may not reveal communications with clients (oral or written) that clients reasonably expect to remain private. A lawyer who has received a client’s confidences cannot repeat them to anyone outside the legal team without the client’s consent. In that sense, the privilege is the client’s, not the lawyer’s—the client can decide to forfeit (or waive) the privilege, but the lawyer cannot.

The privilege stays in effect even after the attorney-client relationship ends, and even after the client dies. In other words, the lawyer can never divulge the client’s secrets without the client’s permission, unless some kind of exception (see below) applies. (United States v. White, 970 F.2d 328 (7th Cir. 1992); Swidler & Berlin v. United States, 524 U.S. 399 (1998).)

In Contrast: The Duty of Confidentiality

The attorney-client privilege is, strictly speaking, a rule of evidence. It prevents lawyers from testifying about, and from being forced to testify about, their clients’ statements. Independent of that privilege, lawyers also owe their clients a duty of confidentiality. The duty of confidentiality prevents lawyers from even informally discussing information related to their clients’ cases with others. They must keep private almost all information related to representation of the client, even if that information didn’t come from the client.

The Expectation of Confidentiality

Lawyer-client communications are covered by the attorney-client privilege only if the circumstances lend themselves to confidentiality. For example, clients who speak to their lawyers about pending lawsuits in private, with no one else present, can reasonably expect secrecy. If someone were to surreptitiously record the conversation, that recording would probably be inadmissible in court.

But a client who speaks to a lawyer in public wouldn’t be able to prevent someone who overheard the conversation from testifying about it. Similarly, a client can forfeit the attorney-client privilege by repeating a conversation with an attorney to someone else, or by having a third person present during a conversation with the lawyer. No matter who hears or learns about a communication, however, the lawyer remains obligated not to repeat it. (See Does eavesdropping destroy the attorney-client privilege? and If I tell someone something I told my lawyer, is it still confidential?)

Actual Clients Only?

Preliminary communications between a potential client and a lawyer are typically subject to the attorney-client privilege. That means that lawyers can’t disclose what prospective clients reveal in confidence even if the lawyers never ends up representing them. (In re Auclair, 961 F.2d 65 (5th Cir. 1992).) To be sure, though, you should confirm with a prospective lawyer that the privilege applies before you reveal anything you want to keep secret.

Past and Future Misbehavior

Discussions of previous acts are generally subject to the attorney-client privilege. If, for example, if a client tells his lawyer that he robbed a bank, killed someone, or lied about assets during a divorce, the lawyer probably can’t disclose the information.

But if a client initiates a communication with a lawyer for the purpose of committing a crime or an act of fraud in the future, the attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply. Likewise, most states allow—or require—attorneys to disclose information learned from a client that will prevent death or serious injury. Many have a similar rule where revealing otherwise confidential information would prevent or remedy financial injury due to a crime or fraud.

(For more detail, see The Crime-Fraud Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege.)

Example: In a civil suit regarding allegedly stolen funds, the judge orders the defense to turn over to the plaintiff documentation of conversations between the defendant and his attorney. The defense argues that the attorney-client privilege applies, and that the documents are protected. But the documents relate to plans between the defendant and the attorney to misappropriate funds belonging to the plaintiff. Because the communications were for the purpose of committing fraud, they aren’t privileged. (Both v. Frantz, 278 Ga. App. 556 (2006).)

Example: A client calls his divorce lawyer and tells the lawyer that he plans to kill his wife’s boyfriend. After getting off the phone, the lawyer calls the police and reports the client’s statement. But before the police can find him, the client kills the boyfriend. Because the state ethics code permitted the lawyer to disclose the information in question, the lawyer was allowed to report the client’s statements. In addition, the lawyer’s report of the statements is admissible at the defendant’s trial. (Shorter v. State, 33 So. 3d 512 (Miss. Ct. App. 2009).)

Talk to a Lawyer

The attorney-client privilege differs somewhat from state to state, and between state and federal court. When speaking to an attorney about a legal matter, make sure to go over the scope of the attorney-client privilege and the duty of confidentiality. The lawyer should be able to advise you of the applicable law and address any pertinent areas not covered in this article.

Article originally posted here.