A new study published in MSphere, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, found that women who suffered from an active genital herpes infection during pregnancy were twice as likely as those without the STD to give birth to a child who would become autistic.
The findings are preliminary, but the discovery may mean researchers have cracked open the door so that one day physicians will be able to treat, or even stop, some cases of autism before they manifest—while the child is still in the womb. Read more
A Children’s Bill of Rights measure is slowly weaving its way into the California legislature, sparking heated discussions between those who see it as a crucial safety net for neglected, abused, and poverty-stricken youths and those who say it will result in government control of parents and unconstitutional intrusion into family affairs.
What’s more, a handful of congressional members have been pressing similar bills of rights for the nation’s children, and the fate of this California measure could signal what’s looming ahead for the country as a whole. Read more
A bipartisan bill brought forth by Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas and Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York would give judges the legal power to order the publication of names and photographs of those found guilty of buying sex from sex-trafficking victims.
Called the Shame Act of 2017, H.R. 440 simply amends existing child sex-trafficking law to allow the courts to order attorneys general to release to the public names and pictures of those convicted under the code. The basic idea is captured in the name of the act—to add an element of public shaming to the sentence in hopes would-be perpetrators might think twice. Read more
A handful of Republicans have signed on to a bill that would repeal portions of the 1990 Gun-Free Schools Zones Act, saying the federally imposed ban on carrying firearms within a certain distance of school campuses is “ineffective” and nonsensical.
The bill, H.R. 34, called the Safe Students Act, was introduced by Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie earlier this month. It’s a near carbon copy of the bill that Ron Paul, ex-congressman from Texas, tried to pass several years ago.
“Gun-free school zones are ineffective,” Massie said. “They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments. Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.” Read more
It’s taken months, but a bill aimed at helping adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s who face risk of injury due to unaccompanied wandering – which was expanded to include children with autism — finally passed the House and now sits in the Senate for consideration.
H.R. 4919, the “Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization Act of 2016,” also known as “Kevin and Avonte’s Law,” was introduced in the House in April as a grant program “to reduce injury and death of missing Americans with dementia and developmental disabilities,” the text stated. Section Two of the measure provides for education and outreach in conjunction with the activities of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “including cases involving children with development disabilities such as autism,” the text continues. Read more
Education Secretary John B. King Jr., in a recent letter, called on schools across the nation to abolish corporal punishment of students—a decades-old disciplinary practice that has flown largely under the radar despite being lawful in more than a dozen states.
“I write to you,” he said in a written appeal to governors and state education officials, “to call your attention to a practice in some schools—the use of corporal punishment—which is harmful, ineffective and often disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities, and which states have the power to change. If you have not already, I urge you to eliminate this practice from your schools and instead promote supportive, effective disciplinary measures.” Read more
A new study reveals the number of young children who were hospitalized from opioid poisonings more than doubled between 1997 and 2012. The study, published at JAMA Pediatrics, looked at youths between the ages of 1 and 19.
Among the findings: Between 1997 and 2012, a total of 13,052 prescription drug–related hospitalizations were recorded around the nation. The yearly incidence for opioid poisonings for those between the ages of 1 and 19 rose by 165 percent; for those between the ages of 1 and 4, it rose by 205 percent. Those between the ages of 15 and 19 saw an increase of 176 percent in hospitalizations from opioid poisonings during this time frame. Read more
A House resolution aimed at speeding up and streamlining the adoption process through a federally reformed Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is stuck in committee, awaiting leadership’s approval to move to the floor for debate and vote.
States already participate in an ICPC agreement that guides interstate adoptions, but years of tinkering has led to a watering down of the compact. As the American Public Human Service Association notes, the state-to-state adoption and child placement process is rife with delays, in part because of the many differences in jurisdictional standards.
The APHSA, in a policy brief about the ICPC process, wrote: “The 21st century has shown the ICPC to be one of the most antagonizing, antiquated, and burdensome administrative processes required as part of the child-placement continuum. With the complications Read more
Immigration, jobs, terrorism, and government-provided health care may have taken front and center on the campaign trail, but with Election Day approaching, polls tightening, and independents mulling over the choices, it’s the sidebar matters like childcare, education, and family leave that could prove the tipping point for many voters.
“The state of America’s children in 2016, especially for children of color, continues to have odds staked against their academic and later economic success,” said Patti Hassler, vice president of outreach and communications for the Children’s Defense Fund. “We believe that this is the greatest threat to our national security and economic future.”
So how do the two main party candidates stack up? Read more