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Boys Will Be (Real) Boys

This article is part 8 of 8 in the column Children of the State

A few weeks ago, a friend stumbled across a picture of her 10-year-old son and his younger cousin that threw her for a loop.

While visiting a pirate museum with family, the two boys became intrigued with a statue of a scantily clad woman dressed like a female version of a pirate. His grandmother snapped a picture of the smiling boys, one on either side of the statue—each boy with his hand carefully placed on the woman’s nearly bare chest. My friend was horrified. “He’s only 10!” she cried. “Don’t they realize that’s wrong?” She glanced at me for my opinion. “Um… teachable moment?” I suggested. Read more

GOP Health Care Plans Hit Kids Hard

This article is part 15 of 15 in the column Kid's Capital Watch

As Senate Republicans struggle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, one thing they can agree on is cutting federal spending on Medicaid.

The program was expanded under the ACA as a way of extending coverage to more people, mostly school-age children and adults who previously weren’t eligible. There are 37 million kids, the biggest group of Medicaid enrollees, who would be hit hard by cuts to coverage and benefits.  Read more

The Exterminator

This article is part 2 of 2 in the column A Pediatrician's Perspective

I am no longer surprised. The presentations are varied. ‘‘I think I have wax in my ear.’’ ‘‘He keeps tugging at his ear.’’ ‘‘I hear a buzzing in my ear.’’ Sometimes it’s the shocked look one of my new pediatric residents gives to me, stating, ‘‘I think I see a bug in his ear.’’ By the end of the third year of their residency, regrettably, this surprised reaction fades as cases of ‘‘cockroach ear’’ become commonplace. Read more

The Silence of the Children (Locked Away in the Secret Archives of the Archdiocese of New York City)

This article is part 13 of 13 in the column Marci A. Hamilton

New York lawmakers last week closed their 2017 session in “legislative hell,” as one Senator called it, without resolving a number of important issues, including the Child Victims Act, which would reform New York’s antiquated child sex abuse statutes of limitations (SOLs). It would extend the civil and criminal SOLs, revive expired civil SOLs for one year, and eliminate the “notice of claim” requirement that has hobbled public school victims’ access to justice. Read more

The Trafficker in Sheep’s Clothing

This article is part 5 of 8 in the column Children of the State

Danielle was 14 when she met the man who would soon become her worst nightmare.

“I was adopted by a good Christian family,” she tells me during a recent interview. “I had a great relationship with my father. But when I hit puberty, I was molested and my mom didn’t help. So I ran away.”

Not long after, while waiting for the bus, a man approached her. “He offered me a place to stay, food, all the things I needed. He pumped me full of drugs, then threw me in a room with a bunch of guys and I was for sale.” The man she thought was her knight in shining armor was a human sex trafficker in disguise. Read more

Absolute Power Corrupts in “The Keepers”

This article is part 12 of 13 in the column Marci A. Hamilton

In this era of a White House that seems impervious to the concept of accountability, you might well think this column will be about President Donald Trump. That is a tempting topic to be sure given the constitutional Framers’ baseline belief in the fallibility of humans and the tendency to abuse power in light of Trump’s uncontrollable urge to turn every moment into a moment of self-adulation. But this column is about a more absolute power exercised in a corrupt way.

Have you seen The Keepers on Netflix yet? If not, sit down and binge-watch all seven episodes, Read more

Parents Locked Up, Kids Left Out: Who Really Suffers?

This article is part 6 of 8 in the column Children of the State

The American criminal justice system has created a culture of mass incarceration.

As of 2015, the U.S. incarceration rate (698 per 100,000 people) was the second highest in the world, topped only by that of Seychelles (799 per 100,000), an East African island nation (click here).

For black and Latino males, the likelihood of incarceration is significantly higher. Due to their circumstances before imprisonment and its aftereffects, these individuals are also less likely to own property or a car or have access to the means of economic stability. This tends to trap them in poverty, which Read more

Doctor’s Diagnosis: GOP Health Plan Hurts Poor Kids, Families

This article is part 1 of 2 in the column A Pediatrician's Perspective

It’s a rainy weekday morning in North Philadelphia, and once again, as I have been doing for the last 15 years, I sign on to our electronic health-records database and prepare for the 26 young patients, ages 1 month to 20 years, on my schedule. It’s a few days after the White House’s 2018  budget proposal, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” was released last month.

Most of my patients are on Medicaid, although I also check to see whether any have insurance benefits such as discounted gym memberships, a big help for low-income families struggling with obesity.

Reviewing clinical notes, I’m reminded that several of the families have what’s known as food insecurity, Read more

Telling The Ugly Truth About Sex Abuse

This article is part 4 of 8 in the column Children of the State

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” didn’t work for the military, and it doesn’t work for the deeply troubling issue of sexual assault either.

Our culture’s longstanding fear of asking and telling about sexual assault has contributed to an epidemic rate of child sexual abuse (1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005). As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I can attest to the deep shame surrounding this issue that keeps both survivors and everyone else silent.

We should consider an alternative approach Read more

Raise a Well-Behaved Child, Part 3: How to Halt the Endless Tantrum

Hault Tantrum
This article is part 4 of 5 in the column Two Peds in a Pod®

Time-out is over and your 18-month-old is still flailing on the floor, pig-tails flying and tears streaming down her face. “Time out is over,” you say, trying to console her, but she continues to cry. She cries so long she forgets why she started.

Here are ways to help your heated up, frustrated toddler “cool off”:

Offer a favorite stuffed animal or “blankie.” Gripping his familiar Read more

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