Rape, Drugs and Disorder Shake California Group Home and Provoke Reform Efforts – ProPublica

Such is America. Ignorance may be bliss, at least for a while, but the trends in this nation, on so many levels, are not your friend.

Excellent piece from ProPublica.

150115datachild-graphicON THE MORNING of June 6, 2013, Davis Police Department squad cars rolled up to the group home at 2100 Fifth Street. More than a dozen officers in bulletproof vests made their way past the facility’s memorial planter bearing painted handprints of children. They were no strangers to the location.

For more than a year, officers had been grappling with problems at the home, one of California’s largest residential facilities for emotionally damaged kids. They had repeatedly returned runaways. They had coaxed suicidal teens off rooftops. There were reports of fights, drug use, children having sex with adults. In a single week in the spring, Davis police responded to 74 calls. On May 29, though, there had been a report of a different order: An 11-year-old girl at the home claimed that boys from the facility had raped her. Two boys had been arrested. After months of unraveling, the home had come undone.

Level 14: Sule’s Story

Sule Anibaba worked as a counselor at the Davis home for five years, emerging both damaged and ashamed.

prison_top_10_rate_2008xprison_top_10_absolute_2008xOver the next several days, the campus began to empty out as parents turned up, searching for their children and for answers about what had happened to them. Social workers scrambled to find alternate placements, sending some kids to emergency shelters. Others remained in dormitory rooms, where police tracked them down to ask a long-overdue question: Do you feel safe? State officials opened the inevitable investigation, interrogating the staff and combing through records.

In the months leading up to the raid, neither the police nor the Department of Social Services, the state agency responsible for regulating group homes, had prevented the disaster at FamiliesFirst. They didn’t step in that spring when there were reports of children living in a homeless encampment in a nearby park. They didn’t intervene when a 9-year-old girl, new to the home, wound up half naked on the doorstep of a house in Davis and was later detoxed in a hospital emergency room. A Department of Social Services investigator visited the campus repeatedly in the weeks before the police raid, but the agency never curbed the turmoil.

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via Rape, Drugs and Disorder Shake California Group Home and Provoke Reform Efforts – ProPublica.

Under Stalin