Extra Extra : Social issues

Elderly, mentally ill and children trapped in broken court system

Thousands of Ohio’s most vulnerable residents are trapped in a system that was created to protect them but instead allows unscrupulous guardians to rob them of their freedom, dignity and money. Even judges who oversee the system acknowledge that it is broken, that it has ripped apart families, rendered the mentally ill voiceless, and left some elderly Ohioans dying penniless in nursing homes, a yearlong Columbus Dispatch investigation found.

Children under guardianship are all but forgotten. Adults without an estate are virtually ignored. And those who aren’t really mentally incompetent find it nearly impossible to end a guardianship ...

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The cost of not caring: Inside a mental health system drowning from neglect

States have been reducing hospital beds for decades, because of insurance pressures as well as a desire to provide more care outside institutions, USA TODAY reports.

Tight budgets during the recession forced some of the most devastating cuts in recent memory, says Robert Glover, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. States cut $5 billion in mental health services from 2009 to 2012. In the same period, the country eliminated at least 4,500 public psychiatric hospital beds — nearly 10% of the total supply, he says.

The result is that, all too often, people with ...

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Portable classrooms loosely monitored, regulated

Earthfix and InvestigateWest worked together and looked at portable, or mobile classrooms in Oregon and Washington.

"Several efforts are underway to create more efficient portables that offer healthier learning environments, including two prominent efforts in the Northwest," according to the report.

The team of journalists also made a database of various schools in the area where viewers can look up information.

To read part one of the three-part series, click here.

TurboTax Maker Linked to Campaign Against Free Tax Filing

ProPublica recently reported that lobbyists for Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, reached out to community leaders and officials persuading them that pre-filled tax returns would essentially hurt low-income Americans. 

What community leaders and officials failed to realize was that the pre-filled tax returns, already endorsed by President Obama and President Reagan, would use information that the government already receives from national banks and employers. The pre-filled tax returns would be voluntary services that taxpayers could use and adjust, making it easier and cheaper for many Americans to file their taxes. 

Suicide rates increasing in region of New York

After NYT series, officials to transfer hundreds of children out of ‘deplorable’ shelters

City officials are moving more than 400 children and their families out of two city-owned shelters in the wake of a New York Times series about homeless children.

“For nearly three decades, thousands of children passed through Auburn and Catherine Street, living with cockroaches, spoiled food, violence and insufficient heat, even as inspectors warned that the shelters were unfit for children,” the Times wrote today.

“State and city inspectors have cited Auburn for over 400 violations — many of them repeated — for a range of hazards, including vermin, mold, lead exposure, an inoperable fire safety system, insufficient child care and the ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Abuse at private youth prisons, fertilizer plant blast could happen again, little accountability in Southwest Border killings

Gun license numbers don't tell whole story | Daily Herald
State data paints an imperfect picture of gun ownership across the suburbs.

Prisoners of Profit | The Huffington Post
Florida's Lax Oversight Enables Systemic Abuse At Private Youth Prisons.

Broken Bonds | Chicago Tribune
Despite borrowing $10 billion to fund school construction, Chicago still has an overcrowding problem. Millions also went to schools that now stand empty.

Waiting for the 8th |The Washington Post
The months seem a bit longer for a D.C. woman and her family after recent cuts to the food stamps they rely on.

It could happen ...

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Mass killing data records not being kept up to date

"USA TODAY examined FBI data -- which defines a mass killing as four or more victims -- as well as local police records and media reports to understand mass killings in America. They happen far more often than the government reports, and the circumstances of those killings -- the people who commit them, the weapons they use and the forces that motivate them -- are far more predictable than many might think."

Where is Childhood Homelessness Getting Worse?

The number of homeless students in the United States reached a record high last year, according to new data from the Education Department showing that 1.2 million children had no place to call home.

The troubling new report casts light on a problem that four years into the nation’s economic recovery, has only grown worse, a Frontline report explains. The total number of homeless children enrolled in preschools and K-12 programs rose 10 percent during the 2011-12 school year and 24 percent since the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year, according to the report.

In all, 41 states ...

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