adoption

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Kansas-based singer Vanessa Thomas, who tours the country sharing a bill with Grammy Award-winning tumpeter Doc Severinson, doesn't know why she's wearing a cast in her baby pictures.

"It was a foot cast that went all the way up above my knee," she says.

The rest is lost in what she calls a no-man's land of forgotten memories. A story she knows is hers, but almost can't believe is true, except that paper files full of documentation insist that it is.

Two national child advocacy organizations have filed a federal lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Social Services, alleging that children in the state’s foster care system are over-prescribed psychotropic medications with little oversight.

“They’re prescribed off-label, to control behaviors,” said Bill Grimm, an attorney for the National Center for Youth Law, which filed the lawsuit on Monday. “While many other states have instituted some sort of oversight … Missouri has very little to none of those safeguards in place.”

The suit seeks class action status. State officials declined comment, citing pending litigation.

File photo

Members of the Legislative Post Audit Committee again declined Tuesday to request an investigation into whether the Kansas Department for Children and Families has placed children in risky situations because of a preference for heterosexual foster parents.

Rep. Jim Ward, a Democrat from Wichita, first requested the audit in December after reports surfaced of DCF removing a baby from the home of a lesbian couple in Wichita and placing it with a heterosexual Topeka couple who subsequently were charged with child abuse.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

Public schools often go to great lengths to account for their students.

For RosaLinda Aviles, an attendance and dropout specialist for Kansas City Public Schools, it’s her primary duty.

Based at Northeast High School, she helps oversee a nine-school zone. If a student has been absent for several days, teachers will notify her. She and a district social worker then will try to intervene.

"Often the teachers will know a lot more about what's going, so that's helpful," Aviles says. "We then can call, send a letter, or do a home visit."

Now that same-sex marriage is the law of the land, what has and hasn't changed for same-sex parents in our region? Three local parents tell their stories.

Guests:

  • Jacqueline Smith, Central Grazing Company
  • Dustin Cates, Heartland Men's Chorus
  • Lynn Barnett, MidAmerica Family Treatment Center

Benjamin Smith Photography

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Raymond Cattaneo and his husband Dustin Cates were together six years before they decided that they wanted to adopt a baby and build their family.

In the wake of the breach of security at Target that resulted in compromised financial data for thousands of consumers, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt is sponsoring a bipartisan bill that aims to help. He's also asking questions about an official report on the Benghazi attack, and seeking to restore funding for child abuse prevention. 

In the first part of Tuesday's Up to Date, he joins Steve Kraske to talk about these topics and more.

Guest:

Some years ago Mike Fox, traveling in Thailand, learned about the plight of Karen refugees fleeing political repression in Burma.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This week, the Missouri Supreme Court restored parental rights to a Guatemalan immigrant whose son was adopted by an American couple. The court ruled that the adoption failed to follow proper legal procedures, and sent the case back for a new hearing. But the four-year-old boy will remain with his adoptive family until then.

Carthage, MO – This month, the Missouri Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling in an unusual case, which will decide the future of a 4-year old boy. The court's ruling - whatever it is - will break some hearts.

Carlos is the US-born son of a Guatemalan immigrant, who was detained in a raid at poultry processing plant in Southwest Missouri in 2007. While his mother was caught up in the legal system, Carlos was adopted by an American family.