Friday, November 14, 2008

summaries of articles related to child well-being in North Carolina

Fayetteville Observer
Company nips part of child support
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s attorney general and the State Bar are investigating a Nevada company that offers to help collect child support in return for a one-third cut of the monthly payments.
Some parents told The News & Observer of Raleigh they thought the company, Child Support Services of Wake County, was a government agency. One customer said she signed a contract with the company that would have cost her more than $10,000 in lost child support payments. The local government agency that handles child support would have charged her no more than $25.
“I feel so stupid, but I was totally lied to. I was scammed,” said Paulette Turlington of Raleigh.
Authorities in three states have received complaints. The company and its owner, Stuart C. Cole, have been ordered to shut down in Florida. Georgia authorities are investigating the company.
Raleigh News & Observer
Get whooping cough shots, state says after Chatham hit
With at least 16 suspected cases of whooping cough in Chatham County, health leaders are again emphasizing the need for vaccinations against the potentially fatal disease.
For the first time this year, North Carolina required children in sixth grade to get a booster shot for pertussis, which is also called whooping cough for the distinctive high-pitched sound patients make during severe coughing spells.
"In 2007, we did have one death of a child" from pertussis, said Dr. Leah Devlin, state health director. "That is just unacceptable in a vaccine-preventable illness."
NC Scores "F" On Premature Birth Report Card
Greensboro, NC -- A report issued by the March of Dimes foundation shows NC having a failing score with the number of preterm births.
North Carolina falls below the national average of a "D". The report shows that no states received an "A" with the only state to recieve a "B" being Vermont.
The March of Dimes says NC "faces a crisis level of premature births that is driving up health care costs and special education budgets; preventive action is needed immediately".
NC was given the grade based on a preterm birth rate of 13.7%, far from the objective of 7.6%.
"It is unacceptable that our nation is failing so many preterm babies," said Jennifer L. Howse, PhD, president of the March of Dimes. "We are determined to find and implement solutions to prevent preterm birth, based on research, best clinical practices, and improved education for moms."
Raleigh News & Observer
UNC children's specialty clinic opens in Raleigh
RALEIGH - N.C. Children’s Hospital opened a new children's specialty clinic in Raleigh today.
North Carolina Children’s Specialty Clinic, an outpatient facility, is an extension of N.C. Children's Hospital's outpatient pediatric clinic located at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
The clinic is located at 4414 Lake Boone Trail in the medical office building next to the Rex Birthing Center, according to a media release from N.C. Children’s Hospital.
"...this clinic represents something unique in addressing the state-wide shortage of pediatric subspecialists," said Alan Stiles, chief physician at N.C. Children’s Hospital and pediatrics chairman at the UNC School of Medicine, in the release. "Not only will it allow us to bring very specialized pediatric care closer to home for thousands of Triangle-area families, the clinic will also help expedite the care of children..."
Obese kids have old arteries

Kids these days are 13 going on 45, at least when it comes to their arteries.
According to research presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association's annual scientific sessions in New Orleans, obese adolescents had arteries more representative of someone three decades older.
"These data further illustrate the potential detrimental effects of obesity and its related risk factors, particularly components of the metabolic syndrome, on cardiovascular disease in children," said Dr. Carl Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention director of the Stress Testing Laboratory at Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans.
The Associated Press
18 killed in toy-related incidents
WASHINGTON (AP) — At least 18 children under 15 years old died in toy-related accidents in 2007.
The majority of these deaths were caused by blocked airways, drowning or accidents involving motor vehicles, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission data.
Many of the incidents were not caused by the toys, but occurred while the children were playing.
Fourteen of the 18 children were boys.
Washington Post
Toy Recalls Drop 46 Percent
Toy recalls are down 46 percent from last year, when manufacturers and retailers were forced to clear shelves of toys containing lead paint, dangerous magnets and in one case, a chemical that left children temporarily comatose.
But federal safety regulators said yesterday that parents should still be on the lookout for toys with small parts that could pose a choking hazard for children, including uninflated or broken balloons. They should also supervise children around scooters, ride-on toys, and battery chargers and adapters that come with electronic toys.
While naming those items as the top toy hazards, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the number of toy recalls had dropped to 74 in 2008 from 138 in 2007.
Rocky Mount Telegram
Hunt says he's not interested in Obama Cabinet
RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Gov. Jim Hunt said Wednesday he's not interested in becoming Barack Obama's education secretary but wants to keep advising his administration on education issues.
Hunt, who served a record four terms as governor through 2001, had been on several lists of potential Cabinet members following Obama's presidential victory last week.
Returning from a three-day trip to Seattle for a Gates Foundation event attended by Obama education advisers, Hunt told The News & Observer of Raleigh he still expects to work closely with the U.S. Education Department, but he'll do it from North Carolina.
"I just spent several days with the top Obama people," Hunt said. "Many encouraged me to do it. I told them I would not go to Washington."
N.C. Policy Watch Radio
Action for Children on Funding Health Care in a Budget Shortfall
Interview with Tom Vitaglione, Action for Children North Carolina Senior Fellow.
Charlotte Business Journal
Economic times demand more financial education
With the recent volatility on Wall Street, those of us trying to survive on Main Street must become more financially literate. If the hallowed halls of banking and lending institutions can crumble, so can our respective personal financial frameworks.
For the last two years, consumer spending has outpaced after-tax earnings, and we carry approximately $2.5 trillion in debt, excluding home mortgages. We can, and must, teach the next generation to do better.
When did you first learn the financial facts of life? Are you a responsible steward of the economy, and will you teach your children to do the same?
Unfortunately, research indicates that only 43 percent of parents have discussed the importance of prioritizing needs and wants with their kids, and a surprising 42 percent of parents haven’t taken any steps to discuss financial basics with their children (according to Capital One’s 2006 Back to School Survey).
Many parents assume — incorrectly — that their children learn money-management skills as part of their school’s curriculum, when in fact, fewer than half of U.S. states require even a basic economics course, much less personal financial literacy education.
The Charlotte Observer
Child Labor Going Largely Unchecked
Nery CastaƱeda tackled a job that was never intended for kids his age.
One afternoon last fall, the 17-year-old Guatemala native ran a machine to grind damaged pallets into mulch. When a co-worker at the Greensboro plant returned from another task, he didn't see Nery – until he looked inside the shredder.
“A person shouldn't die like this,” said older brother Luis. “…He came with a dream and found death.”
Decades after the enactment of regulations designed to prevent such tragedies, thousands of youths still get hurt on American jobs deemed unsafe for young workers. On a typical day, more than 400 juvenile workers are injured on the job. Once every 10 days, on average, a worker under the age of 18 is killed, federal statistics show.
Enforcement has waned, despite new evidence that many employers are ignoring child labor laws. U.S. Department of Labor investigations have dropped by nearly half since fiscal year 2000.
Charlotte Observer
Federal, state lawmakers vow to get tougher on child labor
Federal and state lawmakers said this week they will push to strengthen the government's power to keep youths out of dangerous jobs and punish employers who violate child labor laws.
In Washington, some members of Congress want to beef up child labor inspections. In Raleigh, some legislators – along with the current and incoming governors – said they will move to stiffen fines for violating child labor laws. The maximum penalty of $250 per violation in North Carolina hasn't changed in nearly three decades.
“The employment of underage workers in high-risk, physically dangerous jobs as uncovered by The Charlotte Observer is alarming,” N.C. Gov.-elect Bev Perdue said. “The need is clear – there must be tougher enforcement of our state's child labor laws and stiffer penalties for any business or industry caught breaking them.”

Thank you,
Action for Children North Carolina

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