Friday, August 3rd, 2012
A Nigerian folk remedy in which a lead-based cosmetic is applied to children’s eyelids was identified by doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital as the cause of a case of severe lead poisoning. The discovery has led the hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release a national warning that some other cultural folk practices might lead to similar incidents. The Boston Globe reports:
[The Nigerian boy's] family believed it would make the boy more attractive and improve his vision. The child suffered no apparent harm, but now the case is prompting an alert from federal health officials about the risk of heavy metal poisoning from folk remedies found in many immigrant cultures.
A report Thursday from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention details the puzzle solved by specialists at Children’s Hospital and highlights the number of cultures, including Asian, African, and Middle Eastern, that use similar products that may contain lead.
CDC officials advised obstetricians, pediatricians, midwives, and other health care professionals to discuss this potential health risk with patients during prenatal and early childhood medical visits.
Lead can harm the brain, kidneys, and nervous system, and children are particularly sensitive. Even low levels of lead can make it hard for them to learn, pay attention, and behave, according to health officials.
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Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
More Latino families are adopting children or caring for foster children, showing a steady increase each of the past 8 years, a new report has found. More than 15 percent of of all American public agency adoptions were made by Hispanic families in 2010, the report said. NBC Latino reports on the findings, and on the ongoing need for more Latino families to get involved in adoption or foster care:
Latinos have a long history of stepping in when close relatives are not able to raise their child. The AdoptUsKids report described this arrangement as an “informal open adoption.” When agencies make the effort to understand the culture, they are able to help Latinos appreciate the legal option of becoming foster parents. As a result, agencies have found more Latinos are now seeking to make families in formal ways, through adoption. In addition, newcomers who have established themselves in the Unites States try to abide by the system as they understand the rules of the new culture, says Victoria Cerda, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Resource Association (CARAS).
Advocates for children hope more Latinos consider becoming foster parents or adopting, since recent statistics show an alarming trend. The number of Latino children entering foster care is larger than the number of qualified families who share their language and cultural identity. A factsheet produced by the Casey Latino Leadership Group shows the number of Latino children in the system more than doubled in the past two decades and is likely to continue rising.
The 2010 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System report found that over 84,000 in the foster care system were Latino children – yet only 11,000 were adopted. This has led to ongoing campaigns to recruit more Latino families who are in the position to answer this call from children waiting to be taken in.
Deportation laws also contribute to the growth of Latino children in the foster care system. An investigation of ColorLines – News For Action in November 2011 reported that approximately 5,000 U.S citizen children are in foster care following the detention or deportation of their parents.
“It is estimated that 15,000 other children will be at risk of permanent separation from their families in the next four to five years,” says Cerda.
Child advocates say a familiar language and culture can greatly reduce childhood trauma experienced when children are removed from their birth homes. “Latinos value the importance of ‘taking care of our own’ and strongly believe they are taking care of their community by adopting,” says Quintanilla. “Latinos are a valuable resource.” There are countless benefits when an adopted foster child does not lose his or her cultural identity and is “proud to be Latino,” says Kendra Morris-Jacobson, Director of Oregon Programs for Northwest Resource Associates.
Image: Latina woman and child, via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, June 16th, 2011
An initial review of each state’s birth certificates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals a decline in the number of births nationwide, for the third year in a row following the peak in 2007.
After recording 4.3 million births in that year, the number has dropped steadily, down 3 percent last year for a total of 4 million births.
According to the Associated Press, the weak economy may be a decisive factor:
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Experts believe the downward trend is tied to the economy, which officially was in a recession from December 2007 until June 2009 and is still flagging. The theory is that women who are unemployed or have other money problems feel they can’t afford to start a family or add to it.
In 2008 and 2009, the only increase in births was in women older than 40 — considered more sensitive to the ticking of their biological clocks.
A drop in immigration to the United States, blamed on the weak job market, may be another factor in last year’s decline.