ProPublica

Level 14: A Home for California’s Most Troubled Children Comes Undone

In this investigative series into one of California’s largest group homes for children with mental disabilities and emotional disorders, ProPublica journalists expose failures at nearly every level to protect its troubled residents. The insitution at the center of the story, FamiliesFirst in Davis, was raided by police in June 2013 after a year of responding to hundreds of calls about drug use, rape, violence and negligence. According to reporter Joaquin Sapien’s explanation of how the story was covered, the investigators obtained data through public records requests and drew from interviews with more than three dozen subjects, including social workers and children who worked and lived in the home.

Read more, and watch the accompanying documentary “Sule’s Story,” at ProPublica.

The Washington Post

Autistic boy allegedly abused by two girls in St. Mary’s considered them friends, mom says

A Southern Maryland teen diagnosed with autism in elementary school still thinks two girls charged with continuously assaulting him are his friends, according to the boy’s mother. St. Mary’s County police say the 15 and 17-year-old girls allegedly assaulted the boy from December to February of this year, sometimes taping the assaults on their cell phones. The 16-year-old boy, however, does not appear traumatized by the situation. Read more.

The Wall Street Journal

Investigators Make More Disability Fraud Arrests

The second arrest in as many months in an ongoing investigation into alleged Social Security Disability Insurance fraud netted 28 more people yesterday. The Manhattan District Attorney charged the accused– mainly retired New York City police officers and firefighters– with grand larceny and attempted grand larceny.

In early January, more than 100 people were arrested on similar charges, again mostly New York City law enforcement. Authorities said the scheme could date back 26 years and involve up to 1,000 fraudulent schemes. Read more.

Associated Press

Expert to Newtown Panel: Violence, Autism Not Tied

An expert in psychology on Friday told a commission investigating the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that there is no data linking autism to violent tendencies. Matthew Lerner, a professor at Stony Brook University, was among a group of experts who testified on autism spectrum disorder and programs available to help people with autism.

The commission is considering whether the state of Connecticut’s mental health programs are adequate in treating people with mental disabilities, specifically in regard to Adam Lanza, the gunman who killed 28 people in  a December 2012 school shooting rampage, including himself. Lanza, 20, was diagnosed with profound autism spectrum disorder in 2006. Read more.