When there’s is a suspected case of child abuse or neglect, often someone will call social services. There will be an investigation, and about four hundred thousand children a year will end up in foster care. But foster care is expensive - $200-$400 dollars a day. Increasingly children are diverted from pricey foster care and sent to live with family instead. This has led to debate about what’s best for kids.
Sheila Brockington, a 60-year-old grandmother from the Bronx, has made her foster role official. She’s a registered foster caregiver for her granddaughter and her granddaughter’s new baby, her great-granddaughter. Brockington works as a home health attendant for $10 an hour. So while she says she could take care of the kids on her own, it would be a hardship.
“A small can of baby milk is $17 by itself and this little grandbaby I got likes to eat. Then the baby diapers and her wipes. She's 11 pounds and she's already outgrown all her clothes,” she says. “It would be tight, because everything is going up but my paycheck. We'd have to cut back. We'd make it, but we'd be scratching, we'd be clawing."
Brockington’s 15- year-old granddaughter, Taraia, also gets support through the foster care system. “Taraia would get a tutor, if she needs it for after school...therapist, if she needs that,” says Brockington. And the new baby could be provided with a crib, a car seat and clothing.
But according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in some states, including Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, more kids are getting sent to family. but outside the foster system. The Foundation says that often means there’s no financial support, or caregivers don’t know it’s available. And, while states may save money, oversight for kids can be lacking.
Shanequa Henry, Brockington’s case supervisor at Children’s Village, a non-profit that provides support for families and kids in the Bronx, says it’s an issue that pulls her in two directions. Forty percent of the time, she says, extra oversight isn’t necessary; but sixty percent of her feels that the government should stay involved. Family members, she says, can be too lenient on moms or dads who’ve been accused of abuse or neglect, but still want to see the children they’ve lost.
“Sure you can take them. Sure they can spend a night, even if they're not supposed to spend a night,” she says. “You think that it's ok but what if the abuse is still going on?”
Fred Wulczyn, a senior research fellow with the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children, says the debate over how to care for foster childten is not just about the money; it's also about values. There’s a delicate balance between a family’s right to privacy and the interest of the community that kids are safe. Wulczyn notes that most people raise their children without government intervention.
"Every day, parents without the involvement of the state are making arrangements to care for their children when they themselves cannot.”
“It really is a values thing,” says Tracey Feild, Director of the Child Welfare Strategy Group at the Annie E Casey Foundation. “Workers, when you talk to them, they say, 'why should we be involved in their lives? We’re just intrusive and families should be able to make their own decisions.' It’s not seen as just ‘we’re going to save money by doing this.’ It seen as a really good thing by workers – it’s best if we stay out of their lives.”
Almost all the experts agree that children do best when they’re with their own families. Which means, as Feild explains, diversion to family care isn’t the problem; it’s only problematic “if it’s done wrong,” and there's a lack of oversight for children. But too often, she says, that’s the case.
“The child is left with grandma and no one know what happens next.”
Michael McFaul led the Obama administration's so-called "reset" of diplomatic relations with the country over the past five years. He says he is leaving to reunite with his family in California.
The acknowledgment comes just weeks after it was revealed that Britain may have had a role in the raid on the Golden Temple. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the assistance was purely advisory.
When Steve Ballmer became the CEO of Microsoft in 2000, he became the closest thing tech had to a King and he had a big personality to prove it.
He was knon for his enthusiastic appearances at developers conferences and trade shows -- all 6-foot-5 of him -- running across the stage, jumping and screaming
Back then, the PC ruled in the consumer -- and office markets -- and Microsoft owned that screen with its Windows operating system and "Word."
Kartik Hosanagar is a professor at the Wharton School of Business. He says, it's worth remembering that Microsoft was so powerful that the government launched an anti-trust investigation. At issue: whether Microsoft was creating a monopoly by bundling Internet Explorer into its windows operating system. And icing out competitors like Netscape.
"In fact the whole anti-trust investigation was around whether we should break up Microsoft because it had become so powerful that nobody could take on Microsoft," says Hosanagar.
Microsoft settled the case and of course, that turned out to be untrue. In large part, because Ballmer failed to see the radical changes that were to come.
"Steve Ballmer was not aggressive in trying to move Microsoft to other devices or non-windows operating systems," says Michael Cusamano, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
While Microsoft was focusing on the desktop, Google was taking over the web and Apple remade itself into a mobile powerhouse. In 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone Ballmer couldn't have been cockier.
"Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidized with a plan, I said that is the most expensive phone in the world," said Balmer in an interview in 2007, "And it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine. "
Of course, the iPhone was a pretty good email machine. And more important, with its app store, it turned out to be a whole lot more.
"He's not the technology guru, he really is a manager," says Cusamano.
Cusamano says to be fair, if you look at Microsoft's balance sheet, Ballmer did a good job as a business manager. In the last decade, Microsoft's revenue has tripled and it rung up $18 billion dollars in sales last year.
But there's a growing recognition that being a good businessman doesn't make a good tech CEO. He says, in tech, things move so fast that you really need a visionary who can forsee -- and shape -- the future.
The Microsoft Board of Directors made it official: A Microsoft insider will now run the company. As has been telegraphed in recent days, the new CEO is 46 year old Satya Nadella, who's been running Microsoft's so-called Cloud Services. Colin Gillis, senior technology analyst at BGC Partners, joined us to discuss the move.
Click play on the audio player above to hear the whole interview.
President Hamid Karzai has balked at signing a security agreement with the U.S. According to The New York Times, representatives of the Taliban and Karzai have been in contact about a peace deal. It's thought Karzai may not want to sign the deal with the U.S. while he's talking to the Taliban.
There's word this morning that a long-time Microsoft man will become the company's new chief executive, Satya Nadella. Founder Bill Gates is stepping down as chairman, but he'll still be around, as a resident technology expert. Significantly, the outgoing CEO, Steve Ballmer will stay on the board. In a statement, 46 year old Nadella said "The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform."
Robert Bontempo, a professor at the Columbia Business School, joined us to discuss the move. Click play above to hear more.
Satya Nadella has been with Microsoft since 1992. Most recently, he led the company's "cloud and enterprise" group. Bill Gates, Microsoft's co-founder, will no longer be the company's chairman. He's going to be a "technology adviser" to Nadella.
America's new health insurance system, while improving, is still not up to snuff. And the rate of people signing up for coverage in the new insurance marketplaces is still lower than forecast. But one thing that has gotten lost in the debate around healthcare are signs that the costs of care, healthcare inflation, might just be moderating. Marketplace's economics guy, Chris Farrell, joined us to discuss.
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He's hyper-educated and his background is in the cloud. Learn more about the Indian-American Microsoft veteran who became the third CEO in the company's 38-year history.
After dropping two and a quarter percent yesterday, the S&P 500 will start the day down nearly six percent for the year so far. The Dow is down 7 percent since New Year's eve. We talked to Sam Stovall, Chief Equity Strategist at S&P Capital IQ for a consultation.
Click play on the audio player above to hear the interview.