Panel upholds spanking ban for foster kids
By LISA APPLEGATE The Roanoke Times, April 18, 2001
The committee will present its recommendation to the state Board of Social Services today in Roanoke.
A panel established to study corporal punishment for foster children has rejected a change that would allow parents to use spanking or shaking as discipline.
The ad hoc committee agreed Tuesday that a statewide policy that prohibits corporal punishment for children in foster care should be retained. Ten months ago, the state Board of Social Services approved a policy that would allow spanking or shaking, if not abusive. But in response to public outcry, the board put the change on hold and asked the committee to research the issue.
"I'm just ecstatic, I'm so relieved," said Annette Wisniewski , a foster mother from Richmond who has been closely following the committee's progress.
Today , the committee will present its recommendation to the state Board of Social Services during its regional meeting in Roanoke. Chairman Carol Ann Coryell said the board could vote on whether to reject the policy change or could wait until next month to decide.
Wisniewski and a handful of others spoke to the committee Tuesday at Hotel Roanoke, and all were against the proposed change. A network of social workers, child advocates and private child placement agency staff - formed as soon as the state board approved the change last year - has been pushing the committee to keep the ban.
No one spoke in support of the change at Tuesday's meeting, but the committee did discuss issues raised in previous meetings about the benefits of using corporal punishment for discipline, especially for children under age 5.
Members of the committee said they could find little evidence of benefits, but knew the harm of using corporal punishment on foster children who often have been physically or emotionally abused in the past.