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Search Current & Past Casey Medal Awards
Photo by Tampa Bay Times Kathleen Flynn
Some parents believe their challenging child will benefit from time in a faith-based facility that promotes discipline, respect and good behavior. Yet, too many of these group homes and boot camps are run by authoritarian individuals who use religion as a justification for physically punishing and humiliating unruly children into submission. A tenacious reporter spent a year investigating this hidden segment of Florida’s foster care industry, which operates largely outside of government regulation. As a result of this exhaustive coverage, the Governor signed a law increasing oversight of unlicensed homes, including mandatory background checks of staff.
Tampa Bay Times Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Times
When their daughter was born prematurely, weighing only one pound, four ounces, journalist Kelley Benham and her husband confronted the scary and controversial questions about the medical, ethical and economic costs of saving her life. Rapid advances in science and technology are redefining viability.
Chicago Tribune Consumer Products Safety Comission
Children in the U.S. are born with the highest recorded concentrations of toxic flame retardant chemicals among infants in the world; African American and Latino kids carry twice the body burden. Packed into crib mattresses and upholstered furniture, these substances have been linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility. This investigation uncovered collusion between the chemical and tobacco industries to distort science and manipulate fire marshals in order to promote flame-retardants.
Minneapolis Star Tribune Photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii
A spike in child deaths in licensed Minnesota day cares went undetected by regulators for years, despite evidence of chronic safety problems. Journalists dug up an array of public records and pieced together the identities of victims and causes of death. Their months-long series led to tougher enforcement and a dramatic drop in the death rate at licensed day cares.
The Times of Northwest Indiana Jon L. Hendricks
Families across the U.S. who have mentally ill or developmentally disabled children struggle to get services. In Indiana, some parents are forced to “abandon” their kids or plead guilty to neglect in order to get needed intervention from the state. This series exposed a deeply dysfunctional system that is failing everyone. The reporting led public officials to invest $25 million to solve the services gap. The judges called the stories an extraordinary package, a crushing portrait that was gripping in every way a story could be.
The Center for Public Integrity Brad Graverson
Police within the Los Angeles Unified School District have been issuing about 10,000 court citations a year to students -- a move that some say criminalizes youth of color. Court appearances for truancy and other minor offenses disrupt a child’s education and pose a financial burden on working parents. As a result of this investigation, the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights division began monitoring the district’s practices. The L.A. School board passed a “School Climate Bill of Rights” that limits school police involvement in matters of discipline; a similar bill is before the California legislature.
The Washington Post Photo by Nikki Kahn
A moving and intimate story of parental love and acceptance recounts one couple’s decision to allow their daughter to enroll in kindergarten as a boy. The article caused a sensation in print and online, generating hundreds of thousands of pageviews, more than two thousand comments and hundreds of emails, including from people who have struggled with gender identity and parents who suspect their own child may be transgender. The judges applauded the author for gaining the trust of the family and crafting an eye-opening, accessible, elegant piece.
The Boston Globe
A single horrifying photo of a distraught toddler spurred a pair of federal agents to uncover a global child pornography ring. The reporter chronicled the investigation, which led to the arrests of 42 men and the chilling discovery of over 140 sexually exploited children. This account revealed the new tools authorities are using to rescue kids, and the devastating toll child porn takes on victims and their families.