D. Heimpel

Daniel Heimpel's life as a journalist

Archive for October 2009

Save $80 Million for CA Foster Youth

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In this impassioned Op-Ed that ran last month in the San Francisco Chronicle, Amy Lemley of the John Burton Foundation clearly illustrates what an $80 milion cut to California’s Foster Care Budget would mean:



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October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Fostering Media Connections in California’s most and least populous Counties

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Privitization of foster care LA Daily news october 2009

On Sunday the Los Angeles Daily News ran an Op-Ed I wrote on the proliferation on Foster Family Agencies (FFAs), which I had come across while researching for a longer piece that appeared in the Siskiyou Daily News. While the piece may seem to come down hard on FFAs that is not the intent; moreover I believe it is important to describe the systems that are in place to see what can be done to make them better. In California it can be argued that FFAs – on average – do a better job than public foster care, but are they doing the best job they can?

Please read the following: http://www.dailynews.com/opinions/ci_13536157

On Tuesday, the Siskiyou Daily News ran an Op-Ed I wrote about the importance of implementing Fostering Connections for the sake of the tiny county’s foster children. Despite having written a controversial article on FFAs the week before, Siskiyou County Human and Health Services director Michael Noda was very happy to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of public foster care in his county.

I was particularly impressed with his detailed plans to use money freed up by Fostering Connections to improve outcomes for Siskiyou Foster youth. Noda also went on to lament rigorous California confidentiality laws that inhibit a more rigorous debate about the benefits and deficits of foster care up and down the state.

Please read the following: http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/opinions/columnists/x576551731/Helping-them-is-helping-ourselves

Again, I urge you to support editors like Mariel Garza of the LA Daily News and Mike Slizewski of the Siskiyou Daily News in their decision to use scant print space for foster care. You can do this by passing on the pieces, writing comments or by sending letters directly to the editors.

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October 13, 2009 at 11:28 pm

The Privatization of Foster Care in the Los Angeles Daily News

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The Los Angeles Daily News ran my Op-Ed on the privatization of foster care. Please read, comment and pass around. Thanks to Mariel Garza of the Daily News for offering space in the editorial pages for this topic. 


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October 12, 2009 at 6:04 pm

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The Privatization of Our Children

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The question of how we should take care of foster children is a tough one. In this blog, which appears on the Huffingtonpost today, I ask whether or not profit can come into the equation when caring for children. I simply ask a question. I leave it up to the reader to decide how that question makes them feel.


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October 8, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Site Update

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http://www.dheimpel.com has just been updated. Check it out.

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October 7, 2009 at 11:44 pm

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A Tale of Two Approaches

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A Tale of Two Approaches
Fostering new Media Connections from San Jose to Siskiyou County

This week, I tried to two approaches to placing stories about foster care in the press. The first was conventional. I contacted editorial page editors until Barbara Marshman of the San Jose Mercury News — with whom I’ve never worked — took an Op-Ed I had written on the Fostering Connections and Increased Adoptions act of 2008 ( the largest reform to foster care in more than a decade) oversight hearing that took place last month in D.C.

Here is that Op-Ed entitled: “Extending Foster Care Would Pay Big Dividends”


The second approach was more avant-garde. I was in Siskiyou County, CA — the second least populous county in the state – where I go every year to visit with my father. I wanted to see what the local HHS head thought of implementing Fostering Connections and how well plugged in rural counties are to what was happening on the federal level. In conversations with Siskiyou County HHS Director Michael Noda, it became clear that he had very detailed plans of how he would used freed up funds to help the 123 foster children in the county.

In the course of my study of the area I came across news clips about the August death of a toddler. I quickly found out that the two-year-old had been entrusted to the care of a private, non-profit foster care agency. I knew I had a story so I went to downtown Yreka, the county seat, and walked into the offices of the Siskiyou Daily News. I told the editor-and-chief, Mike Slizewski, that I wanted to write a story about the proliferation of Foster Family Agencies in rural CA counties.

Here that is that story entitled:”The Bottom line and a Baby’s Death”


When I agreed to write the story I made sure that Slizewski would allow me to also write a later Op-Ed about how Fostering Connections would help Siskiyou County. He agreed. So stay tuned for that. It is great to be out there Fostering new Media Connections.

All the best,

Daniel Heimpel


Please feel free to comment on the links provided. Editors tend to closely read and track the number of comments a story generates. By commenting, those editors feel validated in their tough decision to make foster care a news item over a war in the Middle East, health care reform or a buckling economy.

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October 2, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized