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California Bill Proposes New Parenting Class Standards Following Times Investigation

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A new bill proposed in California aims to set new standards for court-ordered parenting classes in response to a lack of regulations for services often mandated for people suspected of child abuse and neglect. Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles) authored the bill, which would require parenting classes ordered by judges in child welfare cases to be evidence-based, culturally competent, and provided by qualified professionals. This legislation comes in the wake of a Times investigation which found that court-ordered parenting classes are largely unregulated in California, with no required evidence-based services or standards.

In the proposed law, Bryan cited the findings of the Times investigation, which detailed that court-ordered parenting classes in California are often over-prescribed bureaucratic remedies with no clear track record of success. While national research shows that some parenting classes can help prevent child abuse and keep families together, the lack of regulation and scrutiny in California puts vulnerable children at risk. Court-ordered classes have been factors in cases where children were returned to the custody of their guardians and later brutally tortured and murdered.

One such case was that of 4-year-old Noah Cuatro, who died in 2019 after being returned to the care of his parents following allegations of abuse. His parents, Ursula Juarez and Jose Cuatro, were ordered to complete parenting classes as part of the process to regain custody. However, the classes were led by a pastor at a church and at a community resource center, neither of which were ranked highly by a state-funded database meant to ensure child safety. After completing the classes, Noah’s parents were charged with his torture and murder.

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Bryan, who grew up in foster care and has authored past legislation on child welfare reform, emphasized the need for meaningful family reunification services, particularly for children of color and those living in poverty. He stated that the state should not rely on parenting classes without adequate information about their quality and effectiveness.

In addition to new evidence-based standards, Bryan’s legislation would establish a tracking system to measure the outcome of parenting class services and require that counties detail data about success rates and service providers. The bill does not yet have a cost projection, and given the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit, lawmakers will likely approach new spending cautiously.

This proposed legislation addresses a critical issue identified in the Times investigation and seeks to provide better protection for vulnerable children in the state’s child welfare system. By setting evidence-based standards for court-ordered parenting classes and establishing a tracking system for measuring outcomes, the bill aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of these services, ultimately working to prevent further tragedy and ensure the safety and well-being of children in California.

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The Contribution of Volcanoes to Venus’s Atmospheric Composition

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One of the many mysteries surrounding Venus, our closest planetary neighbor, is the origin of its atmosphere. The planet is veiled in thick clouds, making it challenging to study its surface and atmospheric composition. However, scientists have long speculated about the role of volcanoes in shaping Venus and adding to its atmosphere. With approximately 85,000 volcanoes on Venus, the idea of active volcanic activity is a topic of interest and debate among researchers.

A recent paper by European researchers explores the question of whether Venus has active volcanism through two approaches. The first approach considers whether Venus can maintain its current atmospheric composition without additional gases from volcanic emissions. The variability of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere over decades has been cited as potential evidence of ongoing volcanism. However, some scientists suggest that other factors, such as surface-atmosphere interactions or atmospheric dynamics, could also contribute to this variability.

The second approach focuses on identifying transient effects in Venus’ atmosphere that could indicate active volcanism. These effects could range from water vapor to particulate matter like volcanic ash. Data on these phenomena has been limited, primarily collected through remote sensing missions. However, upcoming missions to Venus, such as DAVINCI and EnVision, aim to provide more direct measurements and insights into the planet’s atmosphere.

DAVINCI, equipped with spectrometers and high-tech cameras, will gather data in Venus’ lower atmosphere to detect trace volcanic gases. It will also analyze ionic concentrations to indicate volcanic outgassing. EnVision, another mission, will focus on studying gases higher up in the atmosphere using various spectroscopic techniques to unravel mysteries in Venus’ cloud tops.

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While current missions offer valuable tools for studying Venus’ atmosphere, there are limitations to consider. For instance, an infrasound sensor could directly detect volcanic eruptions, but no missions currently include this technology. Despite these challenges, researchers are optimistic about the new insights these missions could bring to the ongoing debate on Venus’ volcanic activity.

With the earliest mission, DAVINCI, set to launch in approximately five years, scientists have time to refine their hypotheses and theories about Venus. The data collected during these missions could finally provide conclusive evidence regarding the presence of active volcanism on Venus, answering a long-standing question about our neighboring planet.

As researchers eagerly await the results from upcoming missions, the scientific community is hopeful that these endeavors will shed light on the enigmatic nature of Venus and its mysterious atmosphere. By leveraging advanced technologies and innovative approaches, scientists are poised to unravel the secrets of Venus and potentially redefine our understanding of planetary volcanism.

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