MN Child protection services are failing to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us. It is epidemic. Other states have even bigger problems.

This morning’s news http://www.startribune.com/local/59883387.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU (Star Tribune 9.19.09 Mom charged in death of the murdered 15 month-month old baby girl) brings home the need for a robust social service agency and a more compassionate community.

It hurts me to see that my neighbors no longer react to the next murdered baby in their city.

Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro is approaching twenty murdered and brutalized very young children & babies for the year.

A major newspaper really needs to put a reporter on this, as I suspect that next year, due to cuts in funding, social service agencies will report a decline in reports of child abuse (and then we could refer them to the data and ask them to start investigating more of the calls that they should be following up on).

Just a month ago I wrote about my conversation with reporters from the Star Tribune about the 14 calls to child protection before the baby drowned in the bathtub.

These reporters were surprised that a baby could be left in dangerous circumstances after 14 social service calls to the home.

As a guardian ad-Litem, I worked on a case with 45 police and social service calls to a home where the children lived with drugs, gunfire, and prostitution & were only removed on the 45th call because the seven-year-old tried to kill the five-year-old in front of the officers.

There was evidence that the seven-year-old had been prostituted (she had certainly been sexually abused).

The impact on a child of extended exposure to violence, drug use, and sex abuse is lifelong and traumatic. The cost to society is compromised schools, failing communities, and monstrously high crime and criminal justice costs.

“What you do to your children, they will do to your society” Pliny, 2500 years ago.

Abused and neglected children have no voice.

If you and I don’t speak up for them who will?

Postscript 1; We must accept that it is because we have not fully supported child protection services that they do not have the resources to respond to the soaring numbers of serious cases, and babies are being murdered. Blaming social workers for dead babies is like blaming teachers for failing schools, doctors for a troubled health care system, or the police for crime ridden cities. Pogo said it best, “We have met the enemy, and it is us”.

Postscript 2; Blaming and hating terribly damaged parents is a reptilian response to the problem but it solves nothing. Many of these people have severe and chronic mental health issues and have grown up in homes as crazy and dysfunctional as the one they are now giving to their own children. As a guardian ad-litem removing children from birth homes I have empathy for the sadness that these people must live with every day of their lives.

Postscript 3; It is public policy that social workers are trained to not speak of their work publicly. It insures that the public will not know of the conditions that led to the seven-year-old foster child hanging himself, the two-year-old “disappeared” foster child in Nevada, or any of the other tragic conditions that result in the sorrowful tales that finally do make it into the newspaper.

Anonymity is important, but the thought that the problems of abused and neglected children do not deserve to be spoken of, is adding to the impossibility of finding support for them while they are still young enough to receive the guidance and resources that can help them to lead normal lives.

This is one more example of the great need for KARA’s grassroots effort to raise awareness to the needs of America’s at risk children.

Until that happens, children, schools, families and communities, will contintue to suffer.

It is a bigger step to convince people that healthy children become healthy citizens, but it is true.

Support at risk children! Become a CASA volunteer or start a KARA group in your community.

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1 Comment

  1. Mike-It is because of your book, Invisible Children, and your guidance that I have an interview on Thursday to begin the process of becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children. I urge anyone looking in to read Mike’s book. If this book does not touch you in a way that makes you want to get involved; I suggest you check your pulse. I am a 49 year old retired (medical) construction supervisor and I can say, without hesitation, that I have never looked forward to a challenge as much as I do with this. It’s obvious that I do not fit the image many of you may have of someone who chooses to take an interest in these children. This is testimony to the effect “Invisible Children” has had on me and I truly hope it has the same effect on you. There are far, far too may stories, similar to the one Mike described, that happen every day. How long can we sit idly by while our children are subjected to these atrocities before we simply stand and say “ENOUGH!” I implore you to find out what you can do in your community and to navigate this website in order to find out the various ways you can contribute. Thanks for listening.- Dean Connor

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