Todays New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/opinion/17thu3.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=as%20many%20as%20150,000%20children&st=cse

“The difference between that poor child and felon is about eight years”, & “90% of the youth in juvenile justice have passed through child protection systems” MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz

“America has created a Pipeline to Prison for its poor children”, Marion Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund

“If you define institutions by what they create, instead of what they were designed to create,” (Kathleen Long, Author, Angels & Demons) then, “Child protection services creates preteen moms and adolescent felons”, Mike Tikkanen

2 Comments

  1. Can all child felons be victims of their environment or the system? I don’t think it is accurate to say that any child who grows up in a violent home or surroundings is going to become violent themselves. Nor do I think that violence committed by children is exclusive to poor families. I do believe that in extreme cases of abuse whether it be psychological or physical or both, that the abuse can eventually turn an otherwise healthy mind from a victim to a vicitmizer. Thus creating a child criminal. This child could have come from any walk of life. To suggest that children of financial means are not abused is ludicrous. I believe this seeming epidemic not to be so rare a thing or so new a thing. I believe these child killers have always existed they were just hidden until now. They were confined at home, once it was discovered what they were, or they put in homes for the insane. With the loss of social morals and the substructure that those principals provide has come the decline of our species. We have lost sight of the simple things and make things so much worse than they have to be. It is the laziness of our kind. We have come to feel entitled and not to feel the need to gain our honor or build our character by working for what we need, what we want. We have lost the idea of the American Dream, it has become instead the American Way. Unfortunately a way that isn’t working out so well.
    Maggie.

  2. It is with great sadness that I have published Maggie’s comment above.

    It shows how name calling and blaming have impacted the most basic understanding of how children develop and why so many of them go on to lead dysfunctional lives.

    Former Minnesota Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz statement that “90% of youth in the juvenile justice system have passed through child protection” is not an idle observation. After many years of working with abused and neglected children as a volunteer CASA in the court system, I have come to completely understand the Chief Justice’ statement.

    There is no “lazy” as Maggie suggests in her comment. Children that live in violent, abusive, or neglectful homes simply do not develop the skills to function in society. At some level, it is a mental health issue; they do not have the most basic tools to cope with life and get into trouble because of it.

    It is harder for me to think harsh thoughts about the fifty children I have worked with as a guardian ad-Litem, when they break the law, get pregnant early, or fail to meet the expectations of the community they live in.

    Only hard people could deny sympathy for a sexually abused five year old, or a horribly abused seven year old when their untreated behavior problems turn into civil court problems as teenagers.

    No religion allows for the abandonment of children. If a society does not save its own youth from grievous harm, it is doomed to live with the results as we do today with full prisons and troubled schools. Pliny said that 2400 years ago, “what we do to our children, they will do to our society”.

    The data clearly show that the great majority of child felons come from poor dysfunctional families.

    Further study also shows that early childhood programs go a long way in helping children grow into fully functional lives that propel them into good citizenship and their own healthy families.

    From any perspective (economic, religious, or scientific) support for children, not blaming, is the right and prudent value to hold).

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