Because we don’t like to talk about it, there is little understanding of the core problems that are driving the terrible statistics of public safety, crime, school performance, and public health (diabetes, obesity, psychotropic medication).
At risk children & their stories are being overwritten by the loud public noise of war, economic distress, and the extremely high volume of mean spirited political rhetoric of today’s media. Kids are really suffering today.
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For years, the data reflecting children’s abuse, poverty, sexually transmitted diseases, public safety, health and mental health, child protection, and juvenile justice indicate a significant trend in the wrong direction.
The correlation between juvenile justice and criminal justice has long been established (almost all felons came through the juvenile justice system).
The correlation between child protection services and juvenile justice is less well known, but equally significant.
In the words of MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz, “The difference between that poor child and a felon is about eight years” and, “90% of the youth in Juvenile Justice have come through Child Protection Services”.
This conversation about investing in children has been started by doctors (www.AVAHealth.org), the Federal Reserve bank ( Art Rolnick/Rob Grunewold study of 2003), Children’s Defense Fund, and others.
But until the information made available by these people and institutions is studied and understood by a greater segment of our society, the actions needed to bring change get no traction and we will continue the downward trends in health, safety, and quality of life turning us into a third world nation in so many ways.
As measured internationally, we no longer lead in most of the quality of life indices we were once so well known for. We now lead in crime and war making.
Recently, 1/3 of graduating high school seniors could not find the Pacific Ocean on a map,
We lead the world in obesity and sexually transmitted diseases among our youth,
We have 5% of the world population and 25% of its prison population (a direct result of criminalizing drugs and ignoring mental health issues).
The fastest way to change the direction of the trend that is ruining young lives and destroying our community is to begin speaking loudly and consistently about the issues impacting children. It is up to us.
Watch this short video and call me to start this conversation with your group or campus.