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Today’s heartening Star Tribune article gave me hope that I’ve not had in decades for the saving of abused and neglected children from extended traumas and ruined lives.

“No longer will a child need to endure maltreatment before they get social services in Minnesota’s most populous county, an unprecedented step in the state”.

Thank you Task Force on Child Protection, Safe Passage For Children, Governor Dayton and all the legislators and supporters standing for the weakest and most vulnerable children in our community. 

Additional funding for staff, reduced caseloads, responding to child abuse reports at all hours (including weekends) and focusing on the child’s well-being instead of the crisis mode required after traumatic abuse has been endured (usually for years) will make a huge difference in the lives of these kids.

By making services available to struggling families and insuring that very young children reported as abused receive face-to-face assessments and the help they need, we will be interrupting patterns of behavior that can ruin a child’s life forever and making their lives safer and happier.

 The ACE’s (Adverse Child Experience) medical studies have proven the negative mental health outcomes of childhood trauma.

 

Reports of child abused have increased in Hennepin County since 2008 from 15,400 to 21,000.  I believe that the depth and scope of child abuse in our nation exceeds our current reporting of it.

If national statistics currently used in reporting child abuse were corrected for this increase (which should occur in any state aggressively investigating it’s own child protection systems) it would increase the 3.2 million child abuse reports by one third to 4.25 million reports of abuse in this nation annually.

To further improve the accuracy of child protection reports in our nation each year, we should use 3.6 children per family instead of the 2.1 that is currently used in today’s number.

Working in child protection as a volunteer CASA I have observed first hand that families with fewer children are most often from a higher economic strata and they are not the folks caught up in the system of Child Protection.

At a presentation to the Women Prison Warden’s conference in Bloomington MN a few years ago, the speaker before me posited that the number of children per incarcerated woman in Cook County Illinois had grown from 2 to 4 during her 20 year tenure and she saw it continuing to grow.

2.1 children per family  is our nation’s average number of children per family and it includes families with no children – these families should not be included in calculating the number of children per family in our child protection system as it skews the data and is not accurate in this instance.

3.6 times 4.25 million calls equals a number in excess of 15 million children reported each year that are living with the kind of trauma and abuse that alters the biological and psychological development of a child.

These children need our help to grow into functioning members of our society.

Share this with your friends and networks and let your policy makers know how important healthy children are to you and your community.

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