It’s easy for people working with abused and neglected children to become cynical when they discover that five and ten year old state ward children are proscribed Prozac like drugs instead of receiving mental health care that would make them whole. It’s painful to be in the moment with a child that has suffered awful trauma and know that your community doesn’t value children enough to keep them from harm or nurse them to wholeness.
It’s not as much that the community doesn’t care as it is that the community doesn’t know. My past anger at policy makers has turned to honor and respect after recognizing that they only needed to be made aware of the plight of these children to begin defending them. I’ve seen this repeatedly. I encourage everyone to make it a mission to speak the hard truths you carry about abused children.
Today’s note from Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota hits the nail on the head about information, transparency and accountability;
In 2015 the Governor’s Child Protection Task Force raised concerns that Minnesota counties only screened in 29% of maltreatment reports for an in-person visit – either an assessment or investigation – compared with 62% nationally. It urged the Department of Human Services (DHS) to routinely report total maltreatment reports and numbers screened in by county.
Recently DHS finally produced this report. While it appears responsive to the recommendation, it is nearly inaccessible on the website and uses data too dated for evaluating current circumstances.
Most importantly, it doesn’t address the main objective: to disclose the percentage of maltreatment calls counties are responding to.