The Ghost Of Christmas Future

TAt a Governor’s Task Force Oversight Meeting (on Child Protection in MN in 2014) the head of Hennepin County Commissioners Jan Callison showed genuine anger and concern when she found out* that Social workers weren’t available on weekends or evenings for abused and neglected children and that she directed the department to “fix it”.

Christmas for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Christmas can be a painful time for adult survivors of child abuse.  NAASCA is an established organization that speaks candidly about the issues and this article hits the nail on the head at Christmastime.

NAASCA’s weekly radio show is informative and well worth the time.

The Ghost of Christmas Past (the value of healthy children)

If we knew the costs abused children carry with them through a lifetime and the cost of multiple generations of abused children there would be

They proved that by investing in early childhood programs children became much more likely to succeed in school and lead a productive life. This research was the most practical approach to the economics of childhood development this nation has ever seen.

KARA believes that this federal reserve study has not had the impact it should have had because;

We don’t respond to how much money is saved as powerfully as we do to how much things cost,
Almost no one knows the short or long term costs abused children carry with them through a lifetime or,
The cost of multiple generations of abused children

Teachers Are People Too

This KARA post from 2005 suggests a significant improvement in graduation rates in Minneapolis schools. No Child Left Behind really did leave behind a great many children.

From our 2005 piece;

Roosevelt High school graduated 28% of its students last year—Minneapolis and other big city schools averaged graduation rates between 50% and 60% nationwide. 25% of graduating U.S. high school seniors are functionally illiterate.

Teachers and school administrators are accused of bad stewardship. That is like blaming the police for who sits in the back seat of a squad car. It’s not their fault.We are all in this together, or as Pliny the elder said 2500 years ago, “what we do to our children, they will do to our society”

Teachers As First Responders

What’s it like to be a first grade teacher frightened by an out of control little boy who kicks, punches or stabs classmates with pencils? Is the principal trauma informed? Are their teams of trauma informed teachers or sufficient mental health resources that can lessen the chances of expelling a seven or nine year old from the school?

A Modest Proposal (satire & similarities)

300 years ago, an Irish Minister wrote an explosive satire that was misinterpreted by many readers of his day (printed in its entirety below).

In a gruesome and widely read logical argument, Jonathan Swift clearly articulated a plan that would relieve the suffering of Irish families and their youngest children by selling babies to the English to be eaten (in a stew that he included the recipe for).

Back in the day, these writings were the modern equivalent of you tube or a precursor to Twitter and consumed voraciously by all who could read (or read them to others).

Public policy treated poor Irish more like animals than people and Irish children were doomed to lives of crime, prostitution, and abject poverty.

Was Swift’s underlying argument that death might be preferable to children doomed to disease, crime, prostitution, & the cruelties suffered by abandoned children of his time?

Recent Child Abuse and Child Protection Stories; Arizona/Arkansas

Recent Child Abuse and Child Protection Stories; Arizona/Arkansas
Kids At Risk Action tracks the stories of abused and neglected children and the people, policies and programs that impact them. This is a snapshot of how Arizona and Arkansas value their children.
This is only a small fraction of the stories about the lives of the state’s most vulnerable citizens over the past twelve months.
The vast majority of child abuse and child protection issues are never reported or talked about.
Kids At Risk Action needs an aspiring writer/research to help gather and report on these stories in your state. Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with REPORTING in the subject line.

California Child Protection Updates thru May 2017

KARA gathers news about abused abused children in America and around the world to provide a snapshot of Child Protection and how states and nations value their children.

Kids At Risk Action needs an aspiring writer/research to help gather and report on these stories.

If you are an aspiring writer/researcher with an urge to speak for your communities abused and neglected children,

Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with REPORTING in the subject line.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

National Adoption Month (statistics, books, videos & articles of, by & about foster and adoptive children)

One out of 25 U.S. families have an adopted child. Half of the 135,000 adoptions are from the foster care system. There are over 100,000 eligible children waiting to be adopted. The average age of a foster child in the system is 7.7 years old and 29% of those children will be in foster care for at least three years. There are 438,000 children in foster care in America today & in 2016, 687,000 children spent time in foster care. 37% of American children are reported to child protection services by their 18th birthday.

Going Backwards on Child Safety? (thank you Safe Passages for Children of MN)

Minnesota’s abused and neglected children need our voices. Share this with your networks;

Recently some legislators and child protection agencies began theorizing that an underlying cause of caseload increases is screening families into the system not because of maltreatment, but as a way to get them scarce social services.

Statistically, this seems unlikely.

According to the Department of Human Services, last year counties screened in 45% of 84,000 maltreatment reports. Since the screen-in rate for states nationally is 60%, this suggests that nearly 12,000 Minnesota children are still being inappropriately denied child protection help.

Response to Our Friend Hector

I believe that the challenge addressed in this document has to do with ACES and other escalating problems in our society. Please let me know your thoughts.

Hector,

Sadly, the combination of American “bootstrap” culture, harsh individual freedom driven capitalism and defining success as “more money/winning at any cost” are denigrating social sciences/human services and anything else that gets in the way (including “science”).

Our institutions are paying a terrible price demonstrated by the cost of and underperformance in quality of life indices across the board (public health, public education, public safety).

This nation no longer leads the world in the things that make for a safe and livable society. We lead in teen STDs & pregnancies, prison populations, recidivism & incarcerated juveniles, poverty and in most financially rewarding areas of endeavor.

Add to that, the concurrent explosion of trauma related mental health problems (ACES) facing institutions service providers; educators, social and health workers, law enforcement, court and detention personnel are finding their level of training severely inadequate, jobs much more stressful and dangerous with a lack of success across most institutional venues.

The level of violence in hospitals, care & detention centers, foster homes and schools is high and growing and our reliance on Prozac like drugs in managing these problems bodes ill for any long term solutions (without treatment these problems grow exponentially)

Generational child abuse and trauma is the most misunderstood and powerful social disease present in this nation today and there are few signs of its abatement.

September 2018 Child Sex Abuse & Trafficking (I)

KARA (Kids At Risk Action) tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
Human trafficking is rapidly growing crime across Tennessee
In Tennessee alone, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 110 cases were reported in 2017. Those are the ones we know about.

Man accused of trafficking teens for sex in North Texas arrested by feds

A Texas man known as “Iceberg” was arrested for allegedly engaging in child sex trafficking, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in …

Ex-senator may get life in prison for child sex trafficking
ABC News

A former Republican state senator in Oklahoma was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Monday on a child sex trafficking charge. U.S. District …
Former Oklahoma senator convicted of child sex trafficking sentenced to 15 years in prison – kfor.com
Former Oklahoma senator sentenced to prison for child sex trafficking – NewsOK.com

Child Rape & Sex Trafficking – Church vs. Family (stories & statistics)

It is good to know that someone is advocating for raped and trafficked children.

If not for the research, reporting and press about priests molesting children, there would not be much attention or understanding of the trauma suffered by sexually abused children or their numbers.

It’s not clear how many children have been abused by priests in the U.S. these past 20 years, but a reasonable guess might be 50,000 to 100,000.

Using the higher total of 100,000 children abused over 20 years by priests means that about 5000 children a year have been molested annually.

Statistically, this number is a tiny fraction of the sexual violence & trafficking done to American children in their own homes by family members and caregivers each year.

Between 63,000 & 400,000 of the 7.4 million children reported abused in America each year have suffered sexual violence. Of the 50 children I helped remove from toxic homes as a volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem, about half of them had suffered sexual violence. One as young as two, several that were four and the rest under ten when their abuse started.

Valuing Other People’s Children

The U.S. rates badly among industrialized nations in how we treat and value children. America is the only nation in the world to not sign the International Rights of the Child Treaty.
Today’s post by Safe Passage for Children of MN shows how badly our state compares to the rest of the nation in protecting at risk children.
“What we do to our children they will do to society”.
This statement is as true today as it was 2000 years ago when Pliny the Elder made it.
All Adults Are the Protector of All Children

30.2 % of America’s Youth Arrested Before Their 23rd Birthday (25% of us are state wards & special needs people)

Add this to the fact that American youth (as young as 11) are routinely charged as adults (25% nationally) and that cities around the nation arrest extremely high percentages of their minority populations (in 2001 Hennepin County – Minneapolis MN) arrested 44% of it’s adult Black Men – no duplicate arrests/58% of those men were rearrested for a second crime within two years making Minneapolis the Jail & Prison capital of the world.

Many states have funded their prison and jail systems at far greater rates of increase than their schools, daycare, or health systems, either of which could reduce the stresses driving the extreme growth in crime and courts.

1 In 3 Children Investigated For Child Abuse by 18 (Washington University Study)

As a long time volunteer County CASA guardian ad Litem it has been hard to comprehend the explosive growth of child abuse in my lifetime. This study (lead author Hyunil Kim PhD Student at the Brown School at Washington University St Louis) published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health is troubling on several levels.

First, to reach numbers this high by only including reports of child abuse that met County standards for a case to be investigated, indicates that this already high number (37% overall & 53% for Black Children) is possibly even higher

Judge Kavanaugh, The Catholic Church, Statistics & Child Sex Abuse

The miserable politics of rape at the highest level in our government are playing out today. Once more, sexual violence is in the spotlight as America’s second recent Supreme Court nominee (Kavanaugh) is being questioned about horrid behaviors of a sexual nature.

This topic has few friends. It remains under the surface until someone makes a painful accusation and the community accepts or rejects the accuser.

Our attention lately has been on the tens of million and hundreds of million dollar verdicts awarded to victims of church sanctioned child abuse (3 billion to date).

The Economics of Mental Illness (from KARA 2005)

Treating mental health issues in children is far more effective than letting the problems grow into adulthood, where the evidence clearly indicates a continued social failure and institutional dependence (whether prison, hospital, or state sponsored programs) for people denied help in their youth.

Drugging Children (August Sad Stories 2018)

37% of children overall and 54% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18.

(American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

6 to 12 million children a year are reported to child protection services and in many states,

About 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines

Taxes, Children & a Guardian ad Litem’s Perspective

Today’s Miguel Otarola’s Star Tribune attention on the additional 43 million dollars needed to fund these programs should be put into perspective.

One of my CASA guardian ad litem caseload children cost the State and County about 3 million dollars by the time he aged out of foster care – not including the teacher he beat up, student he stabbed and terrible things he did to the 29 foster families he lived with. He contracted AIDS as a teen and will always be a State Ward and high cost to the County. This child will likely end up being a 5 to 10 million dollar tax burden just because

National Suicide Prevention Month and Children

*Kendrea Johnson was 6 when she suicided by hanging, Gabriel Myer was 7 (both were foster children).

*Only 1 out of 150 suicide attempts by very young children are successful (suicide is hard for a 6 year old to understand and execute).

*99% of those children only succeed in hurting themselves and cementing the feelings of failure and self-hate – none of these children make it into the newspaper or onto nightly news.

No one knows about the 149 children who tried to kill themselves or the hundreds/thousands of foster children that deliberately hurt themselves and others

Only Evil Governments Torture Other People’s (Immigrant) Children

Losing 1475 migrant children as a political statement was an awful example of what America is becoming know for internationally.

Letting Migrant Kids Rot in shabby poorly run centers for months or years stinks of racism & an administration without a conscious.

Boarder agents threatening children with adoption and Drugging them just adds a vile and criminal element to the equation. If these children die will there be consequences?

TC NonViolent Event – Invisible Children September 25th

September 25th 4 to 5pm – Chapel

Dayton Av Presbyterian Church

217 Mackubin Street Saint Paul, MN 55102

How childhood trauma evolves into chronic illness, dangerous lifestyle & early death and shadows children into adulthood impacting schools, public safety, public health and quality of life in the community.

What we need to know & need to do to interrupt abuse, heal children and fix our community

Happy GrandParent’s Day (volunteering, kinship & raising a grandchild)

Leaving the courtroom after the adoption of her four grandchildren, Charlotte, stated that when the youngest of these children turned 18, that she would be 88.

I’d noticed a limp in her walking and that she was on medications in the months before the adoption but never thought through the commitment, physical exhaustion and financial stress grandparents take on when adopting their child’s child.

It’s a much greater effort for a 65 year old person to manage the wild and unpredictable behaviors of a 3 year old than it is for a 25 year old birth parent We seniors wear out faster, break easier and heal slower.

Happy Grandparents Day and may those of you …

Child Sex Abuse & The Most Powerful Suicide Note Ever (Bill Zeller from 2011)

This is the longest and most powerful and articulate suicide note I’ve ever read and it has great meaning to me for its power to relate these two incomprehensible sorrows (abuse & suicide).

I could not read Bill Zeller’s last letter without feeling the terror, physical and mental impediments, and daily reminders of his childhood nightmares and adult confusion and suicide.

Foster Care, Adoption & the Catholic Church

It hurts me to see the Catholic Church fighting tooth and nail to forbid gay couples from adopting State Ward children (Washington Post 8.31.18). Life is hard enough for abused children in state systems short of foster care and adoptive homes without enforcing mean spirited church dogma on couples well suited for the task of raising traumatized children with many deep and painful troubles. In fact, maybe better suited than most. Think about it. Growing up gay is a trauma for most to start with. Especially for those old enough to be married and able to adopt who came into this community when it was absolutely uncomfortable to come out and declare a gay lifestyle.

How Church & State Bigotry Hurts Abused Children

Not just anyone can manage adoption or fostering of children that have been tortured by their caregivers*.

Years of child protection work have proven to me that gay couples are not only wonderful parent choices for abandoned children, but that they may be the very best choice.

As outcasts themselves, the GLBT community knows what frightened and alone means to a child and can relate to fear and anxiety of being different in a harsh environment.

Abused children carry their traumas with them and have mental health issues and behaviors that are often uncontrollable, violent and dangerous to themselves and others.

It takes special people to raise traumatized children.

So when the Church or the State refuse gay couples the right to adopt it eliminates an already inadequate pool of foster/adoption families and leaves abandoned children even more alone and frightened at a time they most need a loving home and family. This is a special kind of cruelty and deserves to be outed. Share this widely.

Catholic Charities of Boston vs. The Vatican (from 2012)

I should know. I was the chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston.

I feel compelled to set the record straight and let voters in Maine, who might not remember what actually happened, know the truth.

Like many of my fellow Catholics, I believe our greatest commandment is to help those who are in need and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That call is why I joined the board of directors of Catholic Charities of Boston.

I was especially proud of our work facilitating the adoption of abandoned and neglected children.

Catholic Charities used the one and only criteria that’s appropriate for adoption agencies — the best interest of the child.

Child Trauma and Abuse; A Quick Study & Resources

Few of us understand the lifelong impact trauma has on a child and fewer still the depth and scope of generational child abuse in America today. This KARA page provides basic information and the critical elements that you & your friends and neighbors need to know for trauma & abuse to be reduced in your own community. Share it widely.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Send us your favorite resources (we will post those that fit)