Public Records (the mystery of child abuse and child protection)

My story is triggered by a graphic demonstration of malfeasance by a public servant (Harper’s Magazine article below) and my response to conversations with Brandon Stahl at the Star Tribune and a former administrator at Hennepin County.  Both told me how inaccessible important child protection public records become when someone decides for no good reason to…

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Psych Drugs Action Campaign (from the National Center for Youth Law)

On April 14th four bills will be heard before the Health and Human Services Committee of the California State Legislature that improve oversight and monitoring of psychotropic medication treatment for children in foster care. We are writing to request your support. Will you or your organization help? Please send your support letters by end of…

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Prozac, Poison & Children (May 2018)

Dramatic rise in ADHD medication mishaps among kids, report finds
ABC News
Nationwide, more than 156,000 calls were placed to poison control centers for exposure to ADHD drugs among those 19 or younger between 2000 …
New study released on ADHD sheds light on rising calls of medication exposure: Experts stress … – WMBF

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Protecting Children From Bad Politics (a note from the Child Welfare League of America)

Protecting Children in Changing Times   Our Children at Risk Never before in the Child Welfare League of America’s (CWLA) 100-year history has there been a higher level of anxiety and uncertainty about the fate and well-being of our children. The plans and policies of the new leadership in Washington, DC, will do egregious damage to social…

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Protect Our Kids Act Passed By Congress (with tiny funding; 2M)

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I am critical of the lack of protection (concern) this nation has for its most vulnerable citizens. Other than the “Imminent Harm Doctrine” which allows the court to take children from life threatening circumstances, there is no federal protection for children in this nation. This is a step in the right direction. Thank you Texas Rep Lloyd Doggett for introducing this bill.

From the Alliance for Children & Families website;

The law creates a national commission to examine child fatalities, which the findings state are both preventable and significantly underreported, while the states lack a national standard for reporting. In previous hearings, members of Congress heard testimony about the significant gaps in reporting that prevent effective policies and practices from being implemented.

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Protect Children In the Justice System

Support youth reentry – An estimated 100,000 people under the age of 18 have left secure facilities only to turn around and reenter the system. The report says, “Youth are often discharged from care back to families struggling with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unresolved mental health disabilities.” Also highlighted is the issue of public safety being compromised when the released youth is not afforded necessary planning and supportive services.
NJJDCP”s full report and recommendations can be viewed at:http://promotesafecommunities.org/images/pdfs/NJJDPC_RecstoCongress_03122013_web.pdf?utm_source=Copy+of+NJJDP+Report+-Congress&utm_campaign=WNR+2-8-2013&utm_medium=email

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Prosecuting Legislators (can this work?)

A single Minneapolis hospital, HCMC sees 800 to 1000 emergency psychiatric visits a month (one of many metro hospitals).

There have never been enough beds and there will never be enough Prozac to humanely treat the people suffering from terrifying mental health problems.

When 6 year old foster child Kendrea Johnson suicided by hanging, her grandmother sued the County. After Jeff Weis shot dead his grandfather, himself and 8 others at Red Lake MN the community built a modern mental health facility so that it wouldn’t happen again.

The only stories that come to our attention are the most horrific.

There are thousands of stories left unknown except to the DHS staff, social workers and law enforcement, foster and adoptive parents, teachers & health workers dealing with severe, chronic and often dangerous people that would benefit with the help we are talking about.

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Promoting Prisons As Public Policy

I recently toured Richard Ross Juvenile In Justice museum display in Reno NV. Heart rending photos of ten and twelve year old children in America’s justice system. So powerfully does his photographers eye catch the meaning of former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz statement that “The difference between that poor child & a felon is about 8 years”.

Chief Justice Blatz other quote hangs with me also, “90 % of the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection services”, reminds me of just how much trauma has been suffered by abused and neglected children & how by not helping them we pretty much guarantee a pipeline to prison for them and the dangerous streets & failing schools that they leave along the way.

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Project Unbreakable

Grace Brown created “Project Unbreakable” in October, 2011, and the tumblog appears to really be gathering momentum. The idea: “Use photography to help heal those who were sexually abused by asking them to write a quote from their attacker on a poster and photographing them holding the poster.”

So many stories from so many different people. Men, too, not only women. I was so moved by this post, which includes both a photograph and an audio narrative by an elderly woman who was sexually abused as a 12-year-old girl during World War II in Germany. Do listen to her story.

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Progress & Next Steps in County Child Protection (thank you SafePassageForChildren)

This week the Hennepin County Oversight Committee reviewed efforts by child protection managers to implement recommendations in the Casey Report, which was critical of the program.

Progress was reported for example in rolling out a 24/7 child protection response, and adding screening and investigation staff.

In another part of this hearing, Casey staff presented a draft child protection ‘Practice Model’. While it identified child safety as the paramount responsibility of the program, much of the language – as Commissioner Mike Opat and others pointed out – echoed the old Family Assessment philosophy, which is weighted towards the needs and preferences of parents.

The final version of this practice model should reflect more clearly the priority that recent changes in state law and recommended practices gave to child safety and well-being.

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Privatized Juvenile Prisons – Kids For Cash The Movie (watch the trailer)

KIds For Cash the movie is a documentary about two Pennsylvania Judges who were imprisoned for 40 years because they sentenced thousands of innocent juveniles to prison for 2.5 million dollars in kickbacks. This movie captures the devastating impact imprisonment has on youth and the dangers of privatized facilities. Watch the trailer here.

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Prevention – Early Intervention – thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN

Keeping children with their families through early intervention (a very big deal).

These bills at the State Legislature can help make that happen – Tune into this Safe Passage for Children webinar here for the update on the session and the intervention & support services being proposed to make it happen.

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Preventing Child Torture (thank you Safe Passage for Children)

Government overreach or a child’s right to not be tortured? If you have been a foster or adoptive parent or someone who has worked with children abused to the point a judge removes them from their home, you know what awful things have happened to the child and how it ruins a life.

Today, Safe Passage for Children of MN has powerful thoughts about how to prevent child torture*.

*The World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

All the children in my caseload as a volunteer CASA guardian ad litem were tortured.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Preteen Moms & Why (stories & statistics)

May had her first child while living as a state ward in a group home when she was 16 and her second child when she was 18 before aging out of foster care.

Her mother was 17 when May was born.

Her grandmother was even younger when May’s mother was born. How old will her daughter be when she has her first baby?

Abused children suffer traumas that last forever and leave a child feeling devoid of love with an emotional void that cannot be filled by social workers, teachers or kind foster parents.

All girls want love in their life. A baby is love. The difference between that poor child and a preteen mom with no parenting skills, a drug problem and a violent boyfriend is about 8 years.

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Practical Strategies for Helping Troubled Adopted Children with Complex Histories: Focus On Anger Issues with Dr. Richard J. Delaney

Minnesota Adoption Resource Network Announces August Webinar Wednesday, August 25, 2010 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Many adopted children are “multiply impacted” by prenatal exposure to drugs, and/or alcohol, by neglect and deprivation, complex trauma such as chronic child physical and sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, separation from or loss of significant other, and/or…

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Powerful Video Expose On Drugging 5 & 10 Year Old State Ward Children

This video from Mercury News is the most comprehensive and powerful discussion I have seen on the topic of forcing abused and neglected children to take psychotropic medications.  Remember, state ward children have no voice in this discussion.  These decisions are made for them by a closed system that rarely shares information and by and…

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Powerful Stories From The Atlantic Journal (here’s a preview)

Working with abused and neglected children and dysfunctional families is complex and grueling and needs more not less understanding and support.

Blaming social workers when a baby is found in a dumpster is not so different for blaming teachers for failed schools.

Troubled students not only don’t learn, they disrupt and make teaching the rest of the class much more difficult.

This is not so different from blaming law enforcement for the boy in the squad car (admit it, that would be ridiculous – but the analogy works in both prior examples).

Support teachers, support social workers, support justice workers. It is very hard work inside of institutions with very bad governance (and that my friends is our fault).

Support KARA’S TPT documentary project to bring these issues into the limelight and help our children get a fair start in life.

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Pounding On Children (the beatings continue)

Because Americans demand that almost every kind of pistol & deadly assault weapon be made available with almost no family or background check, in any quantity, and thousands of rounds of unaccountable ammunition, pretty much guarantees that children will kill themselves and be killed by others as a statistical absolute of the growing carnage that defines our nation.

At the same time, Americans turn their back on more and more poor children every year (we now have the highest child poverty rate in the industrialized world) with inadequate housing, day care, crisis nurseries, nutrition, health care, and especially, mental health care.

Three trillion dollars in the projected next 3 year base cost of war & military in this nation (59 cents out of every tax dollar) should make America the safest nation in the world. It does not.

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Posts & Video From ACEs Connection (Adverse Childhood Experience)

California’s Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris has declared Adverse Childhood Experiences a public health problem and public school crisis in her state.

These posts & video from the ACEs Connection Network (the most active, influential ACEs community in the world), are powerful demonstrations of why she has done this.  Work to make your state a trauma informed state – Invite KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN PROGRAM to your college, museum or other public venue.

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Pope Francis Has Joined Our Cause (yea for the Catholic Church)

Yesterday, the Pope came out against the Catholic Church’s unfriendly & unproductive public policy of repeatedly attacking the poor, the gay, and women’s rights.

By association, the Republican Party is being incriminated by the Holy Father’s words also for its own similar negative focus.

While it may appear to be muddy water at the moment, it is logical that as LBJ lost the Southern Democrats with his very unpopular civil rights push of the sixties – ruining the Democrats chances of a presidency for many years to come – the Republican Party could very well come out of this current fanatical attack on healthcare and the poor losing not the South or even the nation, but the World.

There is a growing visceral reaction across this nation and I would suggest the planet (at least anywhere people can read and think) against this mean and unfriendly tail wagging what used to be a rather friendly non-biting dog.

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