Mental Health & Education (thank you Star Tribune for this honest conversation)

The complex needs of abused and neglected children are a giant, and I argue, the primary challenge facing America’s education system today. Different states handle the problem in different ways, but very states make the public aware of the depth and scope of the mental health issues like Minnesota has.

Teachers being forced to become social workers and mental health providers is a severe and growing problem in all American schools. Educators speaking openly about the dangers and fear of recurring outbursts by deeply troubled students injuring themselves or other children is a rarity in today’s media, but the data, including crime, graduation rates, test scores, and international achievement comparisons, would indicate otherwise.

There is little question that this problem is impacting the quality of education in our communities and needs to be addressed with adequate understanding and resources. The full Star Tribune article appears below, and I encourage you to read it, share your comments, and & make it available to educators you know.

Teachers deserve more support and a better understanding of the issues impacting education in America today.

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KARA’s Minnesota Friends of Children Please Support Bill Number SF 704/HF 1106

KARA board members Sam Ashkar and Mike Tikkanen accompanied Rich Gehrman and his Safe Passage For Children colleagues to support a bill at the state capital on thursday supporting child protection screening practices protecting children throughout MN. This bill SF 704 / HF 1106 gives simple guidelines, clarifies standards, and improves accountability for reporting and screening practices for abused children in terrible circumstances. It is the least we can do.

Please forward this to your friends and make a call to your state representative (and to State Senate Republican leader David Hann who is influential on this committee; 651-296-1749 )

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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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Tracking America’s Most At Risk Children (Compiled)

New documents obtained by KCAL9 detail previous allegation of abuse in the case of a now- deceased 8-year-old Palmdale boy who investigators say was tortured and beaten to death. Gabrieal Frenandez suffered a skull fracture, several broken ribs and severe burn marks over various spots of his body before he was hospitalized last month, according to the La County Sheriff’s Department. He died from injuries may 24. The mother confessed that she had been abusing the boy from time to time. His mother Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre have been charged for murder.
The Republican governor last week defended O’Day’s leadership, even after the agency told a federal judge it couldn’t say with any certainty how many children died while in its custody.

The department previously reported the deaths of 151 children in their custody between January of 2009 and July of 2012 but retracted that number after a third party reported that number to be less than exact.

They now say they are not sure how many have died.

According to the Tennessean in the first six month of 2012 there were 31 deaths among children, ranging from newborns to teenagers.
Abdifatah Mohamud was bludgeoned to death by his stepfather a year after the boy called 911 to report he was being abused. Mother of drowned toddler speaks out

January 28, 2013. Washington DC, Maryland.

The mother of a 15 month old boy has commented that the court, judges, and police failed to help her son when his death could have so easily been prevented. The father of the boy, despite being under investigation for abuse, was granted unsupervised visits by a judge. Shortly thereafter, he killed the child.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/video/#!/news/local/Mother-of-Drowned-Toddler-Speaks-Out/188504431

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Total Disaster In Tennessee (NV, TN, CA, & TX in Trouble Too) Disappearing Watchdogs Around the Nation

When detectives interviewed Brewer, she told them the children were punished for stealing food. The case “even shocked some of our most veteran children’s case workers,” Hudson said.

Brewer pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts, including torture, cruelty and assault with a deadly weapon at her arraignment Jan. 18. Her attorney, alternate public defender Hung Phi Du, declined to comment.

After Brewer’s arrest, county investigators uncovered a history of child maltreatment investigations involving Brewer going back to 2001, when callers to a hotline twice reported that she was abusing her two biological children. Both times, social workers concluded that the allegations were unfounded.

In 2006, Brewer was recruited by a private agency called Aspiranet. Based in South San Francisco, the contractor is one of the state’s largest foster care providers, serving 2,000 children a year.

Aspiranet placed 23 children in Brewer’s care over the next five years, among them the half siblings she ended up adopting.

The children’s mother had been found to be suffering from schizophrenia and depression. They came to Brewer in 2009; it was their fourth foster home.

During Brewer’s five years as a foster parent, the county child-abuse hotline received at least seven calls from people alleging that she was maltreating children, including the half siblings.

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Tortured Twice In Louisiana; A Sad Abused Ten Year Old Boy Facing Prison For Escaping His Abuser

Joseph Hall was a *tortured little ten year old boy and a ward of the state when he shot his nazi father in the head in Louisiana. His father frequently held hate filled nazi gatherings in the home & in drunken a drug fueled rage he beat his son severely and regularly.

Joseph had been thrown out of many schools and shown violent behavior (reported violent behavior) since he was 3 years old.

What does being a Ward of the State mean in Louisiana? Why after 20 calls to the home by Social Services & multiple reports of strangling people & other violent behavior, was he left in this toxic stew of a home?

What does it take for a child to find refuge in Louisiana? Will the state execute the boy (he is being tried as an adult & Texas has ignored a federal ban on executing the mentally incompetent).

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Learn About CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Here; Videos

Friends, these videos from the CASA National website clearly articulate the CASA mission and shed light on the institutions and circumstances of abused and neglected children in America today.

Feel free to pass one on to a friend;

I Am For The Child

Dr Phil Show April

The CASA Difference

CASA PSA

77,000 CASA volunteers speak for over 200,000 abused and neglected children throughout the U.S. today. The need for child advocacy in our communities is huge and only partially met by this organization and other American institutions today.

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Planned Evacuation Routes, Teachers Packing Heat (what’s next, Uzi’s?)

It hurts me to see the NRA making public policy & politicians blaming teachers for failed schools while they (those same policy making people) are ignoring the screaming need for early childhood programs that could stem the poverty and mental health tsunami that has attacked our inner cities (Detroit, Flint, Houston, Compton, Baltimore…giant swaths of a new and dangerous America )

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Free Printed Book With Each Audiobook Order (thru 8.15.12)

Read and listen to the important issues raised on this blog while supporting our efforts to “get the word out”.

Pass it onto your friends & ask the library to carry it. This information has been kept under wraps for far too long.

Buy or sample the INVISIBLECHILDREN audiobook

Best wishes from the team at Kids At Risk Action

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Child Well Being Minnesota

Last week KARA board members Sam Ashkar, Bob Olson, & I attended the Child Well-Being meeting to learn current information on the status of abused and neglected children in MN. The data came from the Citizens review panel, Office of the Legislative Auditor, and a powerful report from Safe Passage For Children.

Information is important in how one frames and speaks of a problem. Being grounded in facts is always superior to what one hears from the talking heads (and blogs).

Statistics are evidence of the success or failure of important process and programs.

Last Year there were 58,163 reports of child abuse 2/3’s of them were screened out (were not investigated).

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The Impact of Trauma and Neglect on the Developing Child: Focus on Youth in the Juvenile Justice System


Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
ChildTrauma Academy

When: Thursday, June 17th
Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Training: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mystic Mystice Lake Casino, Shakopee MN
Cost: $40 Standard, $30 JJC Community Member, $30 Student Rate
Scholarships available

Targeted Audience: Policy makers, professionals and practitioners in education, the court system, law enforcement, corrections, human services, community-based organizations, mental and chemical health, parents, youth, advocates, elected officials and others.

Presenter:
Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. is the Senior Fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston that promotes innovations in service, research and education in child maltreatment and childhood trauma (www.ChildTraumaAcademy.org). Dr. Perry is the author with Maia Szalavitz of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing, a book based on his work with maltreated children. Over the last twenty years, Dr. Perry has been an active teacher, clinician and researcher in children’s mental health and the neurosciences holding a variety academic positions.

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