Nothing Just Fine About It

At the end of a recent KARA presentation about child abuse and child protection in our community at a metro Kiwanis, a University Professor argued strongly that child protection was working “just fine” from his perspective.

This after I had just pointed out the lack of support, training, and resources for the courts and social workers and the terrible stories and results MN is currently experiencing. Governor Dayton called child protection in the death of 4 year old Eric Dean (after 15 ignored reports of child abuse) a “colossal failure”, MN ranks 47th in what we spend on child protection, and this professor lived just a few miles where a very young child was raped and murdered (18 month old Maplewood girl).

He did not seem to know that day care workers are paid less than food service workers in America and in the rest of the industrialized world day care workers are are required to have advanced degrees that include mental health training (and are paid better because of their training). He did not agree that more attention needed to be focused on at risk youth.

“Just fine” for him perhaps, not having to meet or deal with the traumatized two year old’s, and the never ending string of abused and neglected children that social workers and court personnel see day after day and year after year with too little resources and too big of a case load.

There is nothing fine about the statistical reality of state wards in child protection becoming state wards in juvenile justice and then state wards in criminal justice. There is nothing just fine about the amount of psychotropic medications being used on children and juveniles in the system, or the problems foster and adoptive parents must face everyday with the behavioral problems these kids bring with them into their homes and school.

The professors thinking goes a long way in explaining the absence of crisis nurseries, therapeutic day care, and other programs that would give kids safety and coping skills necessary for success in school and in life.

It saddens me greatly that an educated segment of our community knows so little about the sadness that exists for so many involved in child-well being and child protection that they are unable to identify and support the programs and policies that could address the problems and make life better for children, our schools, and communities.

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Note To InvisibleChildren Readers

www.avahealth.org You can spend hours listening to the medical professionals address these topics on this site in a very straightforward manner. Their videos are powerful – in particular, study the ACES information.

www.juvenile-in-justice.com This site provides an overview of how our institutions are working together and paints the picture of how at risk children are aging through society today. While it does not speak directly to pre-teen pregnancy, and the many important young women’s issues, it will draw your attention to the racial and economic disparity that is destroying so much of our inner cities.

& of course, Google, Art Rolnick, / Rob Grunewald Federal Reserve Bank Early Childhood Development. Study their report. It makes a statistical / financial argument for taking better care of American children.

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Note To Invisible Children Followers

I am unable to respond quickly as my normal work can keep me away for days at a time. This site and my efforts are designed to provide information and resources on and about child abuse and at risk children.

The Blogroll, Links, & Resources links on the right side of the page (located below the comments section) provide telephone numbers and contact information for organizations that have staff and can be of help (KARA has no staff).

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Not Enough

The state has agreed to pay $2.85 million to a 21-year-old woman who allegedly endured physical and sexual abuse after a child abuse investigation conducted by the state Department of Social and Health Services.

I accept that the dollar amount sounds impressive, but I challenge the DSHS assertion that this young woman’s life will ever be made whole by the financial settlement. I’ve spent years in child protection and never met a fully recovered victim. Abuse lasts forever and it takes great strength and help to make a happy life. Help is not easy to find, and very expensive. Allot of people just suffer.

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News From Safe Passage For Children of Minnesota & The Child Protection Task Force

Follow Governor Dayton’s Budget and Child Protection Task Force News at Safe Passage for Children of MN links below;

Performance Mode

Work Group Meetings Update

Governor Dayton’s Child Protection Budget

Report on Governor’s Task Force and Work Group Meetings (Jan 14)

While I’m optimistic that these concerned people are working on improving services and strategies for abused and neglected children of Minnesota, it is painful to read the continuing sad news being reported about overwhelmed social workers, class action lawsuits, inadequate safeguards, and growing caseloads. It frightens me to think about how much (or how little) can be changed by one task force in one year within a system that handles sixty thousand children annually on a limited budget and imperfect systems. What happens next year?

If we valued children or even just understood the economic impact of under-served abused and neglected children passing through our schools, communities, courts, and in the end, juvenile and criminal justice systems, things would be different. Basic math proves the extraordinary costs to communities of failed schools and children unable to graduate on a trajectory to dysfunctional lifestyles and another generation of troubled families with more abuse and neglect.

Early childhood programs are a great investment in our communities and our children. Both the kids and our communities deserve better. Support the CASA guardian ad-Litems in your community & give children a voice.

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Newborns, Death and Drug Addiction (preventable deaths of drug-dependent babies)

Narcotic addicted babies are born every 19 minutes in America. 27,000 in 2013.

A federal law requiring hospitals to report drug addicted moms to child protection services is largely ignored. This heartbreaking series about the preventable deaths of drug-addicted babies ends includes ideas that can solve the problem. Reuters filed more than 200 Freedom of Information Act requests and reviewed almost 6000 child fatality reports to identify these cases.

Only 7 states specifically tracked referrals of newborns in drug withdrawal and only half the number of cases that were diagnosed were tracked in those states. Most states only require reporting only babies exposed to illegal drugs – but prescription drug addiction is growing to become an even larger problem.

In 2005, 598,000 emergency drug related admissions included legal pharmaceutical overdoses. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twelve to twenty times more likely to use illegal street drugs than those that don’t abuse prescription drugs.

In 2010 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs non medically for the first time.

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New York Saves $666 per State Ward Child (Destroying Children & An Important CASA Program)

New York State Ranks 44th in adoption of state ward children and 40th in moving children off of the state ward list.

At a cost of about $666/per child, abused and neglected children have had a personal volunteer CASA voice speak for them in the cold, hard, underfunded institution that is child protection in New York. CASA graduates in New York are half as likely as non CASA children to re enter the system (and a whole host of other positive measurements). One of my CASA case boys alone has cost Hennepin County several million dollars (without counting the people he has stabbed, teacher he assaulted, lives he has crushed, or property he has destroyed).

In his case, my county saved the money (under $500) it would have cost to complete a background check on the man who requested custody of his son while he was still in prison.

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New York Child Protection News October – November 2015

This page compiled by KARA volunteer Corey Wasser NY: One More Problem Faced by Transgender New Yorkers: Food Insecurity Slate – November 21, 2015 As health care access is clearly still a problem, the report requests that policymakers “Assure that all transgender people, including those in the foster care system, juvenile detention or criminal justice…

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New York Child Protection News December 2015- January 2016

Reporting compiled and submitted by KARA volunteer Corey Wasser NY: New York State’s Safe Harbour Project is working to combat human trafficking (Opinion) Buffalo News – January 24, 2016 The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) works to combat human trafficking through efforts that include the Safe Harbour Project, which assists…

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New York Child Protection News April – May 2016

NY: Editorial: Answering foster care, adoption need brings rewards
Amherst Bee – April 27, 2016
Becoming a foster parent or adoptive parent means an person can change the course of a child’s life, and while it can be difficult, the rewards are great, and there is no shortage of children in the United States who are in need of a temporary or permanent home.
http://www.amherstbee.com/news/2016-04-27/Editorial/Answering_foster_care_adoption_need_brings_rewards.html

NY: Connections: Fragile Lives Series Looks At The State Of Foster Care (Audio)
WXXI – April 13, 2016
In honor of Child Abuse Awareness month, WXXI News –in participation with Side Effects Public Media– is presenting Fragile Lives, a series about the health outcomes of children in foster care.
http://wxxinews.org/post/connections-fragile-lives-series-looks-state-foster-care

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New Video From Safe Passage For Children (it’s a Wow)

This strong new piece from Rich Gehrman at Safe Passage For Children makes a powerful case for why Minnesota’s abused and neglected children are being shortchanged and what we must do to fix our troubled systems; SafePassage Video

MN Public TV is partnering with KARA for a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. To do this we need your help.

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New Jersey Child Protection News October 2015 through April 2016

NJ: Many post-foster care teens lacking needed mental health care
NorthJersey.com – October 27, 2015
In many states, children who live in foster homes age out of this system by the time they turn 18 or 21, a transition that can leave some at least temporarily without access to health insurance or unable to continue care with doctors who were treating them before. Information Gateway Resource: Transition to Adulthood and Independent Living Programs: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/independent/programs/
http://www.northjersey.com/news/health-news/many-post-foster-care-teens-lacking-needed-mental-health-care-1.1442030

NJ: Advocate: New Jersey making progress getting kids adopted
New Jersey 101.5 – October 12, 2015
Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of the Advocates for Children of New Jersey, said she believes overall, progress is being made in the state, from kids going from foster care into legal, permanent families through adoption.
http://nj1015.com/adoption-picture-brightening-in-nj/

NJ: Several N.J. child welfare offices receive death threats
nj.com – October 08, 2015
Eight state child welfare offices have received calls this week “threatening to shoot up the site or kill everyone in the building,” according to emails from the Department of Children and Families obtained by NJ Advance Media.
http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/several_nj_child_welfare_offices_receive_death_thr.html

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New ACE Study DVD 3 Minute Preview:

Last night KARA boardmember Bob Olson & I attended the Academy on Violence and Abuse in Bloomington & viewed the powerful information the medical community has assembled on the consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Their information is a stunning revelation of how critical and long-lasting abuse is over a persons lifetime.

The Academy on Violence & Abuse’s demonstrates the importance of preventing child abuse and the direct cost of failure in disease, dysfunction, & shortened life expectancy.

Watch this video & visit www.avahealth.org for their comprehensive and stunning research on child abuse.

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