Abused & Neglected Children Impacting Schools, Courts & Communities; What Works — What doesn’t

The cost to my community of each child failing to procure the tools to learn & become a productive citizen is far greater than just the drain on schools, crime & institutionalization. Consider the generational impact of their children having families just like the one that brought them into the world. The average number of children born to mothers incarcerated in Cook County Illinois jails has grown from 2 to 4 over the last ten years.

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Child Abuse Death; Every Child Matters

While the child abuse/child neglect crisis is one of major national concern, it also is of particular significance in the top 12 states that are above the national average for child abuse/neglect deaths (2.33 per 100,000 children): Florida 4.62; Nebraska 3.80; New Mexico 3.78; Tennessee 3.72; Oklahoma 3.42; Texas 3.32; Arkansas 2.99; Missouri 2.95; Louisiana and Ohio (both at 2.71); Georgia 2.67; and Colorado 2.65.

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Cancellation of a Successful Education Program

The need for strong education programs should be a primary concern for state and local governments. In addition to improving students’ chances for success in college and their subsequent careers, effective education programs can help keep juveniles from engaging in delinquent activities. This, in turn reduces costs to taxpayers for funding court proceedings and, if necessary, housing juvenile offenders.

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Response to Star Tribune Article

Yes to constructive solutions; more resources for troubled families and help for abused and neglected children.

No to destructive and inflammatory criticisms of people trying hard to make life livable for terribly abused and neglected children within an overwhelmed social services system and not enough resources to do the job. It’s almost impossible work and there is little support for the worker or the child these days.

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Counterpoint To Yesterday’s Post

As a result of ASFA, when the federal government gave money to states for the purpose of increasing adoptions, large numbers of kids did get good homes. Thirteen years later, hoards of those kids are re-entering the system because they came to parents with severe mental and emotional scars as a result of infant and child trauma, neglect, and abuse.

States refuse to help in any way with the astronomical mental health fees, such as $150,000 per year for residential care. Health insurance, Medicaid, and adopt subsidies pay nothing towards this care, not $1. Adoptive families are being forced to relinquish them back to the states to access astronomically expensive mental health care.

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Art Rolnick & Pliny, Friends of Children

Lori Sturdevant points out in her July 4th Star Tribune column how our state has done very well by investing in children and how Art Rolnick’s extensive studies as director of research at the Federal Reserve Board have made those investments measurable.

Just like investing in the stock market or tax increment financing, putting money into early childhood programs brings solid financial and social returns back into a community.

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