Fixing MN’s Broken Mental Health Systems (thank you Sue Abderholden)

Decades of policy makers not understanding or ignoring mental health issues and failing to see the explosive growth of veterans returning with life destroying PTSD, the huge increase of children in child protection resulting from less help for young families suffering from generational child abuse & trauma is coming down hard on schools, law enforcement and health providers. All our institutions and communities are paying the price.

Sue Abderholden (Sunday Star Tribune) is far too kind to legislators and administrators who make the policies impacting young families and other people needing help in our communities.

Lawmakers saving small dollars by not supporting basic services (crisis nurseries, daycare or mental health services) are costing taxpayers decades of state ward status, crime and preteen pregnancies for people that could have been helped, could have become self-sufficient tax paying community members.

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Fix Texas For Children; Remove Judge William Adams

U.S. states where children are worse off than if they lived in emerging nations. http://boingboing.net/2011/11/02/video-judge-beats-disabled-daughter-for-using-the-internet.html Pass this on & support public advocacy for at risk children (they need your help).     Support KARA’s effort to stop punishing children; sponsor a conversation in your community (invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book…

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Fines and Judgements For Child Protection Failures (millions of $ badly spent)

Over the past few years the states of Washington (144 million dollars) and Indiana have been sued successfully for many millions of dollars for failing to protect abused and neglected children.

In Arizona, the over 6600 child abuse reports ignored by social workers prompted a class action lawsuit, Texas and New York have similar lawsuits in play, MN has been fined almost a million dollars for failing to meet federal standards for abused children re-entering child protection (MN has twice the national average) the child protection system was called a “Colossal Failure” by the Governor in the slow tortured death of 4 year-old Eric Dean and a dozen other states are facing embarrassing examples of cruelty to children and juveniles because of bad public policies.

Children in these states have been tortured, starved, murdered and raped while being cared for in overburdened Child Protection systems. The consequences of child abuse are immense and lasting for children and the fact that a community would fail to help their tortured children is barbaric.

These lawsuits are remarkable in that suing a governmental body is almost impossible because Federal, State and Local agencies are almost immune to being sued.

When lawsuits do succeed, you know that the case was overwhelming and represented just the tip of a very big iceberg of the kinds of violence being done to children in our under-appreciated and poorly understood child protection systems.

I say “Poorly understood” as it is my belief that no community, especially my community, would ignore the cries of raped, tortured and murdered children.

I refuse to believe that any community in America willfully continues to avoid fixing the institutional failures that are so painful for the children affected and the people involved in the system.

Politicians especially should understand and address the lifetimes costs in dollars and quality of life that millions of dysfunctional citizens are having on our schools, public safety and prisons.

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Fewer Families Adopting In Denver (Agency Closing After 22 Years)

I expect that the same is true all across America; families are finding it harder to support at risk children on lower incomes; http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19628951

It just seems to me that America’s children should all have a chance to have a childhood.

I find it hard to accept that on top of being abused, having special needs, or neglected, these children are punished again by a society too cheap to make a place for them at the table.

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Fetal Alcohol Update (from Safe Passage For Children)

If you know one of the 600,000 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome children born each year in America, you know how much harder life is for them.

In both my family and friendships, I have come to know the great challenges faced by both the parents and the children due to the lifetime effects of this devastating destruction of early brain development.

Today’s article from Safe Passage For Children takes issue with the Hennepin County Physicians that have exempted themselves from reporting a pregnant woman’s addiction to cannabis or alcohol based on the theory that good relationships are more effective than reporting this serious form of child abuse.

Safe Passage points out that the Ramsey County Mothers First program is operating at 85% drug-free births. and asks the question if Hennepin physicians can match that.

This seems like an important and fair question to ask considering the consequences.

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Fetal Alcohol Babies (FASD) & the Harm in Minimizing Terrible Realities (JAMA February 2018)

This months JAMA article indicates that we continue to underestimate the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders by a factor as high as 10. If this is true, 5% of American children are born with a wide range of permanent and lifelong physical & mental health deficits that will result in school & life failure and premature death.

Most people in the fields of education, law enforcement or social work know the explosive growth of mental health issues of children in their in schools, homes and squad cars. We are all becoming mental health workers.

The greater and sadder truth reflected in these studies is the continued minimizing, euphemizing and obfuscation of how America treats its children and troubled young families.

The ground truth is that children can’t speak for themselves, the media sees this as a negative story and the institutions involved benefit through non-transparency and under-reporting.

These sad truths insure generation after generation of child abuse and children born of drug and fetal alcohol abuse. The cost to society and taxpayers is horrendous. We would all benefit by understanding these grim truths.

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Federal Lawsuit Brought Against County in Suicidal Death of 6 Year Old Kendrea Johnson

Kendrea had suicidal thoughts 5-7 days a week. At the time of her death,the Deputy Police Chief and Medical Examiner determined that it was highly unlikely that Kendrea had died by suicide because six year old’s found it difficult to think about suicide. How misguided.  Every box of every psychotropic medication warns of suicidal ideation…

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February Sad Stories Part II

Sign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and  attention to our youngest and most vulnerable  citizens.  Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets…

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February Sad Stories 2017 Part I

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Bill-would-let-nonrelatives-care-for-foster-10920621.php
KY: Westerfield introduces bill to set age of criminal responsibility for youth
Kentucky New Era – February 08, 2017
Criminal complaints filed have been filed against children as young as 4.
Information Gateway resource: Youth Involved With Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/youth/collaboration/dualsystem/
http://www.kentuckynewera.com/web/article_7232ebe2-ee8d-11e6-9100-cb7fb0fa0fdd.html
MA: Report: Despite efforts, 35 kids died in state care
Boston Herald – February 10, 2017

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February 2017 Sad Stories Part IV

AKARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

This is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma, abuse & tragedy are never reported.

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect.

The U.S. is experiencing the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and with serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues.

37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health January 2017)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines Florida reports 48% of its foster children are forced to take Prozac like drugs.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

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February 2017 Sad Stories (part III)

Dyers sentenced to 15 years for felony child abuse
The Coloradoan
Two Fort Collins parents convicted of neglecting their daughter’s seizure condition and allowing her to all but waste away were sentenced Thursday to …
Fort Collins couple Doug and Leah Dyer sentenced to 15 years in child abuse case – Loveland Reporter-Herald
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

BLOGS
MILO: ‘I Was A Victim Of Child Abuse’
Conservative Read
“I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.” wrote MILO in a Facebook post shortly after his press conference, “Between the ages of 13 and 16, two …
Flag as irrelevant

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FEATURED GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAM WASHTENAW COUNTY

Local CASA Volunteer’s Success Story
Contributed by: Fran G.

I was given my first case in February of this year a family of three children: A 13-year-old boy with mild autism, a 9-year-old girl, and a 4-year-old, all living with a Great Grandmother (74 years old).

The children have lived with their great grandmother for 4 years. There were so many questions that needed to be answered and I found that I had the time to find those answers. The lawyers, and social workers all cared for the family but lacked the time to get to know the family as well as I could.

I found, for example, that the 13-year-old boy had missed 54 days of school and had been late for his first hour class 34 times. There were several reasons, and all were easy to fix.

He needed an alarm clock, needed to stop spending the night at his favorite Aunt’s house, and needed to take responsibility. I told him he was not allowed to be late or miss school anymore. I was able to check daily via a computer how his grades were and his attendance, and so was he.

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Falling Through the Cracks (NYTimes) 786 Children Die While in Child Protective Services

This article in yesterday’s NY Times, (from AP) shows how at least 786 children died awful deaths while in full view of child protection authorities. The numbers are most likely much higher (read KARA’S Sad Stories page here).

TAKE ACTION & join KARA in our awareness building campaign to save lives and support abused and neglected children in our communities.

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Faith Healing Child Death (more common than you think)

Two members of an Oregon Sect that believes in faith healing were charged with murder in the death of their premature infant daughter. What would Jesus do? this is not a difficult spiritual question.

8 month old Brandon Schaible died of treatable pneumonia as did two year old Ella Foster because their parents didn’t believe in medicine, Two of Herbert and Catherine Schaible’s children died years apart from each other for the same reason.

Children in Idaho have been dying by the dozens for years at the hands of their parents. By 2014 144 children lay in the Peaceful Valley Cemetery because their parents denied them available medical care – it is likely that the number is above 200 today.

This U.S.is the only nation on the planet to not sign the International Rights of the Child Treaty, most likely because the treaty bans training children as soldiers which our Southern States do regularly (military schools).

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Faith Healing & Another Child Death In Philadelphia

8 month old Brandon Schaible died of treatable pneumonia because his parents don’t believe in medicine.

This is not as rare as one would hope. In Idaho, 144 children have died in the Followers of Christ Church due to lack of medical care. Religious shield laws are everywhere (does your state have them?

Idaho makes it legal to deny children medical care (including to death). In Oregon 15-month-old Ava Worthington. 16-year-old Neil Beagley. 8-month-old Alayna May Wyland. 9-hour-old David Hickman died that way. Below are articles related to child death due to religious practice and the legal underpinnings (further down) that make withholding medical treatments from children legal.

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Expression (the suffering is immense – anonymous)

Every day, Every thought, Every act

Tainted by prior trauma

That part of the mind effortlessly calculating numbers, finding words and laughing at funny things

Is absent in a tortured child*

Instead

The darkness from before

Spits out bad words, regrettable behaviors and violent reactions to unexplainable triggers

And small brain space left for math, trust or coping

For other children

Sitting in the chair at the desk in the classroom

Is a peaceable journey of learning and friend-making

Not so for me

PTSD is a foul meaningless nonword

Raped and traumatized by a monster many times my size deserves a more meaningful definition

And maybe

A bit more understanding from the rest of you

*The World Health Organizations definition of torture is “extended exposure to violence & deprivation”

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Expanding KARA Board (seeking committed & talented people to accomplish our mission)

Help KARA find smart committed people that understand and want to improve the lives of at risk children.

KARA needs people with some combination of the following;

Experience with abused and neglected children and the institutions that work for them,

Grant writing, resources, and familiarity with fund raising for nonprofits,

Legal and CFO backgrounds in the nonprofit area,

A passion for protecting and improving the lives of at risk children

If you are looking to make a difference, send me a cover letter describing your background and level of interest.

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Executing Nine Year Olds (the best TED talk ever – or why I like lawyers)

photo compliments of Richard Ross David R Dow (voluntarily) represents the poor on death row – no one else cares. Two people a month are executed in Texas. Lawyer Dow points out that it is children in need of protection that have no way of avoiding the juvenile justice system that end up in the criminal justice system. The very worst cases end up on death row. How can we intervene? This is not rocket science. Points of intervention

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Everything Seems To Be Wrong With Them; The Other America

It is a very rare child that can walk from traumatic abuse into a classroom and just “be normal”. The biology of trauma means physiological change happens. Before a human being can proceed to the next level of growth, like sitting for 8 hours a day in a classroom & passively soaking in lesson after lesson while interacting normally with other children, adults, and figures of authority, real healing needs to happen.

I have seen very competent extremely committed foster and adoptive parents come unglued when faced with the insanity shown by 5, 7, and 9 year olds who have been tortured. The World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

All of the 50 children I worked with as a CASA volunteer had “extended exposure to violence and deprivation” (about half of them had been sexually abused, some as young as 2).

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Euthanizing Children (the right to die)

Brussels — Belgium faced fresh protests Wednesday as its parliament debated whether to extend a ground-breaking euthanasia law to terminally-ill children, making it only the second nation to allow minors the right to die.

“To see a sick child die is revolting, it is not just,” said Socialist parliamentarian Karine Lalieux as MP crossed swords on the ethically tough question that will be put to the vote on Thursday.

“But euthanasia doesn’t consist in killing a person but in freeing them from suffering,” she said. “Every child, every family must be allowed the choice to deliver a child from pain.”

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