August Sad Stories (part 1)

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 reported. ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN…

Details

We Are All Nuts (the costs and dangers of undertreating and ignoring mental health – thank you Star Tribune)

If you have children, grandchildren or just like other people’s children, you should read this to the end. You could help keep them safe from terrible things by understanding the connection between this mental health discussion and those terrible things.

Today’s Star Tribune article by Chris Serres should wake us up as to the cost and danger we all face by ignoring, undertreating and maltreating mentally at risk people. Last week Chris wrote about the broken bones and violence done to children in the justice system because of their mental health struggles. Thank you Chris Serres and the Star Tribune for bringing this long avoided topic to the front page.

Chris’s article concentrates on the logjam and wait periods patients and providers face in this state and the human suffering that that accompanies it.

Not mentioned are the 900-1000 emergency psych visits to HCMC every month and some psych patients are waiting three months to be admitted (and that’s just one MN hospital). Allina Health DR Paul Goering states that “it’s been so paralyzing for the community to say ‘it looks like things are broken,’ and then to say it again next year”.

I agree with Dr Rahul Koranne (Chief Medical Officer for the MN Hospital Association) quote that

Details

MN Child Protection News July 2016

Hundreds of Minnesota teens confined, abused for no … – Star Tribune

www.startribune.com/confined…teenager…minnesota…/389387061/

Star Tribune

4 days ago – Confined without charges, a teenager’s ordeal reveals strains within … Hundreds of Minnesota teens with mental health problems are winding …

Moms emerge as force for change at Minn. state mental … – Star Tribune

www.startribune.com/mothers…as-a…minnesota…mental…/388084502/

Star Tribune

Jul 24, 2016 – Mothers emerge as a force for change at Minnesota state mental hospital … to advocate for their sons who are psychiatric patients at the hospital Tuesday, July …. Delta cancels hundredsmore flights in wake of Monday outage · Lynx head off … A black teenager encounters racism in the Twin Cities suburbs.

Details

International Child Protection News July 2016

Pakistan – Pakistani teenage girl burned alive in ‘honour killing’ after helping friend elope.

Independent.

The event of honour killing is not strange to Pakistan. The traditional assembly of leaders in a Pakistani village kidnapped, assaulted and killed a teenage girl for helping her friend flee the village to marry of her own free will. This was seen as being bringing dishonour to the girl’s family and village. The punishment of strangling and being shot up with drugs before being burned was presented as being a deterrent to girls. Efforts by the Pakistani government in Punjab to protect women against physical, financial and psychological abuse are being countered by religious groups for promoting obscenity and the destruction of the country’s traditional family system.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-honour-killing-girl-set-alight-helped-friend-elope-ambreen-abbottabad-a7016451.html

India – India is in denial about its rape culture – but then so are we.

The Independent.

Government officials in India choose to ignore the issue of rape culture in hopes that the issue just goes away. Funding for rape crisis centres in India has been cut in the belief that local authorities are equipped to deal with rape cases. Responsibility of being rape and for the nature of the assault is placed entirely on the victim, more than likely a female. The rape culture in India and other similar countries are perpetuated by ideas about how proper females should conduct themselves and that if attacked no one would listen to the victim for the reason that the victim was unbecoming or irresponsible.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/india-is-in-denial-about-its-rape-culture-but-then-so-are-we-10093481.html

Details

Minnesota’s Back Story; Treating Children’s Mental Health

Today’s Star Tribune article (thank you Chris Serres) exposing the violence done to Minnesota’s youngest citizens while in state care reminded me of my own experiences growing up.

In my middle class 1977 neighborhood, the family next door’s 15 year old grandson became psychotic and behaved dangerously.

Mom and dad tried to find him mental health help to no avail.

The only option that provided treatment for their son was the Juvenile Justice system. The boy’s entrance into the system required he be charged with a crime. Their son killed himself a few years later.

Details

Best ACEs Articles for July 2016

Register for the 2016 Conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEsConnection.com]
Join Center for Youth Wellness October 19-21 for the 2016 Conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences in San Francisco. The conference is a unique opportunity for every expert and practitioner committed to advancing the ACEs movement to come together to build a better future for children exposed to early adversity and trauma.

Details

July 2016 Sad Stories Through July 15-29 (part 2)

IN: Christensen/Laurin: Should lawyers report child abuse learned in representation? (Opinion)
Indiana Lawyer – July 27, 2016
A lawyer’s reporting obligation depends on whether confidentiality and/or privilege are implicated. In short, lawyers may not report privileged communications regarding child abuse. However, lawyers may report information that is only confidential, though not privileged, and are obligated to do so under the Reporting Statute.
http://www.theindianalawyer.com/christensenlaurin-should-lawyers-report-child-abuse-learned-in-representation/PARAMS/article/40994

MN: Lawmaker Plans to Push for More Distance Between Officers and Families in Child Protection Removal Process (Includes video)
KSTP TV – July 26, 2016
Representative Ron Kresha wants to look into putting child protection workers in charge of removing kids from abusive and neglectful homes instead of law enforcement officers.
http://kstp.com/news/new-child-protection-removal-process/4211361/

NC: Nonprofit acquires home in county for homeless teen girls
BlueRidgeNow.com – July 27, 2016
Lambert estimates that Homes for Youth facility will be ready to accept teen girls in about a year. The nonprofit will identify potential residents through referrals from the Department of Social Services and Henderson County Public Schools prior to opening.
http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20160727/NEWS/160729871?Title=Nonprofit-acquires-home-in-county-for-homeless-teen-girls

Details

Women’s Rights & Children’s Rights (and where are we today?)

100 years ago, women were property (legally) and a husband could do just about anything to his wife. Murder was still murder, but anything else was treated by law enforcement much like animal abuse was in the day (not a big deal for the courts to be concerned with).

20 years ago I became a volunteer *CASA guardian ad Litem (voice for the child) in County child protection and saw first hand what it’s like for an American citizen to have no voice in the home, no voice in the courts and no voice in the media.

Over 25 years ago the rest of the world (194 nations) decided that children have basic human rights and begin signing the International Rights of the Child Treaty. Under this document, children are to have the rights to education, safety and well being including not to be made soldiers and not to be enslaved).

Details

July 2016 Sad Stories (part 1)

This page is a compilation of child protection news from around the nation (with some international reporting) for the month of June (through June 25)   If you would like to help KARA gather and report news from your community for this page please send an email to info@invisiblechildren.org with NEWs in the subject line.…

Details

June 2016 Sad Stories (part 1)

MN: Washington County: Child protection changes increase caseload
South Washington County Bulletin – May 27, 2016
State funding will allow Washington County to hire three more child protection workers, but officials say there is no additional funding to process those cases through the legal system.
http://www.swcbulletin.com/news/government/4039730-washington-county-child-protection-changes-increase-caseload

NV: A different approach to foster care
Nevada Daily Mail – June 01, 2016
Keech provided an overview of the process, including the strengths and weaknesses of the child welfare system. “In general, child welfare case managers are amazing and wonderful people,” said Keech, “but within the first weeks of starting their work, they see more evil and suffering than any should see in a lifetime.”
http://www.nevadadailymail.com/story/2309720.html

OK: Sen. James Lankford says Oklahoma needs more foster families (Includes video)
KTUL – May 31, 2016
“When foster children go back home with their parent, forever family or wherever that may lead, that growth and that change continues on and they have a little bit of us to carry with them as well,” Lyndsey said.
http://ktul.com/news/local/sen-james-lankford-says-oklahoma-needs-more-foster-families

PA: Advocates say PA’s child abuse hotline has had major problems since 2010, so why did the state wait so long to investigate? (Opinion)
New Pittsburgh Courier – May 31, 2016
The report released May 24 states that the agency identified “an alarming rate of calls to ChildLine [were] not answered by [Department of Human Services] caseworkers in 2015, along with inadequate staffing for the hotline and a severe lack of monitoring of hotline calls.” Report: http://www.paauditor.gov/Media/Default/Reports/ChildLine%20Interim%20Report-%20Final%205-23-16.pdf
http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2016/05/31/advocates-say-pas-child-abuse-hotline-has-had-major-problems-since-2010-so-why-did-the-state-wait-so-long-to-investigate/

US: Many Children Not Getting Enough Food During Summer Months (Incudes audio)

Rapid City man charged with child abuse for beating 1-year-old child
Rapid City Journal
A Rapid City man accused of beating a 1-year-old girl pleaded not guilty Monday to aggravated child abuse. Robert R. Arguello, 39, faces up to 15 …

Flag as irrelevant

Couple accused of beating their children returning to lower court for upgraded charges
MLive.com
Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor Katie Branigan asked the court to change both of Tina Harbert’s two counts of second-degree child abuse to …

Flag as irrelevant

Man charged for allegedly beating child with stick
Sioux City Journal
STORM LAKE | A Storm Lake man is charged with child endangerment causing bodily harm after he beat a 12-year-old girl with a stick, police said.

Flag as irrelevant

Trial dates set for women charged after boy’s fatal beating
WXIX
Trial dates were set Monday for three women charged after police say a 5-year-old boy was beaten to death earlier this year. The women all pleaded …

Flag as irrelevant

Judge allows man’s statement in Hancock child-abuse case
Herald-Mail Media
Aaron Jacob Vanmeter, 22, of Hancock is charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in serious physical injury, second-degree child abuse and …

Flag as irrelevant

Prosecutors to File Additional Charges in Child Abuse Case
Tristatehomepage.com
The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office plans to formally file additional charges against three people accused of having a role on what police …

Flag as irrelevant

Breaking the cycle of child abuse
Seacoastonline.com
PORTSMOUTH – When Deb Cram started writing about her own childhood abuse four years ago, she didn’t know where her words would lead.

Flag as irrelevant

Gwinnett couple accused of stripping, tying up, beating child
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Arrest warrants allege the abuse took place June 1 at their home on Buford’s … The warrant issued for Moss also accuses her of tying the child up and …

Flag as irrelevant

NEW: Jury now deliberating in Larkins child abuse trial
Wyoming Tribune
They are accused of beating their children with belts, a wooden backscratcher and their hands, intentionally causing them mental injury and abusing a …

Flag as irrelevant

Man charged in connection with sexual assault, beating of Mineral City boy
Canton Repository
MINERAL CITY Along state Route 800 is a playground where most children in this small village go to play. There’s a basketball court, some picnic …

Flag as irrelevant

Details

A Wish List For At Risk Children

Subsidized day care (tens not thousands of families on state’s waiting list); more mental health services (consistent and better control and use of psychotropic medications)

BA degree, mental health training & higher wages for day care workers; more training, smaller caseloads, & greater resources for social workers and school counsellors

removing law enforcement from the front lines of dealing with mentally unhealthy people & eliminating jails and prisons as housing for mentally unstable people

fail safe programs ending child death by caregiver; more and better training and resources for handling child abuse in rural MN; End child suicide

interrupt generational child abuse; expand programs for children aging out of foster care; stop courts from trying children as adults

create support, training, and alternatives for adoption and foster families; expand kinship searches & support;

encourage media to report on the state of mental health and child protection in your community

make ACEs & trauma informed policies the rule not the exception; stop child trafficking;

reduce psychotropic medication use by young children and children in child protection;

involve the community in the safety and well-being of all children;

through adequate access to mental health services);

End child abuse and mental health stigmatizing

Help KARA find and engage the brightest minds

and improved perspectives in

the search for more effective

Child Protection &

children’s

Mental

Health

Details

I’m Not The Crazy One (20,000 one & two year old’s on Prozac – now that’s crazy)

90% of mental health hospital beds that were available in the 1960’s are gone today while our overall population grew over 40% in that time.

When America eliminated mental health hospitals in the 60’s, teachers, juvenile and criminal justice workers and social workers became defacto mental health service providers. This is no small feat. Humans are complex beings and understanding a mind takes extensive effort & training (especially a traumatized or troubled mind). Few service providers get that training.

Details

Minnesota’s Mental Health Crisis (spot on reporting by our Star Tribune – Many Thanks)

Today’s service providers are rarely capable of adequately dealing with the level of dysfunction encountered by a large and growing number of people.

They will fail to achieve the results they strive for until we the voters demand the core changes that will reverse these painful trends. These failures drive up burnout and good workers leaving the field for lack of success and very high stress (and lack of understanding appreciation from the rest of us).

Reflect on this;

The “colossal failure” of Child Protective Services” Governor Dayton’s words upon the death of 4 year old Eric Dean after 15 largely ignored reports of child abuse

MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz’ statement s that “90% of the youth in Juvenile Justice have come through Child Protection” and“ the difference between that poor child and a felon is about 8 years” are as true today as they were a few years ago when she said them. My spin on the Chief Justice’ words are that, the difference between that poor child and a preteen mother with no parenting skills, a drug problem and a violent boyfriend, is about 8 years.

2/3 of the youth in the Juvenile Justice System have diagnosable mental health issues & half of them have multiple, chronic and serious problems.

1/3 of the children in Child Protective Services are proscribed Prozac or other psychotropic medications.

20,000 one and two year olds were proscribed psychotropic medications in this nation in 2014 (Johnson & Johnson paid 4 billion dollars in fines for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on children and there are 5000 cases awaiting trial).

MN Sheriff’s had to threaten a law suit to get the state to move on providing timely mental health services for the people in their jail cells.

Details

Minnesota Child Protection News April & May 2016

Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson teams with Salvation Army in relief efforts for flood-ravaged …

FOXSports.com

… and the town also wrapped its collective arms around him when he missed most of the 2014 season while dealing with child abuse charges.

Claims of child maltreatment, meager staff training and inadequate programs at Mesabi Academy

Minnesota Public Radio News

Only one would take him: Mesabi Academy in Buhl, on Minnesota’s Iron … It also houses vulnerable children in need of protection from parents or …

In Minnesota, 100s Take Opportunity to Sue Over Sex Abuse

ABC News

It’s been nearly three years since Minnesota opened a path for lawsuits by victims of long-ago childhood sexual abuse. In that time, more than 800 …

Another St. John’s Priest Accused Of Abuse

Details

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…

Details

Child Sex, Child Mortality, Education, Prozac & Guns (how we value children)

America’s long running fight against sex education has brought our nation the low honors of having the highest STD rate in the world and the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world. We have lots of 13 year old moms with violent boyfriends, drug habits and no parenting skills in our nation (it’s really hard on the children).

North Carolina doesn’t screen teachers = 3 years of abuse for a child & a 30 year prison sentence for the offender.

America’s sex industry thrives of foster children and many states still blame the 13 year old sex slave for a crime.

Our infant mortality rate has been off the scale below other industrialized nations for many years and violence against children fills our newspapers and media airwaves. Add to that the under-reporting of child abuse – the three million reports represent 12 million abused children every year not the six million calculated by including the 150 million families with 0 to 2 children.

U.S. children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from a gun than their peers in 28 other industrialized nations and 32 times more likely to die from a gun homicide

American newborns are also dying because they are sent home with drug addicted mothers. 20,000 two year olds were proscribed psychotropic medications in 2014. Both Johnson and Johnson and Glaxo Welcome paid billions in fines for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on children (and there are thousands of cases pending. 1/3 of America’s foster children are medicated by Prozac and other powerful antipsychotic drugs.

We also expel more children from daycare and early childhood programs (for violence and behavior problems) than any other nation.

Child protective services are under appreciated, under trained, and under resourced in almost every state with little understanding by state legislators about the core issues. These problems will not improve until we have begun a more open and honest conversation about them.

Euphemizing and obfuscating keeps people from getting too upset (or involved).

I challenge you to read just halfway down on last month’s sad stories page and share it with at least one other person.

After all, things could change if somebody starts talking about these critical children’s issues(why not you?)

All adults are the protectors of all children.

Details

Improving the Process of Child Protection & Saving LIves

This article by Safe Passage for Children explains how 5 of the the 18 MN children killed by their caregivers in the last 18 months were known to local law enforcement but apparently not to child protection services (and what needs to change to fix that).

In my own experience, a seven year old girl was prostituted for years during which the police had been to the house 49 times and only removed the child on the last call because the little girl tried to kill her sister in the presence of the police.

Details

Minnesota Child Protection News For March 2016

March 20, 2016. Princeton, MN.

Michael S. Gunderson sentenced for two counts of felony child neglect after his two sons (aged 2 and 3) were hospitalized for severe malnutrition.

http://www.startribune.com/jail-for-dad-who-left-alone-his-starving-2-and-3-year-old-boys-in-filthy-home/372830791/

March 12, 2016. Red Wing, MN.

Sammy Antonio White sentenced to 13 years in prison for physical and sexual child abuse spanning two years.

http://www.republican-eagle.com/news/crime-and-courts/3985166-red-wing-man-gets-13-years-abuse-case

Details

March Sad Stories (2016 KARA reporting)

MN: Research Shows Washburn Center for Children Treatment has Significant Impact on Children’s Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health (Press release)
Business Wire – March 10, 2016
A new report by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota shows that social, emotional and behavioral health services provided by Washburn Center for Children have a significant impact on children’s well-being and quality of life. Report: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj98_Hw-rjLAhXswYMKHUxfB6sQFggjMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcascw.umn.edu%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F01%2FWashburnReport.pdf&usg=AFQjCNF1Jg93AdPczwNODix0UEeVhwO1kQ
http://investor.biospace.com/biospace/news/read?GUID=31701794

MN: Helping doctors prevent and detect child abuse: ‘No bruise in an infant is normal’
Star Tribune – March 14, 2016
The Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis has received a $2.5 million grant to detect and prevent child abuse, with a new program to help doctors and nurses in the difficult task of differentiating accidental injuries from abuse.
http://www.startribune.com/helping-doctors-prevent-and-detect-child-abuse/372000041/

Details

Recent MN Child Abuse In The News (would daycare or crisis nurseries have prevented these sad stories?)

1.16.16 Minneapolis, Reggie Delaine Harper pleads guilty to intentional murder of 23 month old infant son because the baby was crying (Reggie had been reported at least 3 times for prior child abuse).

1.8.16 Minneapolis Father arrested in assault of 21 month old Rae’Ana Hall

1.6.16 Ramsey County, Austiin Gustafson pleads guilty to killing 3 month old

1.5.16 Minneapolis, 22 month old Rae’Ana Hall in critical condition with life threatening injuries (broken ribs, fractured pelvis and head injuries apparentlyh the cause of a strong force) while in the care of her father.

1.5.16 MN Vikings Adrian Peterson reflects on violent death of his 2 year old son, beating his boy and violence in his own life. USA Today

1.4.16 St Cloud 22 month old Billy Rebel Chapman Died of multiple blunt-force injuries & being investigated as a homicide. Star Tribune

12.30.15 Blooming Prairie MN Cory Stucky Charged in alcohol related manslaughter death of 8 week old son Myles Stucky.

Details

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…

Details