America’s Children, Mental Health, Addiction, Medication

Children traumatized by violence and neglect have serious developmental disabilities that don’t go away with age. 80% of youth aging out of foster care are leading dysfunctional lives.

Adding to the 3 million children reported to child protection in America each year, are the 3.5 million children on stimulant and anti-psychotic medications. Recent studies indicate that almost half of U.S. youth have mental health issues. About 2/3s of the youth in juvenile justice are diagnosed with mental health problems; half of them have multiple, serious diagnosis.

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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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More About Four & Seven Year Old Suicides, Prozac & A Veterans Day Message

I’ve come to know many children in child protection taking psychotropic medications. The data on children in child protection on these drugs is also overwhelming (and a well kept secret). Four and seven year olds behaving in extremely dangerous ways and trying to kill themselves should be extremely rare in any civil society.

I did not find it rare among the children in my caseload in child protection.

America is way behind other advanced societies in dealing with mental health issues and it is killing poor vulnerable children and way too many veterans.

Goodbye Tom, you were a great friend and I will miss you.

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After Traumatic Event, Early Intervention Reduces Odds of PTSD in Children by 73 Percent

My experience in the CASA guardian ad-Litem program was impacted by the harsh realities that become part of an abused child’s life after experiencing the trauma of extended exposure to violence and deprivation. Their lives are damaged in a manner that makes it hard to make friends, learn in school, or lead a productive life.

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A Great Rally for Children In MN (Thanks Amy)

* Foster children are twice as likely as war veterans to develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder);
* 25% of U.S. youth in the Juvenile Justice System are tried as adults;
* 50-75% of U.S. youth in the Juvenile Justice System have a diagnosable mental illness;
* 25% of high school graduates in the United States are illiterate;
* Most states are growing prison spending much faster than higher education spending;
* firearms deaths of children in the U.S. are more than 10 times higher than all the other industrialized nations combined.

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Across Ages, Youth Substance Abuse & Programs That Work

* a mentoring program; pairing an adult over 55 years of age with each youth between ages 9 and 13. The mentor spends at least two hours per week with the child doing recreational activities, providing tutoring, counseling, and assistance with community service (Across Ages, 2010).

* each youth spends one to two hours every week performing community service.

* social competence training; 26 weekly lessons that teach cognitive and behavioral approaches to dealing with problems and decisions. In particular, these skills are applied to the prevention of substance abuse and high-risk sexual behavior.

* involvement in family activities; Across Ages hosts monthly events that engage the youth, their families, and their mentors to strengthen the relationships between the children and the adults in their lives (Across Ages, 2010).

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We’re Number 1, & that’s not good…

Bishop Gene Robinson draws attention to youth suicide & particularly that seven students in one Minnesota school district have taken their own lives, including three teens.

GLBT issues underly most of the suicide the Bishop writes about. The idea that life can be made so unbearable for children so young is incomprehensible unless you have been near someone living the nightmare.

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254 Children, 220,000 Crimes, 12 Months

Drug use and sale in American schools has been the highlight of much research. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University conducts a survey each year aimed at discovering trends in teenage drug use. The survey this year has identified a drastic increase in the percentage of children attending middle schools considered “drug-infested,” meaning that drugs are kept, used, or sold on school property. This year’s survey showed that 32 percent of middle school students were attending drug infested schools, compared to 23 percent in 2009.

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Rally To Restore Sanity

MN governor Tim Pawlenty said to Andy Dawkins and David Strand several years ago that “Children that are the victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem or the problem of the state of MN”.

That a major political party would make this a keystone of its platform indicates a gross misunderstanding of the most basic issues facing abused and neglected children. This shows a lack of compassion as well as a misunderstanding of the economics of failing to help children while they are young enough to make a difference in their behaviors and development.

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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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Abuse That Lasts Forever, Erin’s Law

Since then, I have witnessed very young children (under 7) try to kill themselves and seen others exhibit terrifying behaviors (starting fires, stabbing, etc) that I know to be a direct result of the abuse they have suffered.

A few of these children I have been in contact with for over ten years and I know that not a day goes by without them reliving the unspeakable acts that have made them who they are.

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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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Quality Of Life

There is little that comes easier for a sixty or seventy year old person when it comes to raising children.

The physical and mental demands made on grandparents by their younger charges are tremendous.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

From the rest of us, let’s see to it that they and the children they care for, get adequate help from our communities to make their tasks a little easier and more successful.

Happy Grandparents Day in advance.

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