A recent study indicates that up to 80% of children aging out of foster care are leading dysfunctional lives. A Minnesota judge has provided me the Prozac, Ritalin, and other psychotropic medication prescriptions taken by children in her courtroom (most of them under ten years old) and it points at one of the key issues thay might explain why so many youth leaving the foster care program find it hard to cope with life.Details
More importantly, supporting day care for disadvantaged children is the right thing to do for all Minnesota’s kids.
In a public meeting at Hamline, Rolnick lamented that this ‘no brainer’ idea is overshadowed at the Capitol by wasteful sports stadiums (and cries for lower taxes*).
More of us need to raise our voices for children if there is going to be a change in public policy toward the weakest and most vulnerable among us (children have no voice but ours in this political system).
* authors words
At that time in Minnesota there were 15 child psychiatrists in the entire state (population about 4 million) and the student to counsellor ratio in MN high schools was 900 to 1.
As a child advocate (long time guardian ad Litem) I strongly feel the need for mental health therapy for those who need it. The children I work with have been severely traumatized and need adequate attention paid to their needs.
A few weeks ago I listened to Larry Rosenstock from High Tech High in San Diego talk about his inner city high schools that send one hundred percent of their graduates onto college. It is real, it is achievable, and it is simple in how it works. Educators and students are given ample…Details
People respond to money. Most of us can’t grasp the long-term costs to the community of a child born into a dysfunctional family that never has the opportunity to develop the social skills necessary to lead a healthy life. The ability to learn, play well with others, and live in society is not delivered by the stork.Details
Because the waiting list for subsidized daycare is one year into the future for the father of the children I represent (as a county guardian ad-Litem) there is a good chance that his two small children will be taken from him by the county and adopted by someone he has never met.
It is also possible that he may not be able to visit his children if they are adopted.
And most of all, how we can become comfortable being “the voice” for At Risk Children in our communities.
I have delusions about how to be helpful to CDF for Item B.
Half of an experience like this is meeting so many smart and committed people from every corner of the country. We can learn so much by just sitting next to someone from Missouri, Chicago, or even St. Paul.
The nice lady from Missouri understood why her state was getting such terrific results from their Juvenile Justice system. She could have taught us some very important things (but she was not on the agenda).Details
The energy Connie brings to her mission is something to witness. There are many others just like her, who for years have worked daily to bring positive change into the lives of troubled children.Details
I’m now hated by one of the children I was best friends with as a guardian ad-Litem. She wants to be reconnected with her mother (which I agree with) and have her younger siblings moved back into her mother’s care (which I don’t agree with). This will be my fourth court battle with her mother…Details
Only ten percent of the citations issued in Hennepin County to people of color are prosecuted (90% are dismissed). 44% of African American men living in Hennepin county were arrested in 2001 (without any duplicate arrests). At least six major cities in America have Black male unemployment rates of between 40% and 50% and ex felon rates of between 50% and 60%. There are over 600,000 felons leaving prison each year in America. Minnesota ranks behind only Milwaukee in racial disparity within our courts and prisons (Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas have better records than Minnesota).Details
This week I was introduced to Free Arts, an organization that gives painting, dancing, singing, acting and other active Arts participation to abused and neglected children. I’ve talked with University professors about the ‘one thing’ at risk children can put passion into without fear of rejection. This is a wonderful program directed by a passionate…Details
Recommended parenting TechniquesTo improve Attachment The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) recently released findings that are endorsed by the American Psychological Association regarding Reactive Attachment Disorder and attachment therapies. A task force formed by APSAC reported that there are many non-controversial interventions designed to improve attachment quality that are based on…Details
The following is my synopsis of the Minnesota Medical Associations March 2006 article on Child Maltreatment by Dr. David McCollum. It’s meant for medical professionals, but I found it very well written and understandable; (the article) http://www.mmaonline.net/publications/MNMed2006/March/clinical-mccollum.htm Dr. McCollum clearly articulates the relationship between childhood abuse and a lifetime of physical and mental health issues.…Details
Economic Security was the topic of the most recent Hamline University Dialogue ((4/20/06). It was remarkable to hear Art Rolnick (Fed Reserve Board Chairman), Chris Farrell (Chief Economics correspondent American RadioWorks), and Jenny Keil (Associate Professor of Management and Economics at Hamline) relate the economic security of our nation to the education and well being…Details
From a legal perspective the most under-protected persons in America are sexually abused children.
One study indicated that 11% of judges and 51% of prosecuting attorneys admitted that they had deliberately confused the child (witness) during the proceedings.
What this means in practice, is that the nine-year old girl sitting on the stand in the courtroom is being bullied by intense and deliberately confusing cross-examination about her abuse.
Everyone at the sysmposium agreed that children are not mentally capable of undergoing adult type cross examination, but it is clear that this still happens in many cases.Details
Boston’s Catholic Charities to halt adoptions (Star Tribune 3.11.2006) because of the churches concern with sexuality issues. There are not nearly enough loving adoptive homes for the multitude of waiting children. Because of budget cuts, war, and some would argue, misplaced priorities, state and federal programs to help at risk children are in jeopardy all…Details
My family has a one-hundred year history of chronic alcoholism and some drug abuse. I have had friends and family with schizophrenia, and relatives with other serious mental health issues. Many of my friends have suffered from depression. I have attended multiple funerals for suicides that were my workmates and friends. Does it help anyone…Details
Mom (Carol) was in court today with her daughter (Ann) even though mom’s parental rights were terminated seven years ago. The social workers and I thought that there might be a mutual benefit for mother and daughter to reattach (supervised visits with a therapist) after all these years because Ann was such a mess and…Details
State must make early childhood investments a priority KELLY DORAN During a speech in Hong Kong near the end of his China trade mission late last year, Gov. Tim Pawlenty expressed his amazement at the “scope” of China’s rise to economic superpower status. Then, in an apparent moment of sober revelation, Pawlenty reportedly proclaimed that…Details
Retired teacher Carolyn Light Bell’s Star Tribune article today has brought me to reflect on the rich Minneapolis Public School education I received and how it helped me to build a terrific life. Without my public school education, I would have been one more low-skilled worker in a nation with a $6/hour minimum wage and…Details
The following is one of my best of all times policy making efforts I have ever encountered. It was a note from MaryJane Westra from Fergus Falls MN; Greetings, Mike and Happy New Year! The hour really flew by (our radio interview with Ember Reichgott Jung). I wanted to tell you about what we did…Details
Yesterday, (December 29th,2005) I had the opportunity to speak on Ember Reichgott Jung’s radio show* on the topic of Invisible Children. It was a terrific conversation that has further convinced me that there exists a core issue that must be addressed before meaningful change can take place. It is that people in positions of power…Details