It’s easy for people working with abused and neglected children to become cynical when they discover that five and ten year old state ward children are proscribed Prozac like drugs instead of receiving mental health care that would make them whole. It’s painful to be in the moment with a child that has suffered awful…
Today’s heartening Star Tribune article gave me hope that I’ve not had in decades for the saving of abused and neglected children from extended traumas and ruined lives.
“No longer will a child need to endure maltreatment before they get social services in Minnesota’s most populous county, an unprecedented step in the state”.
Thank you Task Force on Child Protection, Safe Passage For Children, Governor Dayton and all the legislators and supporters standing for the weakest and most vulnerable children in our community.
Additional funding for staff, reduced caseloads, responding to child abuse reports at all hours (including weekends) and focusing on the child’s well-being instead of the crisis mode required after traumatic abuse has been endured (usually for years) will make a huge difference in the lives of these kids.
By making services available to struggling families and insuring that very young children reported as abused receive face-to-face assessments and the help they need, we will be interrupting patterns of behavior that can ruin a child’s life forever and making their lives safer and happier.
The ACE’s (Adverse Child Experience) medical studies have proven the negative mental health outcomes of childhood trauma.
FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.
Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.
Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.
Volunteer to be a CASA guardian ad Litem,
Help KARA maintain this page; email@example.com (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)
All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children
When I began as a volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem, there were 34 Minnesota families on a waiting list for subsidized daycare. Today there are over 7000. Our prior Governor shifted those dollars into the general fund claiming that subsidized daycare had no value. Why even apply? Your child will be in high school by the time a space opens up.
Today’s Star Tribune hits on two of the most common realities in communities without adequate childcare;
Infants murdered by babysitting drunk boyfriends because working mom could not find affordable daycare (institutional daycare in MN is $14,000 a year). People earning minimum wages don’t take home that much annually. The number of children beaten, raped and murdered by drunk uncles hard to believe (read it here).
The commonality of women forced to leave the workforce because they cannot afford decent daycare hurts poor families, the economy and is a terrific injustice to women everywhere.
Today’s Star Tribune reporting on the civil rights lawsuit for abused children (by reporter Chris Serres) validates my belief that child rape and other crimes against children are the most ignored and cruelest reality in our community. We hate the conversation so we avoid it and children suffer continued awful traumas because of us.
I know far too many children that have suffered these crimes repeatedly over many years. All this because we don’t talk about child abuse unless the child dies and makes the news. Our overwhelmed and misunderstood child protection system is simply unable to provide change or justice until we have this talk.
With almost half the population of the U.S. (138M v 300M) Japan reported 33,308 cases of abuse reported in 2005 compared to about 3 million cases reported in the U.S.
Dear Safe Passage Advocate,
This is the final week of the legislative session and the two bills that will have the most benefit to children are still in play and being negotiated by the Governor and legislative leaders.
Let’s do everything we can to make sure funding for these priorities ends up in the final package.
Please call or email the Governor’s Office, your state Senator, and your state Representative now with the brief message below.
If you prefer to leave a phone message, an easy way to get phone numbers for your legislators is to send a text to #520 – 200 – 2223 with your zip code, you will receive numbers back for your state and federal representatives.
The Governor’s number is #651 – 201 – 3400.
CASAMN’s keynote speaker and honored guest Star Tribune investigative journalist Brandon Stahl, was surprised to come face to face with his biggest fan club.
Brandon has been so busy investigating and reporting on Minnesota’s child abuse, child death and child protection news that he was caught off guard by a room full of people
Traveling College Child Abuse – Child Protection Exhibit (for your campus activity space, library/museum)
KARA delivers to campus activity centers and departments a low cost, powerful visual display series of stories, graphics and news to build awareness and start discussion about the issues facing at risk children in your community. Six month lead time is projected presently. This display includes a menu of presentations and workshops and can be tailored to events and conditions in your community. Start this conversation on your campus.
Support this program directly (contact KARA for more info – firstname.lastname@example.org Campus Display in subject line)
MN has recently forcibly closed foster group homes in St Cloud and Buhl and housed state ward children in hospital rooms because there was no place else to put them.
How would it make you feel as a traumatized six year old to live in a hospital room because our community just does not have the money or concern to find you a home?
Not normal, not loved or of any value at all.
Think about becoming a volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem (or making a donation to a fund that gives foster children things that the state does not provide – make them more like your children
Volunteer: Be the voice for a child that doesn’t have one! (Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area OPPORTUNITIES)
One hundred and seventy five Hennepin County children are without a guardian ad litem today – WE NEED VOLUNTEERS.
Do you know any? Send this to a friend and share it with your social media.
With the response to recent reporting of child abuse and child death in MN, a corresponding increase of child abuse cases are entering the system & means that volunteers are badly needed.
As a longtime volunteer, CASA guardian ad litem and writer/reporter on child abuse I know how voiceless children are. Think about it, they don’t even know that what is happening to them is wrong.
I also know how common child sexual abuse is and how sex abuse traumas destroy childhoods and lasts forever. It is the most tragic and under-reported crime in America.
Yesterday I sat through a terrific class on self-defense developed for children about escaping from sexual predators.
The instructor presented powerful information that will save pain and violence for kids in the class before and even after they enter adulthood.
About half of all women experience sexual violence in their life and about one fifth of men.
As a CASA guardian ad litem I helped to remove fifty children from toxic homes where half of them had been sexually abused.
One two-year-old, several four-year old’s and the rest under ten – and most of them suffered daily for years before child protection became involved. I have witnessed again and again the long term effects of child sex abuse traumas.
I was crushed at the end of the presentation when the instructor flat out stated that she very deliberately allowed no opportunity for a child in her class to describe sexual violence already experienced because “I am a mandated reporter and you know what that means”.
How few opportunities a child has to tell someone and how likely the abuse is going to continue until they do tell someone that can help them.
What’s a five-year old to do?
Let’s not put ourselves out or get some of this on us is a big part of the problem.
ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN
SAFE PASSAGE FOR CHILDREN MN (Federal audit of MN child welfare shows inadequate metrics, resources, quality assurance & training)
If you live and Minnesota and are willing to make time for one trip a year to the Capital in St Paul to speak for a child, there is nothing more meaningful that you could do for at risk children than volunteer with Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota. The appointment with your state legislator/s is arranged by Safe Passage for Children and you are provided a brief outline of the key issues facing abused children for you to share with your legislator.
Meeting time is seldom over 15 minutes but that will be enough time for you to show commitment to children and share the most critical information available with someone who can make a difference in the lives of the children you are advocating for.
Your state legislators actually do listen to you and they care what you have to say. Without your 15 minutes of child advocacy, legislators have little insights into the issues facing abused and neglected children. After all, children have no voice in the homes they are raised in, the media or government (they can’t vote).
Thank you Safe Passage for another powerful day on the hill
All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children
Does Minnesota (your state here) want to know how its thousands of foster children are doing in school? Is there information available for people that care and want to see abused and neglected children at least get a chance to graduate from high school and lead a normal life?
The lack of transparency surrounding child abuse, child protection, foster care, drugging of very young children (Prozac, Ritalin, Zoloft…) indicates that while we talk big about valuing children in our community, we don’t care enough to want to know what their needs are.
If we knew that 80% of youth aging out of foster care were leading dysfunctional lives (last study of ten years ago), that 48% of state ward children are being forced to take psychotropic medications (true in Florida today) or that 4 MN counties screened out 90% of child abuse calls (true at the time of 4 year old Eric Dean’s murder by his step mother), then some concerned citizen, politician or administrator somewhere might be outraged enough to lobby for change.
Until information by our institutions becomes public, the problem simply does not exist and no one appears to care enough to see these awful things change.
Cudos to Minnesota for turning the child endangerment model into a genuine child protection model. It’s a great first step.
Three hundred years ago, an Irish Minister wrote an explosive satire that was misinterpreted by many readers of his day (printed in its entirety below).
In a gruesome and widely read logical argument, Jonathan Swift clearly articulated a plan that would relieve the suffering of Irish families and their youngest children by selling babies to the English to be eaten (in a stew that he included the recipe for).
Back in the day, these writings were the modern equivalent of you tube or a longer version of Twitter and consumed voraciously by all who could read (or read them to others).
Public policy of the era treated the Irish more like animals than people and Irish children were doomed to lives of crime, prostitution, and abject poverty.
While a satire, Swift’s underlying argument was the completely serious view that death might be preferable to children doomed to disease, crime, prostitution, & the horrid cruelties suffered by abandoned children of his time.
His writings provide a painful comparison to the data and media stories that identify the most vulnerable citizens of today’s America.
A very smart person that I consider a friend suggested that the sad story of Florida’s foster care system (in the blog article just prior to this one) is not comparable to the state of foster care in my state of MN. Suggesting that things are fine in MN’s foster care system. Nothing to see here, let’s talk about something else.
Dee Wilson delivered the Casey Foundations report on child protection in MN and softly stated that our group home facilities were grossly unable to deal with the level of trauma and behavioral problems that these overwhelmed homes were experiencing.
Just a week ago MN closed the group home in St Cloud MN because of many violations over many years.
That home allowed kids to bang their heads against walls to the point of concussions, facial injuries and head trauma along with forced sex in the presence of staff.
Don’t blame the staff*. It’s the management and the people making the rules. It is always the management that determines the wage, the training and the supervision that will be in place in every business endeavor. It’s always the policy makers that determine the oversight and resources available to the homes providing the service. These things are made extremely clear in the Florida video.
To expect low waged and undertrained people to manage children traumatized by years of abuse now being managed by a cold and distant state is just unworkable.
This is the most powerful piece I have seen about foster care. Although it is on Florida’s system, it represents much of what happens throughout our nation today. Please share it widely as this is important information for millions of children that suffer these failings every day in our nation.
The password is foster
KARA encourages you to send us your child protection documentaries and videos for consideration on this site.
All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children
There are a lot of injuries, a lot of abuse. The most significant thing is the psychological death of so many of these kids. Kids are being destroyed every day, destroyed by a government-funded system set out to help them.
As a medical professional you have taken an oath to do no harm, but there are ways in which you can hurt your patients without even recognizing you are doing so. What seems to you as a simple exam may cause injury to those who have been victimized by someone’s touch. This is a subject that we, survivors of sexual violence, have been meaning to discuss with you for some time now, but your authority can be more intimidating than you may know. I am also unsure if you are aware just how much power you, as a physician, hold and to the extent that you affect the lives of all of your patients. Your interactions with us travel much deeper than the physical core.
The relationship between patient and doctor is also mental, built on trust, understanding, and the security of knowing that your doctor has your well-being at heart. We, as your patients, entrust in you the most intimate parts of our bodies and our lives. But this trust has to be earned, and it is much harder for us patients who have been so severely violated. The intent of this letter is not to in any way criticize your work as a
As a long time volunteer County CASA guardian ad Litem it has been hard to comprehend the explosive growth of child abuse in my lifetime. This study (lead author Hyunil Kim PhD Student at the Brown School at Washington University St Louis) published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health is troubling on several levels.
First, to reach numbers this high by only including reports of child abuse that met County standards for a case to be investigated, indicates that this already high number (37% overall & 53% for Black Children) is possibly even higher
This combination of a profit-hungry private prison and a bad law that allows too many teenagers to enter the adult justice system has created a public safety crisis in Mississippi.
Of the children I’ve worked with as a guardian ad-Litem, a high percentage of them have been sexually abused. I have seen the horror of child sex abuse and how 10 or 25 years later, a troubled being still fighting the darkness every day.
Child sex abuse may be the most under-reported crime in America. It could also be the most under-treated horror in America. As a guardian ad-Litem, my first visit to a hospital suicide ward to visit a four year old girl that had been horribly abused was never made public, or when I worked with the seven year old that had been prostituted, or any of the family members that practiced child sex abuse.
30.2 % of America’s Youth Arrested Before Their 23rd Birthday (25% of us are state wards & special needs people)
Add this to the fact that American youth (as young as 11) are routinely charged as adults (25% nationally) and that cities around the nation arrest extremely high percentages of their minority populations (in 2001 Hennepin County – Minneapolis MN) arrested 44% of it’s adult Black Men – no duplicate arrests/58% of those men were rearrested for a second crime within two years making Minneapolis the Jail & Prison capital of the world.
Many states have funded their prison and jail systems at far greater rates of increase than their schools, daycare, or health systems, either of which could reduce the stresses driving the extreme growth in crime and courts.
A pathological lack of empathy is driving parts of our political body and ensures that generation after generation of dysfunctional families will continue to maintain the statistical truth that the U.S. has five percent of the world’s population and twenty five percent of the world’s prison population.