These articles are from the ACES Connection from April 2016 (Adverse Childhood Experiences Daily Digest) Read the rest of this entry →
Saint Helena: Child abuse on St Helena ‘covered up by Foreign Office’ admits government
International Business Times – January 04, 2014
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been forced to admit it made an “erroneous” report to the United Nations in which it denied the South Atlantic island of St Helena had problems with child abuse.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/child-abuse-st-helena-covered-by-foreign-office-admits-government-1481796 Read the rest of this entry →
David is a KARA board member, former CASA guardian ad Litem and was a public policy maker on children’s issues in Europe for ten years. He is now living and writing in Aitkin MN. I found his recent response to a reader in the Aitkin newspaper very enlightening. I hope you do too;
If we just had the average infant mortality in Western Europe, about a 1000 infants a month would avoid death. Read the rest of this entry →
Since April of 2014 Flint children have been poisoned with diarrhea like water infused with lead and other toxins (Flint water has twice the toxicity the EPA classifies as toxic waste) in the face of scientific evidence, political backlash and community outrage with nothing but misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance from the Governor’s office (all 8000 of Flints children).
Flint needs disaster relief from the EPA, CDC and Army Corps of Engineers to stop the State sponsored child abuse that poisoned the children of Flint Michigan.
Elected officials need to be made aware that what happened in Flint was wrong and the people in charge made public, made to resign and be punished. Sign Michael Moore’s petition on Facebook to let Michigan’s Governor know that what he has done to Flint’s children is a crime.
If Michigan State found that you knowingly poisoned your children over an extended period of time you would be guilty of second degree felony child abuse)*
Michigan Penal Code, section 750.136b:
“A person is guilty of child abuse in the second degree if…the person knowingly or intentionally commits an act likely to cause serious physical or mental harm to a child,” Michigan Penal Code, section 750.136b states. “[This] is a felony punishable by imprisonment for a first offense of not more than 10 years…[and] for a second or subsequent offense not more than 20 years.”
ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN
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Updates on Flint Michigan’s Poisoned Children below Read the rest of this entry →
I’m very pleased to know that the head of Hennepin County Commissioners Jan Callison showed genuine anger and concern when she found out* that Social workers weren’t available on weekends for abused and neglected children and that she directed the department to “fix it”. Note that it is departmental management making bad policy and not problematic workers at the core of this issue.
The child protection system should be structured in the best interest of the children who need it and not just to accommodate workers or institutions. It is a problem.
Too many policy makers and politicians are putting the interests of America’s youngest (voiceless and nonvoting) citizens on the back burner to the detriment of children, young families and our communities.
By many indicators (child poverty, teen pregnancy & STDs, crime & education) U.S. youth will be less healthy, educated or well off as their parents. Comparing these same indicators in other developed nations the results are very different and not in our favor.
For people my age, the U.S. was always a leader among the developed nations in health, quality of life, education, child well-being. Not so any more. America’s public policies have become less compassionate & much more punitive to where we now have 5% of the world’s population & 25% of its prison population. There were a stunning 13 million prison and jail releases last year alone. Read the rest of this entry →
One Child, One Therapist/An innovative program partners foster children with therapists for as long as they’re needed, providing a stability otherwise missing
When child psychologist Norman Zukowsky first met him, 6 1/2-year-old “William” had already lived through more hardship and trauma than many people experience in a lifetime.
He was born exposed to drugs and alcohol,one of three children of a drug-addicted mother who lived in an unheated garage with no cooking or bathroom facilities.
Child welfare reports suggest that the children were physically abused, exposed to sexual behavior and often went without food or clothing. Eventually, William was
removed from his mother’s care only to be placed with a relative who scarred his chest beating him with a belt. Read the rest of this entry →
A New York Times article has identified that almost 20,000 prescriptions for antipsychotic medicines were written in 2014 – to children 2 and younger (many still in cribs). A shortage of child psychiatrists is partially blamed.
These powerful mind altering chemicals are just one generation removed from Thorazine. To use them like candy for babies and 3 year old children is dangerous.
This Mercury News video series on foster care children provides a stunning insight into the growing use of unproven and dangerous medicines given to state ward children.
MN DHS in June of 2014 ended physchiatric consultations for high-dose ADHD and SGA drugs for children over 3 years old.
Big pharma has been fined billions of dollars for criminally promoting these drugs for use by children. Johnson & Johnson paid 3 billion for the “illicit promotion of Rispererdal” and is still defending thousands of cases in court today. This is just one example of the depth and scope of big pharma’s continued willingness to make money at the expense of vulnerable children. This CASA guardian ad-Litem has too many stories of very young state ward children forced to take these drugs and the side effects they cause. 92% of foster children using psychotropic medicines get them for unaccepted reasons.
No one questioned whether foster child Kendrea Johnson was on psychotropics when she hung herself and left a note. Her social worker did not know that she was suicidal and seeing a therapist at the time she killed herself.
There was no question why 7 year old foster child Gabriel Myers hung himself – his suicide note clearly articulated that he killed himself because he hated being forced to take Prozac.
All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children – this includes voting for child friendly public polices like mental health access, crisis nurseries and quality daycare (tell your friends).
A federal law requiring hospitals to report drug addicted moms to child protection services is largely ignored. This heartbreaking series by Reuters about the preventable deaths of drug-addicted babies ends includes ideas that can solve the problem. Reuters filed more than 200 Freedom of Information Act requests and reviewed almost 6000 child fatality reports to identify these cases.
Only 7 states specifically tracked referrals of newborns in drug withdrawal and only half the number of cases that were diagnosed were tracked in those states. Most states require reporting only babies exposed to illegal drugs – but prescription drug addiction is growing to become an even larger problem.
In 2005, 598,000 emergency drug related admissions included legal pharmaceutical overdoses. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twelve to twenty times more likely to use illegal street drugs than those that don’t abuse prescription drugs.
Your anguish at the pain and suffering of children is laudable and this site great. And these hearings only show the safety net is torn and clearly failing children, isn’t time to broach the subject of parenting while asserting the “rights of the Child?”
Thank you for the kind words and very good question – it gets to the heart of what KARA is. Read the rest of this entry →
This week county social services directors and the Department of Human Services (DHS) presented a plan to legislators that would significantly weaken reforms approved by the Governor’s Child Protection Task Force. Items they recommended dropping include:http://safepassagemn.com/counties-propose-rolling-back-child-protection-reforms/
October 31, 2015 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Foster Care, Grandparents & Kinship, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen
For past months, click here
AR: Arkansas’s child welfare system discriminates against relatives of neglectful or abusive parents
Arkansas Times – October 29, 2015
When parents fail their children, relatives often want to step up. But Kimberlee Herring and Karisa Hardy say the system shut them out, and instead placed three kids into a home where they were abused.
http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/arkansass-child-welfare-system-discriminates-against-relatives-of-of-neglectful-or-abusive-parents/Content?oid=4144320 Read the rest of this entry →
Prairie Care’s new 50 bed hospital for Children’s mental health is a tiny step in providing badly needed services for the traumatized children passing through Minnesota institutions.
HCMC alone sees 800 to 1000 emergency psychiatric visits each month and many of them are traumatized children. I’m guessing that an equal number of terrifically disturbed youth get no help at all in our state because there are no children’s mental health hospitals where they live.
The disparity between available beds and needy children will remain huge with this addition but it’s a nice thought that it signals a trend towards valuing the well being of the youngest and most vulnerable among us.
Would six year old foster child Kendrea Johnson have hung herself last year by her jump rope if child protection services had identified her level of trauma and provided access to the most current pediatric mental health care? As it was, her social worker did not know she was seeing a therapist and the police and medical examiner proclaimed that six year old children were incapable of suicide (little do they know).
Would Jeff Weise have killed all those people and himself at Red Lake a few years ago if someone had read his blog or heard his cries for help and brought him to Prairie Care, Washburn Center or other advanced treatment facilities? His mother told him she “wished he’d never been born” and his homicidal/suicidal blog writings were ample warning that the boy needed help. After the tragedy, Red Lake built a mental health facility in town.
Michael Swanson’s mom tried desperately for years to find help for her terribly disturbed son prior to his killing of Sheila Myers & Vicky Bowman-Hall – two random and innocent Iowa grocery clerks.
In my experience as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem, I had many personal, painful encounters with suicidal very young children. My first visit to a four year old state ward girl was at the suicide ward of Fairview hospital. A reason for my becoming a guardian ad-Litem was the tragedy a dear friend lived after adopting a homicidal state ward boy.
So many stories (including my video interview with mayoral candidate/County Commissioner Don Samuels) of helpless children trying to kill themselves often five years old and on psychotropic medications have hardened me to the grim reality that my community finds this topic too painful to address head on. Instead we live with the awful effects traumatized children carry with them into adulthood.
People like DR Read Sulik at Prairie Care and Steve Lepinski at the Washburn Center for Children’s Mental Health well know that the need for their services far exceeds their ability to provide the thousands of needy children in this state a safe place to address their mental health issues.
They also know that until our community has this painful conversation about the critical need for children’s mental health services, school failures, horrid crimes, full prisons and dangerous neighborhoods will remain the rule, not the exception in our communities.
All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children
For many years, we have fed younger and younger people into our Criminal Justice System and gotten the same results over and over again as recidivism rates approach 70% (Juvenile Justice recidivism is not tracked in 11 states and narrowly tracked elsewhere).
Evidence overwhelmingly indicates that abused and neglected children Read the rest of this entry →
There is no shortage of disturbing stories about violent children & authorities using violent means to control them. Today, the U.S. expels more children from daycare than any other industrialized nation and the levels of violence in our schools is frightening and harmful to all of us.
There is nothing more disturbing than watching a video of an armed 200 pound police officer twisting the arms of a 50 pound special needs child into a painful behind the back steel handcuffed position as the boy cries uncontrollably in his classroom, unless it is reading about the St. Louis Sheriff’s deputy tasering an 11 year old boy and threatening to sodomize him (Sheriff Mulch “nothing out of the ordinary Read the rest of this entry →
This recent Star Tribune article by James Eli Shiffer hits on a touchstone to light the fire needed to fix child well-being, racial disparity, schools, juvenile justice and public safety in our community.
“Trying to get information out of the government can feel like standing in a Soviet bread line” gives the reader a sense that the bread will be there, maybe stale or moldy but there will be bread to take home if you wait long enough (which is not true regarding getting information out of the government about child protection issues).
You can wait all day, all week, all year and never find out about how many five and six year old children were on drugs, were sexually molested, tried to commit suicide or were grievously injured by their parents or caregivers last year (the information exists).
Nor will you have access to the necessary paperwork made available to Brandon Stahl at the Star Tribune in his investigation into the death of Eric Dean without a major newspaper filing a freedom of information act and spending thousands of dollars to placate a County that wants no part of your investigation (8 children have died under similar circumstances since Eric Dean’s death). Read the rest of this entry →
The only positive is that the media and public attention absent (for decades) children murdered by their caregivers is now making front page news & driving the Governor to speak out and form a task force to study child protection issues. Read the rest of this entry →
It was the final question and statement from the Legislative Committee after my testimony about generational child abuse and the “real costs” of under-funding Child Protection and Children’s Mental Health at the State House yesterday that caught me off guard and made it difficult for me to fall asleep last night. Read the rest of this entry →
Today’s Star Tribune included 2 powerful articles that if read together provide an alarming insight into how misreported and mishandled the information about suicide, suicidal ideation, and psychotropic medications is (and people are dying every day because of it). Read the rest of this entry →
Invisible Children readers know that psychotropic medications, especially “antipsychotics,” often are used to sedate and restrain problematic people, children especially—and not just any children, but foster children particularly, and most of all, foster children in so-called “group homes.” Read the rest of this entry →
This series of videos report on the dramatic increase in the forced use of psychotropic medications by children in California’s foster care system is worth watching and sharing widely. The use of these drugs on very young children may very well may be an epidemic in every state.
I have personally watched the explosive use of these drugs over the past twenty years in Minnesta’s child protection system and have talked with professionals (including judges, educators, families & service providers) who are very concerned with the dangers of using these powerful anti-psychotic medications in place of mental health treatments for abused and neglected children.
I’m always pleased to find outspoken observers in the mental health discussion. Today’s Star Tribune article begins to articulate the gaping hole in our communities (and the nation’s) approach to mental health. Much like child suicide and child sex abuse, we have avoided the mental health topic leading to the worst case of overbuilt prisons, unsafe streets, and terribly overwhelmed schools of any industrialized nation.
Senator Barb Goodwin told Abby Simons of the Star Tribune what a sad state it is when public advocates for mental health don’t speak as urgently for mental health services as the service providers forced to deal with mentally unhealthy people. Is it because the public doesn’t know how damaged abused and neglected children are that they don’t understand what happens to them and the people living with and among them? I refuse to believe that it is a lack of compassion.
Can you imagine what it’s like to be a juvenile/law enforcement officer, teacher, or other caregiver/service provider choosing between personal safety and protecting a disturbed child? I watched a 6th grade teacher, a man about my size whack a young girls head on a banister (hard) as she was trying to gouge his eyes out and biting his face. What college teaches defense tactics to grade school teachers?
My deepest sympathy lies with the birth / foster / adoptive parents unable to obtain mental health services Read the rest of this entry →
|On April 14th four bills will be heard before the Health and Human Services Committee of the California State Legislature that improve oversight and monitoring of psychotropic medication treatment for children in foster care. We are writing to request your support. Will you or your organization help? Please send your support letters by end of day April 6th for timely submission to the committee members by April 7th, the deadline.Please click here to find sample letters on our blog to create your own letter of support. On the blog you will find directions for sending the support letters to us and we will ensure the letters are delivered to the appropriate legislative offices.
The bill package takes a comprehensive approach that will strengthen the ability of judges, caregivers, child welfare workers, and other professionals to ensure safe and appropriate treatment in the spectrum of wellness and trauma informed health approaches with the aim of reducing the inappropriate uses of psychotropic medications.
Below are the bill numbers linked to the language and a short description of each bill’s purpose:
SB 253) Strengthen the court authorization process to provide clear and convincing evidence for the treatment and require evidence that non-pharmacological treatments have been tried prior to medications
We appreciate all you do for foster children and youth and hope to have your support in ensuring safe care for kids.
Today’s Star Tribune indicates the “colossal failure” (Governor Dayton’s words) of child protection in the death of Eric Dean after fifteen reports of child abuse by mandated reporters is still causing suicide, torture and death to afflict Minnesota children today.
Just a few months ago, six year old Kendrea Johnson’s social worker was unaware of her suicidal and homicidal talk before she died by hanging herself with jump rope.
Today’s Star Tribune has two disturbing articles of worst case abuse and murder suffered by two, three, and four year old Minnesota children;
Four year old Key’Ontay Miller-Peterson’s mother found guilty in the repeated assaults and eventual murder of her son Key’Ontay Miller-Peterson.
The two year old and three year old children of Michael Gunderson of Princeton were starved to the point of eating feces when discovered by the Sheriff’s Department.
I want to believe that we are better than this as a community.
After all, we have money for a billion dollar stadiums and equally expensive transit system. It’s not that we are short the money – it appears to be how we value sports and mobility over children.
“What we do to our children, they will do to society” Pliny the Elder, 2500 years ago.
Reporting Child Abuse in MN Reporting Child Abuse Nationally; 800-422-4453
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He spoke of how city leaders don’t take his repeated warning about the growing body of experience his community is having with troubled children & families. These leaders debate his stated daily reality for his police officers as if it were a small thing.
Like the growing bloc of dysfunctional families with serious mental health and coping problems and how this population is stressing the police force, courts and public welfare systems and how that added stress flows into the daily lives of the city/county workers themselves leading to serious problems of failure in school and failure of child protection systems and the high rate of worker turnover in education and social work. And then there’s the costs to the County and diminished quality of life to the citizens.
We both see that there is far too much training that goes into the difficult work of teaching and social work to see turnover rates growing as fast as they are. No one likes poor graduation rates or high crime rates. Unsafe neighborhoods are no good for anyone.
His view is that the elasticity of our systems is not limitless – it will break at a point and become a major social ill impacting our entire civil society making life painful for all of us.
It is precisely the functionality of our institutions that have made life in this nation as attractive as it has been.
For a growing number of people conditions are getting worse and this includes working people forced to deal with a more problematic and behaviorally challenged population.
Dr Bruce Perry has thirty years of working with at risk children and speaking to audiences about the impact abused and neglected children are having on our communities. Eight years ago Dr Perry made the statement that 25% of Americans will be special needs people by the end of this generation – I think it may already be true today. After all, without counting the people on psychotropic medications unable to hold down jobs or lead productive lives, we now have 2.5 M citizens in our jails and prisons and over 7 M citizens on or recently on parole (people with criminal pasts have a very hard time finding work that will keep them off of welfare).
Psychotropic medications are impacting between 1/3 and 2/3 of the youth in child protection and juvenile justice. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz stated that “90% of the youth in juvenile justice have passed through child protection” – and more painfully, “The difference between that poor child and a felon, is about eight years”.
I failed to remind the Chief that Kathleen Long, author of the book ANGELS AND DEMONS (about the child protection system in California) holds that “American institutions are creating exactly what they were designed to stop”.
A thought I refer to frequently.
This conversation went like many prior conversations with other professionals dealing with dysfunctional families, abused and neglected children, and behaviorally troubled juveniles. We all see a desperate need for mental health services, crisis nurseries, therapeutic daycare, and education and resources for young families.
We also see the terrific stress on our workers and systems and the cost to our communities in money and quality of life and we agree that we will not arrest and incarcerate ourselves out of this sad and dangerous epidemic of dysfunctional families having their next generation of dysfunctional children and that breaking this cycle will save money and create happiness all around.
Today, social workers are blamed when children die in their care and teachers are blamed for failed schools. This approach is woefully inadequate and wrong. It redirects the conversation away from the real culprits behind this exponentially expanding catastrophe (I can use this word as Governor Dayton has in this topic).
It is becoming clear to some of us that few people outside the circle of worker bees immersed in the lives of at risk children have any idea of the depth and scope of this issue and that very little will change until they do.
Until one’s own child, grandchild, neighbor or friend is robbed, raped, beaten, shot dead or burgled, this isn’t a current issue. Instead of waiting to ask “why me” let’s all ask ourselves, what can I do to make life better for the at risk children in my community.
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At the end of a recent KARA presentation about child abuse and child protection in our community at a metro Kiwanis, a University Professor argued strongly that child protection was working “just fine” from his perspective.
This after I had just pointed out the lack of support, training, and resources for the courts and social workers and the terrible stories and results MN is currently experiencing. Governor Dayton called child protection in the death of 4 year old Eric Dean (after 15 ignored reports of child abuse) a “colossal failure”, MN ranks 47th in what we spend on child protection, and this professor lived just a few miles where a very young child was raped and murdered (18 month old Maplewood girl).
He did not seem to know that day care workers are paid less than food service workers in America and in the rest of the industrialized world day care workers are are required to have advanced degrees that include mental health training (and are paid better because of their training). He did not agree that more attention needed to be focused on at risk youth.
“Just fine” for him perhaps, not having to meet or deal with the traumatized two year old’s, and the never ending string of abused and neglected children that social workers and court personnel see day after day and year after year with too little resources and too big of a case load.
There is nothing fine about the statistical reality of state wards in child protection becoming state wards in juvenile justice and then state wards in criminal justice. There is nothing just fine about the amount of psychotropic medications being used on children and juveniles in the system, or the problems foster and adoptive parents must face everyday with the behavioral problems these kids bring with them into their homes and school.
The professors thinking goes a long way in explaining the absence of crisis nurseries, therapeutic day care, and other programs that would give kids safety and coping skills necessary for success in school and in life.
It saddens me greatly that an educated segment of our community knows so little about the sadness that exists for so many involved in child-well being and child protection that they are unable to identify and support the programs and policies that could address the problems and make life better for children, our schools, and communities.
help us BUILD KARA & spread the word)