Interviewing Abused Children in Front of Their Alleged Perpetrators Is Wrong (thank you Rich Gehrman & Safe Passage for Children)

May 17, 2016 in Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpowerMonday, Rich Gehrman told the Hennepin County Child Protection Oversight Committee that most of its time has been talking about change but not making change happen.

He also understands the impossible situation an abused child is in when asked questions about acts committed upon them by the person in the chair next to them.  For anyone not as strong as the person who committed the act, it is almost impossible to tell the truth or even any part of the truth.  In my experience after many years as a volunteer CASA guardian ad litem, abused children do not get discovered by child protection until the abuse has gone on for a very long time and their confusion and fear are horrendous.

Children often don’t even know that what is happening to them is wrong – but their body knows and their mind will soon know.

Rich is right, interviewing children in front of the people that caused the abuse is another kind of torture and it does not bode well for the child.

The good news from this Committee today is that finally, after all these years, abused children will receive services on weekends.  God knows,  abuse never takes a break on weekends.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

MN Mesabi Academy 64 Abuse Allegations Not Responded To (instead, staff transferred & a code of silence solved nothing)

May 11, 2016 in CASA, Crime and Courts, Foster Care, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

KoalaMy experience as a CASA guardian ad-Litem with privately held correctional facilities for MN boys leads me to believe this APM report (this link and below) on Kids Peace Mesabi Academy in Buhl MN.

On two occasions, my case child was sent to facilities that drove him to dangerous if not life threatening experiences.  The first time he (lets call him Al) was punished by a low level staffer and forced to stand outside on a ten degree night wearing only his T shirt and shorts.  The boy chose to leave and walked thirty five miles to a friends house and almost froze to death.

Read the Mesabi Academy story below;

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Read the rest of this entry →

April 2016 Sad Stories

May 10, 2016 in Adoption, Child Death, Foster Care, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

Kids At Risk Action (KARA)

Read April Sad Stories here; Read the rest of this entry →

KARA Readers Reminder

May 7, 2016 in Child Death, Foster Care, Grandparents & Kinship, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

hallwaykidFriends of KARA, we are not staffed to provide individual answers to the questions we receive from you.  My request of every reader is that you call your state representatives a few times a year to let them know just how difficult our child protection systems are and how much suffering there is because these institutions are not well understood, trained or resourced.  My apologies Troy New York –

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children Read the rest of this entry →

Sad Stories California – March & April 2016

May 7, 2016 in Adoption, Child Death, education, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

cheetah cub pulling tailKARA needs a volunteer/s to compile articles/stories about child abuse & child protection around the nation – KARA can provide the content.  5 hours per month per state – Know someone that might be interested?

 

CA: Board of Supervisors Looks to Potentially Alter Bypass of Family Reunification Services Policy Read the rest of this entry →

Monday May 9th, at 2 pm Central; Powerful KARA Radio Interview (Sarah Westall Show – Share This Widely)

May 7, 2016 in Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, KARA Events, Links To Audio, mike tikkanen speaking, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everSarah Westall’s serious research gives her chops to ask the hardest and most in depth questions diving deep into the heart of the matter she is investigating.

This interview is the best I have had in the almost two decades of speaking and writing for Kids At Risk Action.  Don’t miss it.

Share this interview with your connections – it will open their eyes to the depth and scope of child abuse and child protection in our communities (& make life better for at risk children).

Sarah Westall Interview

All Adults are the protectors of All Children

 

The Importance of Performance Measures (from Safe Passage for Children)

May 6, 2016 in Health and Mental Health, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

 

beautiful MN lake sceneFrom Safe Passage for Children today;

We often emphasize the importance of measuring outcomes for children. But performance measures are important too. They tell us current information about program operations.

The metrics currently on the Department of Human Services’ Dashboard Report
don’t cover enough parts of the system to give a well-rounded picture.

However a state committee is considering additional measures to show, by county,
the number and percentage of:

– Maltreatment reports screened out (not responded to)

– Reports screened in but assigned to the less rigorous Family Assessment
program instead of being investigated

We hope they also add the number of times:

– Individual children were reported

– Families were diverted to Family Assessment without an investigation

These measures will improve the public’s ability to understand how well the system
is functioning and to hold it more accountable.

Join the Discussion

 

 

Havoc In Texas Child Protection Services (Dallas News)

May 5, 2016 in Child Death, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

ChrysanthemumAccording to Dallas News, on March third 2016,  almost 6000 Texas children needing immediate contact and tens of thousands of children throughout the year, were not visited by CPS within the mandatory deadline for priority extreme cases (sexual abuse, infants neglected by drug-addled parents and other life threatening circumstances).

The federal government has warned Texas for more than a decade that it isn’t meeting standards for timely visits in abuse investigations and the under-reporting of child abuse deaths goes back many years.  Texas education statistics are still dismal (years after rejecting federal help for their schools).  A few years ago Texas ranked 50th in births to teen moms and uninsured children, 45th in child abuse deaths and 42nd in child welfare expenditures.

Caseworker turnover (57% per year) is on the rise because increased caseloads leave workers feeling overwhelmed and ineffective and  foster children are sleeping in CPS offices because there are no homes.  Texas is only one of many states facing the hese kinds of problems.  This lack of attention and concern for a communities infants and children is appalling and certainly more costly in the long run than the funding it would take to make these children safe and healthy.  Texas is only one of many states to turn children’s health, child protection and education into a political football.

Please don’t let our state ever look like Texas.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN (know anyone in Texas? Please share this – it might do some good)

Read the rest of this entry →

ACES Connection (articles from April)

May 2, 2016 in Health and Mental Health, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

babies best ever

These articles are from the ACES Connection from April 2016 (Adverse Childhood Experiences Daily Digest) Read the rest of this entry →

Child Abuse & Child Protection Around the World (January 2015)

April 30, 2016 in Adoption, Child Death, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

my monkey

Help KARA grow awareness and resources for at risk children around the world; Donate, buy KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN book and share these articles with your friends and networks.

 

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 →

by admin

Child Abuse & Child Protection Around the World (April 2016)

April 30, 2016 in Adoption, CASA, Child Death, education, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by admin

flaga

Help KARA grow awareness and resources for at risk children around the world; Donate a small monthly amountbuy KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN book and share these articles with your friends and networks.   If you like to write and research, submit your nation’s child abuse and child protection stories/articles – please use the format you see here and include a link to verifying data or the news source of record.  You may listen to or read the book on this site for FREE (but make a donation if you can). Read the rest of this entry →

Another Guardian ad-Litem Speaks (thank you David Strand)

April 22, 2016 in CASA, Child Death, David Strand, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everDavid 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 →

Mental Health, Prozac, Holding Pens, Children & Sheriffs – (why nurses, teachers, social workers & foster / adoptive parents need to speak out)

April 19, 2016 in CASA, Child Death, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

mn fall panorama leaves turnedToday’s Star Tribune article about hospitals without the capacity to deal with the surge in emergency psych visits relates directly to the sheriff’s (Washington, Ramsey and Hennepin Counties) threat to sue because their departments had become mental health service providers as a result of the state’s failing to honor the 48 hour rule.

It would be useful if more educators, social workers, police officers & public health nurses would speak up on this topic also.  The levels of suffering, violence and disruption caused by not addressing mental health in our community has lead to unmanageable public institutions and prisons larger (almost ten times larger per capita) than in other industrialized nations). Read the rest of this entry →

March Sad Stories (2016 KARA reporting)

March 16, 2016 in Adoption, Child Death, Crime and Courts, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

sunset costaricaThese stories about risk children have been gathered for the month of March 2016

Feel free to share this page, comment and send KARA stories & articles from your community, (info@invisiblechildren.org)

Read the rest of this entry →

Progress & Next Steps in County Child Protection (thank you SafePassageForChildren)

February 12, 2016 in Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

 

Today’s EBrief:

Progress and Next Steps in Hennepin County

 

This week the Hennepin County Oversight Committee reviewed efforts by child protection managers to implement recommendations in the Casey Report, which was critical of the program.

Progress was reported for example in rolling out a 24/7 child protection response, and adding screening and investigation staff.

In another part of this hearing, Casey staff presented a draft child protection ‘Practice Model’. While it identified child safety as the paramount responsibility of the program, much of the language – as Commissioner Mike Opat and others pointed out – echoed the old Family Assessment philosophy, which is weighted towards the needs and preferences of parents.

The final version of this practice model should reflect more clearly the priority that recent changes in state law and recommended practices gave to child safety and well-being.

 

Click to Comment

Think Again MN Feb 16 (includes KARA presentation)

February 10, 2016 in education, Events, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

THE IMPACT OF DOMESTIC ABUSE ON CHILDREN
Tuesday, February 16
6 p.m. Light Supper and Social 6:30 P.M. Program
Cafeteria, Hennepin Technical College, 9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, Map
RSVP on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1kWpPiG or to CarolWoehrer@usfamily.net Read the rest of this entry →

January Sad Stories (2016 KARA reporting)

January 30, 2016 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

children down hill having funEvery month Kids At Risk Action draws attention to the plight of abused and neglected children by gathering the stories of at risk children from around the nation.  You will find your community on this page.  Please share this page with your friends and networks to make this conversation come alive with the hope that we will do more if we know more.  Join KARA’s Facebook Page

Read the rest of this entry →

Violence Against Children & Policing

January 29, 2016 in CASA, Crime and Courts, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

best sharkThis morning’s Safe Passage For Children post about how police have put battered children back in the home because they like to keep families together reminds me of a CASA guardian ad Litem case where the mother’s boyfriend kicked a 7 year old girl so hard she went into convulsions & was sent to the hospital Emergency Room.  The police in that case sought safety for her and her siblings and involved Child Protection right away.

That girl had been sexually abused for four years (from 4 to 7) by this older violent man, my first visit to her younger year sister was at the suicide ward of the hospital & the 2 other children had problems so severe that they could not be together in foster care because of the things that happened when they were together.

The man who did these things to the children remained in the home for many years, and was never charged or made to answer for any of his crimes.  More than ten years later he was still sexually abusing children in the same home and he had never been mentioned in the justice system.

Children have no rights in the homes they live in, no access to safety other than our community efforts to keep children safe and no way to influence policy makers to improve the existing system.

The important & well written Safe Passage Article linked above includes a snapshot of how the rest of the industrialized world keeps children safe.

How about providing Social Worker, Educators, Police & Justice Workers sabbaticals or subsidized vacations in industrialized nations to experience other policies and practices for keeping children safe?  Do you have a better idea for more effective child protection in your community?

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children  Join KARA’s Facebook Page

The Administration That Poisoned the Children of Flint Michigan

January 20, 2016 in Crime and Courts, Events, Health and Mental Health, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpowerIt’s hard to believe that a political administration could go so far in negating the value of a city’s children as just happened in Flint Michigan.

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

share this with your friends and networks

Updates on Flint Michigan’s Poisoned Children below  Read the rest of this entry →

Child Death & Drugs (send KARA your stories)

January 18, 2016 in Child Death, education, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

babies best everAs a County guardian ad-Litem, I’ve become familiar with children as young as four, five & six trying to kill themselves.  Many of these children have been proscribed powerful psychotropic medications with way too little of the necessary mental health care required to keep them safe.

Today it’s time we learn about the growing problem of newborns dying after being sent home with mothers struggling with drug addiction.  This Reuters investigation starkly demonstrates that doctors are not alerting social services to thousands of infants living in toxic homes with addicts.  Every 19 minutes an American baby is born dependent on opioids.

KARA needs your help finding information on the topic (forward related local news & your stories); info@invisiblechildren.org

All Adults Are The Protectors Of All Children

Minneminds Policy Principles For Early Learning & Child Protection Strategy Work Group Recommendations

January 15, 2016 in education, Health and Mental Health, Links To Helpful Orgs by Mike Tikkanen

default-header2016 Policy Agenda Principles (MinneMinds) & child welfare improvements (from SafePassage for children).

We should all want this for Minnesota children;

Fully support Parent Aware to continue expansion of high quality early learning throughout Minnesota.  PRIORITY SUMMARY: The shortage of early childhood staff, particularly in Greater Minnesota, is a growing crisis not just for the early childhood sector but for employers broadly across the state.  The waiting list for subsidized day care used to be under fifty families – today it is over 7000 families (why is that?).  Center based young child & infant daycare in MN is over fourteen thousand dollars a year and way out of reach for low wage families.
Read the rest of this entry →

Children, Trauma & School (what’s it like to teach tortured children?)

January 15, 2016 in Adoption, Child Death, education, Foster Care, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

iceberg picToday’s Star Tribune article nails it.  Thank you Annie Mogush Mason for your clear explanation of how child abuse impacts schools.  Coping skills (learning skills) are not brought by the stork.  Add to that, the terrible things done to at risk children in the home, children bring fear & high anxiety into the classroom instead of the ability to sit still, play well with others or learn.

Teaching *traumatized children is different than teaching other students.  Way different. Read the rest of this entry →

The Ghost Of Christmas Future

December 29, 2015 in Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

birdwatching in MazatlanI’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 →

San Francisco Chronicle Article Rob Waters (it’s been 10 years and not much has changed)

December 17, 2015 in Health and Mental Health, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

hallwaykid
reprinted from Sunday, February 12, 2006 (SF Chronicle)

One Child, One Therapist/An innovative program partners foster children with therapists for as long as they’re needed, providing a stability otherwise missing
Rob Waters

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 →

Babies, 2 year old’s & Antipsychotic Medicines

December 11, 2015 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

babies best everA 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).

 

 

 

 

Newborns, Death and Drug Addiction (preventable deaths of drug-dependent babies)

December 7, 2015 in Child Death, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpowerNarcotic addicted babies are born every 19 minutes in America.  27,000 in 2013.

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.

In 2010 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs non medically for the first time.  

 

 

 

 

Worthy Reader Questions

November 28, 2015 in Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

ocean wedding at sunsetKARA appreciates reader insights and we reprint the best ones.  Here today from A.R mcFarland and my response (below)

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?”

 

A.R.,

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 →

What Do You Wish For Today?

November 26, 2015 in education, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

A Family Dinner Guatemala sytleFor Thanksgiving this year, let’s all wish really hard to make life better for at risk children.

As a long-time Volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I wish for; The implementation  of the recommendations by the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection and the additional attention and resources necessary to make children safe in my community (and yours too).

Fewer ten and twelve year old children charged as adults in our judicial system, Read the rest of this entry →

A New Disease of the Wealthy & Powerful

November 22, 2015 in education, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

Pensive ParakeetWisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and new Speaker of the House voted NO to federal childcare subsidies, eliminated 16 billion dollars in Social Services block grants, including all child care funding for low income families,

No to parental leave for federal employees (no to even 4 weeks for a new mother), No to food stamps, Medicaid and Pell Grants, Yes to de-funding Planned Parenthood and removing contraception from employer based insurance requirements, and yes to deporting (children) and undocumented immigrants that grew up in the United States.

 

But he cannot and “will not” give up his family time.

Pro family yes (but just his family).

 

 

ALERT For MN Child Protection – Rolling Back Child Protection Reforms (from Safe Passage for Children MN)

November 13, 2015 in Child Death, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

Counties Propose Rolling Back Child Protection Reforms

Safe Passage LogoThis 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/

 

Sad Stories October 2015

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

mississippi double exposure red wingFind information about child protection, child endangerment & child well-being in your state here.

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 →

Join The KARA Conversation on Linked In

October 21, 2015 in Adoption, education, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

parasailinghttps://www.linkedin.com/company/kids-at-risk-action-k-a-r-a-childrens-rights-advocacy-network/

Add your insights and concerns to these important conversations and let’s raise awareness and concern for abused and neglected children

 

 

 

 

What’s It Like?

October 20, 2015 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

my best sunset everWhat’s it like to be;

The admitting person in the psychiatric ward of a metro hospital turning away violently troubled children because there is no space?  HCMC in Minneapolis averages about 900 emergency psych visits a month, many of them children.

A social worker, grandparent or guardian ad-Litem visiting a traumatized four year old child in the suicide ward of a hospital,

The first grade teacher who called City Counsel member Don Samuels asking what to do about a student trying to kill himself in her classroom, Read the rest of this entry →

Survivors Of Childhood Trauma Videos by Dr Vincent Felitti & ACES

October 15, 2015 in education, Health and Mental Health, Public Policy, video, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

babies best everSurvivors are up to 5000 times more likely to attempt suicide, have eating disorders, or become IV drug users 7 minute video (DR  Ferlitti)

2 short videos from AVAhealth.org about Adverse Childhood Experiences    (3 minute)

(8 minute)

Brandon Stahl’s investigating and Safe Passage’s volunteers are changing lives

October 7, 2015 in Adoption, CASA, Child Death, education, Foster Care, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

 

children down hill having funBrandon Stahl’s reporting (September 2014) on the tortured death of 4 year old Eric Dean and his  powerful Star Tribune articles about tortured children & the “catastrophic failure” of child protection in Minnesota (Governor Dayton’s words), shine light into the invisible world of child abuse that is so hard to talk about and so easy to avoid.

Rich Gehrman & Safe Passage For Children of MN worked with and reported on Governor Dayton’s Task Force On Child Protection, organized 100 volunteers to speak out and call on legislators to raise awareness and bring positive change to the 60,000 Minnesota children reported to Child Protection services each year. Read the rest of this entry →

Child Death and Child Abuse Articles (for September 2015 – find your state/country here)

September 25, 2015 in Adoption, Child Death, Crime and Courts, Foster Care, Grandparents & Kinship, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

default-headerEvery month KARA publishes articles that largely go unnoticed outside of the community they occur.  These stories are gathered from different sources all around the nation and some international stories.  Please share this page with people in your networks, especially reporters, educators, social workers and law enforcement.  Spread the word; when more people know about how troubled our child protection systems are, we will do more to make life better for abused and neglected children (until then, not much will change).

 Sign up for our weekly children’s issues updates (free)

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children                             Read the rest of this entry →

Thank You Prairie Care & Washburn Center For Children’s Mental Health (the uphill battle in addressing children’s mental health in Minnesota)

September 2, 2015 in Child Death, education, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

birdwatching in MazatlanPrairie 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

The Power of Coping Skills & Life Without Them

August 10, 2015 in education, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpowerA sad personal email this morning from a grieving mother has caused me to reflect on friends who ended their own lives and the four, five and six year old children  I have known, or known about, who tried or succeeded at suicide.

Read the rest of this entry →

How We Punish – And What It Does To Children & Our Community

August 6, 2015 in Child Death, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

4 little kittens..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 →

On Handcuffing & Tasing 3rd Graders (and expelling preschoolers)

August 3, 2015 in Crime and Courts, education, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

ChrysanthemumThere 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 →

NO DEMAND, NO SUPPLY

July 30, 2015 in Adoption, Crime and Courts, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Occasional Authors, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

an-onlooker-watches-the-annual-solar-eclipse-in-albuquerque-new-mexicoOccasionally KARA publishes works from other authors.  This is a strong argument for reforming the Foster Care System before fixing the Criminal Justice System (author & contact info below).

 

Before we reform the Criminal Justice System, we need to take a closer look at the Foster Care System  Read the rest of this entry →

Child Death and Child Abuse Articles (for July 2015 – find your state/country here)

July 26, 2015 in Child Death, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

magnificent double exposure lacrosse mississippi river lampshadeKARA tracks child abuse and death articles from around the nation (and some international cases).  Most non death child abuse cases never make it into the media.  This page is KARA’s discovery of information through July 26 2015 and is only a fraction of this child welfare news around the nation.  For a look farther back in time for child abuse and child death news click here.  ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN Read the rest of this entry →

The Sadness Of Child Protection – 2 Year Old’s Murdered by Caregivers

June 16, 2015 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

mararishi guatemala thanksgivingThese past weeks have been awful for vulnerable children in MN.

Stomped on, kicked, torn liver kidney & pancreas 2 year old Sophia O’Neill was violently murdered by 17 year old Cary Faran-Baum died because she wouldn’t stop crying. There’s been way too many violent child deaths in MN this past year – many of these children were known to child protection services.

Sophia was known to child protection (they didn’t investigate the case because caseloads are high and resources did not allow it).

In a family video taken before her death, Sophia explains that Faran-Baum had hit her in the face and Read the rest of this entry →

Standing In A Soviet Bread Line (thank you James Eli Shiffer)

May 27, 2015 in Child Death, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

ocean wedding at sunsetThis 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 Unspoken Truth (from Kristin Rode)

May 21, 2015 in Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

coneflowersMy name is Robert Hamelin and when I was 4 years old I entered the Foster Care System. My stepmother began to physically and mentally abuse me. I was taken out of the home I lived in, with her and my father and moved into the first foster home. When I was 9 years old my father was killed. He was the only good memory I had left. His loss had such a deep impact on me. I knew now that I was completely alone. By the time I reached the 6th grade I began acting out for attention. My behaviors became worse. The abuse had continued worse than ever, as now, I was being sexually abused. By the time I was 18 years old I joined the Marine Corps. I needed stability but even more important, I needed to find out if I could overcome my past and succeed, despite 14 years of violent child abuse.

The system failed me but it did not beat me!

Today I am a successful Regional Vice President for Transamerica. I have raised 5 beautiful daughters, 4 of which have already graduated from college. What is disheartening is 32 years after I got out of the Child Protection System, it continues to fail children and the abuse, still all too common. We need to come together to fix a broken system. Read the rest of this entry →

More On Child Suicide, Death By Hanging and Kendrea Johnson

May 19, 2015 in Child Death, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

invisible children picture web 11.09Yesterday’s New York Times article on huge increase in Black Children killing themselves should make some impact on anyone with a heart.  From 1993 to 2012, JAMA Pediatrics published a study that found that suicide among black children doubled (hanging by black boys tripled) at the same time, suicide for white children fell by half.  This is what I’ve seen as a CASA guardian ad-Litem, read about in the Star Tribune and witnessed in KARA interviews (Don Samuels).

What I find stunning about this article is the absolute non-discussion about child abuse, child trauma and children in child protection and apparent cluelessness about why  children kill themselves.

PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WIDELY (until we have this discussion, chances for improving the lives of at risk youth remain slim).

SUPPORT KARA’s efforts to advocate for abused and neglected children

18 Months Old, Sexually Abused (allegedly) & Beaten To Death In Maplewood

April 22, 2015 in Child Death, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everGenisis Xiong is the 8th child murdered in MN by a caregiver since Eric Dean’s death in early 2013 and the 57th child to die of maltreatment since 2005.

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 →

Without Understanding Core Issues, Better Answers Are Hard To Come By (or why legislators need more information to do their jobs well)

April 21, 2015 in Child Death, education, Health and Mental Health, KARA Events, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

child abuseIt 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 →

Mental Health – Connect The Dots (the hidden dangers of antidepressents and children)

April 10, 2015 in CASA, Child Death, Health and Mental Health, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

parasailingToday’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 →

Help KARA Do Something About Drugging Foster Kids (invitation to action)

March 24, 2015 in Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

this-caterpillar--photographed-in-north-carolina--looks-incredibly-deviousInvisible 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 →