This Week’s News For At Risk Children

April 22, 2014 in Child Death, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

Guatemalan BoyThe following are news articles from this past week gathered from various sources, but primarily from;

Child Welfare in the News is distributed at no charge by Child Welfare Information Gateway (www.childwelfare.gov), a service of the Children’s Bureau/ACF/HHS (www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb). It features news stories on topics of interest to child welfare and related professionals. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any view expressed in an article, and opinions or views do not reflect those of Child Welfare Information Gateway, the Children’s Bureau, or staff. Other free subscriptions from Child Welfare Information Gateway are available at:  www.childwelfare.gov/admin/subscribe

Sign KARA’s Petition to make health, education, and well being available to all of America’s children; 

 Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of KARA’s awesome talk on child protection in America – invite KARA to speak at your conference – INFO@invisiblechildren.org

 KARA TV interview at Catherine’s Crossings.   Buy our book or donate

Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America (invite me to speak at your conference – Mike@invisiblechildren.org )

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Tip Of The Iceberg – Medicating Six Year Olds

April 21, 2014 in education, Foster Care, Health and Mental Health, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

parasailingLast months Wall Street Journal article by Lucette Lagnado  (and below) touched on painful truths I have witnessed with children in child protection systems being prescribed powerful psychotic medications without anything near an adequate therapeutic regimen.  When measured (not often) about a third of the youth in child protection are taking psychotropic medications.  In the juvenile justice system, two thirds of the youth are proscribed these drugs.

 

Sign KARA’s Petition to make health, education, and well being available to all of America’s children; 

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See No Evil – 90% Of Child Abuse Reports Screened Out In Minnesota Counties (Red Lake, Wilkin, LeSeur, Waseca)

April 20, 2014 in CASA, Child Death, Crime and Courts, education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

Pensive ParakeetToday’s Star Tribune *article draws attention to the thousands of children that are neglected, abused, traumatized enough to be seen and reported by others.  The vast majority of child abuse is never seen and never reported.

Minnesota, decided that denying children safety saves money.  Statewide our screened out average is 71% compared to the national average of 38%.  It is one thing to read about the horrid conditions facing babies and children, another to meet the child and see what sex, starvation, neglect, or other forms of violence actually does to a 5 or 10 year old child Read the rest of this entry →

Yesterday’s State Of The Child Summit (Children In Legal Proceedings) at Hamline University

April 19, 2014 in Crime and Courts, education, Events, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

boy in stripesPhoto Courtesy of Richard Ross

It was the simple truths that struck me hardest as I listened to the Hamline University presenters yesterday.  I was reminded of MN’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz statement that “90% of the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection”, and that, ” The difference between that poor child and a felon, is about eight years”.   The pipeline to prison starts here.

Behavior problems in schools are not well served by hiring more police officers.  As a long time guardian ad-Litem, it is apparent to me how authority figures are viewed by abused and neglected children (a big segment of the behavioral problems at school).  It has hurt me to see well meaning officers treated horridly by abused children through no fault of their own.  Traumatized kids lash out at authority and take no prisoners.  This gets them in big trouble and their behavior problems get worse, not better.  Police interactions are often just one more trauma to be suffered by an abused child.  Don’t blame the police – they didn’t set this system up. Read the rest of this entry →

From Our Friends At Safe Passage For Children (today’s Safe Passage message)

April 18, 2014 in CASA, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

KoalaThe Metric that Matters

 I have a friend who thinks government can always cut more staff. I told him when child protection investigators get more than 4-5 new cases a week they become ineffective.

He grudgingly conceded “I guess there have to be some metrics”.

Minnesota tried to keep this caseload ‘metric’ manageable last year by only responding to 28% of maltreatment reports, compared to 62% nationally.  This means 21,960 children didn’t get a needed visit from a child protection worker.

Sorry, but fixing this will require adding staff, because decisions to investigate families and potentially even remove children can’t really be privatized.

We have to put aside reservations about ‘big’ government and help counties excel at this work so we can achieve the metric that matters: as many safe children as possible.

 

In Defense Of People Doing The Work

April 17, 2014 in CASA, Crime and Courts, education, Foster Care, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

children down hill having funIt hurts me to hear destructive criticisms about how teachers are the cause of badly performing schools, social workers blamed when a baby dies a horrid death while under County supervision, and most recently an all out diatribe against the uncaring volunteer guardian ad-Litems in America. Read the rest of this entry →

CASA Guardian ad-Litem Stories

April 13, 2014 in CASA, Crime and Courts, Foster Care, Grandparents & Kinship, Guardian ad-Litem, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

casa_v_redblue_R_alt_rgb_normalMy first visit to a four year old CASA guardian child was at the suicide ward of Fairview hospital in Minneapolis.  Her seven year old sister (Alice) and two younger siblings were my introduction to child protective services.  Alice had been horrifically abused physically, mentally, and sexually for four years and had a vocabulary of about 25 words when I met her.  After repeated police calls to the home (North Side Minneapolis) children were taken from the family when Alice was kicked so hard by her abuser that she went into convulsions and needed hospitalization.  She remained in my caseload for 11 years. Read the rest of this entry →

Making Children Whole (with the help of the community)

April 8, 2014 in Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

I’ve recently had an argument with an otherwise reasonable and very caring person.

She believes strongly that the unborn (including zygotes) should have rights that one and two year old children don’t have (and that one and two year old children should not have – according to her religion).

4 little kittens..At the same time this person does not want moms to have prenatal care to make sure these babies are born healthy (if taxes pay for it).

For me, who for many years, has witnessed the toxic homes and terrible abuse of fifty children (as a volunteer Hennepin County CASA guardian ad-Litem) it is incomprehensible that anyone would not want babies and very young children to have basic healthcare once they are born.

Think what you might about the unborn, it seems only fair that a living breathing baby should have the right to basic health care (if only to continue breathing). Read the rest of this entry →

Why Teachers Quit Teaching

April 4, 2014 in education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

American Indian sculptorWhen I wrote the book INVISIBLE CHILDREN a few years ago, I interviewed teachers to get their insights into working with difficult children under the No Child Left Behind act.  One of the saddest interviews I’ve ever conducted was of an art teacher (Marge) I sat next to (by chance) at a Mayday parade in Minneapolis.  She told me why she quit and she cried while she talked.

Marge talked about how her workmate teachers taught the all important measurable skills (language, history, math, & science) where testing and assessments drive those teachers to exit the business.  Their gripe she believed was twofold; 1) learning for children was now only a tiny part of the data collection system that had become education.  2)The lack of IEP funding which would allow special needs kids to get the help they need, forced these children into crowded classrooms where teachers would find themselves spending 90% of their time managing dangerous behaviors of a very few needy and troubled children.

When Marge got to the part about what it was like to run an art class of 45 children, of which half or more were special needs kids (many on psychotropic medications) she started to cry.  Her story was that she adored children, loved art, and had hoped to bring learning, beauty, and sensitivity into her community through her teaching.

She found that the administrators filled her classroom with troubled children because this classroom had no need for the No Child Left Behind assessments.  All her time was spent managing very troubled children that could not cope with life.  This was not her skill or passion.  She could not take it any more and she quit.  The letter (from the Washington Post below is the resignation letter of another educator who quit.  It tells the story much more eloquently than I can is valuable for it’s critical insights into our education system.

Sign KARA’s Petition to make health, education, and well being available to all of America’s children

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Thank You Safe Passage For Children

April 2, 2014 in Crime and Courts, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

A Family Dinner Guatemala sytleAs a long time CASA guardian ad-Litem who finds it impossible to believe that the depth and scope of child abuse in my community (both local and national) is largely unspoken until some poor child is found in a dumpster or has his brains bashed out against a wall by a caregiver, I am excited by the efforts to quantify these sad facts by Safe Passages For Children.

It is precisely because we don’t keep track, or if we do, don’t publish the mountain of unhappy things happening to our children.  If these things were recorded, reported, and discussed, our institutions could function more effectively and children would be much safer and happier.

What follows is a major effort by Rich Gehrman and Safe Passage For Children to identify the tip of this iceberg (thank you Rich and company)

Please sign our petition for safe and healthy MN children (even if you are not from MN)

Petition to make health, education, and well being available to all MN children    Read the rest of this entry →

KARA TV Interview Mike & Tiffini

March 29, 2014 in CASA, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, KARA Events, mike tikkanen speaking, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

casa_v_redblue_R_alt_rgb_normalRecently CASA volunteers and KARA board members Tiffini Flynn Forsland & Mike Tikkanen were Interviewed on Catherine Hoaglund’s Metro Cable Network Channel 6, Catherine’s Crossing to bring attention to key issues facing abused and neglected children.  Catherine asked powerful questions about the brutal truths faced by at risk children and what our community could do to help children in toxic homes develop the coping skills necessary for leading a normal life.

The Interview takes about ten minutes.

Buy our book or donate  Support KARA  Sign KARA’s petition for child well being

Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America (invite KARA to speak at your conference (Info@invisiblechildren.org

Thank You Ruben Rosario (for today’s powerful Pioneer Press article supporting our Invisible Children Petition)

March 23, 2014 in CASA, David Strand, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

tigerRuben Rosario’s Pioneer Press article Today captures the voicelessness and invisibility of children in child protection systems and the great need they have for health care and early learning and brings attention to KARA’s effort to support David Strand’s (KARA board member) resolution to make access to these important services a right and not a privilege in Minnesota.

This is a big deal and if enough voices can be raised in support of David’s resolution, life could get a whole lot better for Minnesota children in a very short time.  Please read Ruben’s article, sign the petition, and share with your social networks and friends. Read the rest of this entry →

Suspending 3 Year Olds (race matters)

March 22, 2014 in Crime and Courts, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

my monkeyToday’s Star Tribune article starkly demonstrates that discrimination starts early and that we really do not value children as a society.  By wide margins, children of color are suspended and sometimes forbidden readmission to daycare centers all across the nation.  Rather than recognizing that these are the children that most need early childhood programs, help with coping skills and mental health development, they are cast out early to parents who often have behavior issues themselves.

As a long time CASA guardian ad-Litem, it is apparent that childhood behavior issues most often come from the family, and generation after generation of at risk children go on to have their own troubled families.  Coping skills and parenting skills are not delivered by the stork.  If they don’t come from within the home, they must come from us (that could start with daycare).

Zealous discipline policies guarantee that 3 and 4 year old’s will not do well in school and most likely will not graduate.  Many don’t learn to read.  Many go on to fill our prisons or become preteen moms.

What the article misses, is that the rest of the industrialized world truly values children and employs policies and people that can deal with troubled children.  They understand the cost to society of turning their back on children (we have 10 times more prison space per person than Denmark – and it is filled).

 

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Sign Our Petition For Child Rights, Safety, and Healthcare

March 20, 2014 in David Strand, Guardian ad-Litem, Health and Mental Health, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

Help KARA make a better world for America’s children and sign our petition for basic rights, health care, and safety (even if you’re not from MN)
Every signature helps.Koala

Beyond Capacity; Arizona’s Child Protection System (not the only state)

March 20, 2014 in Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

my best sunset everArizona (news article) saw caseloads skyrocket when other states were shrinking.  Abused children were being investigated after a ten day wait (backlog) and spent months more in the system before being reunited with family or placed in permanent homes.  What most folks are not aware of, is that this means more trauma for children.  Torture as defined by the World Health Organization is “extended exposure to violence and deprivation” and is what I found true in all the cases I worked as a volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem.

In Arizona the state refused to add capacity and failed to investigate 6500 cases.  Abused and neglected children paid the price and Arizona will pay the price as those troubled children age and become part of the community.  It is far cheaper (and a better investment) to build children than it is to fix adults. Read the rest of this entry →

477 Child Deaths In FL (preserving families but costing lives)

March 18, 2014 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

invisible children picture web 11.09As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, it is painful to watch the court return children to toxic homes because we know the horrific things that happen in those homes.  This blog includes the stories of dozens of children I know that have spent years in frightening and terrible circumstances because resources were scarce and there were only bad choices the county could offer the child.  This well written article from the Miami Herald  covered a year long investigation of unreported child deaths and poor policies for child protection, and demonstrates how awful it was for the 477 (with prior DHS contacts) children that died because of abuse and neglect in Florida. Read the rest of this entry →

Violence Against Children – A family Tradition (TEDx, Robbyn Peters Bennett)

March 18, 2014 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, education, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

children down hill having funThis short (13 min) TEDx video clearly articulates what is wrong with hitting babies & children (and legislators in Kansas lobbying for the right to leave bruises on children).  Passed down generation after generation, sticks, paddles, and open hand hitting all leave mental health marks that result in compensating behaviors, poor brain development, and the next generation of parents beating their children.  If you know someone that hits their child, or lives in Kansas, send this link to them.

6 million children are reported to child protection services in the U.S. each year  Only a fraction of these children receive the help they need to lead productive lives.

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America

 

Spanking Babies & Jailing Juveniles (Linked In Conversation)

March 17, 2014 in Crime and Courts, education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

richard ross striking yellow uniform picPhoto Courtesy of Richard Ross  Most people are aware that hitting babies is a bad idea.  Not everyone understands the consequences of incarcerating children.

I found this Linked In back and forth discussion on when to put kids in jail a good start on the topic;

After taking some Criminal Justice classes in college and contemplating becoming a police person I must ask now as a teacher, what age really should we put in jail?

Support Kids At Risk Action & Purchase Amazon Kindle Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA) or Printed Book $16.95

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America

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Great Discussion On Privatized Foster Care In Georgia (Linked In)

March 14, 2014 in Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

Georgia considers privatizing foster care

Versatile writer ♦ consultant ♦ lawyer ♦ editor providing strategic communications and subject-matter expertise.

Fascinating debate occurring in Georgia that has life-altering impacts on children. Have you studied the research on privatization of foster care and/or other child welfare services? If so, please share what you’ve learned? Has your state had experience with partial or full privatization? Any lessons to share with Georgia and the rest of the country from that? Read the rest of this entry →

Daycare In America (more sad stories)

March 12, 2014 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

KoalaMost other industrialized nations require at least certain levels of education for daycare providers.  Finland, Norway, Sweden, and a host of others demand mental health and child care college degrees for people working with toddlers and children.

Our nation pays daycare workers less than food service workers, the least paid employees in America (a direct reflection of what we think of children as a culture)

U.S. daycare providers expel a higher percentage of problem children than any other nation and it is a growing problem.  While mass shootings and school shootings capture our attention with great regularity, there is also a frightening consistency to child death in toxic day care environments.

It is just wrong to blame poor people for not being able to afford better daycare for their children.  In MN the waiting list for subsidized daycare is 7000 names long (why apply?)

The people I’ve known that have children in poor quality day care often have two jobs and struggle mightily to lead a normal life while raising their children.  There is a callousness and political meanness that permeates our communities towards people at the low end of the economic scale that no religion would accept as policy.  What follows are recent daycare tragedies and they don’t include the crack/drunk uncle that so often becomes the babysitter when mom can’t afford real daycare that you never read about.

Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America  Recommend Mike’s Invisible Children talk for TED

Receive our weekly updates on child protection issues by sending an email request to; Info@invisiblechildren.org

Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/KidsAtRisk   Recommend Mike’s Invisiblechildren talk for TED

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Politics & Children – A Zero Sum Game

March 9, 2014 in education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

parasailingA very recent MN Governor (not this one) ended subsidized daycare in the state – the waiting list is now 7000 children.

 Two percent of MN children are enrolled in high quality early childhood education programs- the national average is 25% and MN has the lowest rate among the 38 states that offer the programs.

Cutting the pie smaller for children is destructive, leads to failing students and schools, troubled communities, and the highest crime rates in the industrialized world.  We talk allot about our state leading the nation in racial disparity but don’t seem to have a handle on how we might change that (Hennepin County arrested 44% of its adult Black men in 2001 – no duplicate arrests).

It’s pretty apparent to people that follow the medical research in the area, the Federal Reserve Banks extensive reporting, and most people in the field, that these programs work.  They save children, improve our schools and quality of life.  Send this to a state rep and anyone you are connected to and let’s make a difference.

Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America  Recommend Mike’s Invisible Children talk for TED

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Here’s Something Easy You Can Do To Improve The Lives Of At Risk Children

March 8, 2014 in Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everAt risk children in MN don’t get the coverage they need.  You can help KARA change this.  Click Here and fill out the MPR form recommending children’s issues as the most important story right now.  Think about it.  You don’t read about these issues in the media unless a baby has died or some other horrid things has happened to a child.

Help KARA change this.  Two minutes of your time will have an impact.

 Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America

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It’s How You Frame The Issue

March 5, 2014 in CASA, education, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

magnificent double exposure lacrosse mississippi river lampshadePeople on the right call it throwing money at it.  I fall in with people on the left who say that it is a better investment to build children and also a much smaller expense than fixing broken adults.  Anyone involved in the Hennepin County CASA guardian ad-Litem program knows the validity of this statement.

Monday’s Star Tribune article touched on the need for keeping mentally ill teens out of institutional settings.  For years we have avoided these conversations.  Mental health conversations are almost as rare as hens teeth.   As a culture we don’t know much about it and don’t respond well to the conversation until it hits us personally (and then it is really scary).  We readily take and proscribe psychotropic medications but obfuscate and euphemize the underlying issues.

A very big part of the mental health problem is our failure to provide a path to coping skills for children born to parents that don’t have these skills themselves.   Too often we would rather proscribe the meds than have the discussion and deal with the hard underlying truths that hard wired the problems.

Where do we think mental health comes from?  Dr Read Suliks definition of mental health is just that – the ability to cope.  We will continue to lead the industrialized world in prison populations, dangerous neighborhoods, sexually transmitted diseases, and dropout rates until our children have a path that brings access to the skills they will need to lead a productive life. Read the rest of this entry →

Single Mom Survival (most moving story on the web today)

March 1, 2014 in Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

Roses on WallI’ve lifted this moving piece from the Huffington Post today.  It is the story of a perfectly smart, decent, and super hardworking single mom and how tortured life is for her and her family and the millions just like her in America.

It is almost as if we go out of our way to make life miserable for folks that get even a single bad break.   What we don’t do for young families and children in this nation is embarrassingly mean.  No good comes of it – no one wins.

From the article;  I had aspirations and potential when I was fresh out of high school in 1997. I graduated from a private school with a 3.97 GPA. I could have gone to practically any college I’d set my sights on, but I wanted to stay in my beloved hometown of Denver and was hell bent on going to school to learn, not to party, so I opted for Metropolitan State University in the heart of downtown.  Read the rest of this entry →

Comment Thread On The Child Beating Bill In Kansas

February 27, 2014 in education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

chinese warriors in stoneFriends of KARA, below are the comments made on a network debating the Kansas state bill that would allow the beating of children by virtually any caregiver and the leaving of bruises.  The good news is that most people hate it for its neanderthal approach to child rearing but there are a fair number of folks that just want the right to beat children.

My mom was born 9 years prior to women’s rights being passed in America.  Before this, almost no amount of violence was illegal against a man’s wife.  Not so different with children in America today.  The passing of this law in Kansas will demonstrate just how tragically ill informed state legislators can be.  Support Kids At Risk Action & Purchase Amazon Kindle Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA) or Printed Book $16.95

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video

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Children In The News – read about your state here (thank you child welfare.gov)

February 27, 2014 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

penguins

There is a great deal of news and many sad stories about America’s abused and neglected children this week.  Find your state here and send the article to a state legislator or other governmental official.  Best wishes, Kids At Risk Action

ID: Bill to protect children of faith healers in Idaho will not get a hearing
Associated Press – February 26, 2014 Read the rest of this entry →

GOP Is Right; We Are Spending Too Much (because we invest too little)

February 24, 2014 in Crime and Courts, David Strand, education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

blu boy in cell richard rossPhoto Courtesy of Juvenile In Justice

David Strand is a KARA board member, he has lived in Finland, worked on the making of public policies for children and written about how other advanced nations make public policy on children’s issues.  He is a frequent contributor to KARA’s web pages.  Look up his other articles under “select a category – David Strand” on the right hand side.  David’s article today;

            Edwin Green (recently deceased and not his real name) was an executive for 3M from the 1960’s into the 80’s.  He once gave me a lecture on business philosophy, a lesson that resonates in today’s climate of political impasse.  Edwin mentored me and asked why I was bothering to study for an MBA at night school.  I replied my engineering education was quite narrow and studying business helped me understand working at 3M.  Smiling broadly, Edwin told me he (also an engineer) hadn’t studied business but “he knew how to run a business.”  Mostly, he said, all you have to know is when “to spend a nickel to make a dime”, his one-minute lecture. Read the rest of this entry →

by admin

Paranoid Golden Valley Residents Drive Children’s Mental Health Services Out Of Town

February 22, 2014 in education, Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by admin

coneflowersGolden Valley residents reached a pinnacle of fear and loathing this week when they showed up at a Council meeting with pitchforks and torches to kill the possibility of developing a center for children with mental health issues (weekday hours only).  The few hysterical GV residents  huffing and puffing and misrepresenting the issues (equating youth with mental health issues to criminals) succeeded in eliminating practical and badly needed local access to mental health services for youth in their own city.   When it’s your child that becomes uncontrollable, will you feel differently?

 Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America  Recommend Mike’s Invisible Children talk for TED

Receive our weekly updates on child protection issues by sending an email request to; Info@invisiblechildren.org

Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/KidsAtRisk   Recommend Mike’s Invisiblechildren talk for TED


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Another Screened Out Of Child Protection Baby Dies In MN

February 22, 2014 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

babies best everToday’s Star Tribune article reports the death of White Bear Lake’s unnamed 8 month old baby boy due to smothering by drunken mom.   Freda Perdue had been reported twice for child neglect for the same behavior.  Star Tribune reporters called me a few years ago when the 18 month old baby was drowned in the bathtub after 12 calls to the home.

Like most baby homicides, we blame the mom and the child protection system that screened out children endangered by dangerous parents.  This solves nothing.  In a few months, a baby will be found in a dumpster and the mom will be incarcerated, the social worker fired.

This repeats itself in every state on a very predictable schedule.  One of my first cases as a CASA volunteer guardian ad-Litem I witnessed a prostituted seven year old (by her mother) left in the home through 48 police calls to the home over a two year period (she was removed from her mom on the 49th call.

Where there is no public will, there will not be public resources to care for other peoples children.  

 

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Snakes In Guatemala vs Guns In America

February 21, 2014 in Crime and Courts, Health and Mental Health, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

moutain view on horsebackMy favorite horseback ride of all times happened during a trip to Guatemala.  On the ride, I asked the question of my Guatemalan horseman guide why we saw no snakes during our daylong ride through the mountains and tropical forests.   He stated that snakes were poisonous and they bit people, and the people of Guatemala had killed all the snakes to make sure snakebite deaths would not be a problem anymore.  Friends of PETA, please appreciate that this is part of a larger conversation, and metaphorical at some level (no snakes were killed for this article).

Are we not as smart as Guatemalans?  How many children have to die because the NRA likes to promote dangerous lethal toys that machismo boys like to spend their money on.  This article is the smartest piece of writing I have seen on the topic (ever).  Really worth your time.  Happy Friday.

 

 

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Best Videos From The ACE’s Study (short & long)

February 21, 2014 in Health and Mental Health, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

Friends, even if you are aware of the Adverse Childhood Experience Studies, these are worth revisiting (and sharing with others) and don’t miss the ACE Study Preview (3 minutes).

Featured Public Videos

70 Child Abuse Deaths In California’s Child Protection System

February 20, 2014 in Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

image001Thank you LA Times reporter Garrett Therolf and Natasha Vargas-Cooper 

Multiple reports of abuse and then the death of very young child again and again in a system with too few resources, too little training, not enough foster or adoption ready parents and a “cost neutral” approach to child protection.  I compare this approach to child protection (maintaining safe children) to the “cost neutral” approach to the collapsed 35W Bridge in Minneapolis a few years ago.

For the want of a few million dollars in maintenance funding, the bridge collapsed killing 14 people and injuring 144 (many of them are still in wheelchairs).  The loss to families and friends is incalculable.  The loss in deconstructing and reconstructing the bridge, calculating for direct cost estimates of extra miles driven (because Minneapolis has no other direct highway North/South access to downtown), and giant lawsuits and settlements ended up being about a billion dollars (what deal 5 M looks like today – and allot of people would still be alive).

In a year CA enjoys a $4.2 billion budget surplus there will be no new spending for universal prekindergarten or child protection services.  The “cost neutral approach to seventy dead very young children in California is more heartless and more costly.   I demonstrate the economics of bad public policy using Federal Reserve Bank studies and child protection/justice system/and insurance data.

(7 year old Gabriel Fernandez was tortured and left a suicide note) read the rest; Read the rest of this entry →

Faith Healing & Another Child Death In Philadelphia

February 19, 2014 in Crime and Courts, education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

mararishi guatemala thanksgiving8 month old Brandon Schaible died of treatable pneumonia because his parents don’t believe in medicine.

This is not as rare as one would hope.  In Idaho, 144 children have died in the Followers of Christ Church due to lack of medical care.  Religious shield laws are everywhere  - does your state have them?

Idaho makes it legal to deny children medical care (including to death).  In Oregon 15-month-old Ava Worthington. 16-year-old Neil Beagley. 8-month-old Alayna May Wyland. 9-hour-old David Hickman died that way.  Below are articles and law related to child death due to religious practice.

Support Kids At Risk Action & Purchase Amazon Kindle Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA) or Printed Book $16.95

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America.

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Hitting Children & Leaving Bruises On Kansas Children Could Be The Law Next Session

February 18, 2014 in Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

japanese warriorState Rep Gail Finney says whacking children is about restoring parental rights (along with the rights of teachers and other caregivers) and not child abuse.  I guess that depends on how you define abuse.  Imagine letting other people whack your child (up to ten times) and leaving redness and bruises.  Imagine you whacking your child ten times and leaving bruises.

Kansas already allows whacking children without leaving marks, but that just doesn’t pass Gail’s smell test.  She wants to see red.

Gail has vowed to continue bringing the bill up if it doesn’t make it this year.  Kansas ranks 36th among the states in child death & 29th in juvenile incarceration according to Geography Matters, Child Well-Being among the states.

Support Kids At Risk Action & Purchase Amazon Kindle Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA) or Printed Book $16.95

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America.

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Another Failed State (no protection and no foster parents in Montana)

February 17, 2014 in Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

rabbit yawningSome years ago one of my guardian ad-Litem foster parents had to drive to Montana from Minnesota in her very old pickup truck for an unnecessary court hearing to make sure that her 2 and 12 year old foster children were not reunited with the man that had molested them. Semen samples were in evidence along with solid police reporting (and very young children are not good witnesses).

MN DHS was unable to help.  The trip and the courtroom were traumatizing for the mother and the children.  I’ve hated Montana courts since that happened.

Today’s account of a raped MT 5 year old and the judge’s “boys will be boys” comment makes me hate them more.

At the same time,  it appears that the state is unable to mount a decent effort to find foster parents that can allow abused and neglected children safe homes.  These sad facts go a long way in explaining why Montana ranks 49th in teen deaths, and 45th in child deaths according to Geography Matters, Child Well-Being In The States Read the rest of this entry →

Childhood Trauma & Psychosis (another study; University of Liverpool)

February 17, 2014 in education, International Child Abuse, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

Lake AtitlanFor anyone working with abused and neglected children, this is old news but I am pleased that more and more people are paying attention and making it a serious conversation.  For the big study go to www.avahealth.org and see what the medical community says.  For more on the Liverpool study read more.

Support Kids At Risk Action & Purchase Amazon Kindle Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA) or Printed Book $16.95

(invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America.

Read the rest of this entry →

For The Record – Minneapolis Arrests 44% Of Its Black Adult Male Population (2001 was not that long ago)

February 15, 2014 in CASA, Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

boy in stripesPhoto courtesy of Richard Ross

There is a great deal of angst in the conversations around racial disparity in MN schools and justice systems.  It is deserved.  MN institutions have fostered a continuum of cradle to prison policies since the Codefor policies of the 1990′s arrested 44% of the Black Adult Male population in Hennepin County.

Once a youth in child protective services has crossed the line and entered the juvenile justice system, no longer are the services available to other abused and neglected children available.  As former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz has stated, “90% of the youth in the juvenile justice system have come through the child protection system” & more memorably, “the difference between that poor child and a felon, is about 8 years” (or my take on the topic) “the difference between that poor child and a mentally unbalanced, drug using preteen mom with no parenting skills, is about 8 years”. Read the rest of this entry →

Drilling For Mass Murder & Arming Teachers Institutionalizes Fear and Insanity In Our Schools (please stop)

February 15, 2014 in Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

historic village bill bakerAll across America, schools are arming teachers, bringing firearms and  terror into school to traumatize ten year old children and make educators hate and fear their work.

Kansas is requiring its teachers to carry firearms, some states are using fake blood and real automatic weapons fire in their practice drills.

How many teachers signed up expecting to be issued a pistol on the first day of school?

Is this what you want your children to learn and live with in school?  I’ve had a gun pointed at me, it is traumatizing and practicing this on children should be a criminal act.

It is a false premise that art teachers become capable crime stoppers with a few hours of weapons practice.  Believe me, it takes a special kind of person and allot of training to draw down and accurately fire a weapon in a life death situation.

Police and military personnel receive extensive training to reach a point where they can function effectively under combat conditions.   Most people are fooling themselves to expect much out of a few hours of weapons training when the real thing happens.  The NRA sells guns & schools sell education (not fear mongering and weapons training). Read the rest of this entry →

Abused and Neglected Children’s News (thank you Child Welfare In The News)

February 14, 2014 in Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

coneflowersThe following are current articles about at risk children’s issues  that have made the news in the past 2 weeks (state news in alphabetical order international news listed below state news) All states are reported;

Support Kids At Risk Action & Purchase Amazon Kindle Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA) or Printed Book $16.95   (invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate  Sample 4 minute video of Mike’s awesome talk on child protection in America

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Euthanizing Children (the right to die)

February 13, 2014 in Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

buddha 1Belgium has brought front and center the civil rights of children to have the “capacity of discernment” who are in “a hopeless medical situation of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased” the right to seek an end to life.  To be clear, this struck a chord with me today because of Gabriel Myers, a foster child who at seven years of age ended his life by hanging and left his very cogent note about the despicable practice of forcing children in child protection to take psychotropic medications.

In my work as a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem I have come to believe that children have no rights outside of the Imminent Harm Doctrine, which forbids caregivers from killing children.

Most children born in toxic homes fail in school, they fill our prisons, and lead dysfunctional lives.  They have no voice in the homes they are raised in, the courts that rule their lives, the media, or the legislative process.  At least Belgium recognizes that they should have a voice in cases where the suffering is terminal.

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