Unintended Consequences (abused children thank you Brandon Stahl & Star Tribune)

May 29, 2016 in CASA, Child Death, Foster Care, Guardian ad-Litem, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everShare This with your social media & especially with a newspaper reporter in your community

This Hennepin County CASA guardian ad Litem is convinced that Brandon Stahl and the Star Tribune are responsible for the great increase in child abuse cases in this state at this time.  And that is a good thing.

In a November 23rd task force oversight committee meeting, I heard a service provider suggesting that Brandon’s reporting was making her work more difficult – instead of celebrating that many more abused children were getting services because Brandon’s articles are bringing publicity to the amount of trauma and horror of child abuse in our community. Read the rest of this entry →

May 2016 Sad Stories

May 28, 2016 in Adoption, CASA, Child Death, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

This page is a compilation of child protection/child abuse news from around the nation (with some international reporting) for the month of May Read the rest of this entry →

Minnesota Child Protection News April & May 2016

May 24, 2016 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

South St. Paul Mother, 31, Charged In Death Of Infant Daughter Read the rest of this entry →

Quality Foster Care (from Safe Passage for Children)

May 20, 2016 in Adoption, Child Death, Foster Care, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

Quality Foster Care

Safe Passage LogoLast week print and electronic media covered a lawsuit by the grandmother of six year old Kendrea Johnson, who committed suicide while in foster care. A past finding of child abuse only disqualified the foster mother from becoming a licensed provider for a maximum of 10 years.

People change. Some who committed past crimes may become good foster parents. But we believe certain crimes such as malicious punishment of a child and child endangerment should be added to the list of offenses that permanently disqualify individuals from providing foster care.

However this would affect only a few children. A quality assurance program that ensures uniformly excellent foster care would have more impact.

Minnesota has many skilled foster parents. We need a system that supports them while weeding out problem homes.

This entry was posted in Safe Passage Speaks. Bookmark the permalink.

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

Changing Laws (thank you Rich Gehrman and Safe Passage for Children)

May 11, 2016 in Adoption, Child Death, Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

This Channel 5 Televised news report by Rich Gehrman director of SafePassage for Children helps us better understand the issues involved in the lives of state ward children;
kstp.com/news/look-back-law-kendrea-johnson…/4133548/
10 hours ago … of an Unborn Child, Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota Executive Director Rich Gehrman said, “If it’s a conviction, it’s a disqualification.

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 →

The Teachers Dilemna (and what is not talked about in education)

May 7, 2016 in education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

THINK AGAIN BROOKLY PARKThe article by retired teacher Melissa Bowers appearing on Linked In (below) is well written and a good critique of the unhappy atmosphere educators face in public education today.

What is not stated in Melissa’s article also deserves attention and concern; 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 →

Child Sex, Child Mortality, Education, Prozac & Guns (how we value children)

April 12, 2016 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, education, Guns, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

rabbit yawningAmerica’s long running fight against sex education has brought our nation the low honors of having the highest STD rate in the world and the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world.  We have lots of 13 year old moms with violent boyfriends, drug habits and no parenting skills in our nation (it’s really hard on the children).

North Carolina doesn’t screen teachers = 3 years of abuse for a child & a 30 year prison sentence for the offender.

America’s sex industry thrives of foster children and many states still blame the 13 year old sex slave for a crime.  About half the fifty children I worked with as a volunteer CASA guardian ad litem had been sexually abused.  One as young as two years old and two that were abused from four to seven (when they entered child protection). Read the rest of this entry →

Reducing Child Fatalities (from Safe Passage for Children)

April 8, 2016 in Child Death, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

This article by Safe Passage for Children of MN notes the Federal Child Fatalities Commission and clearly articulates the procedures and data gathering necessary for reducing the death and trauma suffered by abused children.  One more important thing to support for the at risk children in your state.  All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children. Read the rest of this entry →

More Actions You Can Take for At Risk Children (this is the week) From Think Small MN

April 4, 2016 in Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

coneflowersNow is the time to participate! Next week, April 11-15, is the Week of the Young Child. The goal of this week is to educate legislators about the importance of high quality early learning programs in their communities, and to encourage them to properly fund early learning initiatives. Read the rest of this entry →

Vote For Minnesota’s At Risk Youth Here (today)

April 4, 2016 in Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

mississippi double exposure red wingPlease contact Senator Terri Bonoff and request her support of SF 2411.  Sample language is provided below.  Please personalize it, if you wish, and email it to Senator Bonoff at sen.terri.bonoff@senate.mn or call her at 651-296-4314.  As the bill is being heard on Tuesday, please send your email or call as soon as possible.

Read the rest of this entry →

Trauma Informed States (how to make child protection, education & health care work for children)

April 4, 2016 in education, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everThis article by Elizabeth Prewitt identifies policies by the federal govenment and states to address childhood trauma and its impact on children, schools, health and communities.  Within it are links to national, state and nongovernmental organization’s efforts to initiatives and reforms that will have a major impact on how at risk youth are dealt with in our society today.

Well worth reading

All adults are the protectors of all children

Read the rest of this entry →

Improving the Process of Child Protection & Saving LIves

March 25, 2016 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

infernoThis article by Safe Passage for Children explains how 5 of the the 18 MN children killed by their caregivers in the last 18 months were known to local law enforcement but apparently not to child protection services (and what needs to change to fix that).

In my own experience as a volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem, my seven year old girl was prostituted for years during which the police had been to the house 49 times and only removed the child on the last call because the little girl tried to kill her younger sister in the presence of the police.

If You Don’t Do This, Who Will? (children can’t stop child abuse)

March 24, 2016 in Adoption, education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

Roses on Wall

Tuesday was Day At the Hill for advocates supporting policies to improve the lives of Minnesota’s abused and neglected children.

Thank you Safe Passage for Children for organizing this effective effort to bring awareness to the people (lawmakers) that can make positive change for at risk children happen.

Without your efforts and the efforts of your volunteers, it is unlikely that lawmakers will understand that; Read the rest of this entry →

Minnesota Child Protection News For March 2016

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

KoalaThese stories about Minnesota’s abused and neglected children and their issues have been gathered March 1st through March 31 2016.

 

Please comment and share your related news with KARA (info@invisiblechildren.org)

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 →

Child Protection – What Needs To Change

March 8, 2016 in Adoption, education, Foster Care, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

image001

It is not foster parents, social workers, judges or court workers making life miserable and creating a lifetime of failure for abused and neglected children in the Child Protection system.

These people don’t enter this painful and unhappy field without firm convictions and big hearts.

I’ve known hundreds of committed teachers, health workers, and other service providers who have dedicated years of their lives and made a terrific commitment to State Ward children.

Our system today confounds their efforts and makes meaningful adult relationships for too many at risk children impossible. Read the rest of this entry →

Third Anniversary of Eric Dean’s Death (from Safe Passage for Children of MN)

February 26, 2016 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

coneflowersSunday is the third anniversary of Eric Dean’s death. His story and those of 55 other children killed by their caregivers prompted the state to recommend major child welfare reforms last March.

It’s not easy to tell how things are progressing.  Read More

February Sad Stories (2016 KARA reporting)

February 26, 2016 in Child Death, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

February, 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

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

More Americans Killed By Toddlers With Guns Than Terrorists

February 22, 2016 in Crime and Courts, education, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everToddlers with guns murdered about as many people with guns in America these last few years as terrorists have.  Would we be safer if the NSA were spying on children, or just keeping an eye on pistol packing families?

Here’s the Iowa Law allowing children weapons and  list of this years toddler murder spree from the Jewish Daily Forward and the best article ever about Guatemalans, snakes and guns (there’s a great story here).

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

Child Protection and Appreciating Social Workers (we really should)

February 18, 2016 in Child Death, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

child abuseChristopher Sorenson recently wrote a compelling piece in the Star Tribune about child protection and how only extreme cases of child abuse make the news or public awareness.

Speaking of under-appreciated social workers, Chris writes; “On a daily basis these folks see what none of us wants to see – children being destroyed by neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and …, Read the rest of this entry →

CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around The Nation 10.1.15 Through 12.31.15

February 13, 2016 in Adoption, CASA, Child Death, Invisible Children, Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

casa_v_redblue_R_alt_rgb_normal

 

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of  CASA’s around the U.S.  If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.  Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

See what other CASA volunteers are doing – share your stories and blogs; 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

Sign Here & Support Ratifying the UN’s Rights of the Child Treaty

February 11, 2016 in Crime and Courts, International Child Abuse, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everFriends of children, the U.S. is the only nation in the world except Somalia (which does not have a functioning government) that has not ratified the United Nation’s Rights of the Child Treaty.

Please join KARA in sending your support to president Obama in asking Congress to sign on.  Without this treaty, children in this nation have almost no rights outside of the Imminent Harm Doctrine their children.

After many years as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem, countless tragic stories of horrific abuse, backlogged courts and troubled child protection systems, children need the basic rights outlined in this treaty.  It is the right thing to do.  All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children.    SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND NETWORKS Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

Public Records (the mystery of child abuse and child protection)

February 6, 2016 in Child Death, Crime and Courts, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

beautiful MN lake sceneMy story is triggered by a graphic demonstration of malfeasance by a public servant (Harper’s Magazine article below) and my response to conversations with Brandon Stahl at the Star Tribune and a former administrator at Hennepin County.  Both told me how inaccessible important child protection public records become when someone decides for no good reason to not share public records.

In my video interview with Brandon Stahl, he stated clearly how County Records that should have been available to him in the tortured death of Eric Dean were stonewalled, deliberately delivered over months instead of days or weeks, made expensive and hard to get in his reporting for the series he wrote for the newspaper.

Remember, the boy was dead and this reporter needed only to gather the history surrounding how the boy died.  The poor child deserved to have his story written.  We would be far worse off as a community and abused and neglected children would be facing a far worse future if Brandon had not written these stories.

My administration contact made it clear to me years ago that sharing information or creating an atmosphere of transparency was the last thing going to happen in social services in general and child protection specifically.  Yes, there are many practical sounding reasons for this but most of those reasons are specious and protect only the people not wanting the information out (Dee Wilson made this statement when he delivered the Casey Foundation’s report to the County Commissioners on Minnesota’s Child Protection Services – calling these excuses for a lack of transparency a “Red Herring”.

Below and linked above is the slow walk email correspondence of an administrator deliberately making it impossible for a reporter to gain access to what should be readily available public records.  It would be funnier if it happened in some third world country and not here.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN Read the rest of this entry →

Child Sex Abuse & The Mormon Church (stopping child abuse requires adults report it)

February 2, 2016 in Crime and Courts, Invisible Children, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

KoalaThis article from an abused child about the Mormon Church hiding abuse her was another sad and eye opening look into how hard it is to achieve transparency and accountability in children’s rights issues.

 Join KARA’s Facebook Page   ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

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 →

Mental Health Shortages, Sheriffs & Children

January 29, 2016 in CASA, education, Guardian ad-Litem, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

mararishi guatemala thanksgivingI attended Syl Jone’s play BECAUSE at the Mixed Blood Theatre last week.  It’s a moving piece that explores living with mental health issues from multiple perspectives leaving the audience with a personal sense of what it’s like to be this person, live with this person and understand this person.   Syl is now the Resident Fellow for Narrative Health at HCMC (I think every hospital should have such a position – how else can these stories be told?)

I asked Syl at the play if he would consider writing about the mental health issues of children in child protective services, he seemed interested.  If you know Syl Jones, please let him know how important this topic is.

Back to Sheriffs and Children (the title). Read the rest of this entry →

Important Information About Child Protection in MN (from Safe Passage For Children)

January 22, 2016 in Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Links To Helpful Orgs, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

tigerAlthough counties disagree, the Department wants an outside expert to review screening practices.  This is because, contrary to new guidelines, counties are still responding to half as many maltreatment reports as an average state, and the percentage of cases getting an investigation rather than a less rigorous assessment has barely changed.  Read the rest here

 

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

Aging Out of Foster Care (lawmakers ignoring a growing problem)

January 18, 2016 in Adoption, Foster Care, links to video, Occasional Authors, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources by Mike Tikkanen

Lake AtitlanMN Law Makers are ignoring a growing demographic at great social and economic cost.

Foster care shortcomings are a social problem that is systematically forgotten, specifically for the 23,000 youth that age out of foster care, that is, turn 18 without a permanent family and are no longer eligible for government care, each year according to U.S Newswire.

The lack of government commitment and action to this cause has put our communities at risk for an abundance of overlapping economic and social costs.

Article contributed by Georgia Ansley

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Talking About Gun Safety Is Now A Punishable Offense For Doctors & DHS (in some states)

January 15, 2016 in Child Death, education, Guns, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

infernoFoster families in Oklahoma are suing the state because they were asked by DHS to store guns according to best safety practices,  In Florida actual fines and threats of incarceration face doctors for similar acts.  Imagine talking to parents about protecting their children against gun accidents & being fined for it.  Gun deaths now outpace traffic deaths in 21 states & trending nationally (everywhere).

 265 moms dads, brothers, sisters and selves were shot by very young children this year and over 10,000  children killed or injured annually by gunfire in America.  More Americans are killed by toddlers with guns than Terrorists and yes, we do sell guns for five year olds.

That’s where we live today friends.  I wonder what Kansas and Texas are up to?  All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children  Share this with your networks.

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 →

America’s Science Phobia Ravages Children

January 14, 2016 in David Strand, Invisible Children, Occasional Authors, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

parasailingThis article by KARA board member David Strand was first published in 2009 and is even more true today.

Human development labored for centuries in a struggle between early science and ancient superstition. Superstition won many battles, typified by religious leaders who forced Galileo to recant his belief that the earth revolved the sun instead of the opposite. Eventually his beliefs were vindicated and one noted contemporary scientist Stephen Hawking says, “Galileo was responsible for the birth of modern science.” That doesn’t mean that superstition no longer affects human attitudes about science. It does. Read the rest of this entry →

Manifesto For Minnesota Children

January 9, 2016 in David Strand, education, Occasional Authors, Politics and Funding, Public Policy by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everEarly Childhood Education Manifesto (this article appeared here in 2009 – it was submitted by KARA board member David Strand)

Education is the engine of progress and prosperity.  No nation can achieve its potential for greatness without investing in its human capital.  The extent to which children successfully negotiate the treacherous passage to adulthood depends on the earliest years of brain and emotional development.  That explains why early childhood education is crucial to society.

America’s current public policy regarding at-risk children is an economic and moral failure:

We reject community investment programs (implemented today by nearly all developed countries) that stress preventing the creation of at-risk children.  Instead we assume colossal costs of corrective measures that mostly fail regardless of how earnestly they are pursued.”

The results of this undocumented policy are many: Read the rest of this entry →

Brandon Stahl Sets A Precedent For Excellence In Reporting (share this with your local newspaper – it could be repeatable & help children)

January 4, 2016 in CASA, Child Death, Crime and Courts, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpowerThe issues of child abuse and child protection services are complicated and not well understood by the general public, state legislators, or even the people delivering services.  In the almost twenty years I’ve spent as a volunteer in the system (CASA guardian ad-Litem), I’ve not witnessed a reporter going as deep into the heart of a child protection story until reading Brandon Stahl’s series in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

When six year old foster child Kendrea Johnson hangs herself and leaves a note and four year old Eric Dean is tortured and murdered after 15 largely ignored reports of child abuse, the reporting leaves the reader hating and blaming a person or institutional failure.  Because it takes a sustained and painful effort to take a deeper look into the depth and scope of the nightmarish conditions that preceded the great sadness of a child’s suffering and death at the hands of a caregiver, the reporting almost always stops right here.

All Adults Are The Protectors Of All Children

Next KARA Presentation Sunday January 10th 10am St Paul MN

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