Wanting To Know (caring enough to know)

Does Minnesota (your state here) want to know how its thousands of foster children are doing in school? Is there information available for people that care and want to see abused and neglected children at least get a chance to graduate from high school and lead a normal life?

The lack of transparency surrounding child abuse, child protection, foster care, drugging of very young children (Prozac, Ritalin, Zoloft…) indicates that while we talk big about valuing children in our community, we don’t care enough to want to know what their needs are.

If we knew that 80% of youth aging out of foster care were leading dysfunctional lives (last study of ten years ago), that 48% of state ward children are being forced to take psychotropic medications (true in Florida today) or that 4 MN counties screened out 90% of child abuse calls (true at the time of 4 year old Eric Dean’s murder by his step mother), then some concerned citizen, politician or administrator somewhere might be outraged enough to lobby for change.

Until information by our institutions becomes public, the problem simply does not exist and no one appears to care enough to see these awful things change.

Cudos to Minnesota for turning the child endangerment model into a genuine child protection model. It’s a great first step.

Parental Leave In Canada & the Rest of the Industrialized World (be nice to your baby – 18 months)

In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paidparental leave when a child is born or adopted. … The remaining 90 days are paid at a flat rate. Those who are not in employment are also entitled to paidparental leave. Parental leave can be taken up until a child turns eight.
10 things that make Sweden family-friendly – Sweden.se

https://sweden.se/society/10-things-that-make-sweden-family-friendly/

Working mothers and fathers have equal entitlements to paid parental leave(Elterngeld) of up to 12 – 14 months, which can taken by one or both parents. The standard leave for one parent caregiver is 12 months, but gets extended to 14 months if the other parent also takes 2 months of leave.
Parental Leave – ExpatBabies

www.expatbabies.com/frankfurt/need-to-know/parental-leave…/parental-leave/16647

If parents chose not to go back to work after maternity/paternity and parental leaveis over, they are entitled to paid childcare leave that continues until the child is 3 years old. Parents are paid a care allowance and a care supplement.
Finland;

Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leave in Family Centered Finland

finnishmythoughts.weebly.com/…/leave-for-new-parents-maternity-paternity-and-parent…

Iceland; Maternity / paternity leave. Parents that have been employed for six months or longer in Iceland are entitled to paid leave when a child is born, at adoption or permanent foster of a child younger than eight years old. … It is recommended that people continue to pay dues to their union during maternity/paternity leave.
Maternity / paternity leave | Family | English | Fjölmenningarsetur

www.mcc.is/english/family/maternity–paternity-leave-/
In total, parents in Denmark get 52 weeks of paid parental leave. The general rule is that the mother has the right to four weeks of leave directly before the planned birth and then to a further 14 weeks of leave after birth. … They can choose to be on parental leave at the same time or in periods one after the other.

In total, parents in Denmark get 52 weeks of paid parental leave. The general rule is that the mother has the right to four weeks of leave directly before the planned birth and then to a further 14 weeks of leave after birth. … They can choose to be onparental leave at the same time or in periods one after the other.
Maternity leave and paternity leave when working in Denmark

Switzerland;

Maternity leave lasts 98 days (or 14 weeks), from the day it starts. Both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to maternity leave. Women who return to work earlier lose their entitlement to compensation. Mothers are paid 80% of their wages in the form of a daily allowance, but no more than CHF 196 per day.
Duration of maternity leave and wage continuation – www.ch.ch

https://www.ch.ch/en/maternity-leave/
www.oresunddirekt.se/…parenting…denmark/parental-leave-when-you-work-in-denmar…

Foster Care & Adoption In America (families and change needed)

Almost every state needs more foster / adoptive families. This shortage reflected in the articles and stories below point to one more overwhelmed part of America’s troubled child protection system.

There are correctable reasons children are being left in hospitals and state facilities because there are no foster / adoptive homes.

To name a few;

Some states pay a base rate to foster families lower than the actual cost of feeding a child and almost no help for adoptive families.
Too many states make it hard for grandparents and other family members to adopt or foster a state ward child.
Some states provide far to little help to foster /adoptive families for the trauma & behavioral problems state ward children often bring with them into the home.
A quick review of the articles herein give you a sense of the depth and scope of the problems state ward children are facing and a better understanding of why so few of the 12 to 18 million children reported to child protection in this nation each year are receiving the help they need to become contributing members of our communities.

These sad stories go a long way in explaining why schools are so troubled and jails are so full.

Feel free to share this article widely (especially with policy makers and legislators – include a personal note and speak for a child).

Sad Stories March 2017 Part II

OR: Report: Child welfare review teams under microscope
Merced Sun-Star – March 06, 2017
Barely three days after 12-year-old Caden Berry of Keizer died, the head of Oregon’s child welfare agency ordered a full review of the agency’s interactions with his family.
Also: Report: Child welfare agency struggled to fix problems: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/5126903-151/report-child-welfare-agency-struggled-to-fix-problems?referrer=fpblob
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/business/article136731693.html
OR: 44 children left in harm’s way: Oregon’s child welfare agency struggled to fix problems
Statesman Journal – March 04, 2017
Clyde Saiki, director of the state Department of Human Services, wanted to know if “system issues” may have prevented the state from saving the boy’s life. DHS has publicly published reviews for at least 44 children since 2004, involving children the agency knew of who died or were severely injured.
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/03/04/inside-state-child-welfare-investigative-team/96928358/
TX: Democratic lawmaker says Texas CPS workloads make ‘a travesty’ of child protection
Dallas Morning News – March 06, 2017
The bill would encourage CPS to hire 893 more employees over the next two years and create an additional 825 slots at sister agencies such as Adult Protective Services, Child Care Licensing and the unit that operates the protective services department’s hotline for reporting abuse, the Legislative Budget Board has estimated.
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/child-protective-services/2017/03/06/democratic-lawmaker-says-texas-cps-workloads-make-travesty-child-protection

It Cant Happen Here

A very smart person that I consider a friend suggested that the sad story of Florida’s foster care system (in the blog article just prior to this one) is not comparable to the state of foster care in my state of MN. Suggesting that things are fine in MN’s foster care system. Nothing to see here, let’s talk about something else.

Dee Wilson delivered the Casey Foundations report on child protection in MN and softly stated that our group home facilities were grossly unable to deal with the level of trauma and behavioral problems that these overwhelmed homes were experiencing.

Just a week ago MN closed the group home in St Cloud MN because of many violations over many years.

That home allowed kids to bang their heads against walls to the point of concussions, facial injuries and head trauma along with forced sex in the presence of staff.

Don’t blame the staff*. It’s the management and the people making the rules. It is always the management that determines the wage, the training and the supervision that will be in place in every business endeavor. It’s always the policy makers that determine the oversight and resources available to the homes providing the service. These things are made extremely clear in the Florida video.

To expect low waged and undertrained people to manage children traumatized by years of abuse now being managed by a cold and distant state is just unworkable.

Friends of KARA – A Favor (watch this video)

Mari Frankel’s video documentary below is stunning. Although it is about Florida’s foster system (by a CASA GAL just like me) it demonstrates the problems within the child protection system and the traumas & medications foster children live.with.

Mari Frankel’s video is aligned with KARA’s book and documentary projects that address child protection stories that are happening in MN.

Share this with people you know and/or,

Contact me to talk about ideas for making this video in MN (we have begun the process and have been partnered with TPT) but need help to complete the project.

Let’s be a voice for children

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

https://vimeo.com/139417634

The password is foster

March 2017 Sad Stories Part I

Baby Justice Rees’ father responds to charges in infant’s death
KCRA Sacramento
The father of Baby Justice Rees, who found dead two years ago in a Yolo County slough, faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection to …
Dead baby’s father lashes out from jail – Davis Enterprise
Father charged after baby found dead near Sacramento River – Santa Rosa Press Democrat
DA Announces New Charges for Frank Rees in Death of Baby – The People’s Vanguard of Davis (subscription)
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

Questions remain in baby’s death
WPRI 12 Eyewitness News
WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Investigators said Thursday they were still trying to determine how a seven-month old Warwick baby died. Willow Ramos …
DCYF previously investigated family of infant who died in Warwick – WPRI 12 Eyewitness News
Ex-Hanson resident charged with neglect after infant daughter dies – Wicked Local
Father charged after unresponsive baby daughter dies in RI – WHDH-TV
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

Florida Child Protection News February 2017

Florida February Child Protection News gathered and presented by Dr. Denise R. Womer, Ph.D., is a former law enforcement officer for 17 years and former DCF Investigator for the State of Florida. Dr. Womer has taught in higher education for 14 years and currently is a Professor for Kaplan University teaching in the School of Social and Behavior Sciences.

KARA encourages you to send us your child protection documentaries and videos for consideration on this site.

This powerful piece defines Florida’s current foster care system, and it represents much of what happens throughout our nation today.  Please share it widely as this is important information for millions of children that suffer these failings every day in our nation.

https://vimeo.com/139417634  The password is “foster”

JANUARY 30, 2017

Sexagenarian Sex Offender Arrested for Child Pornography In Sarasota, Florida

The last two days of the month of January 2017 ended with a Sexagenarian sex offender arrested for child pornography in Sarasota Florida. A Sexagenarian is a person who is from 60 to 69 years old. The Federal Bureau of Investigations monitors the internet for child pornography and sex offender activity. A computer can be traced by the IPS address by examining photographs that are downloaded, as well as the exchange of files. Each IPS address is unique to each computer, smartphone, and other similar devices. A 69-year-old, Daniel L. Berry is a registered sex offender and his activities of downloading and searching child abuse and downloading child pornography. When the FBI task force for Child Exploitation contacted Sarasota P.D. A search of his residence revealed a thumb drive with pornography and he was arrested and a bond of $100,000.00 was set. Berry was arrested three years ago, for a similar charge. Watch the video at the following link it is eye opening as well as the article.

Lawyer Hearld (2017, Jan 30). Sexagenarian Sex Offender Arrested for Child Pornography In Sarasota, Florida. Retrieved from http://www.lawyerherald.com/articles/47505/20170130/69-year-old-sex-offender-arrested-for-child-pornography-in-sarasota-florida-daniel-l-berry-fbi-task-force-child-exploitation-ip-address.htm#YdhzVfQCfi2P6iOI.99

 

FEBRUARY 2, 2017

Collier man accused of child abuse

A 62-year-old Naples resident, John Rigsbee was arrested and charged with child abuse

Child Death and County Transparency (not) From Safe Passage For Children MN

This year local media have covered five child murders and one near-fatality at various stages of resolution. Links to the stories are here.

In only one case is there public information about whether county child protection was involved.

State law requires each county to review its child abuse related fatalities and near-fatalities, and to submit their findings to the Department of Human Services (DHS) in a report that is publicly available. Counties have either ignored our requests for these reports or sent cautiously worded summaries in their place.

More accountability and transparency are needed.

DHS is currently deciding whether to immediately release these reports to the public when they receive them from counties. We encourage them to do so. If not we will propose legislation to make this a requirement.

Join the Discussion on Facebook

Recent KARA Media

Part 1 of a 3 part series looking into Child Abuse and the Child Welfare System. This episode we are joined by Mike Tikkanen, world leader in advocacy for abused children. He explains the state of the system, the secrecy and lack of transparency inherent in the system and why it is a widespread phenomena.

Hear Episode and Read Article

Making America Safe & Happy Again (investing in people)

The 35 W bridge failure will end up costing about one billion dollars (below) and if our policy makers would wake up, they will see that it was about five hundred times more expensive than the requested bridge maintenance that would have kept the bridge in “pristine condition”**

International At Risk Children’s News February 2017

Australia: Royal Commission releases damning statistics of child abuse in Australian Catholic Church
New Kerala – February 06, 2017
Seven percent of Australia’s Catholic priests were accused of abusing children in the six decades since 1950, according to new data from the Royal Commission.
http://www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-225753.html
Canada: Ministry Says Supports ‘Available’ to Youth Exiting Province’s Care. How Available?
TYEE – February 05, 2017
A guide to options for at-risk young adults, and why advocates say they aren’t enough.
https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/02/06/Foster-Youth-Exiting-Care/
Greece: Unaccompanied Minors in Greece: Who Can ‘Save’ Them?
University of Oxford, Faculty of Law – February 06, 2017
It is estimated that unaccompanied minors accounted for approximately 35 per cent of the total population that crossed from Turkey to Greece in 2015.
https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2017/02/unaccompanied
India: New online adoption system fails orphans
Mid-Day.com – February 05, 2017
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) from The Adoption Federation of Maharashtra (AFM) – an association of the state’s 65 adoption agencies – that helps facilitate the adoption process in the state.
http://www.mid-day.com/articles/new-online-adoption-system-fails-orphans-mumbai-news/17966196
International: Deadliest winter for refugee and migrant children crossing the Central Mediterranean, says UNICEF (Press release)
Press Release Point – February 03, 2017
A record number of refugee and migrant deaths in the Mediterranean over the past three months, including an estimated 190 children*, has prompted an urgent appeal from UNICEF to leaders of European Union member states meeting in Malta.
http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/deadliest-winter-refugee-and-migrant-children-crossing-central-mediterranean-says-unicef
Switzerland: Portraits help ‘stolen children’ reclaim their lives
swissinfo – February 04, 2017
A series of photographs showing in the Swiss capital Bern tell the story of Switzerland’s ‘discarded children’.
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/multimedia/foster-care_portraits-help–stolen-children–reclaim-their-lives/42925666

Ramsey County Research From the ACE Study (reprinted from 2006 and still very important)

RAMSEY COUNTY ACE study:
OVERVIEW OF A COMPREHENSIVE INTERVENTION

Hope Melton
Director
Ramsey County (MN) ACE

The ACE target population – high-risk, high-impact Child delinquents, that is children age 12 and under who commit chargeable offenses, are an especially high-risk population with a disproportionate impact on society.

Justice Department research shows that child delinquents are substantially more likely to be recidivists and serious, violent and chronic offenders (SVJ). This research also shows that 3 out of 5 chronic serious and violent adult offenders began their careers before age 12.

These are the children that will become the 8% of adolescents who commit up to 70% of all serious and violent juvenile crime. ACE research indicates that serious and violent delinquency may be concentrated in just 2-4% of families. This points to the importance of early identification through the ACE Program.

Mark Cohen, in a 1998 article titled “The Monetary Value of Saving a High-Risk Youth,” estimated that the cost to taxpayers of a single lifetime serious, violent and chronic offender is between $1.7 and $2.3 million. This cost include criminal justice, victim, drug abuse, and lost productivity costs.

ACE research shows a strong historical pattern of criminality in families of child delinquents. Using Cohen’s estimates, we calculate the multi-generational “multiplier effect” to be between $3.4 and $11.5 million. In these families, criminality is likely to grow exponentially.

Minnesota Child Protection News January & February 2017

Man In Custody Following Death Of Eagan Woman, Unborn Child
CBS Local
“We are devastated at the tragic death of my daughter Senicha and her unborn son. She was a loving, kind, smart and beautiful young woman who …
Woman killed in Eagan home ID’d; her 32-week fetus also died – Minneapolis Star Tribune
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

Pregnant woman found dead in Eagan townhome was ‘excited to be a mother’
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
Pregnant woman found dead in Eagan townhome was ‘excited to be a mother’ … Lane, a neighborhood east of Minnesota 13 and south of Lone Oak Road. … “We are devastated at the tragic death of my daughter Senicha and her …
Flag as irrelevant

February 2017 Sad Stories Part IV

AZ: Homeless youth invisible in Southern Arizona
Arizona Sonora News – February 16, 2017
“Homeless youth, is one of those things that sort of perplexes people,” said Kristyn Conner, director of development at Youth On Their Own, a dropout prevention program in Tucson. “It is out of sight and out of mind. With adult homelessness, you can see it. But with homeless youth, it is different because they aren’t actually living on the streets as much as their adult counterparts.”
Information Gateway resource: Services for Youth: Homeless and Runaway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/youth/interventions/homeless-runaway/
http://arizonasonoranewsservice.com/homeless-youth-invisible-in-southern-arizona/
CA: L.A. County supervisors call for action on missed payments from child protection agency
Los Angeles Times – February 16, 2017
Los Angeles County supervisors this week called for an inquiry into the “root cause” behind hundreds of missed payments from the county’s child protection agency to foster care parents, group home managers and others depending on public assistance.
Also: County Supes Push DCFS To Make Back Payments To Foster Parents by Mid-March: http://patch.com/california/santamonica/s/g19ef/county-supes-push-dcfs-to-make-back-payments-to-foster-parents-by-mid-march?utm_source=article-mostrecent&utm_medium=rss&utm_term=politics%20%26%20government&utm_campaign=recirc&utm_content=normal
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-missed-payments-supervisors-20170215-story.html
CA: Panel presents state of foster care in Humboldt County
Eureka Times-Standard – February 16, 2017
There are currently 317 children in foster care in Humboldt County, according to panel member Deb Engs, a project manager for the county Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare Services division. There are only 63 licensed foster care homes through the state. Many of the local foster children are not placed there.
http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20170216/panel-presents-state-of-foster-care-in-humboldt-county
CA: Why do more L.A. County black children end up in foster care? Experts clash over the reason
Los Angeles Times – February 16, 2017

February 2017 Sad Stories (part III)

Dyers sentenced to 15 years for felony child abuse
The Coloradoan
Two Fort Collins parents convicted of neglecting their daughter’s seizure condition and allowing her to all but waste away were sentenced Thursday to …
Fort Collins couple Doug and Leah Dyer sentenced to 15 years in child abuse case – Loveland Reporter-Herald
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

BLOGS
MILO: ‘I Was A Victim Of Child Abuse’
Conservative Read
“I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.” wrote MILO in a Facebook post shortly after his press conference, “Between the ages of 13 and 16, two …
Flag as irrelevant

Forced Closing of St Cloud’s Children’s Home (the nightmare of mental health services for abused children)

Today’s Star Tribune covered the closing of the St Cloud’s Children’s Treatment Home on the front page of the paper is a very big deal (thank you Chris Serres and Star Tribune for excellence in reporting).

It really is front page news that children at this institution were allowed to bang their heads against walls until they had concussions, facial injuries and head trauma. These young troubled children had sex on the facility grounds, forced sex and sex in the presence of staff.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

There were many violations over many years.

As a Hennepin County CASA guardian ad Litem, I have never seen a group home able to handle the severity of mental health issues of the children I brought to them. I have witnessed a great many well-meaning and undertrained staff fail to manage badly behaving traumatized children.

Children that have been removed from their birth family have endured trauma. Trauma is torture (as defined by the World Health Organization, “Extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

Trauma and torture impact the biological development of a child in profound ways that make severe behavioral problems common and leading a normal life so much harder. How would you un-teach sexual or drug using behavior to a 9 year old that grew up with it?

Speaking For Children (once a year with Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota – it works)

If you live and Minnesota and are willing to make time for one trip a year to the Capital in St Paul to speak for a child, there is nothing more meaningful that you could do for at risk children than volunteer with Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota. The appointment with your state legislator/s is arranged by Safe Passage for Children and you are provided a brief outline of the key issues facing abused children for you to share with your legislator.

Meeting time is seldom over 15 minutes but that will be enough time for you to show commitment to children and share the most critical information available with someone who can make a difference in the lives of the children you are advocating for.

Your state legislators actually do listen to you and they care what you have to say. Without your 15 minutes of child advocacy, legislators have little insights into the issues facing abused and neglected children. After all, children have no voice in the homes they are raised in, the media or government (they can’t vote).

Thank you Safe Passage for another powerful day on the hill

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Social Work (from the smartest person in the room – Dee Wilson from the Casey Foundation)

I had the honor of sitting next to Dee Wilson when he delivered the Casey Family Assessment of Hennepin County’s Child welfare system to the Hennepin County Commissioners (Minnesota’s Child Endangerment Model). Dee drew attention to damage being done by the toxic atmosphere in the Child & Family Services system, the inability of St Joseph’s home for children to manage the level of trauma their young clients were living with and pointed out the red herring that HIPPA laws have created by forbidding almost any public discussion of the conditions within the homes of abused children and the institutions of child protection. I resonated with how social workers are traumatized by their work and how community based solutions involving stakeholders and redefining what we want for outcomes.

All a part of why turnover is high in social work and terrible policies doom children and families to more cyclical trauma and failure.state child welfare systems

ssss

When reading Dee’s recapping of County screened out rates remember that when 4 year old Eric Dean died after 15 reports of child abuse by mandated reporters, there were 4 MN counties that screened out 90% of all child abuse calls.

Dee keeps a blog and wrote something recently that every social worker needs to read. He is the smartest person in the room on the topic.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Foster (a film) Florida’s Foster Care System (don’t let this happen to you)

This is the most powerful piece I have seen about foster care. Although it is on Florida’s system, it represents much of what happens throughout our nation today. Please share it widely as this is important information for millions of children that suffer these failings every day in our nation.

https://vimeo.com/139417634
The password is foster

KARA encourages you to send us your child protection documentaries and videos for consideration on this site.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Teachers Are People Too

This KARA post from 2005 suggests a significant improvement in graduation rates in Minneapolis schools. No Child Left Behind really did leave behind a great many children.

From our 2005 piece;

Roosevelt High school graduated 28% of its students last year—Minneapolis and other big city schools averaged graduation rates between 50% and 60% nationwide. 25% of graduating U.S. high school seniors are functionally illiterate.

Teachers and school administrators are accused of bad stewardship. That is like blaming the police for who sits in the back seat of a squad car. It’s not their fault.We are all in this together, or as Pliny the elder said 2500 years ago, “what we do to our children, they will do to our society”

Child Protection & PizzaGate KARA Interview (troubled children in a troubled society)

Part 1 of a two part series looking into Child Abuse and the Child Welfare System. This episode we are joined by Mike Tikkanen, world leader in advocacy for abused children. He explains the state of the system, the secrecy and lack of transparency inherent in the system and why it is a widespread phenomena.

Protecting Children From Bad Politics (a note from the Child Welfare League of America)

Protecting Children in Changing Times   Our Children at Risk Never before in the Child Welfare League of America’s (CWLA) 100-year history has there been a higher level of anxiety and uncertainty about the fate and well-being of our children. The plans and policies of the new leadership in Washington, DC, will do egregious damage to social…

February Sad Stories Part II

Sign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and  attention to our youngest and most vulnerable  citizens.  Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets…

Black Children Matter (and child protection systems)

Yesterday at the State Capital in St Paul, Black Lives matter rallied outside for fair treatment by the police and inside (where I was) at the rotunda for fair treatment in child protection for black families and children.

Child protection is viewed by many in the community as a finance driven machine making life miserable for families and ruining the lives of their children.

Far too many group homes and foster care givers fall far short of providing a safe haven for traumatized children and state ward children are often;

* forced to take psychotropic medications without adequate mental health services

* abused while in child protective services

From reporting to discharge, the over representation of Black children in the child protection system cannot be overstated.

Nationally,

37% of children are reported to child protection by the time they are 18 unless they are black, when the number jumps to 54%.

Black families are 4 times more likely to be subjects of a child protection investigation & 5 time more likely to experience a child protection report than white families.

Black children are 5.3 times more likely to be placed in foster homes than white children.

After 20+ years as a white volunteer CASA guardian ad litem, I know that the system leaves few people involved with it satisfied and I very much see why black families think the system is a money driven machine.

Not having a child protection system would be unethical and deadly for children. Our best hope is to make the changes that are critical to building a fair and effective system that breaks the cycle of generational child abuse.

Communities that fail to support young mothers and their children will not have schools performing at acceptable reading, math or graduation rates and they will continue to suffer high crime and incarceration rates. The U.S. criminal justice system has approached a near 80% recidivism rate within the prison system.

To this end, Kids At Risk Action strongly supports the efforts of Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota

www.safepassagemn.com and the CASA guardian ad litem volunteer program www.casamn.org

Why We Hate Lawsuits (Eric Dean’s grandmother sues county & social workers for his death)

The most painful thing about the Eric Dean lawsuit (aside from the sadness of a four-year old boy tortured to death over years by his step mother Amanda Peltier) is reliving the abuse that led to his death when this new lawsuit hits the papers.

Brandon Stahl’s Star Tribune article today is an in your face reminder of how bad things are for at risk children, how vulnerable and voiceless they are and how Eric’s torture was ignored by so many for so long.

 

Without the persistence and hard work of Brandon Stahl and the Star Tribune, Eric Dean’s death would have remained unnoticed and child protection in MN unchanged. 

Four MN counties would still screen out 90% of the child abuse calls & social workers would still be forbidden from knowing about prior histories of abuse in home when investigating new reports.  15 reports of face and body bites, broken arm and intestinal puncture could still be ignored.

Serving Children (“What we do to our children, they will do to society”) Pliny 2400 years ago

A recent conversation with a metro police chief opened my eyes to how failing to provide resources to officers dealing with troubled youth makes policing much harder— the results much less positive.

The chief was clear about his commitment to (and understanding of) best practices in dealing with at-risk youth. He has participated in multiple community programs that work for seriously troubled kids. He radiates his genuine desire to make policing a solution for kids and not another link in the path to prison. He has helped launch youth skill-building options and other positive approaches law enforcement can employ to meet the ever-growing need of solutions for at-risk kids.

Without these tools, many of these children become longtime state wards while making our city streets uncomfortable and unsafe, filling jails and prisons instead of classrooms and jobs.

Here’s the reality: politics and a public’s desire to punish can exceed its desire to understand and to heal.

This is a bitter pill for a concerned police chief always hoping for better outcomes. Without quality alternatives available, officers are forced to be just one more link in the chain, dragging juveniles into the criminal justice system and a dysfunctional life.

CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation December 2016 -January 2017

FIND YOUR CASA here – 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.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

January 2017 Sad Stories Part II

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect. Today, many state ward children are the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues

37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of David Vang, Mike Toronto, Jamar Weston, Adolf Nchanj and Blaz Zlate, Callie Benscoter, (student volunteers at Century College) Katie Frake, Boston College, Julie O, and KARA.

Criminalizing Elementary School Children (policing our schools & punishment)

Federal Funding, Zero Tolerance and Inadequate Alternatives mean that more states are policing schools with armed officers. Before the 1970’s police were almost absent from elementary and junior high schools.

Today, armed officers are dealing with an escalation of violence and criminal prosecutions for children as young as 6, 7 and 8. Prosecuting kids in place of using resources to help them adapt destroys the fabric of a child’s life and achieves the exact opposite of what children need and society expects from an elementary or junior high school experience.

There are a significant number of us who believe it more important to punish bad behavior in children than it is to help them develop the skills they need to live among us. When these folks hold sway in education, the institution suffers, the child suffers, and the community gains one more troubled adult a few years later. For too long, America has led the world in crime, incarceration, violence and troubled schools. While not the only reason, treating at risk children with behavioral problems as offenders instead of troubled youth has played a big role.

The articles below are obvious examples of policing and education gone wrong. No child should have to live with this kind of institutional abuse. ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

When 14-year-old Ryan Turk cut ahead of the lunch line to grab a milk, he didn’t expect to get in trouble. He certainly didn’t plan to end up in handcuffs. But Turk, a black student at Graham Park Middle School, was arrested for disorderly conduct and petty larceny for procuring the 65-cent carton. The state of Virginia is actually prosecuting the case, which went to trial in November.

Changing the rules of the game requires federal, state, and local reforms. With little evidence that police in schools make students safer and plenty that they facilitate harm to students’ liberty and well-being, the Department of Justice should end the cops program’s SRO grants to districts. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for billions that promote unjust school conditions and put kids at greater risk of future involvement with the criminal justice system. And students should feel like they can talk to school officials when they have problems without forfeiting their constitutional rights and winding up in the back of police cars.

Interrupting Child Abuse (thank you Jan Callison & thank you Star Tribune)

It should be big news* that Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison** stood up for abused and neglected children when she found out County Child Protection service providers did not respond to abused & neglected children on weekends, late nights or holidays.

You could tell Commissioner Callison was upset when a service provider at a Task Force Oversight Committee meeting described the County’s procedure of leaving children in violent and abusive homes for days because public policy favored social workers not working holidays, late nights and weekends over the safety of children in dangerous circumstances.
The good news is that Governor Mark Dayton created a task force to investigate Child Protective Services and that many of the worst failures are being addressed instead of ignored.

The bad news is that four, five and six year old children had to die tortured deaths to attract the media and outrage a public before terrible public policy could be exposed and corrected.

None of the 50 children I worked with in Child Protection ever made the newspaper.

The Child Neglect Dilemma (from Safe Passage For Children)

Contrary to a common assumption, neglect is not less damaging than abuse. Research shows neglect victims have lifelong problems because they miss developmental milestones around language, self-control, and bonding with others.

A constant dilemma in neglect cases is whether to traumatize children by removing them from their families, or leave them in situations where their brains aren’t developing normally.

Quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs can make it possible to leave children at home while helping their parents improve parenting skills.

This study documents that neglect victims who got ECE moved quickly from having a language deficit to the normal range. Language development is critical to academic success and positive interpersonal relationships.
ECE can help many children avoid foster care and still obtain the baseline skills they need to thrive.

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Teaching In a Strange Land (mental health workers without training)

What struck me hardest in today’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN presentation at a suburban elementary school was the dedication and desire my audience of 60 educators have for the children in their classrooms. Even the most difficult kids.

Martin Luther King Day was a train the trainer day for these teachers. Our discussion on trauma and dealing with traumatized children sparked keen conversation and shined a light on the depth and scope of the mental health issues students bring to school.

Did you know that 37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

This a particularly American problem and it is growing. Educators, like social workers, law enforcement, adoptive and foster parents, must grasp the new mental health reality if they are to succeed in their work with this population.

Most of my audience today “got it” when I talked about child abuse, foster homes, and what it takes to get into Child Protective Services and why abused and neglected children exhibit irrational and sometimes dangerous behaviors and need to be understood if learning is to occur.

January Sad Stories Part I (thru 1.13.17)

river-vista-double-exposureSign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and  attention to our youngest and most vulnerable  citizens.  Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect.  Today, many state ward children are the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues

37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18.  (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of  David Vang, Mike Toronto, Jamar Weston, Adolf Nchanj and Blaz Zlate,  Callie Benscoter, (student volunteers at Century College) Katie Frake, Boston College, Julie O, and KARA.

SUPPORT KARA HERE (5$/mo suggested)   Support these pages and KARA’S documentary and book projects

Better Futures for Minnesota Children (from Safe Passage For Children MN)

Mission:

To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.

Vision:
There will always be a group of Minnesota citizens who advocate on behalf of victims of child maltreatment, and who will hold counties and the state accountable for continuously improving outcomes for these children and their families.

Goal:
Our goal is to build a child protection and foster care system in Minnesota that

continuously improves the lives of children, as demonstrated by objective, measurable outcomes. If the system is working well children’s outcomes will improve over time.

The following are major milestones for achieving this goal:

Read More
Read More
By 2017 all children will be periodically assessed for their level of trauma starting when they first enter child protection.
By 2019 all children in the system will be periodically assessed for improvements in their cognitive and physical development, as well as in measures of behavioral and mental health.
Workers and supervisors will be accountable for improving these outcomes for individual children as monitored through quality reviews and updates to the courts.
Counties will be accountable for improving outcomes for children in their caseloads overall as shown by summary reports.
In subsequent years our goal is to continue to monitor outcomes at the county and state levels, and advocate for necessary budget allocations, practice improvements, and related resources to ensure that the child protection system is continually improving its response to children.

Pennsylvania Child Protection News December 2016

children down hill having funKARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and  attention to our youngest and most vulnerable  citizens.  Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of  Krista Neuner

KARA is looking for children’s news in other states – contact us to see if you would like to grow awareness in your state; mike@invisiblechildren.org (include writing and research in the subject line)

Minnesota 7 Year Old Dies as a Martyr to a Parents Religion

Adopted seven-year old Seth Johnson has suffered terribly for years and it appears has died a painful (avoidable) death at the hands of Tim and Sarah Johnson. Thank you Paul Walsh, Brandon Stahl & Star Tribune.

The parents have moved to New Zealand and will most likely use a religious exemption defense that is very often successful as this case proceeds.

December Sad Stories Part II

CA: Culp: Looking at 2016 in the Rear-View Mirror (Opinion)

TechWire – December 28, 2016

One of the biggest sessions at the American Public Human Services Association’s Information Systems Management Conference this year was California’s showcase of its move to agile development and modular procurement approaches to its new Child Welfare System. The feds are getting impatient with states’ efforts at connecting systems and providing a more holistic view of a person and/or a family – and the federal government is backing up its guidance with technology funding parameters. Although the federal wave seems to be confined to one department at the moment (in terms of strongly worded advice), there are plenty of signals that suggest more is to come.

http://www.techwire.net/commentary/culp-looking-at-2016-in-the-rear-view-mirror.html

CA: San Gabriel Valley Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio appointed first Latina chair of human services committee

San Gabriel Valley Tribune – December 28, 2016

State Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, has been appointed as the first Latina chair of the Assembly’s human services committee, her office announced Tuesday. The committee oversees child welfare services, foster care, CalWORKs, developmental disabilities services, adult protective services and other human services programs.

http://www.sgvtribune.com/government-and-politics/20161228/san-gabriel-valley-assemblywoman-blanca-rubio-appointed-first-latina-chair-of-human-services-committee

IA: ‘Numerous’ abuse reports made in starved child case, lawmaker says (Includes video)

Des Moines Register – December 29, 2016

Natalie Finn and her siblings were the subjects of “numerous” reports of alleged child abuse and neglect before the 16-year-old died in October of starvation, a state lawmaker said after a confidential briefing Thursday with top officials in Iowa’s Department of Human Services.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2016/12/28/numerous-abuse-reports-made-starved-child-case-lawmaker-says/95935520/

IN: Need for Indiana foster homes surges as opioid addicts leave children behind (Includes video)

Fox59 – December 27, 2016

Adoption advocates are calling on Hoosiers to foster children as Indiana battles yet another symptom of the opioid epidemic. The Villages of Indiana reports a surge in children being pulled from homes where parents are addicted to drugs. As a result, they are running out of good foster homes.

http://fox59.com/2016/12/27/need-for-indiana-foster-homes-surges-as-opioid-addicts-leave-children-behind/

MS: State reminds people of safe haven law

WDAM – December 28, 2016

The state of Mississippi is stepping up its effort to remind people of a very important law. The safe haven law allows mothers to “leave their baby, up to 3 days old, with an employee at any emergency medical provider, hospital emergency room or a licensed adoption agency”.

http://www.live5news.com/story/34143285/state-reminds-people-of-safe-haven-law

NE: Editorial, 12/28: Child abuse investigation is justified

Lincoln Journal Star – December 28, 2016

In the last three years, there have been 36 reports of sexual abuse in state licensed facilities and the child welfare system, a chilling accumulation that has rightfully prompted an investigation by the state inspector general for child welfare.

http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-child-abuse-investigation-is-justified/article_2430d303-c118-54cb-a509-2c6fdbd2af0f.html

OR: NBC5 News Investigation: Inside OnTrack Part 3 (Includes video)

KOBi5 – December 28, 2016

Minnesota At Risk Children’s News December 2016

coneflowersBrandon Stahl Reporting

KARA gathers news about abused Minnesota’s abused children every month and works to provide a snapshot of Child Protection and how our state values its children.

If you are an aspiring writer/reporter, KARA needs you to help gather and report on these stories.  Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with REPORTING in the subject line.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

 

Follow;

Safe Passage For Children MN (make child friendly legislation a reality)

CASAMN (become a guardian ad Litem and speak for abused children)

KARA Star Tribune Articles; Child Protection Who Will Speak For Children?

International Child Protection News December 2016

Guatemala ChildrenKARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.  This is only a sampling of what should be known –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

Are you an aspiring researcher / writers? KARA needs you.

Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with Research/Writing in the subject line.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

 

 Join The KARA Team (and receive free weekly updates on Friday mornings)

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of  KARA volunteer Eshanee Singh

Support KARA’s efforts to advocate for at risk children (donate)

1 In 3 Children Investigated For Abuse by 18 (Washington University Study)

river-vista-double-exposureAs a long time volunteer County CASA guardian ad Litem it has been hard to comprehend the explosive growth of child abuse in my lifetime.  This study (lead author Hyunil Kim PhD Student at the Brown School at Washington University St Louis) published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health is troubling on several levels.

First, to reach numbers this high by only including reports of child abuse that met County standards for a case to be investigated, indicates that this already high number (37% overall & 53% for Black Children) is possibly even higher

KARA’s Christmas/Holiday Season Wishes For America’s Children (pick a New Year Resolution to help children succeed)

Join KARA in making your Holiday Gift for At Risk Children an effort supporting programs that reduce child poverty and vote for and talk about the importance of early childhood programs that save children from violence and the problems of of horrific home lives (like crisis nurseries & quality daycare).

Help KARA stamp out homelessness for 2 year old children. .

Let’s change the sad fact that children in many third world nations stand a better change of being vaccinated against preventable deadly diseases than U.S. kids.

Help KARA stamp out homelessness for 2 year old children. It should not exist in a nation that can afford a trillion dollars a year for wars and defense (the cost of fixing this would be a rounding error in the DOD budget).

Let’s change the sad fact that children in many third world nations stand a better change of being vaccinated against preventable deadly diseases than U.S. kids.

Make a resolution to support reading programs and mental health programs that teach children how to cope with their surroundings and insure that they can read by the third grade. This will have a great and positive impact on graduation rates, crime rates, and the overall safety and happiness of our communities.

Le’t’s resolve to promote good public health programs and reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted disease among our youth (we lead the world in this realm).

Overall, we need to recognize the value of children in our society. As Pliny said 2500 years ago, “What we do to our children, they will do to society”.

Read David Strands Early Childhood Education Manifesto below, it is a first rate strategy for saving the next generation in America;

Transforming the System: A Call For Action

Grounded in compassion and learning, we must act forcefully to promote transparency, understanding and change to reform how abused and neglected children find safe permanent homes and deal with the traumas that brought them into child protection. Beginnng this year, the ACA makes advanced mental health services available to traumatized children giving them a chance to heal and thrive.

This effort requires focused support for achievable objectives.

When we’ve done that, we will have transformed the System.

Possible actions include:

Activist organizations uniting in every community to push for awareness of and changes in policies that are failing or demonstrably superior.

Action teams in each Congressional district communicating regularly with their Congressperson (support these teams where they are and create them where they don’t exist).

Child-affirming activist communities whose members build awareness and understanding of programs and policies impacting at risk children can improve those laws and policies.

With this approach, we can address the child, the family and the system.

December 2016 Sad Stories Part 1

MD: Youth homelessness in Baltimore higher than previously thought
The Baltimore Sun – November 30, 2016
More than 1,400 young people under the age of 25 were unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, without a safe, stable, affordable place to live, according to data collected by homeless advocates, service providers, the University of Maryland, the city and other stakeholders.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-homeless-youth-20161130-story.html
NY: ‘What Did They Do?’ Officials Question ACS Response in Jaden Jordan Case
DNAinfo – December 01, 2016
Law enforcement officials probing the nearly fatal beating of a 3-year-old boy are questioning why a city child welfare caseworker – and not a trained investigator or the NYPD – was called days before the tragedy to check out a tip that the toddler was being kept in a dog cage by a Brooklyn man, DNAinfo New York has learned.
https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161201/gravesend/jaden-jordan-administration-for-childrens-services-salvatore-lucchesse
NY: A Better, But Still Broken, NYC Child Welfare System Means Another Child Murdered (Opinion)
The Huffington Post – November 30, 2016
As CEO’s of three of the oldest and largest charities serving New York City’s children, we are determined to learn any lesson we can to protect children from harm. We stand with all New Yorkers in demanding accountability, and we want to see pragmatic and meaningful reform that truly protects children.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-christopher-kohomban-phd/a-better-but-still-broken_b_12501974.html

Pennsylvania Child Protection News Sept – November 2016

Pennsylvania officials reveal improved service to child abuse hotline
Philly Voice – September 15, 2016
In 2015, the department reported a 14-percent increase in phone calls from 164,911 to 188,357, a 39-percent increase in cases of suspected child abuse and a 162-percent increase in requests for child-abuse history clearances. DHS admitted that 43 percent of calls were abandoned or deflected and 48 percent of clearances were processed within 14 days as required by law.
http://www.phillyvoice.com/pennsylvania-officials-reveal-improved-service-child-abuse-hotline/

Pennsylvania couple waives arraignment in child-giving case
ABC 27 News – September 2, 2016
A Pennsylvania couple and a Philadelphia-area man to whom they allegedly gave their 14-year-old daughter in exchange for money have waived their arraignments.
http://abc27.com/2016/09/02/pennsylvania-couple-waives-arraignment-in-child-giving-case/

Minnesota At Risk Children’s News November 2016

Recommendations Announced For Improving Child Services
CBS Local
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hennepin County leaders are making new recommendations to help protect children in Minnesota. A child protection …
Flag as irrelevant

Hennepin County discussing $26 million child protection plan that would add nearly 250 new staffers
Minneapolis Star Tribune
No longer would children need to endure maltreatment before they get social services in Minnesota’s most populous county. … Hennepin County has had 15,400 child protection reports so far this year, but county leaders expect to …
Flag as irrelevant

Hennepin County shifts child protection mission with new model
Minneapolis Star Tribune
No longer will a child need to endure maltreatment before they get social services in Minnesota’s most populous county, an unprecedented step in the …
Flag as irrelevant

International Child Protection News November 2016

Africa – SADC Model Law Key Step Towards Ending Child Marriages.
The Zimbabwean.
A new model aimed at ending child marriages, provides guidance at all levels of the decision making process. Parliamentarians, ministries of justice and policy makers will work together