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Join KARA & Add Your Voice For At Risk Youth

Minnesota Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

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KARA is a passionate and unapologetic voice for the weakest and most vulnerable citizens among us.

At risk children have no voice in the homes they are raised in, no voice in the courts that manage their lives, the media only rarely gives attention to them, and they can’t represent themselves at the legislature and for far too long they have been badly treated because of it.

Support funding an Ombudsman for Children in the 2016 state budget.  Support

Support Minnesota and the U.S. adopt the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Summary of Rights

Support publicly funded education for Minnesota residents of all ages, from birth to late life, from quality early childhood education to college for seniors.  Support

Support increasing state funding to provide quality early childhood education taught by licensed professionals for low-income and low-middle income families across the state.  Support page 13

Support requiring life skills curriculum for middle and high school students including 1) how to interact with children from birth through early childhood to enhance their development, 2) children’s developmental stages, and 3) interpersonal communication in setting family goals and resolving conflicts.  Support

Tell your friends about the importance of CASA guardians ad-Litem as a voice for abused and neglected children in the Child Protection System (and how rewarding this volunteer experience is for those who participate)

Kids At Risk Action (KARA) is partnering with CASA and the Guardian ad-Litem program to help you volunteer with CASA or start a a CASA program in your community.  CASAMN CASANational

Work with KARA to build awareness of the great need for;

parenting classes,

trauma informed mental health services,

crisis nurseries,

quality day care

attention to child protection systems,

public and political support for breaking the cycle of child abuse and improving the lives of at risk children.

 

Support KARA efforts for improved child protection/child abuse record keeping, more accountability & transparency, better policies, and always having the interests of children at the forefront of the decision makers ruling their young lives.

Awareness is growing, but the climb is steep and better answers may never come without watchdog and research organizations like KARA investigating and reporting.

Contact your Elected Officials

Abused and neglected children cannot contact their senators for their help.  Without our help, critical change may never come.

This sample letter reflects on Minnesota at the time of its composition. When you write your elected officials or others, make your advocacy letter reflect your voice and your story about the needs of neglected children. If you have a connection (as a teacher, a social worker, an adoptive/foster parent or another connection) to an abandoned or abused child, include that connection, or a story about that connection in your letter. Make your letter personal. Those are the letters that are remembered and are effective.

Sample Letter

Dear Representative,

I’m writing you because abused and neglected children cannot afford high powered lobbyists to plead their case.

It is up to policy makers to provide leadership in supporting the people, policies and programs that make life better for at risk children.  For me, You are that person.

It is a tragic fact that Minnesota (include your state and data or recent stories to personalize your letter) has a significant population of abused and neglected children and the system in place to protect them is already stressed and failing in 19 of 23 federal measurements. There are many indicators that point to how failure to thrive as a child leads to failure and dysfunctional adulthood.  Former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice has stated that 90% of the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection.

In these difficult economic times, it is understood that many areas of state and local government services need to be evaluated and reduced where possible. Unlike services provided for public entertainment or convenience, underfunding child protection can have long lasting negative financial and social repercussions.

It is likely that the stressful times to come will only increase the number of children in need of our protection. Knowing this, how can cuts be justified?

Children who experience abuse or neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30 percent more likely to commit violent crime.

One-third of abused and neglected children will eventually victimize their own children.

The statistics quoted above are only part of the unfortunate future of the abused child. The incidence of mental illness, chemical dependency and teenage pregnancy are much higher in abused children. The costs to handle these problems are far greater than the cost to help families and children before the problems become severe. The extended cost to schools and other people who become victimized by these troubled children as they become adults is immeasurable. As a volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem, I have seen these things come true with many of the children that I have worked with in troubled families (where just a little bit of help would have allowed a child to lead a normal life).

Isn’t it worth looking at cutting more expendable budget items a little deeper than decreasing an already compromised system that could have life threatening consequences? Can’t we remember that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure? Our schools would benefit, our streets would be safer, and not so many people would fill our jails and prisons.

Please support early childhood programs like daycare, healthcare, crisis nurseries, and early learning.

Sincerely,

 

 

Sign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story 

Please donate now and support these pages &

1) Our documentary on the needs of at-risk children and breaking the cycle of abuse

2) Our second book, a collection of micro-bios following at-risk children through their journey

Accepting all donations, small and large. Their lives will not improve without help.

 

 

Following the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection In MN here;

Task Force meetings posted by Rich Gehrman at Save Passages For Children;

KARA letter to the task force

MPR audio (4 minutes) From former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz “I don’t think it’s individuals so much, I just think the system just militates toward having problems because of the way it’s set up…Mistakes are not corrected, or even understood.”  & “We need to understand the reports coming in…Too many people have been trying to fix it with the doors and windows closed.”

Eric Dean’s murder by his mother (video)

How did a law that prohibits child protection workers from considering previous reports of child abuse get passed?

From Dr. Lisa Hollensteiner, “I am very concerned about our low screening-in rate…why is that?… We’re lower than most of the country (47th) we’re lower than other countries” (way – way lower).

Two Immediate Steps to Enhance Child Safety
First, Governor Dayton has directed the Department of Human Services to take two immediate steps to improve child safety and enhance accountability in the child protection system. Those steps include:

  1. Rapid Consultation System – Recognizing that child protection requires difficult judgment calls and expertise, a rapid consultation system staffed by state and county specialists will be set up for county workers who need expert advice as they do their work. This new support system will be operated by counties and the Department of Human Services.
  2. Monthly Random Screenings – The Department of Human Services will begin monthly random reviews of county screening decisions, starting immediately. These screening decisions are the initial choices county child protections workers make about whether or not to investigate allegations of child abuse.
  1. Reviewing Policies, Laws, and Protocols – The Task Force will evaluate the appropriateness of screening decisions made by child protection workers (about 5% of all cases). They will also review policies and laws meant to protect children and families, and the protocols for pre-court protection, screening, and mandatory and cross-reporting.
  2. Enhancing Accountability in the Child Protection System – The Task Force will review accountability measures within the system, and issue recommendations for adequate supervisory oversight of current child protection practices.
  3. Capacity and Resources – The Task Force will ensure the child protection system has the capacity and resources necessary to fully-address child maltreatment reports.

The Task Force will also examine the training of staff, child welfare training system, and workforce development. Additionally, it will evaluate the workload of staff and supervisors, cross-reporting to law enforcement, and the handling of substantial child endangerment cases.

From Safe Passage For Children Of Minnesota, Media Coverage of Eric Dean Case and Child Welfare Issues