A fifteen-year old boy I am a guardian ad-Litem for has recently prostituted himself.

He has taught me many lessons.  He was such a charming little boy.   He won 2nd place at an inner city high school talent show not long ago.   He has verbalized his self- hatred and tried to kill himself more than once.

A cute little girl I have worked with for many years has genital warts and a strong desire to have a baby. She has no parenting skills (nor a viable grasp of reality.)

She is fourteen and I don’t see how things could be different. The court put her on long-term birth control when she was eleven. She had just escaped ST Joe’s home for children and seduced a man at a bar.

People in the business of child protection know that traumatized children do poorly with their peers, fail in school, and suffer severe anxieties and social failures.

Helping abused children back into the role of student, citizen, or any other functioning member of the community our policies must replace (or integrate) psychotropic medications with specific and extensive mental health therapies.

Does anyone know the number of current county ward children prescribed psychotropic medications? I think it is more than we can imagine. The national number (total) of kids on psychotropic drugs is at least 6 million.

The model we use today (drugs without adequate therapy) saves a little money on the front end.

By denying the need for services we guarantee ourselves many years of state support for damaged children—who then become troubled juveniles, becoming dysfunctional adults that commit crimes and visit their mental illnesses upon their own progeny (who repeat the cycle.)

It would be a useful exercise to calculate the costs of adequately treating traumatized children versus letting them become dysfunctional adolescents, pregnant teenagers and criminals.  80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives.

It causes me great pain to watch these children continue to hurt themselves and the others around them.

I’m certain that community investment in troubled youth is a sound investment.  It also strikes me that any nation that values children would find a way to invest in children.

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