Today I spoke with 40 social workers and service providers in a small room for almost 90 minutes.

We talked about perspective and how each of us has a different experience with abused and abandoned children and the institutions and services that work to help them.

Like the “elephant in a dark room” analogy- each of us has a hand on a different part of the elephant. It’s the same elephant but it feels very different depending on if your hand is on the trunk, the tail, or a leg.
We all agreed that the systems and institutions designed and built to serve troubled children are not working properly and changes need to be made.

We all agreed that it’s not educators wrecking schools, nor social workers purposefully trying to destroy the lives of the children under their care.

We are confident that the police and juvenile justice workers are not trying to incarcerate poor and needy children.

What seems to be the underlying dysfunction is the poor public policy that has continued to deny services to children in Child Protection while creating more jail cells, harsher sentencing, and a focus on punishment and away from rehabilitation.

The children this group works so diligently to help for the most part end up as adolescent felons and preteen mothers no matter what the service providers do.

As long as government resources continue to pour into Criminal Justice systems and not Mental Health services;

graduation rates will remain at 50 – 60%, high school rates of illiteracy will remain at 25% upon graduation,

recidivism  in criminal justice at 66%

our insurance rates will reflect the twenty year statistic that about one out of five Americans is the victim of a crime each year.

The sad thing is that we all know it’s broken and we know what needs to be done.

It’s just that our policy makers don’t appear to appreciate the failed history of punishing abused and neglected children.

Most lawmakers ask, “where is the money going to come from?” when they should be asking, “where is the money going?”

Support At Risk Children, start a KARA group in your community

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