MN Supreme Court former Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz is remembered for her powerful statements about how abused and neglected children correlate to crime & prison;
“The difference between that poor child and a felon is about 8 years” &
“90% of the youth in juvenile justice have passed through child protection” are 2 powerful Justice Blatz statements that should cause us to reflect on how we treat the youngest and most vulnerable among us.
My experience as a volunteer guardian ad Litem showed me again and again the sadness of terribly abused children cast into an underfunded, misunderstood child protection system with hopes that they will come out the other end as happy, contributing citizens.
80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives & Justice Blatz statements are still true.
Dr. David Mccollum helped found the Academy on Violence & Abuse within the medical community when he discovered that the vast majority of people passing through his hospital emergency room had been abused as children.
That American Courts have recently quit executing Juveniles (and those who committed crimes and juveniles) and sending youth to prison for life is a very tiny step towards humanely treating children born into horrible circumstances. They have no voice (if we don’t help them, no one will).
I’ve written of my first guardian ad-Litem visit to a 4 year old in a suicide ward, the 7 year old that hung himself and left a note, & the countless sexually abused children receiving almost no help for behavioral problems that will soon send them to prison or turn them into teen moms.
3 million children a year are reported to child protection in America each year. Funding and support from non-profits and governmental agencies has become scarce. In most states about half the cases are being investigated as were just five years ago (and this is in the face of more pain & problems in families and communities/not less). What we spend on prisons and policing would save allot of children.
Not only is it more costly to society to ignore or under-treat these children (20-40 years of institutionalization and crime is very expensive), it ruins communities and is just wrong.
We spend 6 times more money on programs for seniors & exponentially more on war and military. This is not about money – it is about awareness and understanding.
Are we really this mean? Or, is it that we just don’t know?
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