If you live in a state where children are 8 times more likely to be incarcerated (Wyoming), 13 times more likely to die from abuse & neglect (Oklahoma), twice as likely to die in their first year, 3 times more likely to die between 1 and 14 years old, 3 times more likely to die between the ages of 15-19, (Alaska, South Dakota, Louisiana), 3 times more likely to be born to a teenage mom (Texas),  5 times more likely to have received late or no prenatal care (New Mexico),

Would you forward this email to your state representative, Governor, Mayor, Senators, and your friends, neighbors, and relatives?

Maybe one more influential person would vote for child friendly programs that would result in one more child gaining access to programs/people/policies that would put her on the path to coping skills and a productive life instead of preteen motherhood, adolescent felonies, and dysfunctional lifestyles.

Read the whole report here; Every Child Matters

Louisiana gets last place for Infant mortality & 49th for child poverty (Mississippi is 49th & 50th in these areas),

Texas is 50th in teen moms & uninsured children & 45th in child abuse deaths.

South Carolina is dead last in overall child welfare & 48th in child mortality.

Indiana is 49th in overall child welfare & perhaps the meanest state for special needs children (Governor Mitch Daniels saw to that)

New Mexico is 48th in births to teen moms, child poverty, and overall child well being.

Alaska is 49th in children dying between the ages of 1 and 14, and 50th in teen deaths.

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6 Comments

  1. Michael, you bring up a sad issue here. The data mentioned in your article reflect numerous social issues. I can speak for healthcare issues, because I was a doctor in the USA for 12 years and I was not impressed with many of the problems of the healthcare system there. While some people in the USA have access to perhaps the best healthcare in the world, many get poor care. I don’t need to say that 50 million people in the USA aren’t medically insured, and that a quarter of US households have medical bills that they can’t afford to pay.

    Although the US spends more money per person on healthcare yearly than almost any other country, it ranks 34th in the world in infant (under one-year-old) mortality rate, behind Cuba and well behind the UK. The US also ranks low in life expectancy (38th, again just behind Cuba). The reason for these poor rankings are complex, but as far as I’m concerned, a major factor is that healthcare is a business in the USA and, as such, if you can afford good healthcare you get it, whereas if you can’t, then tough!

    Too many helpless children suffer the world over. Almost 7,000,000 children under five around the world die every year, mostly due to inexpensive preventable causes. There are way too many “Invisible Children,” and you’re right to point out that they occur not just in developing countries but also in “advanced” nations such as the USA.

  2. As a Marriage and Family Therapist for the past 39 years, I have painfully watched as our mental health care system fails. The mental health of individuals, especially children should be a priority if you hope to grow a strong country and safe a sager world for people to live in.

    The underfunded mental health system offers inadequate resources and compensation and support and respect for the mental health workers; their time and efforts. It’s shameful to look at the numbers of children who go daily without proper care, nurturing, healthy diets and an education system that provides the right tools necessary to offer children interesting and exciting learning opportunities. Our youth is our future, yet they receive the least amount of attention and concern.

    How a society as educated and powerful as ours, or as we claim to be, can continue to overlook the daily suffering of children baffle me.

    Although saddened, I was pleased to read an article that addressed this topic. I hope many people, especially those in power, will take note of what is really IMPORTANT our kids.

  3. I came in to chime in regarding the MENTAL HEALTH treatment opportunities that have been denied to our children and to the adults who care for them or are in their world in various capacities. We NEVER had ENOUGH — and they (at least ILLINOIS) took away what they did have… closing excellent treatment facility doors…

    ANOTHER crime against these children — seizing of children from their homes — by the STATE. Allowing FALSE allegations of child abuse/neglect separate families causing irreparable harm — and preventing addressing the needs of children who are the REAL victims.

    We are not allowed to discipline the children we love. Later in life will we find ourselves asking WHY that child may have ended up shot down in the street by a police officer when he is a little older (17 or 18??)– because he didn’t listen, wouldn’t stop, etc… have you not taught him he did not NEED to listen or respect an adult?

  4. I’m a bit surprised VA is not on the list. I have taught several ‘invisible children’. It’s easier to get struck by lightning than get CPS to make a home visit.

  5. For calls made to the home, officers, as well as probation officers should report their initial assessment of the youth’s living situation/condition. I think that Mental Health Assessments (MHA) should be conducted in the home, as opposed to in-clinic, in order to assess for environmental and familial stressors. In-home MHAs allows the assessor to render more accurate diagnoses. It is possible that youths may present for more stringent diagnoses in-clinic, based on their “reported” behaviors; however, the youth, family, and home environment offers far greater insight into the youth and the family dynamic, which may give way to a lighter (or, at least, accurate) diagnosis, and require treatment of the youth and family system.

  6. A question was raised on a LinkedIn forum (Child Welfare Advocates group) about what is needed to reduce/prevent child abuse. It was suggested that stronger criminal penalties might be needed.
    I do not believe that is an effective approach. I’m not saying that criminal penalties are not indicated in some cases. However, in 20+ years of working with and on behalf of vulnerable children, my experience has been that criminal charges would not and do not deter MOST people who abuse. Most instances of abuse fall into one of three categories. One is those who do not know better. These are the people who shake babies or spank children in frustration. Or they may inflict more serious injury in an ill-informed attempt to discipline (such as with-hold food, force to consume toxic chemicals). Another category is those cases where there are other issues contributing—such as substance abuse, poverty, and/or mental illness. These abusers have a primary problem that is not effectively addressed and they abuse children as a consequence of their untreated problems. In both cases, the abuser has maladaptive strategies to managing their emotions and stress. The third group present with abuse of children as their primary problem–for instance, pedophiles and people who torture for enjoyment. There are few effective treatments for this group and separation from society is probably the only way they can be prevented from abusing children.

    There are some programs that have been evaluated and found to be effective in preventing child abuse. The Triple P program (http://www.promisingpractices.net/program.asp?programid=272) is one. Nurse Home Visiting programs (there are a few variations on the model) have had some success. I’m told the latter is implemented throughout the UK (although I have no direct knowledge of their model). It is available in many but not all jurisdictions in the US. The idea is to have professionals or trained para-professionals work with new parents so that they have support and information immediately upon the birth of a child. They have the advantage of being a non-threatening resource for new parents and work in their homes so they can identify risks early. In the first two categories mentioned, programs such as these have been demonstrated to prevent, reduce, or lead to early detection and intervention of child abuse.

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