Wisconsin is lowering teen pregnancy rates, reducing violence in juvenile detention centers and decreasing emergency room visits by employing ACEs trauma informed practices.

They are also saving lots of taxpayer dollars.

These are the children that become the state wards for decades if their lives don’t improve.

80% of kids aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives.  No one wins.

Any objective comparison between the science of children’s mental health (ACES) and America’s deeply imbedded punishment model demonstrates how unworkable, painful and counter-productive it is to punish traumatized children one more time.

Blaming, shaming and punishment set one more brick in the wall of “I don’t belong here” driving kids out of school, into gangs, and making life miserable for our communities and the poor kids that have already endured awful childhoods.

My CASA guardian ad litem program director explained on day one that kids in child protection by definition have lived with extended exposure to violence and deprivation (the World Health Organization’s definition of torture).

These children have been punished so terribly by their birth families that the State has deemed their lives to be endangered and removed them from their homes to keep them safe.

The hard disciplining of tortured children almost always brings the opposite of the desired response and an escalation of unworkable and often violent behaviors.

If you wonder where crime comes from, the punishment model goes a long way towards explaining it.

It has been painful to observe how deeply embedded the punishment model is in elementary schools, juvenile justice and foster and adoptive homes.

Smart people that value results over power know that a personal connection and an effort to build a level of trust with a troubled child go much further than “what’s wrong with you” I will have you expelled.

And if you ever wonder, who could have done such a terrible thing when you read the paper or watch the news – you are beginning to understand the consequences of trauma and why we do what we do.