KARA has been reporting and speaking on critical issues impacting abused and neglected children for many years.
This article submitted by long time CASA guardian ad Litem Mike Tikkanen
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Instead of providing mental health services to traumatized State Ward children,
the data shows that
these five states have medicated close to 40% of foster children in their child protection system.
North Dakota, Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa & Maine have substituted Prozac like drugs rather than healing childhood traumas.
In 2014 America put 20,000 one and two-year old children on psychotropic medications. That same year, big pharma was fined billions of dollars for illegally selling those drugs to pediatricians for use on young children.
Keep in mind that babies, 5, 10 and 15 year old children have no rights or voice in what happens to them as a State Ward child. What the court orders becomes their life.
As a CASA guardian ad litem, I’ve seen the pain and suffering this kind of drug abuse has on voiceless children caught up in an overwhelmed child protection system.
Some of my caseload children were proscribed multiple psychotic medications simultaneously and were horribly impacted by it.
A concerned County Judge provided me with a long list her State Ward children forced onto these drugs – many of them on multiple meds.
Where mental health services don’t exist, these drugs are an awful way of managing traumatized children.
These drugs trigger suicidal ideation – it’s written on every package. Five-year old’s should never be forced to endure suicidal thoughts.
Not far from where I live, 6 year-old foster child Kendrea Johnson hung herself.
It is rare that very young children are successful in suicide as it is not easy, but cutting and other forms of self-harm are common among abused and traumatized children.
Without trauma informed care, children live with the damage done to them without healing, often blaming themselves for what has been done to them.
Unhealthy children become unhealthy juveniles and adults and have families much like the one they came from.
States saving money by ignoring the mental health issues of foster children need a lesson in mathematics. A single child in my caseload cost taxpayers almost 3 million dollars by the time he aged out of foster care and that does not include the terrible things he did to people.
As a CASA guardian ad litem many of my caseload families had four and five very disturbed children and today, those children are having their own families that look allot like the home they came from – drugs, violence, chronic illness and a dysfunctional lifestyle.
Generational child abuse in America today is a public health crisis costing cities, states and counties exponentially more money every year. Huge parts of County and State budgets are dedicated to the chaos child abuse creates.
Taxpayers could be financing early childhood programs and addressing mental health and interrupting the trauma and abuse impacting schools, public health and public safety. Instead, tax dollars are building more prisons and jails, unable to support struggling schools and failing to make neighborhoods safe.