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Andy Steiner’s social workers as backbone of the mental health workforce Minnpost article belies a much deeper truth about the depth and scope of mental health in our communities at this time.  Emergency Room Child visits for deliberate self-harm quadrupled between 2007 and 2016 and visits among children with mental health disorders almost doubled.  Children are often turned away from hospitals and can wait a month for a psychiatric bed and treatment for serious mental health issues.

Generational child abuse has been growing exponentially for years creating millions of traumatized children treated with Prozac like drugs with minimal or no effective mental health therapies to heal their traumas.

In 2014, America put 20,000 one and two-year old’s on Prozac like drugs and big pharma paid billions of dollars for illegally selling those drugs to pediatricians for use on very young children.

Social workers, teachers, law enforcement, foster and adoptive families and others involved with traumatized children dealing with significant mental health issues with little or no training or resources with predictable results.  Outcomes are often dangerous and making things worse for the child and the people involved.

The practice of medicine is a profession taking many years and licensing to achieve.  If we are going to force our providers to front line manage the serious mental health issues brought to classrooms, squad cars and our homes, we should at the very least, provide the people doing this work the resources and training they will need to be successful.  Anything less creates misery for the people in these fields, more crime, jails and teenage moms without parenting skills.

 

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 terribly affected 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.

According to California’s Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, child abuse in America today is a public health epidemic and public school crisis.

Ignoring the ethical arguments, cities, states and counties are spending 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.

The good news is that we do know what to do;

ACES, Trauma Informed Care &  ending the punishment model are not rocket science, but we do have to read the book.

 

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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