The impact of the Supreme Court’s decisions in the coming year are huge.  If the Court overturns the ACA, Millions of children will be uninsured or lose affordable coverage that does not meet their pediatric-specific needs.

Children aging out of the foster cares system will lose affordable health coverage, mental health and substance abuse coverage and access to preventative services because of pre-existing conditions and there will lifetime limits on care for the seriously ill.

Foster care children will see the pool of highly qualified foster and adoptive parents shrink if the Philadelphia Catholic Social Services is allowed to ban same-sex couples to be foster parents.

Very few communities have enough foster families for the children in their child protection systems. Foster care is already a huge national problem and GLBTQ kids are overrepresented in child protective cases.

Gay & lesbian couples know what it’s like to grow up confused, hurt and discriminated against.  This CASA guardian ad litem can attest to the empathy, understanding and energy they bring to raising State Ward children.

It saddens me that a religious organization would stand in the way of people trying to make life better for children suffering the terrors inflicted on them by their parents and the overwhelmed social service organizations trying to keep them safe. 80% of foster kids aging out lead dysfunctional lives in today’s America.

Making life a little more miserable for these children is a cruelty this Court can make happen.

In the case of Jones v. Mississippi, the Court will be deciding if children will be sentenced to die in prison. Children that commit violent crimes come largely from toxic homes where they were tortured for extended periods of time.  In the words of Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Kathleen Blatz, “The difference between that poor child and a felon, is about eight years”.  A functioning child protection system heals damaged children.  Condemning abused children to a life in prison is not what advanced nations do.

Racial disparity in our justice system is why there is rioting in the streets today.  Our nation’s punishment model has been very expensive and hard on people of color.

Things have not been rosy for America’s at risk children.

It may get much worse very soon.

Mike Tikkanen is the founder of the nonprofit Kids At Risk Action

KARA advocates for the people, policies and programs that improve the lives of abused and neglected children.

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