Kids At Risk Action writes and reports on child abuse issues
& provides a passionate voice for at risk children
All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children
“What we do to our children, they will do to society”
(Greek Philosopher, Pliny the Elder, 2000 years ago)
I’ve never had much luck convincing some of my friends that the work I do in child protection could impact their lives.
Today’s Star Tribune article by Libor Jany about the increase in violent crime and 63 recent car-jackings (over the last 39 days) many include vicious assaults & mostly committed by teens – kids as young as 12, puts the lie to that belief.
For decades, the vast majority of serious and violent crime has been committed by youth and young adults. In these 63 recent car-jackings, women are beaten, one man was shot dead and another dragged as he tried to stop them from stealing his car with his wife and child inside.
During this time of pandemic and civil unrest, it’s apparent that our city is much more dangerous than it was a year ago.
What is less apparent, are the key drivers that have needed our attention for a very long time that (if addressed) could dramatically reduce the anxiety, violence and unrest in our communities.
Before, when schools, health care and public safety seemed to work, we have had little concern with how or why things work and the luxury of not paying attention to the people, programs and policies involved.
We have not paid enough attention to why children are expelled from daycare, elementary schools or the impact of criminalizing 12 year olds or the impact of police in schools.
Our punishment models of expulsion, incarceration and and harsh justice have hardened thousands of children – never giving them a chance of living a normal life.
Today, distance learning, policing and social work are not working for far too many children and our public health and safety are in crisis because of this.
While media and legislative attention are focused on outrageous politics, COVID, fear and racial injustice – domestic violence and children’s issues remain the back burner issue they have always been. We cannot afford to ignore these issues anymore.
At risk children and families will be bearing the brunt of our institutional failures and civil unrest until we the people decide to make positive change happen for them.
The results of the COVID pandemic and our poisonous politics will be with us for a long time growing an ever increasing population of dysfunctional youth and the havoc they wreak.
Until we speak for and accomplish change, our neighborhoods will be seeing a predictable increase in crime and violence that will become much worse for all of us.
The good news is that we have ways to engage at risk youth that give them skills and an exit ramp from violence and crime to becoming healthy productive people.
For you and me to effect this change, political involvement means knowing your State Representative and other law-makers to regularly let them know what you want for the children in your community. Crisis nurseries, quality day care, health and mental health care, foster and adoptive families and a healing model not a punishment model.
We are all soldiers in this battle defending invisible voiceless young citizens in our midst.
Speak for these children and make your own life better, safer and happier.
# public safety
This article submitted by KARA board member Mike tikkanen