National Grandparents Day September 9th & A Great Day To Recognize All Grandparent Caregivers

From my guardian ad-Litem experience a few years ago, I want to thank the single grandmother who adopted 4 of her grandchildren (one a quadripalegic six year old) and all the other hard working committed kinship caregivers that have stepped forward to make life better for their children’s children when the troubled family could not be kept together. In my case, this sweet lady explained that when the youngest child was 18, grandma would be 88.

What courage, love, and commitment

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Mandated Reporting, or Basic Responsibility (it’s absence is killing Wisconsin & Pennsylvania children)

Leilani and Dale Neumann allowed their daughter to die a painful and lengthy death from fully treatable disease on Easter Sunday of 2008. Relatives were aware of the wacky faith healing beliefs that were soon to kill 11 year old Kara Neumann.

Medical experts testified at the trial that Kara would have lived if her parents had brought her to a doctor at any time before she stopped breathing.

Wisconsin (and 12 other states) don’t charge parents who murder their children in this fashion of child abuse.

Last May, Herbert and Catherine Schaible murdered their second child in Philadelphia by faith healing treatable pneumonia, just 3 years after killing their 2 year old son by faith healing his pneumonia until he died.

The most frightening element of these stories is that children that suffer from horrific negligence and terrible abuse only make the paper when they die. 6 million children are reported to child protection agencies in this nation annually. Only a few get the help they need.

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Zero Kids Waiting (lifelong nurturing families for children needing permanency)

What a great asset for Minnesota children. Here’s their latest newsletter (note all the great articles and resources;

Zero Kids Waiting is the monthly eNewsletter of Minnesota Adoption Resource Network, a 33-year old organization that creates and supports lifelong nurturing families for children needing permanency.

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Other Losses Foster Children Face

As a guardian ad-Litem for an 11 year old girl, I was appalled when the care agency threw away all of her possessions because she was messy.

Think about it. Removed from her birth family (where she was sexually abused and terribly beaten), forced to live away from her siblings, among many other severely damaged children in a chaotic environment, no love, no freedom, and with about three things in her room tying her to her past. One of which was a photo that she cherished deeply.

Everything this poor child owned was thrown away because nothing in her life mattered to the person (a low skilled and low paid helper) ruling her life and making those decisions.

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Grandparents; Counties & States Can’t Live With Them, Children Can’t Live Without Them.

It is not the social worker, the teacher, or other professionals working with children that are responsible for the problems within American child protection service, it is lack of awareness and understanding by policy makers of the core problems and how best to address them through effective operational policies.

Several of my County kids had over 25 foster home placements & experienced dozens of teachers, social workers, and others like me before they were let out of the system. I was the only adult consistently in their lives in a number of cases as many others came and went.

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Sad Stories October 2015

mississippi double exposure red wingFind information about child protection, child endangerment & child well-being in your state here.

For past months, click here

AR: Arkansas’s child welfare system discriminates against relatives of neglectful or abusive parents
Arkansas Times – October 29, 2015
When parents fail their children, relatives often want to step up. But Kimberlee Herring and Karisa Hardy say the system shut them out, and instead placed three kids into a home where they were abused.
http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/arkansass-child-welfare-system-discriminates-against-relatives-of-of-neglectful-or-abusive-parents/Content?oid=4144320

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Adoption, Kinship and Grandparents (a tribute)

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Almost 8 million children in America live with grandparents and other relatives. Most of them receive little or not help from governmental agencies.

Not all counties and states appreciate that it is easier for a child to restart a painfully disrupted life with someone they are connected to and have memories of than waking up in a home they have never seen before with people they don’t know.

Grandparents often don’t know about the court proceedings that are about to forever alter their relationship with grandchildren as they may live in another city or have become estranged from their badly behaving children.

Even if grandparents know of court proceedings, it can be very hard for them to have standing in the court or navigate the system once they are in it.

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Everyone needs a lawyer and lawyers are expensive. I know grandparents that have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying desperately to provide a safe and familiar home for their grandchild.

It doesn’t seem right that money should be a biggest part of an adoption equation for grandma and grandpa (or other relatives) to make their argument for custody.

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KARA Readers Reminder

There is a situation here in Troy, New York. Regarding our Rensselaer County CPS Office. As of April, 2015, when the four children involved first went back to live with their mother. There have been at least 8 calls to Rensselaer County CPS regarding a mother and these four children, soon to be 4, 6, 8 and 10, years of age this year. There have been continuous calls made to both Rensselaer & Albany County CPS offices on this mother since 2007. There were calls/reports given to Rensselaer County CPS back in June, July, September, October, November and twice in December, 2015. The ones in December, 2015 was made by the children’s school nurse for lack of medical care. Then again in January, 2016 of the little boy, present age of 7 whose mother’s live in boyfriend punch him in the mouth, resulting in a broken front tooth.

Then again in March of 2016, a report was made to the same Rensselaer County CPS office ( same case worker) that the present age of 5 little sister of the 7 year old boy. Said she saw a few times, the mom’s live in boyfriend kissing their present age of 9 year old sister “ like boyfriend & girlfriend. That the 9 year old sister was touching the live in boyfriends’ private area. My question to you is, why after all these numerous calls made, and esp. the last two calls regarding physical assault and sex abuse is this CPS office allowing the total of these four siblings to still be living with this mom and her live in boyfriend? And why, when asking this same question to this CPS office, the caseworker, her supervisor and the Director of this CPS office. We get the BS answer of “ Oh, it takes time, but we are investigating”.

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Why We Hate Lawsuits (Eric Dean’s grandmother sues county & social workers for his death)

The most painful thing about the Eric Dean lawsuit (aside from the sadness of a four-year old boy tortured to death over years by his step mother Amanda Peltier) is reliving the abuse that led to his death when this new lawsuit hits the papers.

Brandon Stahl’s Star Tribune article today is an in your face reminder of how bad things are for at risk children, how vulnerable and voiceless they are and how Eric’s torture was ignored by so many for so long.

 

Without the persistence and hard work of Brandon Stahl and the Star Tribune, Eric Dean’s death would have remained unnoticed and child protection in MN unchanged. 

Four MN counties would still screen out 90% of the child abuse calls & social workers would still be forbidden from knowing about prior histories of abuse in home when investigating new reports.  15 reports of face and body bites, broken arm and intestinal puncture could still be ignored.

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Foster Care & Adoption In America (families and change needed)

Almost every state needs more foster / adoptive families. This shortage reflected in the articles and stories below point to one more overwhelmed part of America’s troubled child protection system.

There are correctable reasons children are being left in hospitals and state facilities because there are no foster / adoptive homes.

To name a few;

Some states pay a base rate to foster families lower than the actual cost of feeding a child and almost no help for adoptive families.
Too many states make it hard for grandparents and other family members to adopt or foster a state ward child.
Some states provide far to little help to foster /adoptive families for the trauma & behavioral problems state ward children often bring with them into the home.
A quick review of the articles herein give you a sense of the depth and scope of the problems state ward children are facing and a better understanding of why so few of the 12 to 18 million children reported to child protection in this nation each year are receiving the help they need to become contributing members of our communities.

These sad stories go a long way in explaining why schools are so troubled and jails are so full.

Feel free to share this article widely (especially with policy makers and legislators – include a personal note and speak for a child).

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Adoption & Foster Care In America – (their stories, your state)

Foster Care; Every state is struggling to make life safe for traumatized state ward children. Here are their stories from October & November 2017;

KS: Nowhere Else to Go: Why Kids Are Sleeping in Child Welfare Offices (Commentary)

Governing – October 11, 2017

Every month, there are kids in Kansas forced to sleep on cots or couches in a foster care contractor’s office because they don’t have anywhere else to stay that night.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

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Safe Passage for Children of MN Advocacy (shining a light on at Minnesota’s at risk children)

By the time she was 11 years old, McKenna Ahrenholz of Swift County, Minnesota, and her four younger brothers and sisters had endured years of abuse and neglect by her father.

The abuse was frequently reported to child case workers, but each time, time after time, the Ahrenholz children were returned to their father. Even when they asked not to be returned. Every time – seventeen times.

Today, McKenna and her siblings live safely and happily with their grandparents. But in too many cases, Minnesota’s child welfare system continues to fail our state’s children.

Safe Passage for Children advocates for reforms in the child welfare system. As you make your year-end charitable donations, please help us reach our $8,000 goal with a contribution to Safe Passage – and the future of Minnesota children.

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Happy GrandParent’s Day (volunteering, kinship & raising a grandchild)

Leaving the courtroom after the adoption of her four grandchildren, Charlotte, stated that when the youngest of these children turned 18, that she would be 88.

I’d noticed a limp in her walking and that she was on medications in the months before the adoption but never thought through the commitment, physical exhaustion and financial stress grandparents take on when adopting their child’s child.

It’s a much greater effort for a 65 year old person to manage the wild and unpredictable behaviors of a 3 year old than it is for a 25 year old birth parent We seniors wear out faster, break easier and heal slower.

Happy Grandparents Day and may those of you …

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