CASA MN Trivia Night & Silent Auction (Oct 17)

CASA MN supports the guardian ad litem child advocacy program gives grants to children in foster care through CASA Cares. This is our annual fundraiser and it’s great fun and a great cause.

Gather a group of friends or co-workers for a team or come and join a team to compete in a fun night of trivia.

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Wow – Thank You Amy and Friends

Last night’s KARA party and fundraiser was great fun and a super success. The food was remarkable and between the banana ice cream cinnamon wonder and the multiple courses of beefy and veggie creations, I was hard pressed to not have two of many things.

We met new volunteers and supporters and raised significant money for KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN Campus program

Damon & I had the pleasure of engaging many of you in KARA’s mission and strategy. We have high hopes of keeping your interest in our efforts in the years to come as we build an army of people that want to improve the lives of at risk children.

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Give A Child A Voice (save the date)

This is unlike any other volunteer experience. The impact you can have on a child’s life is tremendous. Currently, there are hundreds of children in Hennepin County alone, waiting for a GAL, their spokesperson, their advocate.

Thank you for your interest in — and for considering advocating for — the abused and neglected children in our community! We look forward to seeing you and please feel free to invite others!

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The Ghost Of Christmas Future

TAt a Governor’s Task Force Oversight Meeting (on Child Protection in MN in 2014) the head of Hennepin County Commissioners Jan Callison showed genuine anger and concern when she found out* that Social workers weren’t available on weekends or evenings for abused and neglected children and that she directed the department to “fix it”.

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SPEAK FOR A CHILD (be a CASA guardian ad litem & the voice for a child in court – children need a voice)

Learn about the CASA guardian ad-Litem program and how your can make life better for abused and neglected children – Today, there are 500 abused and neglected children in Ramsey & Hennepin County child protective services without a guardian ad-Litem. Being a State Ward child is painful. Being a voice for that child is rewarding and makes a difference in the life of that child.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children; learn more here;

CASA MINNESOTA

CASA NATIONAL

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Don’t Blame The Mandated Reporter (why child abuse reporting is sporadic)

This review about the dangers mandated reporters are facing is taken from a series of excellent articles on child abuse by the Daily Kos

As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I have too much experience with failure to identify/failure to report terrible things done to children. Reporters genuinely fear for their safety and reputation and fail to report (0r, “see”) horrific abuse to avoid potential damage to themselves.

Support KARA’s Public Television Documentary project to bring attention, awareness, and change to children’s issues.

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Mental Health Service Calls Police & Health Care (thank you Minnetonka Officer Scott Marks & HCMC)

All service providers are struggling to meet the increased volume and severity of mental health related cases they are forced to deal with every day.

In Minnetonka the crisis and mental health calls are on track to reach 377 this year (from 120 in 2005).

Community Engagement Police Officer Scott Marks of Minnetonka MN has just received a national “Why We Serve” contest for his proposed “Aftercare Program” training of officers to visit patients that have been sent to the hospital and help them find resources after they are released.

Programs like Officer Mark’s will make our communities safer and more livable. As a long time volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem, I have watched far too many traumatized teen and preteen children behaving badly and treated like criminals when what they need is the aftercare this police officer is working to make happen.

Share this with your networks and send it to your local police department with a donation you can afford and a request that the money is used for a program like Officer Scott Marks is building.

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Save the Date (CASA guardian ad Litem event) August 3rd 630 pm

When the court is making decisions that will affect a child’s future, the child needs and deserves a spokesperson — an objective adult to provide independent information about the best interests of the child. While other parties in the case are concerned about the child, the Guardian ad Litem is the only person in the case whose sole concern is the best interests of the child and he or she is assigned as an advocate for the child for the duration of the court process.

This is unlike any other volunteer experience. The impact you can have on a child’s life is tremendous. Currently, there are approximately 375 children in Hennepin County, alone, waiting for a GAL, waiting for their spokesperson, their advocate. Thank you for thinking of the abused and neglected children in our community!

We look forward to seeing you and please feel free to invite others!

RSVP, yes’s only please, before July 28th to Monica Bordonaro: mjbordonaro@gmail.com

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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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CASA guardian ad-Litem News Feb Thru May 2017 Part III

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

Volunteer to be a CASA guardian ad Litem,

Help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News Feb thru May 2017 Part II (be a voice for children)

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

Volunteer to be a CASA guardian ad Litem,

Help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

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Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Recognition Event – Could Not Have Been Better

CASAMN’s keynote speaker and honored guest Star Tribune investigative journalist Brandon Stahl, was surprised to come face to face with his biggest fan club.
Brandon has been so busy investigating and reporting on Minnesota’s child abuse, child death and child protection news that he was caught off guard by a room full of people

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Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota (and how lawsuits help two year olds)

Sad as it may be, lawsuits might be the most effective tool available for abused and neglected children to get the services they need from the state. Today’s message from Safe Passage for children of Minnesota about the AFSCME union lawsuit (below) is one of several game changing service provider suits that I have witnessed. The recent suit threatened by MN sheriffs worked to the advantage of at risk youth as it opened up the conversation around the lack of mental health services in this state (and most other states). The AFSCME suit points out how unfair it is to load up case after case on workers doing an almost impossible job and them blaming them when things go badly for a child (it always seems to be the social workers fault when a terrible child story hits the paper.

Legislators have all they can do to answer the people they have yelling at them (business interests, sports fans and transportation enthusiasts among them)

Abused children don’t have a say in the matter and things continue to degrade in in their young lives until some adult somewhere does something. Sue the pants off of em (my grandmother used to say and now I see why.

Safe Passage For Children of Minnesota article;

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SAFE PASSAGE FOR CHILDREN MN (Federal audit of MN child welfare shows inadequate metrics, resources, quality assurance & training)

If you live and Minnesota and are willing to make time for one trip a year to the Capital in St Paul to speak for a child, there is nothing more meaningful that you could do for at risk children than volunteer with Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota. The appointment with your state legislator/s is arranged by Safe Passage for Children and you are provided a brief outline of the key issues facing abused children for you to share with your legislator.

Meeting time is seldom over 15 minutes but that will be enough time for you to show commitment to children and share the most critical information available with someone who can make a difference in the lives of the children you are advocating for.

Your state legislators actually do listen to you and they care what you have to say. Without your 15 minutes of child advocacy, legislators have little insights into the issues facing abused and neglected children. After all, children have no voice in the homes they are raised in, the media or government (they can’t vote).

Thank you Safe Passage for another powerful day on the hill

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Friends of KARA – A Favor (watch this video)

Mari Frankel’s video documentary “Foster” below is stunning. Although it is about Florida’s foster system (by a CASA GAL just like me) it demonstrates the problems within the child protection system and the traumas & medications foster children live.with.

Mari Frankel’s video is aligned with KARA’s book and documentary projects that address child protection stories that are happening in MN.

Share this with people you know and/or,

Contact me to talk about ideas for making this video in MN (we have begun the process and have been partnered with TPT) but need help to complete the project.

Let’s be a voice for children

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

https://vimeo.com/139417634

The password is foster

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Social Work (from the smartest person in the room – Dee Wilson from the Casey Foundation)

I had the honor of sitting next to Dee Wilson when he delivered the Casey Family Assessment of Hennepin County’s Child welfare system to the Hennepin County Commissioners (Minnesota’s Child Endangerment Model). Dee drew attention to damage being done by the toxic atmosphere in the Child & Family Services system, the inability of St Joseph’s home for children to manage the level of trauma their young clients were living with and pointed out the red herring that HIPPA laws have created by forbidding almost any public discussion of the conditions within the homes of abused children and the institutions of child protection. I resonated with how social workers are traumatized by their work and how community based solutions involving stakeholders and redefining what we want for outcomes.

All a part of why turnover is high in social work and terrible policies doom children and families to more cyclical trauma and failure.state child welfare systems

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When reading Dee’s recapping of County screened out rates remember that when 4 year old Eric Dean died after 15 reports of child abuse by mandated reporters, there were 4 MN counties that screened out 90% of all child abuse calls.

Dee keeps a blog and wrote something recently that every social worker needs to read. He is the smartest person in the room on the topic.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Fostering Special Needs & Dying Children (a special kind of parent)

Too many children know tremendous suffering without getting to experience most of the joys and wonders of childhood.

For paralyzed, chronically or terminally ill children life is very different and extremely demanding on the parent caregiver.

In Los Angeles county’s department of Children and Family Services, there are 600 children (out of the 35,000 monitored by the county) who have severe medical needs and have been abandoned by their birth parents.

Whether it is the sadness and trauma of abuse or the inability of a parent to care for a child a judge has ordered the child be removed from the only home she has ever known.

What kind of person has the courage to say, “I want to be your father, I want to be your mother” to a child in a county welfare system who cannot walk, or play, suffer daily seizures and cannot speak?

Mohamed Bzeek, a quiet, devout Muslim foster father and his wife Dawn in Azusa CA have fostered dozens of traumatized and seriously disabled children. Mohamed has buried about ten children, some died in his arms.

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CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation December 2016 -January 2017

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

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Donate Books For African Children (no better way to part with old friends)

The perfect way to part with treasures that can keep on giving (and to children). St Paul and Georgia locations provided below & please read the book donation rules.

KARA supports this effort and asks you to share this link on Facebook and other social media.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Donate Books

Books For Africa appreciates all book donations. It costs 50 cents to ship each book to Africa. Consider making a financial donation to cover the costs of shipping the books you donate. Please send financial donations separately in an envelope to the BFA office: Books For Africa, 26 East Exchange Street, Suite 411, St. Paul, MN 55101, USA. Or make a donation online.

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Better Futures for Minnesota Children (from Safe Passage For Children MN)

Mission:

To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.

Vision:
There will always be a group of Minnesota citizens who advocate on behalf of victims of child maltreatment, and who will hold counties and the state accountable for continuously improving outcomes for these children and their families.

Goal:
Our goal is to build a child protection and foster care system in Minnesota that

continuously improves the lives of children, as demonstrated by objective, measurable outcomes. If the system is working well children’s outcomes will improve over time.

The following are major milestones for achieving this goal:

Read More
Read More
By 2017 all children will be periodically assessed for their level of trauma starting when they first enter child protection.
By 2019 all children in the system will be periodically assessed for improvements in their cognitive and physical development, as well as in measures of behavioral and mental health.
Workers and supervisors will be accountable for improving these outcomes for individual children as monitored through quality reviews and updates to the courts.
Counties will be accountable for improving outcomes for children in their caseloads overall as shown by summary reports.
In subsequent years our goal is to continue to monitor outcomes at the county and state levels, and advocate for necessary budget allocations, practice improvements, and related resources to ensure that the child protection system is continually improving its response to children.

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The Election & Children (from Safe Passages For Children of Minnesota)

This recent piece from Safe Passages for Children of Minnesota paints a more positive picture for Minnesota’s at risk children than can be seen in the rest of the nation.

It’s good to know that MN politicians on both sides of the isle care about the youngest and most vulnerable among us. They recognize that healthy children become healthy adults creating a safe and productive community.

The rest of the nation’s children are at risk as attacks on healthcare and education will dismantle working programs and the well-being of millions of America’s poorest and youngest citizens.

Politicians blaming educators and other service providers replace objective discussions about what it takes to improve safety nets and troubled institutions. It hurts me to see just how quickly children’s services become wasted money that some states have been all too ready to reduce for political benefits.

Thank you Minnesota legislators for doing the right thing. Your critical thinking skills and the ethical standards you have maintained to accomplish so many of the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection Services and Mental Health will benefit this state for decades to come.

As the holiday season approaches, let’s all be grateful for the hard work of these two task forces (and the people that volunteered to staff them) and the results they have accomplished this year.

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Remembering Mark Proctor

Mark Proctor passed away this past week and Minnesota lost one of its most committed and effective advocates for children in the child protection and foster care system. I know of no one more dedicated to making life better for abused and neglected children. Mark brought depth, wit and a deep working knowledge of the child protection system to our CASAMN board meetings. He was a truly positive force and a joy to work with.

Mark supported guardians ad litem as a former director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA program in South Dakota, and as a member of the CASA Board of Directors here. He got the first legislation ever proposed by Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota introduced in the state Legislature in 2010.

He was always present when any advocacy for children needed to be done.

Mark will be greatly missed not only by his colleagues but by the children of Minnesota, many of whom did not know him but still benefited from his work.

Here is the information about his memorial services this coming Saturday, September 17th:

Mark Proctor passed away in Mendota, MN September 6, 2016.

An “Irish Wake” Celebration of Life will occur at 1:00 PM on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Mendota VFW in Mendota, MN. Buffet lunch will be beforehand from 10:45 AM-12:30 PM; please let me know if you plan to attend the lunch and how many people to prepare for by emailing drkaylazp@yahoo.com.

Memorials can be given to the Mark Proctor Scholarship at Black Hills State University (http://www.bhsu.edu/)or to Safe Passage for Children of MN (http://safepassagemn.com/donate/).

Thank you for your support at this time.

Kayla Zirpel-Proctor and Family/Friends of Mark Proctor

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