SPEAK FOR A CHILD (be a voice for a child)

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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COVID Burnout; Health Care, Teachers, Law enforcement, Social workers & what we could do

Our communities are only as safe and healthy as the institutions that create the environment we live in.

A brief search of front line workers in education, health care, law enforcement or social work shows a growing exodus by retirement, medical leave or just walking away as COVID is making the work they do an even more extreme sacrifice than it was pre pandemic.

For those of us that live with, know or love a person engaged in keeping our children educated or the rest of us safe and healthy,we know the stresses facing these people and the fear and danger of bringing a secondary trauma or risk of COVID home at the end of the shift.

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Good Bye David Strand – Founding KARA Board Member and Best Friend

KARA’s Founding Board member and best friend David Strand has passed away after a long illness.

He brought a wealth of experience, passion and commitment to the cause of America’s abused and neglected children.

David came to know a great deal about how children are treated in other advanced nations because he helped to craft public policies on children’s issues while living and working in Northern Europe.

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Goodbye Joe McCarthy – Founding KARA Board Member & Best Friend

Yesterday, KARA’s best friend and founding board member Joe McCarthy passed away after a long illness.

We will miss him terribly.  Joe had a big heart and remarkable mind.  He was sharp as a tack with an interest in everything and a stunning memory.

20+ years ago, Joe encouraged and then guided me through the writing of the INVISIBLE CHILDREN book and founding of our nonprofit Kids At Risk Action.

Our small board spent many hours sorting through issues and ideas for making life better for abused and neglected children.  We worked together to create our first board meetings and involve more people in the endeavor we are so passionately engaged in today.

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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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Thank You Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota

This year Minnesota children were safer and received more services due in large part to the loyal donors and passionate volunteers of Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota.

Safer Children

13,600 more children annually are getting help from county child protection agencies due to changes our passionate volunteers helped make in state law.  

More Resources

Counties and the state increased their budgets for child protection and foster care by over $200 million since 2015.  In addition, counties added nearly 500 caseworkers – a 60% increase.

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Speak For An Abused Child in Court (short video) WE NEED YOU!

Volunteer: Be the voice for a child that doesn’t have one! (Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area OPPORTUNITIES)

One hundred and seventy five Hennepin County children are without a guardian ad litem today – WE NEED VOLUNTEERS.

Do you know any? Send this to a friend and share it with your social media.

With the response to recent reporting of child abuse and child death in MN, a corresponding increase of child abuse cases are entering the system & means that volunteers are badly needed.

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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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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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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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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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