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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Child Protection & Privatized Group Homes (when they hurt the children they care for)

At that time, the institution spent the weeks trying to convert him to their religion instead of helping him. The month long visit was painful and not helpful.

The State of Minnesota forcibly closed the privatized group home at St Cloud for repeated violations including head banging that caused concussions & sex in front of staff. 2 St Paul boys group homes have been closed recently and there has long been a shortage of qualified foster homes in outstate Minnesota (as it is all around the nation).

This video demonstrates how terrible privatized group homes can become (Florida forces 48% of their state wards onto Prozac like drugs and now lives with eleven year old’s prostituting themselves out of their foster group homes).

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Be A Voice For a Child In Court (July 24th 630 pm refreshments served)

Children don’t have a voice in the homes they live in, the media, or in the courts. Speak for an abused child in court and give that child a chance to be heard as a CASA guardian ad litem volunteer. Come learn about what it takes and how it works to stand up for a frightened abused child in the court system.

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KARA Is Unable To Provide Direct Services

Dear Readers,

KARA regularly receives requests for help from families and children about child abuse issues.

We do not have staff and ask you to use our Links Button to find the services you need.

Contact your State Representatives and let them know your story and engage them in this conversation. Give them ideas for what needs to change.

Use articles from KARA to educate them and support your argument – you will find over 1200 articles at this site (they are searchable by category)

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Child Abuse & the LGBT Community

Decades of CASA guardian ad Litem work for the County have made clear the screaming need State Ward children have for loving families and the lack we have of them. Especially older State Wards. This article is about LGBT adoptions and critical issues facing foster children and the families seeking to adopt them.

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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 Past (the value of healthy children)

If we knew the costs abused children carry with them through a lifetime and the cost of multiple generations of abused children there would be

They proved that by investing in early childhood programs children became much more likely to succeed in school and lead a productive life. This research was the most practical approach to the economics of childhood development this nation has ever seen.

KARA believes that this federal reserve study has not had the impact it should have had because;

We don’t respond to how much money is saved as powerfully as we do to how much things cost,
Almost no one knows the short or long term costs abused children carry with them through a lifetime or,
The cost of multiple generations of abused children

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Fixing MN’s Broken Mental Health Systems (thank you Sue Abderholden)

Decades of policy makers not understanding or ignoring mental health issues and failing to see the explosive growth of veterans returning with life destroying PTSD, the huge increase of children in child protection resulting from less help for young families suffering from generational child abuse & trauma is coming down hard on schools, law enforcement and health providers. All our institutions and communities are paying the price.

Sue Abderholden (Sunday Star Tribune) is far too kind to legislators and administrators who make the policies impacting young families and other people needing help in our communities.

Lawmakers saving small dollars by not supporting basic services (crisis nurseries, daycare or mental health services) are costing taxpayers decades of state ward status, crime and preteen pregnancies for people that could have been helped, could have become self-sufficient tax paying community members.

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Speaker’s Bio

Long time CASA volunteer guardian ad Litem, Fonder of Kids at Risk Action (KARA)Founding board member of CASA MN & Friends of Children (now CASA Cares), author (1000 articles Star Tribune & the book INVISIBLE CHILDREN, national speaker (including United Nations & Women Prison Warden’s conference), CASA volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem, founding board member of CASAMN, CASA CARES), and Kids At Risk Action.

Mike advocates for abused and neglected children making the rest of us see the profound impact the crisis of childhood trauma is having on our schools, public health, public safety and neighborhoods.

Poor public perception & misguided policies, lack of institutional transparency, awareness and accountability are compounding serious failures in our child protection systems that directly impact each and every one of us in many ways.

By generating conversation around the issue and exposing facts that have for too long been left unspoken, Tikkanen brings attention to ACES, (adverse childhood experiences) and solutions that reverse trends of generational child abuse to make our communities safer and happier places.

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CASA Trivia Night & Silent Auction (May 31)

CASA Minnesota is hosting a Trivia Night and Silent Auction on Thursday May 31, 2018 at Lake Calhoun Event Center. 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.

Doors open at 5:30PM and trivia will start at 6:30PM. Come early to network and bid on some great silent auction items!

A table of up to eight people is $250 and individual tickets are $35 if purchased in advance and $40 if purchased at the door. Note: There is an additional Eventbrite fee for ticket purchases.

Included in the ticket price is a taco bar and a drink ticket. All proceeds will go to support CASA Minnesota and CASA Cares.

CASA Minnesota hopes to see you there!

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What’s a Well Trained Social Worker Worth?

It hurts me to know that I live in a state that pays the least of almost all states in training social workers and continues to underfund the federally mandated guardian ad litem program so severely that over six hundred children do not have a Court Appointed Special Advocate even today. A Court Appointed GAL is the only voice abused children have in court once they have been removed from their homes.

The list of underfunded programs for the most vulnerable citizens in our community is long and been growing (we have the money*).

Without the Star Tribune’s continued reporting on child abuse issues, trauma and abuse would still be non-issues as they were when 3-year-old Dennis Jergens was tortured to death in White Bear Lake in the 1960’s. His mother Lois Jergens went on to adopt four other children by moving out of the state.

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International Visitor Leadership Program & Guardian ad Litems

On Wednesday I was part of a team invited to address judges, lawyers, professors and other officials from developing nations about child abuse, child trauma and specifically, the CASA guardian ad litem program that was of most of interest to them on their visit to Minneapolis. I have great hope that these smart, committed professionals succeeded on their extensive U.S. journey learning about the many moving parts of justice, child rights, courts, domestic violence, child protection systems, child advocacy, foster care/adoption and children’s mental health.

It was an honor to speak with these people and uplifting to know that the CASA guardian ad Litem program is identified all over the world as a powerful voice for children and that any nation can create this program to save vulnerable children.

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Child Protection & Volunteer Guardians ad Litems

It hurt me to see no mention of Minnesota’s hundreds of volunteer CASA guardians ad litem in Susan Miles’ Child Protection article in Friday’s Star Tribune.

I’m all for paying people for hard work and especially those working with troubled children and families.

Volunteer guardians come from the heart of the community, they do their work solely of concern for abused children & take fewer cases than paid guardians.

Fewer cases means they can be more involved with the child and family. Paid guardians need to handle 25 sometime 30 cases – most volunteer CASA guardians only take a few.

State Ward children have commented many times to me that I was different because I was the only person from the County not being paid to be with them. This meant something to them.

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ACE Study, Crime & Ramsey County (reprinted from 2006)

ACE research shows a strong historical pattern of criminality in families of child delinquents. Using Cohen’s estimates, we calculate the multi-generational “multiplier effect” to be between $3.4 and $11.5 million. In these families, criminality is likely to grow exponentially.

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You’re Six and On Your Own in the Court System (not having an advocate leaves abused children even more vulnerable)

The fear and aloneness in the eyes of the child sitting next to me in court as the judge decides where she will live after being taken away from the only home she has ever known is palpable.

Here, in a roomful of adults she has never seen before about to determine what will become of her family, where she will live and what school she will go to are too monstrous for words.

How would you as a six year old respond? Remember, coping skills for these events don’t exist is six year olds.

It’s always been terror and trauma for these kids. Torture, trauma and abuse in the home. Terror and trauma of the unknown as the institution takes over every aspect of her life.

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House of Horrors (not investigating child abuse = not caring for abused kids)

Twin girls beaten with bats, starved, raped, chained & abused over 12-15 years on the 4200 block of 17th Av South in Minneapolis. Over 50 police calls to the home, developmentally disabled and pregnant in high school.

“The neighbors knew. The police knew. The county knew. We all knew…But nothing was done.”

“How many times the county received reports of abuse and neglect remains unclear” (from the star tribune article).

This is not uncommon. It’s how 4 year old Eric Dean was tortured to death after 15 ignored reports of abuse by mandated reporters and how 6 year old foster child Kendrea Johnson died by suicide and how my 7 year old CASA guardian ad litem case child was prostituted over 2 years and 49 police calls to her home where gun fire and prostitution were the reason for the police calls.

I’m just one of hundreds of volunteer MN CASA guardians and I know dozens of these stories. It’s awful.

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A #ProtectChildrenToo Movement? (Thank You Safe Passage For Children of MN)

This morning’s ebrief from Safe Passage for Children of MN is spot on. Their legislative efforts to stop the practice of advance notice of child protection visits to perpetrators is crucial in ending child abuse. Putting perpetrators in the room with a child during the interview is traumatizing for the child and has a profound impact on what the child will say. Giving perpetrators prior notice of investigations allows them time to threaten and cohearse a child. As a long time CASA guardian ad Litem, this is all too familiar.

Most children are not aware of how wrong their abuse is – what happens at home is by definition normal. My youngest sexual abuse case was 2 years old.

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So Many Foster Homes – So Many Schools (in the life of a foster child)

There is a social work program at work in Britain where a team of workers engages the child and the family where possible and stay for the duration. This, and the possibility of a permanent school connection would do more for healing and making an abandoned child feel connected more than all the money, all the programs and all the drugs that we are using today.

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