“Police & Sheriffs More Concerned About People’s Mental Health Than Advocates Are” (thank you Senator Barb Goodwin)

I’m always pleased to find outspoken observers in the mental health discussion.  Today’s Star Tribune article begins to articulate the gaping hole in our communities (and the nation’s) approach to mental health.  Much like child suicide and child sex abuse, we have avoided the mental health topic leading to the worst case of overbuilt prisons, unsafe…

Details

7$ Child Daycare? (hint – gotta go north)

It’s over now, but for years, universal child daycare has been the rule (at $7.30) in Quebec.

I just can’t help pointing out that some of our neighbors to the North feel very strongly that children’s daycare is worth government subsidy. $75,000 is the low income threshold and $200,000 is the high income threshold.

True, the politics of public service have beat up the program and $20 is becoming the new norm.

Keep in mind that over time, children in quality day care thrive, learn important stuff, and perhaps more importantly, don’t smoke crack cocaine with their out of jail uncle why mom works.

The U.S. expels more children from daycare than any other nation (and has for some time). It’s an issue that bodes badly for the poor educators that later serve these children in public schools and goes a very long way in explaining America’s suffering graduation rates, high crime, and prison populations.
If we valued children half as much as we claim to, there would not be 8000+ children on waiting lists in MN for subsidized daycare.

Do you know who your state legislator is? This will not change until some of us make that call. Share this widely.

Details

A Glimmer Of Hope (push for preschool)

Preschool is having its moment, as a favored cause for politicians and interest groups who ordinarily have trouble agreeing on the time of day. President Obama devoted part of his State of the Union address to it, while the deeply red states of Oklahoma and Georgia are being hailed as national models of preschool access and quality, with other states and cities also forging ahead on their own.

With a growing body of research pointing to the importance of early child development and its effect on later academic and social progress, enrollment in state-funded preschool has more than doubled since 2002, to about 30 percent of all 4-year-olds nationwide. In just the past year, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and the city of San Antonio have enacted new or expanded programs, while in dozens of other places, mayors, governors and legislators are making a serious push for preschool.

Details

A Governor’s Discussion About The Politics Of Children – December 6th 4:30 (be there)

Join us for discussions on the future of early childhood with Minnesota’s next governor!

Hosted at People Serving People – Center of Excellence
2400 Park Ave. South, Minneapolis 55404

Minnesota has made significant progress in investing in our state’s earliest learners, but much work remains. Looking ahead, a new Governor in 2018 will play a pivotal role in deciding the direction and importance of early childhood care and education in Minnesota.

MinneMinds is excited to announce the GOP candidates for governor, to discuss their plans for addressing early childhood issues in our state. These conversations are a great way for advocates, parents, providers, and any Minnesotan interested in the future of early childhood to hear about the priorities of leading candidates for governor.

Details

A KARA Guide To Understanding Texas Approach To Education

begin with a puritans early world view that corporal punishment & abstinence works (think Cotton Mather & the WitchCraft trials) and denouncing the teaching of “higher order thinking”.

In 2011, Representative Michael Villarreal proposed that sex education taught in public schools be medically accurate (the bill never made it out of committee). In its place Texas Republicans approved Corporal punishment, refusing federal funding for schools, and denying pre-school and kindergarten, as a step forward for Texas children.

At least 3 Texan school districts teach that;

Premarital sex can have fatal consequences,

If a woman is dry, the sperm will die,

3 of the 4 text books used in 30% of Texan school districts never mention condoms but do promote “getting plenty of rest” to avoid contracting Sexually Transmitted Disease.

Details

A Modest Proposal (satire & similarities)

300 years ago, an Irish Minister wrote an explosive satire that was misinterpreted by many readers of his day (printed in its entirety below).

In a gruesome and widely read logical argument, Jonathan Swift clearly articulated a plan that would relieve the suffering of Irish families and their youngest children by selling babies to the English to be eaten (in a stew that he included the recipe for).

Back in the day, these writings were the modern equivalent of you tube or a precursor to Twitter and consumed voraciously by all who could read (or read them to others).

Public policy treated poor Irish more like animals than people and Irish children were doomed to lives of crime, prostitution, and abject poverty.

Was Swift’s underlying argument that death might be preferable to children doomed to disease, crime, prostitution, & the cruelties suffered by abandoned children of his time?

Details

A New Disease of the Wealthy & Powerful

Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and new Speaker of the House voted NO to federal childcare subsidies, eliminated 16 billion dollars in Social Services block grants, including all child care funding for low income families, No to parental leave for federal employees (4 weeks for a new mother), No to food stamps, Medicaid and Pell Grants, Yes to de-funding Planned Parenthood and removing contraception from employer based insurance requirements, and yes to deporting undocumented immigrants that grew up in the United States. But he cannot and “will not” give up his family time.

Pro family yes (but just his family).

Details

A Note From The Children’s Defense Fund

Today, 60 percent of fourth and eighth grade public school students in all racial and income groups, more than 75 percent of Hispanic and more than 80 percent of Black children cannot read or do math at grade level. Only three percent of eligible infants and toddlers receive Early Head Start and our nation has been unwilling to ensure high quality universal pre-kindergarten and kindergarten systems to get all children ready for school or excellent and equitable public schools to ensure that children are college ready and prepared for productive work. A child unable to read or compute at grade level and graduate from high school college or workforce ready is being sentenced to social and economic death in our globalizing and competitive economy.

Details

A Star Tribune Mistake (impacting millions of children each year)

“Did you all see the article in the Science and Health section of the Sunday Star Tribune? – ”Study will look at the role of childhood stress in adult disease”. There is a line in there that says, to the effect, that very little is known about the connection between childhood stress and adult disease. Give me a break. What about the ACE Study? Very discouraging.”

Thank you Carol.

Here are my thoughts on your note;

Beyond the sadness of reporters and the general public lacking awareness about the plethora of * ACEs studies demonstrating the direct connection between abuse and lack of coping skills, chronic illness, dangerous lifestyles and early death, is that the most recent reprinting of the DSM* shows almost no mention of ACEs.

Professionals in the mental health field and learning institutions that train new mental health workers need to know ACEs trauma informed best practices for working with trauma victims if we are ever to increase graduation rates, reduce crime and incarceration rates and rebuild safe and livable inner cities.

Details

Abandoning Abandoned Children

The list of inner city schools struggling to educate the children of those who could not get to (or for reasons of loyalty, love, or ethics) decided not to, escape to the suburbs where the schools still function is long.

My old high school, Edison, graduates less than 50% of its students, its sister school across town has graduated less than 30% of its students for five years.

Details

About Women In Prison (most are primary caregivers, many lose their children forever)

I had the good fortune of meeting Tom Daly who wrote a history of Shakopee women’s prison and he told me how women benefited from the educational offerings and the ability to visit with their children while in prison (his book featured below). It was Tom’s opinion that the the recidivism rate stayed well below thirty…

Details

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.

Details

All Talk & No Action – Do We Value Children or Just Talk About It?

How we value children shows up directly in the way we treat people helping us raise our children.

It hurts me to see political misunderstanding and an accepted practice of misleading people about something as important as this nation’s children. Reading the paper one would think that our problems lie at the feet of service providers (teachers, social workers and foster parents to name the main scapegoats).

At election time, politicians make political hay blaming teachers for failed schools (with public support).

Institutional failures are not the fault of people doing the hard daily work of foster care, teaching or social work.

These folks work within a system designed by policy makers and administrators (most of whom are very well paid – not a bad thing, but a thing to remember when looking for the responsible party).

Blaming worker bees in child protection is just as wrong as blaming law enforcement officers for allowing terrible crimes. Can law enforcement sue policy makers and counties for making their work impossible? – we may soon see).

Details

America: 20 Times More Gun Homicides Than The Rest Of The Developed World

America at that time had slid far from the top in almost all of the important measurements.

Today’s Institutes of Medicine & National Research Council 378 page study demonstrates that our nation is at the bottom of almost every health indicator, early death, the world’s leader in gun death, and U.S. women are now second to last in life expectancy.

David Strand’s study determined that programs helpful to young families and children used regularly in other nations always lead to safer, healthier, and more educated societies.

Details

America’s Amazingly False Answers To Mental Health Issues

Criminalizing mental health,…, denied treatment,…Michael Schuler stabbed himself in both eyes after spending 40 days in jail”) identifies the iceberg tip that is the crisis of this nation’s failure to deal with mental health issues. “Hundreds of inmates with dangerous psychiatric problems languish in county jails” is repeated in hundreds of county jails and hundreds of prison facilities throughout America.

Details

American Exceptionalism; Child Daycare

This extensive article from the New Republic clearly defines the nightmare that is child daycare for so many American children and infants. Not only is this unregulated field filled with underpaid, under-trained service providers, but poor people (about half of U.S. families) can’t afford or can barely afford any day care for their children.

A good percentage of America’s 8.2 million children under five spend part of their week in care outside the home.

America’s weakest and most vulnerable citizens are too often left in the care of drunk uncles and worse because low wage parent just don’t earn enough to pay for daycare.

The only time we read about the pain cause by inadequate daycare is when a baby chokes to death on a condom or has its brains dashed out on a wall.

Subsidized day care not only creates a safe place for the child, but a smarter citizen, and a happier and more productive family living in a better community.

Details

Anoka MN – Saying Yes To Childhood Obesity & Smoking (not great public policy)

Anoka MN has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation, and it need not worry that free federal funding to promote smoking secession, anti obesity, and child safety programs will show up in schools to change overweight smoking youth anytime soon.

Thanks to Rhonda Sivarajah, the County Chair of the Human Services Committee – who perhaps finds childhood obesity and smoking a public good, or at the very least, finds programs promoting the well being of the Counties children not worth supporting.

Rhonda worked hard to vote down the 1+ million dollar federal strings free SHIP grant that would have created low-calorie snack menus, safe walking routes to school programs, and smoking cessation programs for thousands of Anoka elementary and high school children.

The primary complaint against the SHIP Grant, was that the feds wanted some kind of tracking (accountability) to see that the money was being spend wisely.

It’s my observation that accountability goes against everything these people stand for.

This decision demonstrates a very low value the County sees in its children.

Remember friends, “What we do to our children, they will do to society”. Pliny the Elder 2500 years ago

Details

Art Rolnick & Pliny, Friends of Children

Lori Sturdevant points out in her July 4th Star Tribune column how our state has done very well by investing in children and how Art Rolnick’s extensive studies as director of research at the Federal Reserve Board have made those investments measurable.

Just like investing in the stock market or tax increment financing, putting money into early childhood programs brings solid financial and social returns back into a community.

Details

August 27, 2012 CASA “Speaking From the Heart” Recognition Dinner Press Release:

Being the one constant in the lives of abused and neglected children has its obvious rewards but the words of a recipient conveys the meaning in one child’s life. Says Melissa, “My CASA volunteer was a positive constant in my life…I thank her for showing me that my biological mother may have taken away my childhood, but I am in control of what I will do the rest of my life.” And the meaning it holds for volunteers? Susan, a CASA advocate since 1994, puts it succinctly. “…It has been and remains one of the most rewarding and meaningful experiences in my life.”

Details