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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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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Donate 5$ to a Child In Foster Care (for things the state doesn’t provide)

Life before foster care was hard. Life in foster care is disconcerting and hard.

CASA Cares grants make life a bit easier for children in foster care.

These grants are made for dance lessons and the many other things the State does not fund. It may seem like a small thing – unless you are a state ward child that knows how different they are from other children.

Then it’s a really big thing.

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Child Abuse – Minnesota’s Public Health Issue

Today’s edition presented multiple articles (linked below) on at risk children and mental health.

It has taken some years to get here but it is apparent to this volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem that my state is waking up to the public health crisis of child protection and children’s mental health.

County Sees Drop in Child Protection Caseloads (by almost half) is the best news I’ve seen about child abuse since the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection was formed in 2014.

Investing in social workers (adding 262 workers) and transforming the system means…

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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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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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Child Protection & Unassigned CASA Guardian ad Litem Cases

Success Stories & Failure (unassigned child abuse cases)

We all like a happy ending. Especially when kids are involved. Read the Guardian ad Litem Sucess Stories below. You’ll love’em

It’s harder to read about children are starved, raped or beaten and the child protection system is just too overwhelmed to assign a Guardian ad Litem to speak for the child – but read them too. These children should be heard, especially since they did not have a guardian ad Litem voice in the system.

Governor Dayton is recommending an increase in funding for the Guardian ad Litem program to provide Guardian ad Litems for the over 500 children that don’t have one, but it’s questionable if legislators know enough about the facts you are about to read to make the right decision.

Share these stories with your legislators – it could make all the difference to the children in these stories

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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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Learn About Speaking For An Abused Child In Court (HELP Save a child – save the date – Thurs Feb 8th 630pm)

CASA guardian ad litem: Please join us as we come together as a community in the name of abused and neglected children!
When: Thursday, February 8, 2018 @ 6:30pm Where: SeilerSchindel, PLLC

5901 Cedar Lake Road Minneapolis, MN 55416

Food & drink provided!

Discussion Topics:*What is a volunteer Guardian ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate?

*What are the requirements & training aspects to serve as a volunteer? All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children (share this)

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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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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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Critical Perspectives On Child Abuse (updated regularly – send KARA your insights)

Adverse Childhood Experiences ACES NEWS Top notch reporting on research and news about abuse politics, programs and stories locally, nationally and internationally. Current and focused trauma informed news.

Richard Ross has devoted ten years of his life to documenting America’s hidden gulag of 71,000 teenagers in lockdown and solitary confinement. His photographs are eloquent and deeply upsetting.

ACE Study Preview – The most compelling video about child abuse ever. The medical communities elegant effort to reduce 30 years of research into 3 minutes. Powerful.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

FOSTER SHOCK This Frontline quality video documentary uncovers unspeakable failures in Florida’s Privatized Group Homes. THE PASSWORD IS ” foster ” or download the video

Does Your State Have Safe Passage For Children (is there a voice for the safety and well being in your state for at risk children?)

Do Your State Ward Children Have a Voice In the System That Rules Their Lives? (National CASA Here)

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