Sign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never…Details
To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.
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.
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:
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.
KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported. ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN…Details
Adopted seven-year old Seth Johnson has suffered terribly for years and it appears has died a painful (avoidable) death at the hands of Tim and Sarah Johnson. Thank you Paul Walsh, Brandon Stahl & Star Tribune.
The parents have moved to New Zealand and will most likely use a religious exemption defense that is very often successful as this case proceeds.Details
CA: Culp: Looking at 2016 in the Rear-View Mirror (Opinion)
TechWire – December 28, 2016
One of the biggest sessions at the American Public Human Services Association’s Information Systems Management Conference this year was California’s showcase of its move to agile development and modular procurement approaches to its new Child Welfare System. The feds are getting impatient with states’ efforts at connecting systems and providing a more holistic view of a person and/or a family – and the federal government is backing up its guidance with technology funding parameters. Although the federal wave seems to be confined to one department at the moment (in terms of strongly worded advice), there are plenty of signals that suggest more is to come.
CA: San Gabriel Valley Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio appointed first Latina chair of human services committee
San Gabriel Valley Tribune – December 28, 2016
State Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, has been appointed as the first Latina chair of the Assembly’s human services committee, her office announced Tuesday. The committee oversees child welfare services, foster care, CalWORKs, developmental disabilities services, adult protective services and other human services programs.
IA: ‘Numerous’ abuse reports made in starved child case, lawmaker says (Includes video)
Des Moines Register – December 29, 2016
Natalie Finn and her siblings were the subjects of “numerous” reports of alleged child abuse and neglect before the 16-year-old died in October of starvation, a state lawmaker said after a confidential briefing Thursday with top officials in Iowa’s Department of Human Services.
IN: Need for Indiana foster homes surges as opioid addicts leave children behind (Includes video)
Fox59 – December 27, 2016
Adoption advocates are calling on Hoosiers to foster children as Indiana battles yet another symptom of the opioid epidemic. The Villages of Indiana reports a surge in children being pulled from homes where parents are addicted to drugs. As a result, they are running out of good foster homes.
MS: State reminds people of safe haven law
WDAM – December 28, 2016
The state of Mississippi is stepping up its effort to remind people of a very important law. The safe haven law allows mothers to “leave their baby, up to 3 days old, with an employee at any emergency medical provider, hospital emergency room or a licensed adoption agency”.
NE: Editorial, 12/28: Child abuse investigation is justified
Lincoln Journal Star – December 28, 2016
In the last three years, there have been 36 reports of sexual abuse in state licensed facilities and the child welfare system, a chilling accumulation that has rightfully prompted an investigation by the state inspector general for child welfare.
OR: NBC5 News Investigation: Inside OnTrack Part 3 (Includes video)
KOBi5 – December 28, 2016Details
Brandon Stahl Reporting KARA gathers news about abused Minnesota’s abused children every month and works to provide a snapshot of Child Protection and how our state values its children. If you are an aspiring writer/reporter, KARA needs you to help gather and report on these stories. Contact email@example.com with REPORTING in the subject line. All…Details
KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. This is only a sampling of what should be known – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported. Are you an aspiring researcher / writers? KARA needs you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with Research/Writing in the…Details
Grounded in compassion and learning, we must act forcefully to promote transparency, understanding and change to reform how abused and neglected children find safe permanent homes and deal with the traumas that brought them into child protection. Beginnng this year, the ACA makes advanced mental health services available to traumatized children giving them a chance to heal and thrive.
This effort requires focused support for achievable objectives.
When we’ve done that, we will have transformed the System.
Possible actions include:
Activist organizations uniting in every community to push for awareness of and changes in policies that are failing or demonstrably superior.
Action teams in each Congressional district communicating regularly with their Congressperson (support these teams where they are and create them where they don’t exist).
Child-affirming activist communities whose members build awareness and understanding of programs and policies impacting at risk children can improve those laws and policies.
With this approach, we can address the child, the family and the system.Details
Minnesota’s Mental Health Problem (probably your state’s mental health problem too)
The better part of being a volunteer County Guardian ad Litem is knowing that the 7 year old you advocate for will no longer be prostituted, or starved, beaten or sexually abused on a daily basis any more.
The saddest part of being a volunteer County guardian ad Litem is knowing that the children you helped save from the evils and traumas they lived with for so long were only kind of saved.
The guardian ad Litem cannot save the child from the suicidal ideation effects of Prozac or plethora of other psychotropic medications that are standard operating procedure in treated behavioral problems of state ward children.
About a third of children in my caseload were forced to take psychotropic medications like Prozac (they have no choice – the drugs are forced on them).
Nor can the guardian help the child to cope with the results of horrific traumas visited upon them.
We lobby for mental health services and feel like we have accomplished something when a psychological evaluation is ordered. The downside is that the resources to see that a meaningful percentage of abused children get into successful programs like the Washburn Center for Children just don’t exist. Instead we rely on the cheaper alternative, Prozac like drugs.
In 2014, America forced Prozac like drugs on 20,000 + one and two-year old children. One manufacturer (Johnson & Johnson) was fined 4 billion dollars for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on very young children (with 4 thousand cases awaiting trial and that is just one manufacturer).Details
MD: Youth homelessness in Baltimore higher than previously thought
The Baltimore Sun – November 30, 2016
More than 1,400 young people under the age of 25 were unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, without a safe, stable, affordable place to live, according to data collected by homeless advocates, service providers, the University of Maryland, the city and other stakeholders.
NY: ‘What Did They Do?’ Officials Question ACS Response in Jaden Jordan Case
DNAinfo – December 01, 2016
Law enforcement officials probing the nearly fatal beating of a 3-year-old boy are questioning why a city child welfare caseworker – and not a trained investigator or the NYPD – was called days before the tragedy to check out a tip that the toddler was being kept in a dog cage by a Brooklyn man, DNAinfo New York has learned.
NY: A Better, But Still Broken, NYC Child Welfare System Means Another Child Murdered (Opinion)
The Huffington Post – November 30, 2016
As CEO’s of three of the oldest and largest charities serving New York City’s children, we are determined to learn any lesson we can to protect children from harm. We stand with all New Yorkers in demanding accountability, and we want to see pragmatic and meaningful reform that truly protects children.
Pennsylvania officials reveal improved service to child abuse hotline
Philly Voice – September 15, 2016
In 2015, the department reported a 14-percent increase in phone calls from 164,911 to 188,357, a 39-percent increase in cases of suspected child abuse and a 162-percent increase in requests for child-abuse history clearances. DHS admitted that 43 percent of calls were abandoned or deflected and 48 percent of clearances were processed within 14 days as required by law.
Pennsylvania couple waives arraignment in child-giving case
ABC 27 News – September 2, 2016
A Pennsylvania couple and a Philadelphia-area man to whom they allegedly gave their 14-year-old daughter in exchange for money have waived their arraignments.
Recommendations Announced For Improving Child Services
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hennepin County leaders are making new recommendations to help protect children in Minnesota. A child protection …
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Hennepin County discussing $26 million child protection plan that would add nearly 250 new staffers
Minneapolis Star Tribune
No longer would children need to endure maltreatment before they get social services in Minnesota’s most populous county. … Hennepin County has had 15,400 child protection reports so far this year, but county leaders expect to …
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Hennepin County shifts child protection mission with new model
Minneapolis Star Tribune
No longer will a child need to endure maltreatment before they get social services in Minnesota’s most populous county, an unprecedented step in the …
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Sign Up Here For Friday morning news updates (free) KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets…Details
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.Details
Teen Arrested In Mpls. Shooting That Killed Man, Baby
Teen Arrested In Mpls. Shooting That Killed Man, Baby … Minnesota History Center Highlights Football Past, Present And FutureThe Minnesota …
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Lakeville parents charged with child neglect
Minnesota Public Radio News
A couple that was reported missing from Lakeville last week has been charged with neglecting their two young children during the five days they spent …
Charges: Minnesota parents lived in car 5 days, didn’t bathe or feed 2 boys – Duluth News Tribune
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IN: Child re-sentenced for murder: A sign of juvenile justice reform?
Christian Science Monitor – October 31, 2016
Paul Gingerich was 12 years old when he helped fatally shoot a friend’s stepfather in a small Indiana town about 45 miles northwest of Fort Wayne. The boys had planned to flee to Arizona or California after the ambush, but both were caught, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The case sparked outrage from child welfare advocates because Mr. Gingerich, now 18, is believed to be the youngest person in Indiana history to be sentenced in an adult court.
IN: Drugs could be to blame for rise in foster care cases, officials say (Includes video)
WDRB – October 31, 2016
As the number of kids in foster care in the United States goes up, Indiana is among the states seeing the largest increase in new cases.
My experience with children receiving adequate therapy for the severe trauma and resulting behavior problems that were so indelibly a part of these very young children’s lives was almost non existent.
Once these very troubled children become old enough to impact their surroundings they do so in a most troubling manner. That’s why our jails are full and our schools are troubled.
From the study; “In other words, by one mechanism or another, more than 200,000 individuals under the age of 18 are prosecuted in criminal court each year. There are three trends in the data worth noting.Details
For every successful child-suicide there are an estimated 25 attempts.
The suicidal hanging of six-year old foster child Kendrea Johnson opened my eyes to the fatal flaws of Prozac and very young children and foster care.
The dearth of mental health trained foster families and the number of traumatized children in child protection systems can only lead to exponential growth in dysfunctional and dangerous behaviors that last a lifetime.
Nationally, about a third of children in foster homes take psychotropic medication like Prozac (they have no choice – the drugs are forced on them).
The note seven-year old foster child Gabriel Myers left when he suicided by hanging was specific about his hatred of the drug he was forced to take and that he would rather be dead.
In 2014, America forced Prozac like drugs on 20,000 + one and two-year old children. One manufacturer (Johnson & Johnson) was fined 4 billion dollars for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on very young children (with 4 thousand cases awaiting trial and that is just one manufacturer).
My first visit to a four-year old child as a volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad Litem was at the suicide ward of Fairview Hospital. I know suicidal ideation by medication and caution anyone using these drugs on children to learn about it.
During my first years as a CASA GAL, I experienced multiple suicidal children in my caseload. All of them were under ten-years old. The amount of Prozac like drugs forced on these children was remarkable. So remarkable that a Hennepin County judge shared the records she kept of medicated children with me and talked openly about her dismay that these drugs were being used on very young children.
There are no records kept of suicide attempts by children in child protection or foster/adoptive homes.
Only successful suicide attempts make the paper or are made public. In 2013, 494,169 Americans were admitted to hospital emergency rooms for self-inflicted injuries.
In Minneapolis MN, our HCMC hospital sees almost one thousand emergency room psychiatric visits each month.
For the first time in our nation’s history, mental health parity (a piece of the Affordable Health Care Act) will make mental health services available to the poor traumatized children I have worked with.
How we treat our most vulnerable children define the heart and soul of this nation.
If there is one thing to fight for in the coming battle over repealing the ACA, please join me in the demand for mental health care for our youngest citizens.
WA: Can this tool fix our troubled foster care system?
Crosscut Seattle – October 28, 2015
Anyone who has filed a tax return by hand knows that filling out bureaucratic forms can be a dreary, time-consuming enterprise. For child welfare and youth homeless social service providers, it can be a hindrance to the very outcomes those forms are trying to achieve: providing quality care for the state’s most vulnerable kids. Partners for our Children, a group out of University of Washington’s School of Social Work, is trying to solve that problem.
US: Modernizing Foster Care (Opinion)
Chronicle of Social Change – October 28, 2016
The shortage of foster families will continue to increase. Previous blogs have discussed ways to lessen the need for temporary homes by preventing unnecessary removals and by hastening the time to a permanent home through reunification or adoption. In addition, foster parents should be more adequately compensated.
Drugging Our Kids: Governor signs bills to curb prescribing of psych drugs to California foster youth
The Mercury News
Joymara Coleman, a 24-year-old Cal State East Bay student, displays two of the psychotropic medications she was prescribed while in foster care.
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Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice has stated that 90% of the youth in the Juvenile Justice system have passed through Child Protective Services and that “The difference between that poor child and a felon is about eight years”.
Marion Wright Edelman calls this the pipeline to prison & from this volunteer CASA guardian ad Litems perspective it is absolutely true. No other industrialized nation treats its children and juveniles so harshly.
The simple truths below now define our communities and our nation – share them with your legislators (really – if you don’t share this with them they may never know).
Charging juveniles as adults
Privatized Detention Centers (why judges sometimes go to jail)
Ten Cents An Hour
Never Vote Again (stay away)
King Pin Laws
Women In Prison (shackled while giving birth?)
The Face of 12 Year Olds In Jail
Prozac, Children, Juveniles & the Criminal Justice SystemDetails
Protesters call for boycott of Varsity Theater, Loring Pasta Bar
The protest was meant to educate the campus community of sexual abuse … The lawsuits were filed under the Child Victims Act, which extended the … any of it,” said first-year University of Minnesota neuroscience student Mary Ellen …
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Mother and boyfriend charged in MN toddler’s death
ANOKA, Minn. (AP) – Authorities have filed charges against the mother of a Blaine toddler who died and her boyfriend. Anoka County Attorney Tony …
Couple charged in child death – Valley News Live
Two adults charged in connection with toddler’s death – White Bear Press
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Charges filed in murder of Blaine, Minnesota toddler
A man wanted in the murder of a toddler and kidnapping of a 5-year-old girl in Blaine, Minnesota was arrested Wednesday morning by the Missouri …
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Around the state: Mother, boyfriend charged in toddler’s death
MINNEAPOLIS — A trial in Minnesota district court will test whether suburban … The toddler died at the scene from injuries that authorities say were …
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Dallas Police Chief David Brown and MN Sheriff Rich Stanek speaking out about how armed law enforcement officers are now the front line in managing more and more of societies problems is just the beginning.
Sheriff Stanek and his fellow Washington and Ramsey Sheriffs threatening to sue the State of MN for not providing timely mental health services to the troubled people in their squad cars and jails thereby turning law officers into mental health service providers may be the most effective way of drawing attention to the massive under-treatment of traumatized children soon to impact schools, communities and law enforcement in this nation.
As a Hennepin County volunteer guardian ad-Litem, I have come to know second and third-generation families of under-treated traumatized children with drug problems, violent boyfriends and serious mental health problems that are now having their own next generation of soon to be neglected and abused (traumatized) children. Children who will bring their drug and behavioral problems to school and the community. It’s inevitable that there will be another generation of traumatized children entering our schools every five years and squad cars a few years after that.Details
From today’s Brandon Stahl article,
“Janine Moore, the area director of the county’s children and family services department, said earlier this month that child protection has a backlog of nearly 300 unreviewed reports, up from 111 in February. Moore said staff examine all cases to determine which ones need immediate response.
Earlier this year, Moore told the committee there were 15 children on a shelter waiting list, meaning they needed to be taken into protective custody but child protection workers had nowhere to put them. At one point, the committee learned, there were 30 such cases, with a wait of up to two weeks before a safe home opened up for a child.
“Quite frankly,” Moore told the committee, “we’ve been struggling with this for over a year now.”
Hennepin County CASA guardian ad litem Calvin McIntyre says that in this overwhelmed child protection system (highest caseload in more than six years), “I’ve had kids get worse”.
“About two dozen children in the past year who had nowhere else to go were admitted to the pediatric ward of Hennepin County Medical Center, said the ward’s director, Dr. Frances Prekker. Some, said Prekker, had to be confined to the ward because they might run away. Some of the children stayed in the ward for a month, Prekker said.”“It’s quite stressful [for the children]. The hospital is a really boring place to live,” Prekker said. “They feel quite isolated.”
“Brooklyn Park Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen said his officers have brought young children they suspected were abused to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.”
These sad truths would be a little more understandable if this community hadn’t allocated a billion dollars for a stadium, a billion + dollars for transportation & almost a billion dollars to rebuild a bridge that fell in the river because we were too cheap to make the 5 million dollars in repairs repeatedly requested by County and Federal engineers.
The unintended consequences of saving the 5 million dollars in bridge maintenance were 14 deaths, 144 seriously injured people, and pain and disruption for thousands of metro residents
Without community support, children don’t learn to cope and often fail in school and public life (state wards forever).
The unintended consequences of saving the effort and money it will take to build a more effective child protection system include failing schools, high teacher turnover, dangerous city streets and filled prisons along with a growing public concern that our institutions are creating exactly what they were designed to stop.Details
FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of 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…Details