Dear Elementary School Teacher (I’m sorry for being such a problem)

I may look like the other 4th graders in your classroom, but I am not. I’m very different. My birth family’s repeated traumatic sex assaults and beatings have had a powerful and lasting impact on my body and mind. I don’t love or trust anyone and don’t feel loved or trusted at all.

The reptilian, fear activated part of my brain, the amygdala, is much larger than other children’s. This interferes with my ability to sit still in a classroom and I’m unable to concentrate on the things you are talking about. My mind is always filled with fearful thoughts and anxiety about the next bad thing that’s about to happen. It couldn’t be otherwise. The Prozac I’m forced to take (about a third of all foster children are medicated by psychotropics) makes me stupid and slow and I hate that. Some seven year olds know what the suicidal ideation on the side of the Prozac box actually means (fully formed thoughts of self harm and suicide delivered in waking moments).

I don’t have the coping skills to handle small personal things in the classroom like other children. Certain words and behaviors by others trigger a violent learned fear response in me that other kids don’t seem to have. I can be violent and did not learn social interaction at home, My reactions to minor things do not come from the executive function of my brain. I can’t control myself, things just happen.

Please understand that foster children are not foster children because a parent tired of caring for them or someone hit a child once or twice. At least I’ve not seen that among the foster kids I know. I’ve come to know many foster children through the County system as I’ve moved from foster home to foster home. It is the “Imminent Harm Doctrine”, that let’s a judge remove a child from a birth home. Literally, a child’s life must be in danger before the court will take a child away from birth parents. It really is almost as traumatic to be removed from the home as it is to stay and suffer the abuse. No matter how bad the abuse is, the fear of waking up in a strange place, with no one you have ever seen before is extremely frightening to a seven year old.

I became a state ward because my mother, who had been horribly abused as a child herself, had very violent boyfriends who thought sex with children was acceptable behavior. One of the boyfriends kicked me so hard I went into convulsions & needed an ambulance ride to the hospital (I was seven). The medical staff saw the awful bruises and placed me in child protection.

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Body Memories – Why Child Sex Abuse Never Ends (letters from survivors and non survivors)

Dear Doctor,

As a medical professional you have taken an oath to do no harm, but there are ways in which you can hurt your patients without even recognizing you are doing so. What seems to you as a simple exam may cause injury to those who have been victimized by someone’s touch. This is a subject that we, survivors of sexual violence, have been meaning to discuss with you for some time now, but your authority can be more intimidating than you may know. I am also unsure if you are aware just how much power you, as a physician, hold and to the extent that you affect the lives of all of your patients. Your interactions with us travel much deeper than the physical core.

The relationship between patient and doctor is also mental, built on trust, understanding, and the security of knowing that your doctor has your well-being at heart. We, as your patients, entrust in you the most intimate parts of our bodies and our lives. But this trust has to be earned, and it is much harder for us patients who have been so severely violated. The intent of this letter is not to in any way criticize your work as a

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Pennsylvania Child Protection News December 2016

children down hill having funKARA 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

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of  Krista Neuner

KARA is looking for children’s news in other states – contact us to see if you would like to grow awareness in your state; mike@invisiblechildren.org (include writing and research in the subject line)

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Minnesota 7 Year Old Dies as a Martyr to a Parents Religion

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.

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December Sad Stories Part II

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.

http://www.techwire.net/commentary/culp-looking-at-2016-in-the-rear-view-mirror.html

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.

http://www.sgvtribune.com/government-and-politics/20161228/san-gabriel-valley-assemblywoman-blanca-rubio-appointed-first-latina-chair-of-human-services-committee

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.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2016/12/28/numerous-abuse-reports-made-starved-child-case-lawmaker-says/95935520/

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.

http://fox59.com/2016/12/27/need-for-indiana-foster-homes-surges-as-opioid-addicts-leave-children-behind/

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”.

http://www.live5news.com/story/34143285/state-reminds-people-of-safe-haven-law

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.

http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-child-abuse-investigation-is-justified/article_2430d303-c118-54cb-a509-2c6fdbd2af0f.html

OR: NBC5 News Investigation: Inside OnTrack Part 3 (Includes video)

KOBi5 – December 28, 2016

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Minnesota At Risk Children’s News December 2016

coneflowersBrandon 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 mike@invisiblechildren.org with REPORTING in the subject line.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

 

Follow;

Safe Passage For Children MN (make child friendly legislation a reality)

CASAMN (become a guardian ad Litem and speak for abused children)

KARA Star Tribune Articles; Child Protection Who Will Speak For Children?

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International Child Protection News December 2016

Guatemala ChildrenKARA 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 mike@invisiblechildren.org with Research/Writing in the subject line.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

 

 Join The KARA Team (and receive free weekly updates on Friday mornings)

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of  KARA volunteer Eshanee Singh

Support KARA’s efforts to advocate for at risk children (donate)

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Dear At Risk Kids Army (part of the plan for 2017)

Kids At Risk Action is pleased to report over 185,665 reader minutes spent learning about child protection issues on KARA’s website this past year. This represents 50,907 of you (way more than last year).

Many thousands of you are also sharing KARA information on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Our goal for next year is to double these numbers and turn learning into action.

For the New Year KARA is requesting your participation in creating a positive vision & plan for system reform that is effective and easy to begin using in your community.

The latest draft will always be here (share your ideas as comments on this page).

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Transforming the System: A Call For Action

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.

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KARA Is Unable To Provide Services

Dear Readers,

Every so often we receive requests for hands on help and it it is necessary to remind you that KARA is a small group of people working to improve our child child well-being and child protection by raising awareness and promoting better programs, people, and policies that make life better for abused and neglected children.

We are unable to provide direct help except for on the Links page (button at the top of the home page) where we list the Child Advocacy and Resource organizations we know of. Most national organizations will have a chapter in your state. Always ask if they know of other service providers that might be of assistance in your circumstances. Every state has its own array of nonprofits and service providers. The trick is to ask the right questions of the people you connect with to find them.

Please share with KARA those service providers that you find that are helpful (info@invisiblechildren.org)

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December 2016 Sad Stories Part 1

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.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-homeless-youth-20161130-story.html
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.
https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161201/gravesend/jaden-jordan-administration-for-childrens-services-salvatore-lucchesse
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.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-christopher-kohomban-phd/a-better-but-still-broken_b_12501974.html

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Pennsylvania Child Protection News Sept – November 2016

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.
http://www.phillyvoice.com/pennsylvania-officials-reveal-improved-service-child-abuse-hotline/

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.
http://abc27.com/2016/09/02/pennsylvania-couple-waives-arraignment-in-child-giving-case/

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Minnesota At Risk Children’s News November 2016

Recommendations Announced For Improving Child Services
CBS Local
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hennepin County leaders are making new recommendations to help protect children in Minnesota. A child protection …
Flag as irrelevant

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 …
Flag as irrelevant

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 …
Flag as irrelevant

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November 2016 Sad Stories Part II

peekaboo-red-pandaSign 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 reported.

 

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of  David Vang, Mike Toronto, Jamar Weston, Adolf Nchanj and Blaz Zlate,  Callie Benscoter, (student volunteers at Century College) Katie Frake, Boston College, Julie O, and KARA.

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The Election & Children (from Safe Passages For Children of Minnesota)

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.

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Minnesota At Risk Children’s News October 2016

Teen Arrested In Mpls. Shooting That Killed Man, Baby
CBS Local
Teen Arrested In Mpls. Shooting That Killed Man, Baby … Minnesota History Center Highlights Football Past, Present And FutureThe Minnesota …
Flag as irrelevant

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
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

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Celebrating KARA’s New Website (check it out)

http://www.invisiblechildren.org www.invisiblechildren.org It’s a big day for Kids At Risk Action after 17 years the website is now easier to navigate and able to display thousands of children’s issue articles and comments, the INVISIBLECHILDREN book and our videos at faster speeds on your phone, tablet or desktop. See an article that touches you or fits…

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November 2016 Sad Stories Part I

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.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/1031/Indiana-child-re-sentenced-for-murder-A-sign-of-juvenile-justice-reform

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.
http://www.wdrb.com/story/33534207/officials-say-drugs-could-be-to-blame-for-rise-in-foster-care-cases

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Where The Big Money Is (privatized prisons for youth)

Private Prison Empire Rises Despite Startling Record Of Juvenile Abuse

By Chris Kirkham
OCTOBER 22, 2013
This is the first in a two-part series. The second part will be published on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
From a glance at his background, one might assume that James F. Slattery would have a difficult time convincing any state in America to entrust him with the supervision of its lawbreaking youth.

Over the past quarter century, Slattery’s for-profit prison enterprises have run afoul of the Justice Department and authorities in New York, Florida, Maryland, Nevada and Texas for alleged offenses ranging from condoning abuse of inmates to plying politicians with undisclosed gifts while seeking to secure state contracts.

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200,000 Youth Tried As Adults Each Year; Temple University

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.

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Children’s Mental Health, Prozac and You (suicide & other self-harming behaviors)

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.

www.Kidsatriskaction.org

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International Child Protection News October 2016

U.K. – Sunderland Child Protection Body Apologizes Over Death of Girls.
The Guardian.
The death of two teenage girls under child services were both found hanged 10 days apart. No connection has be found linking the two deaths, however; the similarities in both cases prompted serious case reviews out of fear the children may be experiencing similar unacceptable levels of care.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/14/sunderland-childrens-services-apologise-critical-report-deaths-girls

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Raise Your Voice For At Risk Children (Give to the Max Day November 17th)

Thank you all for helping KARA advocate for an end to our public health epidemic child abuse and child trauma. With your help, we are raising awareness for at risk children’s issues and poised and ready to create lasting change.

Like you, I am an advocate. As a founding member of Kids At Risk Action, I have not stopped using my voice for change. And now you can join me in raising your voice by continuing to receive and share our weekly updates, buying KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN book or making a contribution to show your support.

Please consider making a tribute contribution to show your support of those who stand up to say Yes to improving the lives of abused and neglected children.

Best wishes,

Mike Tikkanen

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