What We Can Learn From Kentucky (kinship rules)

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. – In Kentucky, a lot of children are being raised by extended family members: at 6 percent of all kids, it’s one of the highest kinship-care rates in the nation. A new report from Kentucky Youth Advocates outlines what the group says needs to be done to increase support for grandparents and others raising kids who cannot safely live with their parents.

According to Jeanne Miller-Jacobs, who with her husband is raising their three grandkids, more assistance is badly needed.

“The biggest hurdle that we’ve had is misinformation,” she said. When we first got the kids, the financial part of kinship care never came up.”

She said her grandchildren, ages five, three and one, came to live with them because their parents struggle with drug addiction.

Kinship care has doubled in Kentucky in the last decade, and earlier this year, the state stopped taking new applications for its Kinship Care Program, which provides caregivers $10 a day to help meet a child’s basic needs.

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Best & Worst States For America’s Children

Where does your state rank in protecting children & what can you do to make improvements. These stories tell the best and worst of what’s happening around the nation (and in Japan)

Worst states;Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina

Best states; Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut

States News;

Arizona is one of the most dangerous states in the nation to be an abused or neglected child. For years they have not paid attention to beaten, starved, or sexually abused children.

Let’s hope that this new trend sticks; AZ: CPS Crisis: Latest report shows 3298 cases assigned
KPHO Phoenix – December 26, 2013- The head of a newly-appointed team tasked with investigating more than 6,500 ignored child abuse and neglect cases says they’ve now assigned nearly 3,298 of those cases to investigators.
http://www.kpho.com/story/24228667/cps-crisis-latest-report-shows-3298-cases-assigned

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Improving State Child Protection Systems In 2014 (whatever it takes)

Class action lawsuits get results where legislators don’t (Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, D.C., New Jersey, Mississippi) Proving that it’s not who is your senator, but who is your attorney. Whatever it Takes.

From Oklahoma News on 6 12,27.13,

Oklahoma is one of 14 states sued by child advocacy group Children’s Rights. The federal class action lawsuit was filed back in 2008, claiming children in state custody were in danger, because the system wasn’t doing enough to protect them.

The state has spent millions fighting it. With the trial just two months away and a judge denying the state’s last two efforts to get the case thrown out, DHS is now considering settling the suit.

According to Children’s Right’s website, their lawsuits have led to $2 billion in additional funding for child welfare systems.

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Punishing The Mentally Ill (Minnesota is not alone)

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune article supports a position I’ve held for years. By ignoring or under-serving people with mental health problems we are manufacturing state wards, preteen moms, and felons and this is making our cities dangerous and unsafe.

Our current policies of dumping the mentally ill in detention, jail, and prison places a huge burden on educators & juvenile, criminal justice workers, and especially the families (often grandparents, and foster and adoptive parents) that live with them.

Not much teaching gets done in a classroom populated with disturbed youth on Prozac. Safety and behavior management becomes the teachers primary concern at the expense of educating all the other youth. Our nations miserable graduation and drop out rates, STD rates (we lead the world), and crime rates (we also lead the world) are all tied to how we ignore and under-serve people with mental health issues.

Forcing foster/adoptive parents and service providers (educators, social workers, juvenile & criminal justice workers) to be the front line in managing mental health issues of the children and youth in their charge is an overwhelming task that rarely ends well for the children and youth. These children need professional guidance to overcome the serious issues that have triggered dangerous behaviors and the explosive increase in psychotropic medicating of five and ten year old children in our society.

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What Makes Us So Mean? (just wait til you’re in diapers)

Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher (who receives 3.5 million in federal crop subsidies) told the New York Times that his bible states “he who is unwilling to work shall not eat”. Not my kind of religion.

Walmart pays its employees so little that they need food stamps and have been living without health care. So the government gets to support Walmart employees and add to Walmart profits.

New Jersey eliminated mental health workers in its schools a few years ago sending all misbehaving youth to jail. New Jersey school counselor Thomas Kersting told Fox News that denying lunch to low-income children whose parents had not filled out eligibility forms would be a “teaching moment” (ie, a great idea).

No diapers, no mental health services, no food stamps, and no lunch. What makes us so mean?

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Hana’s Story

Still, the Williams verdict has renewed calls for adoption reform in Washington—which to date seems to be the only state studying adoptee abuse. There is also talk of a federal bill to enhance post-adoption services for families and require better data collection on failed adoptions, and some adoption agencies, including the country’s largest, Bethany Christian Services, have called for action against rehoming. And a new website, Betaseb, is attempting to provide a place for older Ethiopian adoptees to talk with each other privately and learn about their rights.

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6000 Child Abuse Cases Not Examined In Arizona (putting AZ in 48th place for child well being)

Clarence Carter the Director of AZ Department of Economic Security told the oversight committee that child protection was suffering from lack of funding and resources and has been only investigating the worst of the worst cases.

Skyrocketing case loads and very late (too late in many cases) review of unexamined reports of child abuse make it extremely hard to keep children safe in Arizona, a state that ranks 48th in child well being.

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How We Treat Children

From the annals of Rikers Island comes a document titled, “Three Adolescents With Mental Illness in Punitive Segregation in Rikers Island.” Punitive segregation means solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. Schoolwork, if it comes, is passed through a slot in the cell door. Toothpaste is available once a day.

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Children’s Survival Network (watch this)

Friends, this practical approach of the Children’s Survival Network to dealing with child abuse and the misunderstood and underfunded agencies that treat it impresses me greatly.

Watch this brief video & pass it on to your friends;

Children’s Survival Network, Inc.

Thank you Hayley Foster for showing me the Children’s Survival Network.

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What We Think Of Children In America

In one poor school district in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, students take classes in a bus garage, using plastic sheeting to keep the diesel fumes at bay. In another, there is no more money to tutor young immigrants struggling to read. And just south of Denver, a district where one in four kindergartners is homeless has cut 10 staff positions and is bracing for another cull.

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Crisis Nurseries & Colleges

From the book, How Children Succeed, Paul Tough, I learned that 68% of wealthy high school graduates with at least one parent that had graduated from college went on to achieve their own BA degree, while students in the lowest economic quartile without college graduate parents achieve a BA degree at less than 10%. Gotta admit that is a big spread.

From the Consortium on Chicago Schools Research, one in thirty African American Boys that graduate from Chicago schools will go on to achieve 4 year college degree before they are 25.

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Important News From Safe Passage For Children

What if everyone agreed to get behind some of the same best practices for children? It would improve chances of state funding, be easier to track outcomes, and create economies of scale.

This may be possible. Safe Passage research indicates common interest in some of the same programs across child welfare, early childhood development, and children’s mental health. These approaches have a solid track record and strong research base, including Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), Parent Child Interaction Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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Mental Health Public Policy – Seeking Your Input

A giant change in mental health public policy will soon be felt by all of us from the effects of the Affordable Health Care Act.

We hope it is all positive, but we know better and must be vigilant to avoid painful mistakes.

In KARA’s pursuit of better answers and a more public discourse on the topic, we invite your insights, experiences, and articles to clear the air. Thank you Consulthardesty.com for this correspondence. KARA might take a different view, but Hardesty’s commentary applies directly to the mental health conversation;

The City of Portland, Oregon, has been found by the DOJ to be using police to violate the constitutional rights of those perceived to be in mental health crisis. This blog post explores a new force that may begin targeting this vulnerable population. The public does not yet know the power about to accrue to care providers, as mandatory insurance provides an incentive to fill hospitals.

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Tracking America’s Most At Risk Children (through the media, the states & CASA)

Follow these pages to keep up with the most current stories about the people policies & programs working with and reporting on abused and neglected children;

Connect to the most recent media stories
Connect to CASAs (around the nation)

Connect to the states (stories of at risk children in your state)

Children Are Not Burgers (send this to your friends)

4 minute Video on being an abused child in America
Richard Ross photographs juvenile in justice (remarkable)

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Worst State For Moms (and their children) Louisiana Again

My 2012 report about the last place in the nation to raise a child was reaffirmed today (Huffington Post) with another study ranking the state dead last for women. One in five Louisiana women live in poverty & they earn 67% of what men earn (a little more than half of a man’s wage).

One OB-GYN for every 13,136 women & nearly 20% of non-elderly women are uninsured. Waiting periods and counseling are required for women seeking an abortion. Louisiana has the highest rates of poverty, infant mortality, child death, teen births, and no health insurance in the nation.

Other states that earned an “F” overall in these categories are Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Indiana and Georgia.

Louisiana is also the Prison Capital of The World, where for profit prisons are making a fortune for their investors. They have found that by offering almost no rehabilitation, crowded conditions and easy incarceration statutes (one in eighty six adult Louisiana residents are in the prison system), profits are extraordinary and recidivism is through the roof.

Please share this with your contacts that it might find its way to Louisiana (change only comes from awareness).

Follow KARA on Twitter http://twitter.com/KidsAtRisk

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Reading Test Scores & Prison Populations

Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.BegintoRead.com
Urging young people to read more when there is little available to read makes as much sense as urging starving people to eat, when no food is available. Krashen, 2007
In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY: 2006, p. 31.
80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children

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Schools Criminalizing American Children

East coast schools are experiencing the mass incarceration and expulsion of student populations.

Using police instead of counselors has lead to a giant leap in overcrowded courts, incarcerated youth, & privatized juvenile justice facilities.

New Jersey eliminated all mental health services from schools and uses the justice system to deal with adolescent problems.

New York students with disabilities are 4 times more likely to be suspended than the non-disabled (New York Times/Molly Knefel) with 69,000 expulsions and 2,500 arrests last year, mostly for infractions that would have dealt with by counselors in years past.
Pennsylvania recently sent 2 judges to prison for 40 years for receiving kickbacks for sending thousands of mostly innocent youth into the privatized youth prison system.

The data is clear that children of color and poverty are grossly over-represented in this newly criminalized society that is sweeping the nation.

In a nation that pays day care workers less than food service workers (the least paid profession in the nation) and has refused to adequately fund crisis nurseries, or subsidized day care, we should not be surprised that our youth are unprepared to learn in school and a source of non-criminal behaviors that trouble school officials.

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Support Safe Passage For Children – Children Are Not Burgers

A value proposition is the amount you are willing to pay for a certain level of quality.

Take McDonalds for instance. The value proposition is to pay a low price for acceptable quality. If you get it, that’s a good value. (Except for the French fries, which are a great value!)

The current value proposition in child welfare is similar. We pay staff modest amounts and they meet basic requirements such as investigating reports in 24 hours and getting kids to court every three months.

If that’s all we want, it’s a good value.

But it’s the wrong value proposition.

We want high quality outcomes for children and will have to pay a realistic price to get them. That will cost more, but the results will be worth it.

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Thank You Century College

This weeks KARA presentation for Century College Luncheon Speaker Series prompted good questions and brought a solid discussion to the critical issues facing at risk children.

We are all seeking better and happier endings.

It will take some participation by all of us to shift the culture to where it respects and cares for America’s children, for that to happen.

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CASA & GUARDIAN AD – LITEM NEWS (for August)

Local children in desperate need of CASAs — Court Appointed Special Advocates
Arizona Silver Belt
A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, who is there to represent a neglected or abused child’s best interests and needs. Neglected children often have trouble trusting adults. For the complete article see the 06-26-2013 issue. Click here to …
See all stories on this topic »

CASA director: ‘Meth use more prevalent’
York News-Times
YORK – “We are seeing substance abuse issues rising in York County,” said Carl Knieriem, director of the local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). “Methamphetamine use is more prevalent again. It had been dramatically reduced, but now it’s once …
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Big screen classic meets a good cause: Casablanca screening will benefit …
Cherokee Tribune
Canton Theatre manager Bob Seguin stands outside of the theater where the CASAblanca Downtown Dinner & A Movie event benefiting Cherokee County Court Appointed Special Advocates will be presented on Saturday. Starring Humphrey Bogart and …
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CASA to host Bridges Out of Poverty Sept. 5
Rockford Register Star
ROCKFORD — Winnebago County Court Appointed Special Advocates will present Bridges Out of Poverty from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, 200 S. Bell School Road, Rockford. Guest speaker Jodi Pfarr will discuss …
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10 Roanoke Valley volunteers complete training to become child advocates
Roanoke Times
Ten Roanoke Valley volunteers completed 30 hours of training this spring to become Court Appointed Special Advocates, representing children’s interests in court proceedings when they become displaced because child abuse and neglect charges have …
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CASA needs volunteers before August classes
Cleburne Times-Review
Nationally, CASA is a network of 946 programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to be court-appointed special advocates to represent the best interests of children in the courtroom and other settings, according to the CASA website.
See all stories on this topic »

You are here
Fort Smith Times Record
Renee Day, vice president of finance for Baylor Research Institute in Dallas and assistant treasurer, investments, for Baylor Health Care System, was recently elected to the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates Board of Directors. The board governs …
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Yellowstone CASA hires four
Billings Gazette
Yellowstone Yellowstone CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) has hired four new staffers. Drew MacLeod, Ryan Cremer and Tracie Rabinowitz are volunteer coordinators, and Tricia Hergett is the new executive assistant. MacLeod will supervise …
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CASA creates ‘Chili’ connection
Mineral Wells Index
The current Court Appointed Special Advocate fundraising campaign is getting some local help from Chili’s in Mineral Wells. Though “A Dollar for CASA” challenges locals to support the organization a buck at a time, the area restaurant is not stopping …
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CASA inducts 8 new volunteers
Edmond Sun
CITY — Court Appointed Special Advocates recently swore in eight new advocates. Jessica Gavura, Dearra Godinez, Jane Greene, Susan Griffin, Nancy Hamilton, Rhonda Kerbo, Julie Krywicki and Equilla Samuel were sworn in during the June 11 ceremony …

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CHILD WELFARE NEWS STATE BY STATE (for August)

NBC 4 – August 28, 2013
Records obtained by NBC4 show 63 children died in Los Angeles County as a result of abuse and neglect since January 2012, including some with a lengthy history of allegations leading up to the death.
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Documents-Detail-Child-Abuse-Deaths-in-Los-Angeles-County-221587601.html

CA: LA County facing fines for operating unlicensed foster care shelter, missing deadlines
Southern California Public Radio – August 28, 2013
Her job was to sort out who was biologically related to whom, and find the kids a place to stay – all within a window of 23 hours and 59 minutes. It’s the deadline at which, legally, the kids would need to be in a place that’s certified to care for them, like a foster home or shelter. Too often in the past eight months, L.A. County has missed this deadline, according to state regulators. And as soon as Wednesday, California’s Department of Social Services said the county could be subject to fines of $200 a day for operating an “unlicensed emergency shelter.” As of Wednesday morning, state officials had not taken action. Also: DCFS warned to place kids in foster care sooner: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=9223065&rss=rss-kabc-article-9223065
http://www.scpr.org/news/2013/08/28/38906/county-to-weigh-options-for-avoiding-state-fines-f/

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Committed To Children’s Issues – Aitkin DFL

Everyone in this group got it. They appreciated just how serious under-serving babies & children can be and what a great investment programs that improve at risk children are.

Why has subsidized daycare remained unobtainable for 95% of Minnesotans that need it?

Why were no mental health services available for Jeff Weiss (Red Lake) or Michael Swanson’s mother (ten years of searching for help).

The sadness that remains decades after the violence committed by children in need of services is never measured, never considered by the media or politicians and never considered outside the cost of jails and prisons that so often become the cornerstone of at risk children’s lives.

I’m hopeful that the Aitkin DFL club will continue our conversation and the battle to speak out for children to give them a voice in a world that today doesn’t hear them.

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Massachusetts Child Abuse Up – 30% Fewer Petitions To Remove Children From Abusive Homes

Budget cuts at the Department of Children and Families has compromised family supports and child protection in Massachusetts. “The state is saving money, but not necessarily protecting children” (Marcia Lowry, Children’s Rights).

I argue that states are not saving money. It costs many times more money to ruin lives and live with dysfunctional children turned adults than it does to provide child friendly programs that help kids make it through school and out into society. It is also the right thing to do.

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Punishing Mental Health Problems With Horrid Juvenile Justice; In Many States, This Is The Rule, Not The Exception

Thank the legal community for shining a light on the abhorrent conditions facing mentally troubled California youth.

There’s good reason the Feds are denying California’s request to extend the time for compliance within their jails and prisons and this is a prime example.

14 years old, bipolar and placed in solitary for 22 1/2 hours daily for one hundred days. Read the whole article below. Mean people in a mean system.

California, your justice systems just stink.

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