It’s painful to watch any children and family services system in turmoil, but the goings on in Tennessee right now might be setting a new standard for disaster. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (TDCS) is locked in a high-profile battle with the state’s most prominent newspaper, The Tennessean, which has published a series of articles questioning the department’s performance in analyzing and reporting on child fatalities.Details
www.avahealth.org You can spend hours listening to the medical professionals address these topics on this site in a very straightforward manner. Their videos are powerful – in particular, study the ACES information.
www.juvenile-in-justice.com This site provides an overview of how our institutions are working together and paints the picture of how at risk children are aging through society today. While it does not speak directly to pre-teen pregnancy, and the many important young women’s issues, it will draw your attention to the racial and economic disparity that is destroying so much of our inner cities.
& of course, Google, Art Rolnick, / Rob Grunewald Federal Reserve Bank Early Childhood Development. Study their report. It makes a statistical / financial argument for taking better care of American children.Details
Those of you willing to tell your stories on camera so that others may learn more accurately how American institutions are treating children.
We are limiting interviews to the Minneapolis, St. Paul area to begin with & hope to expand our reach in the future.
Send KARA a few sentences about your story; Mike@invisiblechildren.orgDetails
Support youth reentry – An estimated 100,000 people under the age of 18 have left secure facilities only to turn around and reenter the system. The report says, “Youth are often discharged from care back to families struggling with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unresolved mental health disabilities.” Also highlighted is the issue of public safety being compromised when the released youth is not afforded necessary planning and supportive services.
NJJDCP”s full report and recommendations can be viewed at:http://promotesafecommunities.org/images/pdfs/NJJDPC_RecstoCongress_03122013_web.pdf?utm_source=Copy+of+NJJDP+Report+-Congress&utm_campaign=WNR+2-8-2013&utm_medium=email
American institutions are producing exactly that which they were designed to stop. Almost all the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection programs. Virtually all criminal justice candidates have been juvenile offenders. 2/3’s of these people have mental health problems (fully half of this number have multiple, serious, and chronic conditions (these are the dangerous and dysfunctional folks that so often make the news).
Much of what I write and speak makes people angry. Imagine what it’s like to be child protection worker or volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem and meet a seven year old boy that’s been tied to a bed, left alone for days at a time, starved, sexually abused, and beaten to a pulp with bruised covering his body or come to know very young girl that was prostituted by her mother.Details
KARA board members Sam Ashkar and Mike Tikkanen accompanied Rich Gehrman and his Safe Passage For Children colleagues to support a bill at the state capital on thursday supporting child protection screening practices protecting children throughout MN. This bill SF 704 / HF 1106 gives simple guidelines, clarifies standards, and improves accountability for reporting and screening practices for abused children in terrible circumstances. It is the least we can do.
Please forward this to your friends and make a call to your state representative (and to State Senate Republican leader David Hann who is influential on this committee; 651-296-1749 )Details
Programs for poor and under-performing children are far less expensive in the long run than letting illiterate third graders fail in a society that pretty much guarantees them a very expensive prison cell next to so many others just like them (and of course now, Beverly Hall).Details
Teen who killed baby sentenced to 90 days
October 18, 2012. Colorado.
Dylan Kuhn had called authorities stating that his 6-month-old daughter was found hanging from her crib by her next and that she wasn’t breathing. Authorities later discovered she had injuries consistent with being “slammed” against a soft and unyielding surface (like a mattress). Kuhn later stated that he did slam his daughter into the bed and she became quiet afterward, that she had never had a blanket around her neck, and that he lied to police initially because he was afraid the mother would hate him for it. Kuhn plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 4 years of probation, a parenting class, a mental health evaluation, a drug abuse evaluation, and would not be allowed to be alone with any child under the age of 10.Details
Teachers, social workers, justice workers, and parents today are forced to collude with big pharma to medicate children who would no more be able to handle suicidal ideation than they could handle rape. If you know someone using psychotropics, ask them if they have had the experience of suicidal ideation.
There is nothing like it. There is no good excuse for ignoring mental health on a national scale (especially where five year old’s are concerned).Details
Every day between six to eight million children take psychotropic medications – about 10% of all U.S. children.
This compares to 1.2% in Israel, 1.4% in Germany, and .3% in the UK. My concern is mostly the giant percentage of foster care children being forced to take these drugs. The side effects are real and there is little meaningful mental health therapy to coincide with the taking of these drugs. I would argue, that we use these drugs in place of therapy which leads to medicated kids never learning how to cope with their mental health issues (which is why we have so many preteen moms, adolescent felons, and unsafe neighborhoods).Details
Cursing, farting, or an honors student spraying perfume on her neck, all valid reasons for being arrested in Texas schools (citations to six year old’s even).
Does the nation need more disadvantaged youth in the criminal justice system? Texas thinks so.
Texas, the state eliminating higher order thinking from it’s schools & teaching that premarital sex has fatal consequences, and that getting plenty of rest and avoiding condoms saves one from sexually transmitted diseases (& leads all states and many third world nations in the incidence of STD’s among youth) now rests comfortably ahead of all states and the rest of the world in criminalizing students.
Texas also leads in Executions (including of the mentally ill – ignoring federal mandates), juvenile incarceration, uninsured children, child poverty (including food insecurity/starvation of children), preteen pregnancies (and the highest rates of repeat births to teen moms).Details
Teachers that lived through the Bush era No Child Left Behind fiasco understand the impossibility of making students succeed and schools look good with inadequate resources and classrooms bulging with kids that can’t read, Prozac, and violence.
The “Texas education Miracle” that lead the NCLB’S deconstruction of America’s schools proved to be as wrong and dysfunctional as the erasures on thousands of test questions executed by hundreds (if not thousands) of teachers in Georgia and now DC (and there may well be other states as yet undiscovered).
If you study the DC memos being made public you will see just how hard it is to identify and pursue this kind of criminal activity (if it weren’t for excellent journalists at the Atlanta Journal, none of this would have been discovered).Details
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
State Falls Behind In Abuse Inquiries (today’s Star Trib headlines)
The sentence seems harmless unless you are a five year old child tied to a bed, left alone for days without food, beaten and sodomized, prostituted as a 7 year old, or left alone in a crib for days without food or contact.
These were my first experience with child abuse as a volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem.
The backlog of 724 cases (double what it was 18 months ago) means that children will wait for their sexual abuse, beatings, and neglect to be investigated.Details
It has been pointed out to me that in some instances my writing leads readers to think that CASA guardian ad-Litems are part of child protective service when in fact (and I know this inside and out) CASA is child advocacy within the institution of child protection. Forgive me for this error and please appreciate that CASA/GAL is all about child advocacy.
For more information about:
CASA your state
A second Pennsylvania judge (Michael Conahan) has plead guilty for receiving commissions for each child sent to privately held detention facilities (PA Childcare and Western PA Childcare) .
2.6 million dollars in fees were paid for between one and two thousand children sentenced for things they did not do. Judge Mark Ciavarella was identified some months ago as the primary offender in this case.
This adds a sorrowful twist to Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz statements that “90% of the youth in juvenile justice have passed through child protection” & “”The difference between that poor child and a felon, is about 8 years”.
In Pennsylvania 90% just isn’t filling privately held facilities with enough human prison fodder. I know how hard life is for at risk children and find this kind of crime to be a hanging offense for both the owners of the privately held facilities as well as the corrupters of our legal system.Details
Mother Earth News this month includes weapons manufacturers marketing materials aimed at very young children. It is disturbing. It was just last week a five year old Kentucky boy killed his two year old sister with his “Crickett” “my first” rifle. You can buy them in hot pink for little girls:
“The Crickett rifle is ideally sized for children four to ten years old and comes in a …Arms manufactures the following youth rifles: Crickett .22WMR Youth Rifles”
Mom was outside & said she did not know the gun was loaded. Gun marketing pictures from the Crickett marketing page (the site was down today when I went to include the link – it will be interesting to see if it has been changed) http://www.crickett.com/
ill Murray knows the best questions to ask to create a lively and informative discussion on the issues that impact abused and neglected children.
This 90 minute talk is a powerful and comprehensive talk I had with Bill and his panel about our institutions and what needs to change to make our children and communities happier and safer: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bill-murray/2013/05/16/stop-child-abuse-now-scan.mp3 (move the arrow a little bit to skip the music if you wish to start at the conversation).Details
Hats off to Essex County high school students bringing a voice to abused and neglected children through a coordinated effort for CASA advocacy & community awareness.
In support of all the children living without a safe and permanent home, Essex County schools pitched tens and slept outdoors Friday night (May 3rd). The County family court Judge Thomas Zampino visited them and gave them an overview of the life of a a child in foster care.
CASA volunteers created the Camp Out For CASA concept to promote child welfare and a more active community.
If your CASA organization has done great and interesting things, send them to me that we can show the rest of the country (we also have readers all over the world).Details
It hurts me to see people shy away from mental health conversations. By my observation over 60 some years, we could all benefit with a more open and honest discussion on the topic.
Today’s Star Tribune article by Christina Roegies explains how mentally ill people can lead amazing and fulfilling lives.
Long ago I listened to a mental health expert tell his psychologist audience not to think themselves too different from the people they saw daily for treatment. His logic was that we all have idiosyncracies and periods of our lives when our coping skills are low and we act in nutsey/irrational ways.
Assistant Commissioner of MN Department of Human Services, Dr Read Sulik’s “ability to cope” definition is the most understandable and meaningful definition I have heard.Details
If you have not heard, or it has been awhile since you last heard, the Invisible Children talk, join me at the:
Stone Arch Discussion Group (coffee and treats are available)
When:Sat, June 8, 8:00am – 9:30am
Where: Gardens of Salonica, 19 5th St NE, Minneapolis, MN (map)
Watch (4 minute) Short Speaking VideoDetails
In April, 2 year old Kent Schailble died of treatable pneumonia because his parent’s fanatical religion demanded it. Kent’s 4 year old brother Brandon died for the same reason in the same home just a few years earlier (he was also denied medical treatment for a completely treatable disease).
As a CASA guardian ad-Litem, I witnessed 49 police calls to a home where a seven year old had been prostituted and the only reason the children (girls 4 and 7) were removed from the home on the 49th call, was that the 7 year old tried to kill the 4 year old in the presence of police officers (it was a child’s cry for help).
Somewhere in this conversation we need to discuss child protection and the civil rights of children.Details
Without court appointed CASA volunteers, America’s abused and neglected children have no voice in the homes they are raised in or the homes they live in foster care.
States like Virginia are now forcing children back into homes where they have been sexually abused, or otherwise tortured.
The World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.
Every child in my CASA guardian ad-Litem caseload had been tortured (many of them at two and four years old. Beaten, tied to a bed, sexually abused, left alone without food for days at a time, and one 7 year old had been prostituted. Every child deserves a safe home and a voice in our community.
Six million children are reported to child protection services in America each year. Only a fraction of them receive help from their community. Current and former CASA guardian ad-Litems can have a major impact on building awareness and protecting our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.Details