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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Christmas for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children Support KARA (BUY the book INVISIBLE CHILDREN) listen to the audiobook for free  Receive Free Friday KARA E Updates   Christmas can be a painful time for adult survivors of child abuse.  NAASCA is an established organization that speaks candidly about the issues and this article hits the nail…

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Civil Rights of A Three Year Old (and what happens without them)

Zepora Fortenberry will spend 27 months in prison for watching her boyfriend Charles Homich punch 3 year-old Zayden Lawson to death.

Zayden was one of two foster children this mom cared for along with her two biological children.

For weeks (or months) Zayden and his siblings lived in sheer terror of Zepora’s boyfriend.

It must have been torture and traumatizing for the other children to witness the insane and evil violence repeatedly done to Zayden in their home while their mother watched.

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Collateral Damage – ACEs & Education

Today’s Star Tribune article, Teachers Turning to Other Careers shines a light on the punishing effects of ACES on education in our state.

The violence & chaos brought to school by increasing numbers of abused children (ACEs) creates classroom chaos, puts students and teachers in danger and makes teaching exponentially harder.

It’s why over half of Minnesota’s licensed teachers were not teaching last year, recruitment is a statewide problem, teacher turnover is high and student performance is low….

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Colorado Child Protection New March 2016

CO: Denver County Human Services to close center for foster teens

Denver Post – March 01, 2016

A Denver County home for troubled teenagers in foster care will close in July, and 64 workers with the Human Services Department will lose their jobs.

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29578534/denver-county-human-services-close-center-foster-teens

CO: Boulder’s sense of itself now challenged by homeless youth plan

Associated Press – March 06, 2016

Attention Homes, which will run the complex, has worked with runaways and troubled teenagers for decades in Boulder. In each of the last two years, it has helped nearly 750 young people at its day drop-in and overnight emergency services facility, up from 196 in 2011.

http://www.summitdaily.com/news/21002081-113/boulders-sense-of-itself-now-challenged-by-homeless

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Comment on Brandon Stahl’s Friday article on uninvestigated child sex abuse cases 12/5/14

I’ve taken from Brandon Stahl’s article on uninvestigated child sex abuse cases that someone has decided that children reported as sexually abused before 2013 will go uninvestigated and stay where they are (even if they are still being sexually abused) as the County doesn’t see it important to put resources to finding out if these children are still endangered.

In my caseload as a CASA volunteer guardian ad-Litem, I know children as young as two who were sexually abused – and the resulting traumas that followed them for life. They deserve to be rescued.

I find this cheap, short sighted policy making appalling and I know that it is much more costly to ignore them than to do the right thing.

Will someone besides Brandon Stahl please speak out for these kids?

What kind of a community writes off the worst kinds of child abuse for relatively modest financial reasons?

Any investigation into the financial aspects of these bad decisions will discover that we do not save money by allowing children to remain in horridly abusive homes.

These are the kids with severe behavioral problems and poor coping skills that fail in our schools, become preteen moms, adolescent felons, and make our communities unhealthy and unsafe.

What costs money are failing schools, unsafe streets, prisons and recidivism (70% nationally).

What a cold hard people we have become (and bad at math).

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Comment Thread On The Child Beating Bill In Kansas

Friends of KARA, below are the comments made on a network debating the Kansas state bill that would allow the beating of children by virtually any caregiver and the leaving of bruises. The good news is that most people hate it for its neanderthal approach to child rearing but there are a fair number of folks that just want the right to beat children.

My mom was born 9 years prior to women’s rights being passed in America. Before this, almost no amount of violence was illegal against a man’s wife. Not so different with children in America today. The passing of this law in Kansas will demonstrate just how tragically ill informed state legislators can be.

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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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Common books Symposium Century College (KARA 1 of 5 panel members) 2.25.15 10 am (free)

1) Ernie Boswell, psychology, speaking on Vets Issues

2) Dick Kotasek, addiction counseling instructor, speaking on

how counseling the addicted has changed.

3) Eve Bergmann, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and addiction

counseling, speaking on her 30 years of practice.

4) Justin Martin, psychologist, speaking on GLBT Issues

5) Mike Tikkanen, Kids at Risk Action, speaking on rights and

awareness of abused and neglected children.

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Counterpoint To Yesterday’s Post

As a result of ASFA, when the federal government gave money to states for the purpose of increasing adoptions, large numbers of kids did get good homes. Thirteen years later, hoards of those kids are re-entering the system because they came to parents with severe mental and emotional scars as a result of infant and child trauma, neglect, and abuse.

States refuse to help in any way with the astronomical mental health fees, such as $150,000 per year for residential care. Health insurance, Medicaid, and adopt subsidies pay nothing towards this care, not $1. Adoptive families are being forced to relinquish them back to the states to access astronomically expensive mental health care.

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Court Rules American Children Will No Longer Be Incarcerated For Life (& we recently quit executing juveniles)

Some states still charge 11 year old children as adults in this nation (25% of youth are charged as adults in America).

MN Supreme Courts former Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz is remembered for her statements about how abused and neglected children correlate to crime & prison.

“The difference between that poor child and a felon is about 8 years” &

“90% of the youth in juvenile justice have passed through child protection” are 2 powerful Justice Blatz statements that should cause us to reflect on how we treat the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

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Crime and Justice & a Great Sadness

What do you feel when a baby is found dead in a dumpster, a young person deliberately murders innocent people, or some other insane tragedy fills the headlines?

Do you feel a sense of loss and sadness for the suffering of the parties involved?

Or are you filled with judgment and a need to blame someone and a desire for punishment?

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Criminalizing Elementary School Children (policing our schools & punishment)

Federal Funding, Zero Tolerance and Inadequate Alternatives mean that more states are policing schools with armed officers. Before the 1970’s police were almost absent from elementary and junior high schools.

Today, armed officers are dealing with an escalation of violence and criminal prosecutions for children as young as 6, 7 and 8. Prosecuting kids in place of using resources to help them adapt destroys the fabric of a child’s life and achieves the exact opposite of what children need and society expects from an elementary or junior high school experience.

There are a significant number of us who believe it more important to punish bad behavior in children than it is to help them develop the skills they need to live among us. When these folks hold sway in education, the institution suffers, the child suffers, and the community gains one more troubled adult a few years later. For too long, America has led the world in crime, incarceration, violence and troubled schools. While not the only reason, treating at risk children with behavioral problems as offenders instead of troubled youth has played a big role.

The articles below are obvious examples of policing and education gone wrong. No child should have to live with this kind of institutional abuse. ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

When 14-year-old Ryan Turk cut ahead of the lunch line to grab a milk, he didn’t expect to get in trouble. He certainly didn’t plan to end up in handcuffs. But Turk, a black student at Graham Park Middle School, was arrested for disorderly conduct and petty larceny for procuring the 65-cent carton. The state of Virginia is actually prosecuting the case, which went to trial in November.

Changing the rules of the game requires federal, state, and local reforms. With little evidence that police in schools make students safer and plenty that they facilitate harm to students’ liberty and well-being, the Department of Justice should end the cops program’s SRO grants to districts. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for billions that promote unjust school conditions and put kids at greater risk of future involvement with the criminal justice system. And students should feel like they can talk to school officials when they have problems without forfeiting their constitutional rights and winding up in the back of police cars.

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