The Child Neglect Dilemma (from Safe Passage For Children)

Contrary to a common assumption, neglect is not less damaging than abuse. Research shows neglect victims have lifelong problems because they miss developmental milestones around language, self-control, and bonding with others.

A constant dilemma in neglect cases is whether to traumatize children by removing them from their families, or leave them in situations where their brains aren’t developing normally.

Quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs can make it possible to leave children at home while helping their parents improve parenting skills.

This study documents that neglect victims who got ECE moved quickly from having a language deficit to the normal range. Language development is critical to academic success and positive interpersonal relationships.
ECE can help many children avoid foster care and still obtain the baseline skills they need to thrive.

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Teaching In a Strange Land (mental health workers without training)

What struck me hardest in today’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN presentation at a suburban elementary school was the dedication and desire my audience of 60 educators have for the children in their classrooms. Even the most difficult kids.

Martin Luther King Day was a train the trainer day for these teachers. Our discussion on trauma and dealing with traumatized children sparked keen conversation and shined a light on the depth and scope of the mental health issues students bring to school.

Did you know that 37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

This a particularly American problem and it is growing. Educators, like social workers, law enforcement, adoptive and foster parents, must grasp the new mental health reality if they are to succeed in their work with this population.

Most of my audience today “got it” when I talked about child abuse, foster homes, and what it takes to get into Child Protective Services and why abused and neglected children exhibit irrational and sometimes dangerous behaviors and need to be understood if learning is to occur.

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January Sad Stories Part I (thru 1.13.17)

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…

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Better Futures for Minnesota Children (from Safe Passage For Children MN)

Mission:

To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.

Vision:
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.

Goal:
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:

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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.

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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

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…

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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

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 mike@invisiblechildren.org with REPORTING in the subject line. All…

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International Child Protection News December 2016

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 mike@invisiblechildren.org with Research/Writing in the…

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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 …
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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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November 2016 Sad Stories Part II

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…

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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 …
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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
Full Coverage
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Celebrating KARA’s New Website (check it out)

https://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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