American Exceptionalism; Child Daycare

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.

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State of MN Falls Behind In Abuse Inquiries

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.

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CASA Clarification – Mike’s Mistake

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:

CASAMN

CASA National
CASA your state

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Judges Jailing Children For Money In America (yes it happens)

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.

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How To Sell Guns To Five Year Old’s (yes we do)

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/

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Bill Murray Stop Child Abuse Now Radio Interview

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).

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Camp Out For Essex County CASA

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).

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Mental Health Month (we all have nutsey behaviors – let’s talk about it)

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.

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Religious Freedom In Philadelphia Kills 2 Young children (4 years apart, same home)

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.

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News From Around The Nation

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.

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Kids At Risk Action Discussion Saturday, June 8, 8 – 930am Gardens of Salonica Restaurant, Minneapolis

Join us for coffee and treats and an enlightening conversation about improving the lives of at risk children and the quality of life in our community.

Saturday, June 8 at 8:00am -930am Stone Arch Discussion Group

Where: Gardens of Salonica, 19 5th St NE, Minneapolis, MN‎ (map) Good coffee & treats and easy parking.

(4 minute) Short Speaking Video

Please share this with your network, anyone that wants to know how to make life better for at risk children, lower crime rates, and improve schools and the quality of life in our communities.

KARA is working to make this national conversation. Help us deliver a good turnout for this event and put these issues front and center for a more public discussion on a greater scale.

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San Francisco: 1 in 3 Gay School Youth Attempt Suicide & 1 in 2 Transgender Students (Center for Disease Control)

My stepfather was gay and had served in the military in the 1940’s. He experienced no kindness and very little acceptance for his sexuality during his time on this planet.

As a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I have come to know a good many GLBT youth and identify with the exclusion and cruelty they face on an all too regular basis.

This report from the Center for Disease Control delivers a clear picture of the extent to which GLBT issues are overwhelming millions of children in our nation today.

Not being accepted by society is it’s own kind of perpetual torture and a whole lot of innocent children suffer to the point that they want to die. San Francisco is a relatively progressive community. If it is this bad there, what’s it like in Texas, or Alabama?

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Twin Cities Marathon & CASA MN (a great combination)

We are proud to announce that, for the second year in a row, CASA Minnesota is a participating charity in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 6, 2013. We are reaching out to runners and supporters to fundraise for Team CASA Minnesota.
CASA Minnesota is a local nonprofit whose mission is to support and promote volunteer advocates to ensure that every abused and neglected child in Minnesota has a safe, stable and permanent family. Our advocates are everyday citizens who become extraordinary volunteers.

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Stone Arch Foundation Audio Presentation – 30 minutes + questions (recorded by iDream.tv)

Working with abused and neglected children as a volunteer county guardian ad-litem, Mike speaks directly about the financial and physical disaster happening daily to children, schools, and neighborhoods because of poor public policy and the dysfunction of well- meaning people and institutions.

Visit www.InvisibleChildren.org and www.CasaMN.org

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Free College Tuition For Foster Children and other good news for at risk youth

Here are recent positive developments in support of people, policies, and programs for abused and neglected children;

Arizona has granted free tuition for foster children

California; Overwhelming response to request for more foster homes

New Mexico offers free home visits to first-time families (including fathers and adoptive families)

Oregon legislates a Foster Children’s Bill of Rights

Pennsylvania DHS receives U.N. award for improvements

U.S. Senate provides automatic citizenship to all persons born outside the U.S. and were adopted by American Citizens

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Minnesota’s Gaps & Mitch Pearlstein’s Room Full Of Elephants

About a third of the children in child protection use psychotropic medications (when tracked – most often not published). Judge Heidi Schellhas provided me with a list of children in her courtroom that were forced on to psychotropics, it was long and children as young at six and seven years old were prescribed Prozac type drugs.

If your sister is born into is drug addicted, abusive, or otherwise toxic family, without community assistance, she will herself raise babies that are soon to be drug addicted, abusive, or toxic to their own children (and so on and so on and so on).

The male side of that statement was made much more eloquently by former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz “the difference between that poor child and a felon is about 8 years”.

The beatings will continue until the morale improves (anonymous)

“What we do to our children, they will do to society” Pliny the Elder 2500 years ago

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Most Recent KARA Presentation (video)

Watch KARA’S recent Invisible Children presentation at the DFL Stone Arch Education Foundation; (video – 23 minutes)

Great audience participation and terrific question and answer period following (audio only)

Invite us to start a conversation at your organizations next function

Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org

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Join The PeaceMaker Walk in the South St. Paul Parade Friday, June 28th 6pm

Walkers are needed to help raise contributions for school-based violence prevention efforts. Join PeaceMaker Minnesota in the South St. Paul Parade on Friday June 28 at 6:00 and help build community awareness about the importance of violence prevention programs. PeaceMaker MN provides the candy to hand out.

Before the walk, raise or contribute $50 or more and receive a free t-shirt. Walkers choose the school to benefit from their efforts. Contributions help schools teach to kindness, prevent bullying and to reach out to at risk kids. Learn more at www.peacemakermn.org and click on “Join Us” or

call 651-631-1604.

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How Things Get Worse

What makes life worse for sexually abused five and seven year old’s is not talking about it. Not reporting it. Not disclosing it publicly or privately. The fewer people that know about the wretched things that are happening to NJ children, the smaller the problem appears to be and the less will be done to support the agencies chartered to help New Jersey Children.

New Jersey has taken a big step forward in making sure that the abuse is worse and lasts longer for its youngest citizens;

NJ: Child welfare agency proposes less disclosure of fatal child abuse cases.

The Star –Ledger- June 12, 2013.

The Department of Children and Families Plans to limit the information it publicly discloses when a child die or suffers life threatening injuries from abuse and neglect

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It Can’t Happen Here

This article shines light on a serious social failure not uncommon in America. 6 year Sarah Elizondo has been forced by the court to live with a pedophile parent (Nicholas Elizondo served 6 years for the crimes he committed upon very young girls).

One of my first cases as a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem was a 7 year old boy that had been forced by the court to live with his pedophile father (who had spent 2/3 of his adult life in prison for the crimes he was about to commit on his son – and there was a court order forbidding him to be near young boys).

This boy had spent 4 years tied to a bed, sexually abused, starved, and left alone for days at a time in a small apartment (what do you think it would be like at 4,5,6, or 7 to be tied to a bed and left alone for days at a time without food?)

The boy was covered from head to foot in severe bruises when he entered the child prote

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