Drugging Our Kids (a report I would like to have for MN)

In 1996 there were 1100 students per counselor in MN high schools and one child psychiatrist for all the children in the Hennepin County child protection system. At that time and now, no child makes it into Child Protection unless he or she has had suffered repeated traumas and needed consistent professional mental health help. As a County Volunteer guardian ad litem, I watched as tons of MN children were forced to take Prozac, Ritalin and other psychotropic medications. These children suffered all the side effects common to those drugs including the suicidal ideation printed on every package of the drug.

In 2014, 20,000 one and two year old children were forced to take these drugs and Johnson and Johnson was fined 4 billion dollars for illegally selling them to pediatricians for use on children (and there are four thousand cases awaiting trial).

This article (and the series within) presents a raw view into the terrible mishandling of children’s mental health.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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August Sad Stories 2016 (part II)

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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Let Me Show You The Money

One of my guardian ad Litem boys Alan – not his real name, was tied to a bed, left alone for days at a time (from 4 to 7 years of age – four whole years), sexually abused, starved and beaten so badly that he was covered head to foot in bruises on both sides of his body when I first met him.

This boy’s new adoptive caregiver had a court order in place from another state forbidding him contact with young boys because of what he did to them – but this was not found out at the time and custody of this poor four year old boy was granted to this violent sex offender.

Alan was taken from a perfectly fine foster home to be starved, raped and beaten for four years – until his caregiver first brought him to school when he was seven years old and turned into child protection.

Alan already cost the County/State over 3 million dollars by the time he aged out of foster care. This number does not include the teacher he beat up, a school mate he stabbed, or any of the terrible things he did to the 29 foster and adoptive families that tried so hard to save him or the violence he did to people and things in his daily life.

He also had AIDs and was on one of the most expensive medications I had ever encountered (about $40,000 / year for the pills alone).

Alan has always been a state ward and most likely will always be a state ward. We became friends over a 12 year period and I understood why he did what he did, why he hated authority (you get that way when you are horribly abused by a parent or caregiver) and how the rest of his life was most likely going to play out after he aged out of foster care.

80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives.

Blaming Alan for violent outbursts and hurting people is like blaming the 35W Bridge for killing and injuring all those men, women and children when it fell in the river a few years ago.

Federal and State engineers said at the time that it was when, not if this bridge would fail for lack of maintenance. The bridge was in the bottom three percent of all bridges in America when it collapsed and it was no surprise to those that know bridges.

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Police Shootings & You and Me

People smarter than me have clearly explained the underlying institutional dysfunctions that ensure the next police shootings.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown accurately stated that law enforcement has become the safety system in schools, a primary community mental health service provider, and of course the armed responder to a growing number of society’s violent problems.

Recently, Minnesota sheriffs from Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington Counties wrote a half page Star Tribunearticle threatening to sue the State for failing to provide timely mental health services to people locked up in their jail cells. This failure has turned law enforcement into a provider of mental health services to a large and growing population of often dangerous people.

MN Law enforcement officers killed 12 people in 2015 and each year are dealing with more unstable people and potentially dangerous encounters with the wrong training needed to slow this racially unbalanced social dysfunction.

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CASAMN October 26th Fundraiser (save the date & help us find sponsors)

We need your help! Your sponsorship of this event will be essential to the fundraiser’s success and will enable CASA Minnesota to continue providing volunteer Guardian Ad Litem’s to abused and neglected children involved in Juvenile Court proceedings in our communities & to help fund CASA Cares for kids! We would be most grateful for your sponsorship at any level (including live and silent auction items). Join us for a celebration and a great cause.

CASA volunteers – also known as Guardians ad Litem in the State of Minnesota—are everyday citizens whom judges appoint to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who are in the court system as a result of abuse and/or neglect. They stand up for these children and change their lives.

CASA Cares is a grant program, formerly known as Friends of Children that benefits children in foster care by providing bikes, helmets, camps, school supplies, and other items that allow them to enjoy a positive childhood experience and further help them to overcome adversity by seeing that we as a community can help meet their needs!

CASA Minnesota is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that supports Minnesota CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) programs and the volunteers who have helped more than two million children find safe, permanent homes. Your contributions are tax-deductible! Share this with your friends and networks (All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children)

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Important Child Protection News From Safe Passage For Children – Outside Review Needed

Representatives of counties and the Department of Human Services recently presented the Minnesota legislature with a revised plan for implementing the Governor’s Child Protection Task Force recommendations. It proposed $500,000 for an already agreed-upon outside review of screening practices (Recommendation #25).

This price tag could discourage legislators from funding the project. But the actual cost would probably be under $100,000 – more like $25K.

The review would address issues that are blocking progress on other recommendations, including whether to continue interviewing children in front of their alleged abusers. It would also provide a framework for developing a fact-finding protocol, which workers would be trained in to determine the most appropriate child protection response.

We encourage the Department to include this review in their 2017 budget using the most accurate number possible.

Join the Discussion on Facebook

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CASA Guardian ad Litem News From Around the Nation July 2016

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of  CASA’s around the U.S.  If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.  Thank you KARA volunteers for your research and writing on this page.

All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children

Join the Conversation at Linked In & receive weekly updates from around the nation

Guardian ad Litem Presentation for Prospective Volunteers

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We Are All Nuts (the costs and dangers of undertreating and ignoring mental health – thank you Star Tribune)

If you have children, grandchildren or just like other people’s children, you should read this to the end. You could help keep them safe from terrible things by understanding the connection between this mental health discussion and those terrible things.

Today’s Star Tribune article by Chris Serres should wake us up as to the cost and danger we all face by ignoring, undertreating and maltreating mentally at risk people. Last week Chris wrote about the broken bones and violence done to children in the justice system because of their mental health struggles. Thank you Chris Serres and the Star Tribune for bringing this long avoided topic to the front page.

Chris’s article concentrates on the logjam and wait periods patients and providers face in this state and the human suffering that that accompanies it.

Not mentioned are the 900-1000 emergency psych visits to HCMC every month and some psych patients are waiting three months to be admitted (and that’s just one MN hospital). Allina Health DR Paul Goering states that “it’s been so paralyzing for the community to say ‘it looks like things are broken,’ and then to say it again next year”.

I agree with Dr Rahul Koranne (Chief Medical Officer for the MN Hospital Association) quote that

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MN Child Protection News July 2016

Hundreds of Minnesota teens confined, abused for no … – Star Tribune

www.startribune.com/confined…teenager…minnesota…/389387061/

Star Tribune

4 days ago – Confined without charges, a teenager’s ordeal reveals strains within … Hundreds of Minnesota teens with mental health problems are winding …

Moms emerge as force for change at Minn. state mental … – Star Tribune

www.startribune.com/mothers…as-a…minnesota…mental…/388084502/

Star Tribune

Jul 24, 2016 – Mothers emerge as a force for change at Minnesota state mental hospital … to advocate for their sons who are psychiatric patients at the hospital Tuesday, July …. Delta cancels hundredsmore flights in wake of Monday outage · Lynx head off … A black teenager encounters racism in the Twin Cities suburbs.

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International Child Protection News July 2016

Pakistan – Pakistani teenage girl burned alive in ‘honour killing’ after helping friend elope.

Independent.

The event of honour killing is not strange to Pakistan. The traditional assembly of leaders in a Pakistani village kidnapped, assaulted and killed a teenage girl for helping her friend flee the village to marry of her own free will. This was seen as being bringing dishonour to the girl’s family and village. The punishment of strangling and being shot up with drugs before being burned was presented as being a deterrent to girls. Efforts by the Pakistani government in Punjab to protect women against physical, financial and psychological abuse are being countered by religious groups for promoting obscenity and the destruction of the country’s traditional family system.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-honour-killing-girl-set-alight-helped-friend-elope-ambreen-abbottabad-a7016451.html

India – India is in denial about its rape culture – but then so are we.

The Independent.

Government officials in India choose to ignore the issue of rape culture in hopes that the issue just goes away. Funding for rape crisis centres in India has been cut in the belief that local authorities are equipped to deal with rape cases. Responsibility of being rape and for the nature of the assault is placed entirely on the victim, more than likely a female. The rape culture in India and other similar countries are perpetuated by ideas about how proper females should conduct themselves and that if attacked no one would listen to the victim for the reason that the victim was unbecoming or irresponsible.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/india-is-in-denial-about-its-rape-culture-but-then-so-are-we-10093481.html

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Minnesota’s Back Story; Treating Children’s Mental Health

Today’s Star Tribune article (thank you Chris Serres) exposing the violence done to Minnesota’s youngest citizens while in state care reminded me of my own experiences growing up.

In my middle class 1977 neighborhood, the family next door’s 15 year old grandson became psychotic and behaved dangerously.

Mom and dad tried to find him mental health help to no avail.

The only option that provided treatment for their son was the Juvenile Justice system. The boy’s entrance into the system required he be charged with a crime. Their son killed himself a few years later.

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I’ll Be There Next Year Too (CASA Cares Golf Tournament for Foster Children)

Thank You Steve Betchwars for your seventh fun and most terrific year supporting the needs of foster children with your Birdies, Bogies & Bratwurst event.

Everyone had fun, almost everyone won something and everyone did just fine on the course (far as I could tell).

Savory food, great weather and wonderful people (see you again next year).

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Best ACEs Articles for July 2016

Register for the 2016 Conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEsConnection.com]
Join Center for Youth Wellness October 19-21 for the 2016 Conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences in San Francisco. The conference is a unique opportunity for every expert and practitioner committed to advancing the ACEs movement to come together to build a better future for children exposed to early adversity and trauma.

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Why Schools Fail (another year of bad results)

Another year of disappointing educators, children and parents (Star Tribune 7.28.16)

Don’t blame the teachers (it’s us).

The once a straightforward concept of public schools has morphed into a complex institution unable to respond to the double whammy of a massively changed student body and the unprecedented un-building of support for public education (especially science).

Our student body has changed;
First, immigration and the challenges of language and culture have always turned out well. American education has successfully educated millions of immigrants.

Yes, it’s a struggle, but it is what teachers do and they have always succeeded. My grandparents did not speak the language when they arrived – all of their children successfully finished a public school education.

Second and most critical, generally unknown and poorly understood even by those in the trenches of teaching, social work and justice. The rest of us (including legislators) are clueless.

Identifying and responding to the mental health issues shaping this generation of American citizens is decades late in coming and it has overwhelmed our schools, courts and other public institutions.

The explosion of homelessness, suicides, violence among veterans with PTSD have shown us the long lasting and severe damage trauma does to a person. Untreated or undertreated trauma almost always ends badly (80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives).

As a 20 year volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem removing children from traumatizing homes it’s impossible not to see how children beaten, molested, starved and neglected need way more help than they are now getting to succeed in school or in life.

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Let’s Make Child Protection Great Again (thank you Safe Passage for Children)

This article by Safe Passage for Children about the need to re-engineer child protection reporting so that social workers can concentrate on the child and not data entry could be an important first step in modernizing a very troubled institution.

As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad litem, it hurts me that social workers with extraordinary caseloads are expected to work miracles with traumatized children and abusive families without the right resources or training in a system that can’t (or won’t) track results and make them public.

If the public knew how well or poorly children and families were responding to the institutional efforts of child protection workers, they could tell their legislators who then could support the people, programs and policies necessary for improving the lives of millions of American children.

This short TED talk hits the nail on the head

All Adults are the Protectors of All Children

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July 2016 Sad Stories Through July 15-29 (part 2)

IN: Christensen/Laurin: Should lawyers report child abuse learned in representation? (Opinion)
Indiana Lawyer – July 27, 2016
A lawyer’s reporting obligation depends on whether confidentiality and/or privilege are implicated. In short, lawyers may not report privileged communications regarding child abuse. However, lawyers may report information that is only confidential, though not privileged, and are obligated to do so under the Reporting Statute.
http://www.theindianalawyer.com/christensenlaurin-should-lawyers-report-child-abuse-learned-in-representation/PARAMS/article/40994

MN: Lawmaker Plans to Push for More Distance Between Officers and Families in Child Protection Removal Process (Includes video)
KSTP TV – July 26, 2016
Representative Ron Kresha wants to look into putting child protection workers in charge of removing kids from abusive and neglectful homes instead of law enforcement officers.
http://kstp.com/news/new-child-protection-removal-process/4211361/

NC: Nonprofit acquires home in county for homeless teen girls
BlueRidgeNow.com – July 27, 2016
Lambert estimates that Homes for Youth facility will be ready to accept teen girls in about a year. The nonprofit will identify potential residents through referrals from the Department of Social Services and Henderson County Public Schools prior to opening.
http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20160727/NEWS/160729871?Title=Nonprofit-acquires-home-in-county-for-homeless-teen-girls

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Women’s Rights & Children’s Rights (and where are we today?)

100 years ago, women were property (legally) and a husband could do just about anything to his wife. Murder was still murder, but anything else was treated by law enforcement much like animal abuse was in the day (not a big deal for the courts to be concerned with).

20 years ago I became a volunteer *CASA guardian ad Litem (voice for the child) in County child protection and saw first hand what it’s like for an American citizen to have no voice in the home, no voice in the courts and no voice in the media.

Over 25 years ago the rest of the world (194 nations) decided that children have basic human rights and begin signing the International Rights of the Child Treaty. Under this document, children are to have the rights to education, safety and well being including not to be made soldiers and not to be enslaved).

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Children Living & Dying As Martyrs to a Parents Religion

Many American newborns remain untested and untreated for very treatable metabolic disorders, hearing, sight & blood lead level s. 48 States allow religious exemptions from vaccination.

Some states allow religion to keep children from TB testing in school. 43 states give some kind of criminal or civil immunity to parents injuring their children by withholding medical care on religious grounds.

Six states let parents keep teachers from teaching their children about disease in school.

Over the years KARA has reported on children dying because their parents withheld medical treatment because the church told them to do so.

Some religions allow child neglect and abuse & some states allow a religious defense against charges of murdering their child – and “some can’t be charged with murder at all” (Slate).

2 years ago, Kansas State Rep Gail Finney vowed to pass a bill that allowed caregivers to leave bruises and cause bleeding. Arkansas State Rep Charles Fuqua promoted the death penalty for rebellious children (based on religious grounds).

As a volunteer County guardian ad-Litem, it has been awful to observe sexually abused two and four year old children and children suffering from violent physical abuse and neglect live through that abuse & try to overcome the terror and traumas inflicted upon them to make for themselves a normal life. Not many do.

KARA believes the U.S. should ratify the International Rights of the Child Treaty (we are the only nation not to have done so).

There are many cults in America that need to be exposed for the terrible way they treat children. Here’s one reported on by the Daily Beast this morning (send KARA your examples & forward this to your state rep).

Here’s a breakdown from Children’s Healthcare that shows a breakdown of states and their religious exemptions.

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July 2016 Sad Stories (part 1)

default-headerThis page is a compilation of child protection news from around the nation (with some international reporting) for the month of June (through June 25)   If you would like to help KARA gather and report news from your community for this page please send an email to info@invisiblechildren.org with NEWs in the subject line.  All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Sign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story  

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June 2016 Sad Stories (part 2)

default-headerThis page is a compilation of child protection news from around the nation (with some international reporting) for the month of June (through June 25)   If you would like to help KARA gather and report news from your community for this page please send an email to info@invisiblechildren.org with NEWs in the subject line.

Sign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story

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International Child Protection News June 2016

Uzbekistan – What’s the verdict on forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest?
The Diplomat
Although forced child labour in Uzbek’s cotton field have dropped due to international pressures, children working in cotton fields though not as prevalent is still visible.
http://thediplomat.com/2015/12/whats-the-verdict-on-forced-labor-in-uzbekistans-cotton-harvest/

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan – Why you could be wearing cotton picked by forced labour
The CNN Freedom Project
Exploring the institutionalized systems of forced labour of children and adults picking cotton for the monopolized cotton market in Central Asia and how everyday citizens in Central Asia and across the world can spark change
http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/02/opinions/uzbekistan-turkmenistan-cotton/

India – Nobel Laureate Satyarthi says companies cannot flourish on child slavery
Business Insider
Anti-trafficking laws and labour standards laws are in place and are being created yet child labour is present in the supply chain and businesses. Why? Perhaps the lack of government interest in uphold these laws due to financial, economic and/or political incentives.
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-nobel-laureate-satyarthi-says-companies-cannot-flourish-on-child-slavery-2016-5

Canada – Toxic jewelry: Cadmium found in Ardene, Aldo products
CBC News
Fashion products that young children are using contain harmful and toxic chemicals, chemicals which children bodies absorb more readily.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/cadmium-jewelry-ardene-aldo-1.3404036

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation for June 2016

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

This is where you can find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Volunteer to help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children

Join the Conversation at Linked In & receive weekly updates from around the nation

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Minnesota At Risk Children’s News June 2016

Child Victims Act expires, but effects remain to be seen

Duluth News Tribune

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court reported that 125 abuse claims were filed … It’s been a little more than a week since the Minnesota Child Victims Act …

Sacred Heart sued in clergy sexual abuse case dating back to 1960s

Grand Forks Herald

Sacred Heart in East Grand Forks is joining a growing list of Minnesota Catholic entities sued for clergy accused of sexual abusing children.

A Minnesota school pulls bait-and-switch while pretending to protect transgender students

Daily Kos

On the surface, Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, has … the Minnesota Family Council and the Minnesota Child Protection League to …

Man, 82, to pay four female family members $150K sexual abuse settlement

Grand Forks Herald

The lawsuit was possible because of the Minnesota Child Victim Act, a 2013 law that temporarily waived the statute of limitations in child sex abuse …

Charges: ND Woman Leaves 2 Kids In Home Without Plumbing

CBS Local

Forty-nine-year-old Antoinette Liggett recently pleaded guilty to a felony child neglect charge. Her sentence includes about four months at a re-entry …

Spike in abuse reports overwhelms Hennepin County child protection system

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June 2016 Sad Stories (part 1)

MN: Washington County: Child protection changes increase caseload
South Washington County Bulletin – May 27, 2016
State funding will allow Washington County to hire three more child protection workers, but officials say there is no additional funding to process those cases through the legal system.
http://www.swcbulletin.com/news/government/4039730-washington-county-child-protection-changes-increase-caseload

NV: A different approach to foster care
Nevada Daily Mail – June 01, 2016
Keech provided an overview of the process, including the strengths and weaknesses of the child welfare system. “In general, child welfare case managers are amazing and wonderful people,” said Keech, “but within the first weeks of starting their work, they see more evil and suffering than any should see in a lifetime.”
http://www.nevadadailymail.com/story/2309720.html

OK: Sen. James Lankford says Oklahoma needs more foster families (Includes video)
KTUL – May 31, 2016
“When foster children go back home with their parent, forever family or wherever that may lead, that growth and that change continues on and they have a little bit of us to carry with them as well,” Lyndsey said.
http://ktul.com/news/local/sen-james-lankford-says-oklahoma-needs-more-foster-families

PA: Advocates say PA’s child abuse hotline has had major problems since 2010, so why did the state wait so long to investigate? (Opinion)
New Pittsburgh Courier – May 31, 2016
The report released May 24 states that the agency identified “an alarming rate of calls to ChildLine [were] not answered by [Department of Human Services] caseworkers in 2015, along with inadequate staffing for the hotline and a severe lack of monitoring of hotline calls.” Report: http://www.paauditor.gov/Media/Default/Reports/ChildLine%20Interim%20Report-%20Final%205-23-16.pdf
http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2016/05/31/advocates-say-pas-child-abuse-hotline-has-had-major-problems-since-2010-so-why-did-the-state-wait-so-long-to-investigate/

US: Many Children Not Getting Enough Food During Summer Months (Incudes audio)

Rapid City man charged with child abuse for beating 1-year-old child
Rapid City Journal
A Rapid City man accused of beating a 1-year-old girl pleaded not guilty Monday to aggravated child abuse. Robert R. Arguello, 39, faces up to 15 …

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Couple accused of beating their children returning to lower court for upgraded charges
MLive.com
Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor Katie Branigan asked the court to change both of Tina Harbert’s two counts of second-degree child abuse to …

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Man charged for allegedly beating child with stick
Sioux City Journal
STORM LAKE | A Storm Lake man is charged with child endangerment causing bodily harm after he beat a 12-year-old girl with a stick, police said.

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Trial dates set for women charged after boy’s fatal beating
WXIX
Trial dates were set Monday for three women charged after police say a 5-year-old boy was beaten to death earlier this year. The women all pleaded …

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Judge allows man’s statement in Hancock child-abuse case
Herald-Mail Media
Aaron Jacob Vanmeter, 22, of Hancock is charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in serious physical injury, second-degree child abuse and …

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Prosecutors to File Additional Charges in Child Abuse Case
Tristatehomepage.com
The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office plans to formally file additional charges against three people accused of having a role on what police …

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Breaking the cycle of child abuse
Seacoastonline.com
PORTSMOUTH – When Deb Cram started writing about her own childhood abuse four years ago, she didn’t know where her words would lead.

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Gwinnett couple accused of stripping, tying up, beating child
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Arrest warrants allege the abuse took place June 1 at their home on Buford’s … The warrant issued for Moss also accuses her of tying the child up and …

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NEW: Jury now deliberating in Larkins child abuse trial
Wyoming Tribune
They are accused of beating their children with belts, a wooden backscratcher and their hands, intentionally causing them mental injury and abusing a …

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Man charged in connection with sexual assault, beating of Mineral City boy
Canton Repository
MINERAL CITY Along state Route 800 is a playground where most children in this small village go to play. There’s a basketball court, some picnic …

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