California Dreaming

Last week the State of California achieved perfect synchronicity in its public policy making when it announced that criminals would be released early because the state could no longer afford to keep them incarcerated.
This news reminded me that when I began my work as a guardian ad Litem there were states predicting the need for prison expansion based on the number of failed third grade reading scores within its schools.
Instead of investing in reading for third graders (and early childhood education), California began investing in a third strike punishment model and building tens of thousands of prison beds.

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From Child Protection to Soldier

Pressed by the demands of the “global war on terrorism”, theUnited States is violating an international protocol that forbids the recruitment of children under the age of 18 for military service, according to a new report released Tuesday by a major civil rights group that charged that recruitment practices target children as young as 11 years old.

The 46-page report, “Soldiers of Misfortune”, was prepared by theAmerican Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for submission to the U.N. Committeeon the Rights of the Child.

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What We Do To Our Children, They will Do To Us

Our precious America, we are taught, is the exception to the world. No other nation can even come close. Tragically, a great many children suffer from a denial of the reality in our country.

The evidence is confirmed by new studies reported in the mainstream media. In March the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) among teenage girls. It was a shock. One in five white teens and half of African-American young women are infected with a STD. Across all groups the incidence was one of every four teens, and climbing!

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MN Early Childhood Summit Speech David Lawrence

My mission in life and in this cause is moral, but my arguments begin with the practical. Public education is the real world for 90 percent of your children, and America’s. The wisest path to public education reform in our country is to deliver the children in far better shape to formal school. That is what early investment is all about. It is neither socialism…nor the creation of a “nanny state,” but rather simple decency and wisdom and what our country is about when we are at our best.

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Kids At Risk Action’s YouTube Video Channel

Kids At Risk Action (KARA) has posted videos on our YouTube Channel of the 2008 KARA Forum held at Century College. To view more videos of our events, visit our page at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/kidsatriskaction.

Here is a sample of the 2008 Kids At Risk Action (KARA) Forum:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jCTBZmy40Y

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http://www.childrensrights.org/

Wisconsin officials have agreed to an aggressive new plan aimed at fixing persistent problems in the state-run system responsible for providing care and protection to abused and neglected children in Milwaukee. The new Corrective Action Plan is being implemented to meet key requirements of a longstanding court order secured by Children’s Rights, mandating the Milwaukee child welfare system’s reform.

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FORGOTTEN CHILDREN RALLY STATE CAPITAL

On May 4, 2009 a small crowd of about 100 citizens – social workers, politicians, child advocates, and children – gathered on the lawn of the Minnesota State Capitol to bring attention to Minnesota’s “Forgotten Children.” The 187 children placed in foster care each week in Minnesota all have unique circumstances but they all share one thing in common: They need advocacy in the legislature to address not only their current needs but the future issues they will face as they transition into adulthood.

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Amy Sherman’s Blog for Florida’s At Risk Children

Postscript… I too have had 4 year old and 7 year old suicides as a Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem and a judge that has shared with me the pages of documented Prozac, Ritalin, and other Psychotropics given to very young children. This conversation needs to take place at a higher level (where something can be done about it).

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Tennessee’s High Infant Death Rate

Of the 23 richest countries, the United States has the highest rate of infant mortality, according to the CIA World Fact Book. And in Shelby County, Tenn., which encompasses Memphis, the state health department says a baby dies every 43 hours — a rate higher than that of any other major city. The babies most at risk come from impoverished parts of town with largely black populations.

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Make No Small Plans for Minnesota Children

We can look for inspiration to successes around the country and the world. One model of success is the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. The Minneapolis Foundation recently sponsored a visit here by Geoffrey Canada, the Zone’s leader. Their goal is to have all the children who grow up in the 100-block zone graduate from college. Harlem Children’s Zone offers a Baby College for new parents, universal education for 4-year-olds, good public schools, chemical dependency and health counseling, and housing stability programs. All children there are wrapped in a variety of support systems designed to help them and their families succeed.

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Summer Is No Vacation For Abused Kids

Thousands of names ahead of them on a list for subsidized day care that won’t provide help for years to come, means that any available family member, friend, or neighbor is considered a better option than leaving a three, five, or seven year old unattended (or is it?)

Leaving your child with that drunken or meth using uncle or aunt, the friend with the mental health issues, the dangerous or abusive teenager. Children need and deserve better choices.

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Unmaking At Risk Children

Absent coordinated positive (1*) public policy for the care of children, America is now at the confluence of misaligned and mistaken public policies that are overwhelming its schools, mental health services, child protection services, juvenile justice services, and criminal justice systems. Failing schools, unsafe communities, and absurdly high rates of incarceration are just the tip of the iceberg.

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