We know what works to keep our children safe and out of trouble. The question is will we actually provide the support for all at-risk children? Our children deserve the chance to survive and thrive and to be protected from the cradle to prison pipeline that steals too many young dreams and futures.Details
From a legal perspective the most under-protected persons in America are sexually abused children.
One study indicated that 11% of judges and 51% of prosecuting attorneys admitted that they had deliberately confused the child (witness) during the proceedings.
What this means in practice, is that the nine-year old girl sitting on the stand in the courtroom is being bullied by intense and deliberately confusing cross-examination about her abuse.
Everyone at the sysmposium agreed that children are not mentally capable of undergoing adult type cross examination, but it is clear that this still happens in many cases.Details
The energy Connie brings to her mission is something to witness. There are many others just like her, who for years have worked daily to bring positive change into the lives of troubled children.Details
Because the waiting list for subsidized daycare is one year into the future for the father of the children I represent (as a county guardian ad-Litem) there is a good chance that his two small children will be taken from him by the county and adopted by someone he has never met.
It is also possible that he may not be able to visit his children if they are adopted.
People respond to money. Most of us can’t grasp the long-term costs to the community of a child born into a dysfunctional family that never has the opportunity to develop the social skills necessary to lead a healthy life. The ability to learn, play well with others, and live in society is not delivered by the stork.Details
A few weeks ago I listened to Larry Rosenstock from High Tech High in San Diego talk about his inner city high schools that send one hundred percent of their graduates onto college. It is real, it is achievable, and it is simple in how it works. Educators and students are given ample…Details
At that time in Minnesota there were 15 child psychiatrists in the entire state (population about 4 million) and the student to counsellor ratio in MN high schools was 900 to 1.
As a child advocate (long time guardian ad Litem) I strongly feel the need for mental health therapy for those who need it. The children I work with have been severely traumatized and need adequate attention paid to their needs.
More importantly, supporting day care for disadvantaged children is the right thing to do for all Minnesota’s kids.
In a public meeting at Hamline, Rolnick lamented that this ‘no brainer’ idea is overshadowed at the Capitol by wasteful sports stadiums (and cries for lower taxes*).
More of us need to raise our voices for children if there is going to be a change in public policy toward the weakest and most vulnerable among us (children have no voice but ours in this political system).
* authors words
A recent study indicates that up to 80% of children aging out of foster care are leading dysfunctional lives. A Minnesota judge has provided me the Prozac, Ritalin, and other psychotropic medication prescriptions taken by children in her courtroom (most of them under ten years old) and it points at one of the key issues thay might explain why so many youth leaving the foster care program find it hard to cope with life.Details
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.
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.Details
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!Details
Even considering four decades of exhilarating professional life, my most powerful lesson followed retirement in 1996. This happened when I volunteered as a guardian ad-litem for Hennepin County from 1998 to 2000.
Guardians are court-appointed advocates assigned to help Juvenile Court judges decide the fate of children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. It is part of the Child Protection System in our state.
The hardest was to look into the eyes of these unlucky kids and realize that they had no chance for a normal life. I could only take that for two years. It was a “kick in the pants” that opened my eyes.Details
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.Details
Education is the engine of progress and prosperity. No nation can achieve its potential for greatness without investing in its human capital. The extent to which children successfully negotiate the treacherous passage to adulthood depends on the earliest years of brain and emotional development. That explains why early childhood education is crucial to society.
America’s public policy regarding at-risk children is an economic and moral failure:Details
“I want to remind people that family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River. People are coming to our country to do jobs that Americans won’t do, to be able to feed their families.” — Former President George W. Bush
I wonder what “W” would say about the 11-year-old Worthington, Minn., boy who returned home from school one day, oblivious to events that would alter his life forever, to find no one there except his 2-year-old brother, left to fend for himself.
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:
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.Details
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.Details