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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Kendrea Johnson, Gabriel Fernandez & Child Suicide

That six year old Kendrea Johnson suicided by hanging while in foster care should cause us to rethink child protection. Today’s 1.5 million dollar settlement would have provided important ACES trauma training to her foster family, hired allot of social workers, and provided many foster children the mental health help they need. Kendrea Johnson talked about suicide daily.

Suicide attempts by six year old’s are rarely successful. I’ve witnessed many children (as a volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem in child protection) who repeatedly did violent and dangerous things that put them in harms way and multiple suicide attempts.

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Keeping At-Risk Students In High School

Today, many states are increasing their percentage of spending on juvenile justice and criminal justice while maintaining or reducing spending on education. New York and California have been spending about $250,000 per year per juvenile in their juvenile justice systems. MN has reached the half a billion dollar mark for maintaining its prison system this year after five years of double digit growth.

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KARA’s Top Stories The Week of 5.17.19

AZ: Child-welfare cases are private. Does that protect the kids, or the state officials? (Commentary)
Arizona Republic – May 03, 2019
When news broke that a Maricopa woman had been accused of starving, pepper-spraying, and otherwise abusing seven adopted children, questions immediately turned to what the Department of Child Safety knew and when the agency knew it.

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KARA’s Brandon Stahl Reader (compiled and annotated Star Tribune articles by Brandon Stahl on child abuse & child protection for the record)

For many months now, the Star Tribune’s intrepid reporter Brandon Stahl has been researching and writing about the depth and scope of problems facing MN’s abused and neglected children.

This page is dedicated to Brandon’s work and the thousands of children that pass through child protection services each year in MN (and the thousands of abused/traumatized children that need help but are ignored).

Most of the disturbing information Brandon uncovered in his reporting is hidden and would never have been known without his persistence and hard work. Our child protection systems are practiced in not making information easy to find.

I have spent many years as a volunteer in the field of child protection looking for this kind of information and been unable to discover even a fraction of what Brandon Stahl has made public by his reporting.

This CASA guardian ad-Litem is cautiously optimistic that Governor Dayton (and other public figures) are speaking out* about the lack of public awareness, poor public policy, and resulting institutional failures that are ruining so many lives and so directly contributing to trouble in our schools and on our streets (and the racial disparity this state is so well known for).

For the first time in my memory, the important issues of child abuse and child protection have become serious front page news and there is a possibility that Governor Dayton’s task force will ultimately bring about critical changes needed to improve the lives of children born into toxic homes.

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KARA’s Rare Annual Request

Thank you for donating to the Kids At Risk Action, KARA nonprofit. You are wonderful!

It’s easy to ignore our fundraising banners, and I’m really glad you didn’t. This is how KARA pays its bills — people like you giving us money, so we can keep the site freely available for everyone around the world.

People tell me they donate to KARA because they find it useful, and they trust it because even though it’s not perfect, they know it’s written for them. KARA isn’t meant to advance somebody’s agenda or push a particular ideology, or to persuade you to believe something that’s not true. We aim to tell the truth, and we can do that because of you. The fact that you fund the site keeps us independent and able to deliver what you need and want from KARA. Exactly as it should be.

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KARA’s Minnesota Friends of Children Please Support Bill Number SF 704/HF 1106

KARA board members Sam Ashkar and Mike Tikkanen accompanied Rich Gehrman and his Safe Passage For Children colleagues to support a bill at the state capital on thursday supporting child protection screening practices protecting children throughout MN. This bill SF 704 / HF 1106 gives simple guidelines, clarifies standards, and improves accountability for reporting and screening practices for abused children in terrible circumstances. It is the least we can do.

Please forward this to your friends and make a call to your state representative (and to State Senate Republican leader David Hann who is influential on this committee; 651-296-1749 )

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KARA Update & 2015 Children & Youth Issues Briefing Friday January 23rd

Friday was spent at the annual Children and Youth Issues Briefing conference in St Paul. I reconnected with board members from CASAMN, Greg Brolsma, Police Chief from Fairmont MN with great insights about how the issues of abuse and neglect impact the larger community, and Rich Gehrman from Safe Passage For Children MN.

My biggest take away from the many speakers today was this statement by Becky Roloff CEO of the YWCA in Minneapolis (paraphrased) because a child’s future ability to cope in school and in life is almost completely formed by five, I’ve changed my definition of a generation. It’s not 20 years, it’s five. Every five years, another generation of children able to cope or not cope in school, with peers, and in life enters our community.

Becky’s larger point being, either we throw ourselves into crisis nurseries, early childhood programs, and affordable quality daycare, or we will continue to create new generations of troubled five year olds headed for failure and lifetimes of special needs and dysfunctional lifestyles.

Emerging Policy Initiatives, Youth Perspectives, MN Children’s Cabinet, Governor’s address, and Legislative leaders delivered multiple perspectives about children’s issues. When the video of the event is posted I will put it up on KARA’s website.

2 other thoughts that will stick with me from this meeting are;

1) the short sighted and repeated reference to affordability with little reference to the extraordinary cost of not valuing children enough to insure basic health and skills,

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2) Governor Dayton’s remarks about how infighting among service providers could damage his efforts to provide funding for badly needed programs (which certainly would not serve the children we were there to talk about).

The cost of children not able to achieve the coping skills needed to succeed in school, with peers, and in life, are exponentially higher than providing subsidized daycare, crisis nurseries, and early childhood programs.

Without help, the traumas of abuse and neglect last a lifetime and cost a fortune over that person’s lifetime. Art Rolnick’s work at the Federal Reserve proving a 17 dollar return on each dollar invested in early childhood programs for the average child pales in comparison to the dollar invested in the at risk child. A single child in my caseload cost the county (and County) in excess of two million dollars) that could have been a fraction of that cost if addressed adequately (and he is still a young man with a long, expensive, dysfunctional life in front of him).

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KARA TV Interview Mike & Tiffini

KARA board members Tiffini Flynn Forsland & Mike Tikkanen were Interviewed on Catherine Hoaglund’s Metro Cable Network Channel 6, Catherine’s Crossing to bring attention to key issues facing abused and neglected children. Catherine asked powerful questions about the brutal truths faced by at risk children and what our community could do to help children in toxic homes develop the coping skills necessary for leading a normal life.

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KARA tpt Progress Report

Tony Fischer and Tiffini Flynn Forslund conducted KARA’s first interview (of many being scheduled) with St Paul School Board, Vice Chair Keith Hardy.
Keith Hardy. Keith Hardy setting his sights even higher

Keith knows how abused and neglected children need help to achieve the outcomes necessary to succeed in school and he has solid ideas for improving outcomes for both children and schools.

This was a great beginning to exploring issues impacting at risk children and what needs to happen to make life better for children, our communities, and our institutions.

The systemic issues that affect our schools are key to changing the same systemic problems in our society.

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KARA Talk Monday Night In Stillwater (7pm)

Friends of Kids At Risk Action, board member Tiffini Flynn Forslund & I present our INVISIBLE CHILDREN talk at the Critical Thinkers Club in Stillwater Monday night April 14th at 7pm.
The meeting is held at the FamilyMeans Bldg., 1875 Northwestern Ave (opposite the Stillwater Water Tower). Here are driving directions:

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KARA Talk – March 1, Mike & Tiffini -Pilgrim House 10:15 Arden Hills

Join us at Pilgrim House Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1212 W Highway 96, Arden Hills MN 55112

Mike Tikkanen & Tiffini Flynn Forslund are board members at KARA, Kids At Risk Action working to bring attention and support for the people, policies, and programs that improve the lives of to at risk youth.

have been a volunteer county guardian ad-Litems since 1996. He is also a CASAMN board member & founder of KARA, Kids At Risk Action with a mission to speak for the rights and awareness of abused and neglected children. KARA’s current project is a television documentary/expose with TPT. By generating conversation and exposing facts that many are afraid or unable to speak about, Mike brings attention to the critical issues facing abused & neglected children. Mike and Tiffini identify the problems children, schools, and neighborhoods face daily because of poor public policy and the dysfunction created by lack of awareness within our community. The KARA website is http://www.invisiblechildren.org.

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KARA Readers Reminder

There is a situation here in Troy, New York. Regarding our Rensselaer County CPS Office. As of April, 2015, when the four children involved first went back to live with their mother. There have been at least 8 calls to Rensselaer County CPS regarding a mother and these four children, soon to be 4, 6, 8 and 10, years of age this year. There have been continuous calls made to both Rensselaer & Albany County CPS offices on this mother since 2007. There were calls/reports given to Rensselaer County CPS back in June, July, September, October, November and twice in December, 2015. The ones in December, 2015 was made by the children’s school nurse for lack of medical care. Then again in January, 2016 of the little boy, present age of 7 whose mother’s live in boyfriend punch him in the mouth, resulting in a broken front tooth.

Then again in March of 2016, a report was made to the same Rensselaer County CPS office ( same case worker) that the present age of 5 little sister of the 7 year old boy. Said she saw a few times, the mom’s live in boyfriend kissing their present age of 9 year old sister “ like boyfriend & girlfriend. That the 9 year old sister was touching the live in boyfriends’ private area. My question to you is, why after all these numerous calls made, and esp. the last two calls regarding physical assault and sex abuse is this CPS office allowing the total of these four siblings to still be living with this mom and her live in boyfriend? And why, when asking this same question to this CPS office, the caseworker, her supervisor and the Director of this CPS office. We get the BS answer of “ Oh, it takes time, but we are investigating”.

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KARA Radio Interview National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (Bill Murray/Mike Tikkanen)

This compelling interview covers the landscape of how abuse and trauma impact children and communities throughout America and shines a spotlight on what has to change to save children and build healthy communities. Bill Murray conducts a powerful in depth review of child protection, Prozac and very young children, foster homes and much more. Click below for the whole show;

Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) – 1678

Tonight’s special guest is Mike Tikkanen from Minnesota, a returning NAASCA family member who founded KARA (“Kids at Risk Action”). He’s also the author of the free book “Invisible Children; the American cycle of abuse and its… more

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KARA planning a course for Continuing Legal Ed; For the attorneys, how many of you would consider attending?

We appreciate any feedback we can get to create the most accurate and up to date coursework for those of you who want to better understand this complicated and evolving area of law. Are there parts of the child protection topic that would be most important to you? Tell us. We will be bringing a new perspective to a much under-served subject. Please forward this to your lawyer friends.

email me directly; info@invisiblechildren.org

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KARA Needs Your Videos & Stories

KARA needs children’s issue videos for our traveling INVISIBLE CHILDREN Campus Program

Do you know someone with a compelling video story about child abuse, foster care, child protection or other at risk children’s issues?

Forward this to them and help Kids At Risk Action as we build awareness and support for the people, policies and programs that improve the lives of abused and neglected children.

Contact info@invisiblechildren.org with video project in the subject line

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