Post comments here about how your state is protecting children.
All adults are the protectors of all children (pass it on)Details
Post comments here about how your state is protecting children.
All adults are the protectors of all children (pass it on)Details
From the Washington Post on the Justice Policy Institute study of Freddie Gray’s Baltimore neighborhood;
Unemployment rate of 16-64 year olds; 51.8%
Employed with Travel Time to Work of over 45 Minutes; 31.8%
Families receiving TANF; 25%
Chronically Absent HS students; 49.3%
Percent of Population over 25 Without HS diploma; 60.7%
Narcotics Police Calls per 1000 residents; 464.8
Mortality Rate for 15-24 year olds; 19 per thousand
Children 6 and under with Elevated Blood-Lead levels; 7.4%Details
From the Washington Post yesterday, most foster care children on antipsychoctic drugs get them for far too long and without medical justification. 2/3 of the nearly 700 claims studied raised high-risk “quality of care” issues. As a long time CASA volunteer guardian ad-Litem, many of my case kids were on multiple drugs simultaneously and many of them hated being forced to use them. Some kids threw the drugs away.
In Minneapolis, I would like to know (there should be more transparency) if six year old Kendrea Johnson’s suicide by hanging involved psychotropic medications. She was a very troubled foster child, in therapy and had talked about homicide and suicide. When Jeff Weise killed himself, his grandfather and 14 others he had talked about suicide and homicide and was taking Prozac.
7 year old foster child Gabriel Myers hung himself and left a note about how he hated Prozac. KARA’s video interviews include families, a City Councilman, and other professionals talking about antipsychotic medications, very young children and suicide. This subject needs our attention now. It is cruel punishment for a child suffering from the traumas of abuse and removal from a birth home to be dealt with.
There are 3 children’s hospitals in the metro area and NO children’s mental health hospitals and there are 800 to 1000 emergency psychiatric visits at HCMC every month (many of them children).
This conversation is overdue.
What we don’t know cannot be dealt with and will not be improved. Let’s stop the next awful six year old suicide.Details
Join me for the next Kids At Risk Action Roseville Rotary presentation at the Roseville Radisson Hotel and learn what you can do to make your community a safer place for children and a better place to live for everyone.Details
KARA needs to interview CPA firms that resonate with our mission and have nonprofit experience. Please share this with your professional accounting friends.
Wow and thank you Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota County Sheriffs. Sheriff Rich Stanek’s “we must make investments in early childhood education for Minnesota kids now to avoid paying far more for the cost of crime in the decades to come” took genuine political courage (thank you from Kids At Risk Action Sheriff).
In the Star Tribune article today I found it ironic that full implementation of the Governor’s Universal Pre School would cost almost as much as we spend on prisons in MN each year (the Sheriff is arguing that we will have fewer people to put in those prisons if we support Pre K education for children).
Sheriff’s Matt Bostrom, Tim Leslie, and Rich Stanek – KARA salutes you.
What follows is probably more than you want to know about the long debate from a law enforcement perspective about education, crime, mental health. Please chime in.Details
Genisis is the 8th child murdered in the home by a caregiver since Eric Dean’s death in early 2013 and the 57th child to die of maltreatment since 2005.
The only positive is that the media and public attention absent (for decades) children murdered by their caregivers is now making front page news & driving the Governor to speak out and form a task force to study child protection issues.
Let’s hope those recommendations are enacted by the legislature and the Star Tribune (article on 18 month old Genisis Xiong death today) and other news media stay on top of child safety in our state.Details
It was the final question and statement from the Legislative Committee after my testimony about generational child abuse and the “real costs” of under-funding Child Protection and Children’s Mental Health at the State House yesterday that caught me off guard and made it difficult for me to fall asleep last night.
This is my best rendition of that last question and statement from the Tax Committee considering funding for the recommendations of the Governors Task Force on Child Protection that hurts me and makes me fear that better answers will remain hard to find from our state lawmakers;
1) the question; Do you think that anything state funding of programs can do will alter the fact of generational child abuse and damage it causes?
2) the statement; I’ve been on this committee for many years and not seen anything work.Details
The following is a compilation of Court Appointed Special Advocate – guardian ad-litem news in April from around the nation (find your state here).
Send KARA your announcements & news articles (short form with links & include blogs and other connecting media for volunteer guardians ad-litems).Details
The point I’m making by connecting these articles is not that suicidal ideation delivered by psychotropic medications kills people. It is the complicity of mental health experts in not speaking to this Fact loudly and clearly that disturbs me. Not only are mental health professionals not speaking to this Fact loudly and clearly, they repeatedly do just the opposite (if you read the aforementioned articles you will see this point demonstrated. In the Schulz case, Dan Markingson’s mother’s pleas were ignored and in the Marino article Professor Marino makes the point repeatedly.
These 2 articles represent one days worth of reporting in our newspaper about the Fact that suicidal ideation from psychotropic medications kills people, at least to some degree, because mental health professionals, the people in charge of distributing and regulating the use of these powerful drugs, don’t know what they are dealing with.
To add fuel to this fire, let me point out that the pharmaceutical industry has gone to great lengths to recommend off label usage of these drugs for other uses (Topamax prescribed for migraines as a personal example) and if my lawyer friends are right, these manufacturers show up in courtrooms in force when significant homicide tragedies occur to make sure that the defendant’s use of these medications is minimized or struck from the records.
The point I make by drawing the manufacturer into this conversation can best be made by comparing the tobacco company settlements and Dalkon Shield manufacturer settlements to big pharma today.Details
More American children (especially low-income and foster care kids) are on antipsychotics than in any other country (Governing magazine March issue).
Brandon Stahl’s March 27th Star Tribune article graphically explains how child protection was unable to deal with mental health, medications, and child safety be in the suicidal hangingDetails
No longer does Kansas promise its children a full school year . Several districts are closing early because Governor Brownback effectively eliminated 51 million dollars from school budgets (cut per pupil $950 from 2008 to 2014). We know what the governor thinks of educating children. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that school funding levels were unconstitutional and ordered the immediate reversal of certain spending cuts (hooray for fair minded judges).
Even more repugnant than Brownback’s disrespect for children and education is the all out attack on children that took place in the legislature last year, literally making it legal for any care giver to assault a child and hit them up to ten times (at their discretion). Imagine letting just anyone beat up your child (which this law would have accomplished).
This law reads something like Jonathan Swift’s MODEST PROPOSAL which articulated a public policy making it policy to stew and eat the children of poor Irish parents (because they couldn’t care for them sufficiently anyways).Details
Thirty posters and essays speaking out on child abuse (thank you Bill Murray and NAASCA for sending them)Details
Minnesotan’s talk big about how we value children and how exceptional we are as a people, a nation, a culture. Most of us claim to be spiritual people valuing life and religious teachings that protect our community and its children.
If there is anything genuine or exceptional about how we actually treat children it would be how poorly we pay and train service providers to our children, the lack of transparency, accountability, and humanity in an overwhelmed child protection system that the majority of people involved in find harsh and disappointing at many levels (and Governor Mark Dayton called a “colossal failure” in the death of 4 year old Eric Dean).
I became a volunteer guardian ad-Litem because of a horrible experience a business associate had adopting children. Her family was not aware of the mental health issues and dangerous behaviors her newly adopted children (from County Child Protection) were bringing into their new homeDetails
Invisible Children readers know that psychotropic medications, especially “antipsychotics,” often are used to sedate and restrain problematic people, children especially—and not just any children, but foster children particularly, and most of all, foster children in so-called “group homes.”
Agreement is widespread that foster kids are over-medicated: too many, too young, too many drugs per child, on dosages that are too high and are maintained too long, often for years on end.
The PsychDrugs Action Campaign of the National Center for Youth Law invites you to help make positive changes now. Our contact information is at the bottom of this message.
Why Foster Children?
Foster children are a lucrative market for psychotropic drug sales. Unlike adults, they can’t say “no, I won’t take any more.” Their parents are in no position to object. Responsibility for prescribing is diffused confusingly among foster parents, caseworkers, child welfare supervisors, group home administrators, and prescribers. All are involved, but their roles in medication decisions are overlapping and ill-defined. It is easy for each to say, “it wasn’t my decision.”
One of the consequences is that in some states about half of children in group homes are medicated with psychotropic drugs. Many foster children are dozing through their childhoods and teenage years in a semi-sedated fog, a fog that is profitable for the drug industry and convenient for those administrators, staff, and foster parents who prefer to minimize demands on their time and attention.
The losers are the kids. A dozen years in a chemical straitjacket is no preparation for adult independence.Details
This series of videos report on the dramatic increase in the forced use of psychotropic medications by children in California’s foster care system. It very well may be an epidemic in every state.
I have personally watched the explosive use of these drugs over the past twenty years and talked with professionals (including judges, educators, families & service providers) who are very concerned with the dangers of using these powerful anti-psychotic medications in place of mental health treatments for abused and neglected children.
Prior reporting on the topic; A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, and here’s theDetails
I’m always pleased to find outspoken observers in the mental health discussion. Today’s Star Tribune article begins to articulate the gaping hole in our communities (and the nation’s) approach to mental health. Much like child suicide and child sex abuse, we have avoided the mental health topic leading to the worst case of overbuilt prisons, unsafe streets, and terribly overwhelmed schools of any industrialized nation.
Senator Barb Goodwin told Abby Simons of the Star Tribune what a sad state it is when public advocates for mental health don’t speak as urgently for mental health services as the service providers forced to deal with mentally unhealthy people. Is it because the public doesn’t know how damaged abused and neglected children are that they don’t understand what happens to them and the people living with and among them? I refuse to believe that it is a lack of compassion.
Can you imagine what it’s like to be a juvenile/law enforcement officer, teacher, or other caregiver/service provider choosing between personal safety and protecting a disturbed child? I watched a 6th grade teacher, a man about my size whack a young girls head on a banister (hard) as she was trying to gouge his eyes out and biting his face. What college teaches defense tactics to grade school teachers?
My deepest sympathy lies with the birth / foster / adoptive parents unable to obtain mental health servicesDetails
Free, Full-Day PreK for Every Four-Year-Old – The Governor’s budget would invest $343 million to provide every four-year-old (47,000 kids) access to free, full-day pre-kindergarten learning opportunities statewide.
More Funding for Every School – The Governor’s budget would invest in K-12 schools statewide, increasing the per-pupil funding formula to $5,948 by 2017, and putting additional funding into the special education formula. These new resources would give local school districts the flexibility to meet the needs of their students and classrooms – from lowering class sizes, hiring new counselors, investing in technology, or providing other need programs and services.
Tackling the Achievement Gap – The Governor’s proposal would invest in a multi-layered approach to narrow the state’s achievement gap. It would eliminate the current Head Start waiting list, provide support to help all students read well, target educational support to parents of at-risk children ages 0-8, and more.
Healthy Students – The Governor’s budget would provide free breakfasts for pre-K-3 students, fund in-school programs to improve student behavior, and support parents of at-risk children.
Investing in Higher Education – The Governor’s budget would invest $288 million to freeze tuition at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), expand the State Grant Program, return the University of Minnesota Medical School to national prominence, and make other needed improvements to higher education.
A car with three wheels is not 75% as good as one with four. There is a minimum set of features without which a car won’t move at all.
This principle applies to child welfare because elected officials have frequently given this program much less than managers request, and assumed they somehow will make things work. But if the system has, for example, adequate staffing but poor training, or lacks a quality assurance program, it is like a 3-wheeled car. It simply won’t run.
Minnesota has an historic opportunity to rebuild its child welfare program. To accomplish this the legislature must step up to approve the $50 million that the Governor has put in his budget, so state and county managers have the tools they need to do the job.Details
This is a thorough and sad report about the conditions of child protective services in OklahomaDetails
Brandon Stahl’s article in the Star Tribune today suggests that Minnesota is probably the only state in the nation to have forbidden social workers from considering past screened out cases of child abuse in evaluating new reports. Pressured to put a consistent policy in place by a state auditor, DHS institutionalized a policy that would lead to untold suffering and death of abused children for four years (it ended today with the Governor’s signing of the reversal of that bill.
That is just the tip of the iceberg that the Governor’s Task Force is working on. Perhaps with the added attention to the Task Force and Brandon Stahl’s continued reporting we can move up a few notches among the states in what we spend on child protection in MN (we rank 47th currently).
It befuddles me that the studies completed by the Federal Reserve Bank by Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald have not brought the larger business community into appreciating the fundamental issues underlying a productive work force. It may be that the arguments should be made in terms of cost instead of savings. I think it would scare people to know how expensive ignored at risk youth are to our community. A single boy in my caseload cost this county at least 3 million dollars by the time he aged out of child protection (not including the awful things he has done to people).
By any measure, taking care of vulnerable children is duty of all of us and to make you feel better, saves you money and is the right thing to do.Details
On April 14th four bills will be heard before the Health and Human Services Committee of the California State Legislature that improve oversight and monitoring of psychotropic medication treatment for children in foster care. We are writing to request your support. Will you or your organization help? Please send your support letters by end of…Details
I hope that the task force is working fast and that it’s efforts will lead to a reduction in the number of murdered, tortured, and suicidal very young children in Minnesota.
Today’s Star Tribune indicates the “colossal failure” (Governor Dayton’s words) of child protection in the death of Eric Dean after fifteen reports of child abuse by mandated reporters is still causing torture and death to Minnesota children today.
Just a few months ago, six year old Kendrea Johnson’s social worker was unaware of her suicidal and homicidal talk before she died by hanging herself with jump rope. Today’s Star Tribune has two disturbing accounts of worst case abuse suffered by two, three, and four year old Minnesota children.
Four year old Key’Ontay Miller-Peterson’s mother found guilty in the repeated assaults and eventual murder of her son Key’Ontay Miller-Peterson.
The two year old and three year old children of Michael Gunderson of Princeton were starved to the point of eating feces when discovered by the Sheriff’s Department.Details