How We Punish – And What It Does To Children & Our Community

For many years, we have fed younger and younger people into our Criminal Justice System and gotten the same results over and over again as children graduate into the Criminal Justice System with a recidivism rate that may soon exceed 70% (Juvenile Justice recidivism is not tracked in 11 states and narrowly tracked elsewhere).

Evidence overwhelmingly indicates that abused and neglected children, mostly from families suffering from generation after generation of child abuse, fuel the furnace of the Juvenile Justice System. It has become common to charge 12 and 13 year old children as adults in the Criminal Justice System, some as young as 8 years old. Pennsylvania recently charged a 10 year old as an adult.

3000 children have been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, some as young as 13 (sentenced to die in prison).

Yesterday’s article on tasing 3rd graders & expelling preschoolers at many times the rate of other industrialized nations is snapshot into the dysfunctional elements of our institutional approach to dealing with the mental health issues of children, primarily abused and neglected children, that enter our Juvenile Justice System.

Today, I draw your attention to some of the worst practices within Child Protection Services and the Juvenile Justice System and ask you to reflect on how these practices might re related to the frightening violence and dismal news that pervades our media and daily lives. Social death…

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How We Treat Children

From the annals of Rikers Island comes a document titled, “Three Adolescents With Mental Illness in Punitive Segregation in Rikers Island.” Punitive segregation means solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. Schoolwork, if it comes, is passed through a slot in the cell door. Toothpaste is available once a day.

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How We Treat Women and Children in America

Seriously mentally ill, Jose Guadalupe was beaten unconscious in his solitary confinement cell by correction officers on September 2.   2 months later, Tracy Johnson, IQ of 65, was pepper sprayed in the face and beaten hard enough to break his eye socket bone.  This is Rikers Island, one of America’s largest correctional institutions. Throughout…

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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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I Wish You’d Never Been Born & Other Adverse Childhood Experiences (Videos)

These are the most powerful videos from the Academy on Violence and Abuse www.avahealth.org They go a long way in explaining our nations consistently low graduation rates, terrifically high murder rates, prison populations, chronic illnesses and leading the world in sexually transmitted diseases.

All of these videos are powerful and worth your time.

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I’m Not The Crazy One (20,000 one & two year old’s on Prozac – now that’s crazy)

90% of mental health hospital beds that were available in the 1960’s are gone today while our overall population grew over 40% in that time.

When America eliminated mental health hospitals in the 60’s, teachers, juvenile and criminal justice workers and social workers became defacto mental health service providers. This is no small feat. Humans are complex beings and understanding a mind takes extensive effort & training (especially a traumatized or troubled mind). Few service providers get that training.

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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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If You Don’t Do This, Who Will? (children can’t stop child abuse)

Tuesday was Day At the Hill for advocates supporting policies to improve the lives of Minnesota’s abused and neglected children.

Thank you Safe Passage for Children for organizing an effective effort to bring awareness to the people (lawmakers) that can make positive change for at risk children happen.

Without your efforts and the efforts of your volunteers, It is unlikely that lawmakers will come to understand that;

Many of the Governor’s Task Force recommendations may not be implemented or those recommendations will later be abandoned without continued oversite,

Tracking program outcomes is the only way we can know the difference between ineffective and effective and terrific programs,

The level of trauma foster children live with has created a terrible problem in our foster care system as there are fewer and fewer families able to manage the behavioral problems exhibited by this growing population of abused children,

The recent media coverage and added attention to child protection has increased reporting and is overwhelming already overburdened County systems leading to unmanageable caseloads and higher burnout rates among social workers,

A waiting list of 7000 names for subsidized daycare leaves vulnerable children in the care of drunk and drugged uncles,

It is a rewarding experience to advocate for children, I recommend it (at least once a year – it’s only for a few hours – and it can make a real difference in the policies that govern the lives of the most vulnerable among us.

Join Safe Passage For Children Volunteer army and dedicate a few hours a year telling your State Representatives how important children’s issues are to you.

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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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Important Information About Child Protection in MN (from Safe Passage For Children)

Although counties disagree, the Department wants an outside expert to review screening practices. This is because, contrary to new guidelines, counties are still responding to half as many maltreatment reports as an average state, and the percentage of cases getting an investigation rather than a less rigorous assessment has barely changed

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Important News From Safe Passage For Children

What if everyone agreed to get behind some of the same best practices for children? It would improve chances of state funding, be easier to track outcomes, and create economies of scale.

This may be possible. Safe Passage research indicates common interest in some of the same programs across child welfare, early childhood development, and children’s mental health. These approaches have a solid track record and strong research base, including Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), Parent Child Interaction Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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Important Points By Brandon Stahl (Star Tribune) Today On Pope County

Pensive ParakeetThe following quotes from Brandon Stahl’s reporting today in the Star Tribune indicate the depth and scope of child protection troubles in MN.  That Governor Dayton used “Colossal Failure” language and created a task force to investigate the sad tortured death of 4 year old Eric Dean is to be commended.  Awful things happening to 4 year old children are not always addressed in helpful ways by politicians in other states (see other states in “read more” below).

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Imprisoned Judges & Police Officers In Pennsylvania (still sending innocent people to jail – by the thousands)

1000 year old Darth VaderThis Pennsylvania sad story of six police officers beating and robbing suspects, planting evidence and doctoring paperwork to obtain over 560 false convictions (that are now being vacated) follows on the heels of the State’s recent incarceration of two Pennsylvania judges for over 4000 false convictions that sent thousands of innocent juveniles to jail because millions of dollars in cash bribes were paid them by privatized prison businesses (more about Pennsylvania judges).

This should cause us all to appreciate the value of transparent and accountable public service institutions.

Just a tiny percentage of creepy court and police officials can ruin the lives of thousands of innocent

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Improving Attachment

Recommended parenting TechniquesTo improve Attachment The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) recently released findings that are endorsed by the American Psychological Association regarding Reactive Attachment Disorder and attachment therapies. A task force formed by APSAC reported that there are many non-controversial interventions designed to improve attachment quality that are based on…

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Improving State Child Protection Systems In 2014 (whatever it takes)

Class action lawsuits get results where legislators don’t (Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, D.C., New Jersey, Mississippi) Proving that it’s not who is your senator, but who is your attorney. Whatever it Takes.

From Oklahoma News on 6 12,27.13,

Oklahoma is one of 14 states sued by child advocacy group Children’s Rights. The federal class action lawsuit was filed back in 2008, claiming children in state custody were in danger, because the system wasn’t doing enough to protect them.

The state has spent millions fighting it. With the trial just two months away and a judge denying the state’s last two efforts to get the case thrown out, DHS is now considering settling the suit.

According to Children’s Right’s website, their lawsuits have led to $2 billion in additional funding for child welfare systems.

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Improving the Process of Child Protection & Saving LIves

This article by Safe Passage for Children explains how 5 of the the 18 MN children killed by their caregivers in the last 18 months were known to local law enforcement but apparently not to child protection services (and what needs to change to fix that).

In my own experience, a seven year old girl was prostituted for years during which the police had been to the house 49 times and only removed the child on the last call because the little girl tried to kill her sister in the presence of the police.

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In Defense Of People Doing The Work

It hurts me to hear destructive criticisms about how teachers are the cause of badly performing schools, social workers blamed when a baby dies a horrid death while under County supervision, and most recently an all out diatribe against the uncaring volunteer guardian ad-Litems in America.
These professions are not entered for the great wealth or social prestige that accompany the difficult work that come with the job. Educators are dealing with mental health issues, the impact of poverty, abuse, and homelessness as our society becomes less well off, and recently, less well governed. Social workers are expected to work miracles with terrifically damaged children in toxic homes, drug and violence issues, huge caseloads, and few resources to fix anything.

Volunteer guardian ad-Litems work with badly damaged children trying to guide them through a complex and bureaucratic court system in the hopes of saving them from both the system and the traumas they have suffered from.

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In Whose Best Interest (MN courts returned this child to an abusive father 6 times)

The number of Minnesota foster children removed from their homes after being reunited with their parents, known as the “re-entry rate,” has increased in recent years and is now nearly three times the federal standard. Thomas Stone is trying to find stability after more than a decade of turmoil in Minnesota’s child foster care system. He was returned to his abusive father a half-dozen times.

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Indiana Sued For Making Child Protection Almost Impossible

A few years ago, Vice Presidential candidate and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels eliminated funding across the board for Indiana families adopting special needs children (after 500 adoptions by families promised these dollars for transportation, healthcare & education of their adopted children, were completed).

Indiana then became the only state in the nation to place families adopting special needs children on a wait list rather than paying subsidies.

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