Save Enormous Downstream Costs (Listen Carefully To David Strand’s Advice)

Compared to woeful neglect of the needs of young families in the US and Minnesota, this study revealed the success of preventative public policies that provide universal health care, universal maternity leave, and universal access to professionally staffed nursery school. This is developmental child care, not custodial care so often chosen here because it costs less. Taxpayers would be saved enormous downstream costs by the judicious use of preventative and developmental care for young, struggling families.

An example documented in Minnesota is the research done by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank under the direction of economist Art Rolnick. His team found that there is no better return to the taxpayer than the investment in high quality early childhood education. When our lawmakers intentionally ignore this highly relevant research, they do a disservice to their constituents. This is an example benchmarking, the difference between operating expenses and investments and also the value of resisting the temptation of ruinous short term gain.

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Lying To Ourselves About Caring, Children, & Religion

Jeremy Olson’s hard hitting piece in today’s Star Tribune about this communities not caring enough for children to provide them with essential services to lead a normal life starts a badly needed conversation.

The child protection program he writes about came into play a few years ago when the County budget got tight & workers were given no other option but to not answer the phone & offer services instead of removing children from toxic environments (far fewer calls are investigated than were a few years ago – see Indiana – Wisconsin – almost any other Southern State).

Toxic environment means something different to a child protection worker than it does to someone unfamiliar with child abuse. My first visit to a 4 year old as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem was the suicide ward at Fairview hospital.

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It Can’t Happen Here (it Does happen here)

State probation agents made three visits since mid-December to the Madison, Wis., house where prosecutors say a 15-year-old girl was tortured, starved and abused by her parents and stepbrother, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The girl was found barefoot in pajamas Feb. 6 by a neighbor outside the Southeast Side house. Her stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton; father, Chad Chritton; and stepbrother, Joshua Drabek, were charged Thursday with various counts related to child abuse.

According to a criminal complaint, the girl was forced to live in an unfinished basement, scavenge food from the garbage and eat her own feces.

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Race To The Bottom, Untrained Social Workers, Over Work & More Dead & Suffering Children In Indiana

“We have children dying in our region and we are awarded with recognition of system improvement. Really?” he wrote. “The timing of this award is hard to accept given the recent tragic death of 10-year-old Tramelle Sturgis.

“How many more kids will die before we all take a deep look at what is going on with child welfare services in Indiana and reverse the draconian cuts in funding and see how those cuts are negatively affecting the safety net of child welfare?”

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America; The Worst Child Abuse Record In The Industrialized World

This BBC report (video link) articulates the sorrowful truths that this guardian ad-Litem has reported on over the years.

It’s frightening and moving proof of the epidemic that is preventable child death in America and the fast growing army of future child abusers.

Why is it that important reporting like this are created by other nations (and not right here in America)?

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43 Child Deaths Due Policy Violations In Colorado Social Services

To appreciate the meanness of some states I point to (Mitch Daniels) Indiana’s stealing (redirecting) the funding promised to parents that adopted abandoned special needs children (after they had been adopted) & the fiscally irresponsible de-funding of subsidized daycare which forced the county to place children in foster homes because their father’s job did not pay enough to afford daycare.

It costs way more to place children in foster care than it would have to subsidize his daycare payments. Thank you Tim Pawlenty.

It cost Hennepin County millions of dollars to pay for the care of the four year old boy the court thought would be better off with his father even though dad had a court order to stay away from young boys because of what he did to them. My client is now is now 23, has AIDS, and has been in over 30 foster homes and he will be a ward of the state until he dies. He was been tied to a bed, starved, beaten, sexually abused and left alone for days at a time from 4 to 7 years of age. That never made the paper. Nor did the four year old girl who I visited in the suicide ward of Fairview hospital (her sister’s story was much worse).

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Growing Up Inner City

It is up to communities to understand the nature and scope of these issues and treat children with sufficient care and resources to end the madness as stated by MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz; “The difference between that poor child and a felon is about eight years”.

Let’s all get behind child friendly programs and politics and end the pipeline to prison & preteen pregnancies that America now promotes.

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Universal Rights Of The Child; All Talk No Action

There are two nations (of the 196 nations in the world) that have not ratified the Universal Rights of the Child. Somalia and America.

Somalia, because it has no functioning government, and the U.S. because we will not stop training child soldiers*.

Americans are proud of and outspoken about spirituality, values, and freedom – making proclamations about human rights, women’s rights, and so on.

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It Costs Way Less To Hire & Train Social Workers;$68 Million Settlement Proposed for 10 Children Fraudulently Adopted and Abused

It would be far less expensive (see the studies & long term costs) and the right thing to do to see that foster & adoptive parents were well funded, well regulated, and early childhood programs set up to insure that every child had a chance to have a meaningful life in America.

Until then, let’s sue the pants off of states and counties that refuse to care for children.

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A Call To Action; The System Will Succeed When The Public & Private Sectors Work Together

It was clear after talking with adoptive and foster families at their annual conference that Indiana’s failure to protect it’s children is due to the politicizing of children’s issues and not the hard work being done by foster & adoptive parents, educators, & social workers that are trying to provide homes, education, and services.

We all know that healthy children become healthy adults & contributing members of our community & that unhealthy children become preteen mothers & juvenile felons that cost our cities and states a fortune over a lifetime.

Wake up Indiana politicians. Your citizens depend on you to understand basic humanity and economics.

Citizens, wake up your politicians (the children can’t do it without your help).

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Occupy Wall Street For America’s Children

Children have no lobby, no voice, & can’t fight back when a MN Governor* states that “children that are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem of the State Of Minnesota”.

There’s nothing a five year old can say to the governor of Indiana about the elimination of the state’s newborn screening fund (paid for by birth fees collected from parents), or the retroactive termination of adoption subsidies to the five hundred families that adopted special need children based on the promise that they would have assistance for their special needs children.

I doubt that a nine year old could clearly explain the problem facing California foster children because 1,000 state-licensed facilities match sex offenders’ addresses;

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Thank You Indiana

I was impressed with the tenacity and commitment of Indiana’s foster and adoptive parents in the face of this state’s mean spirited children’s politics.

The evening before my talk I listened to story after story of the “fluid” nature of Department of Child Services policy, families not being allowed to question decisions or policy for fear of being blackballed, and what it’s like to watch long established, workable policies disappear to be replaced by whimsy and bullying.

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Abused & Neglected Children Impacting Schools, Courts & Communities; What Works — What doesn’t

The cost to my community of each child failing to procure the tools to learn & become a productive citizen is far greater than just the drain on schools, crime & institutionalization. Consider the generational impact of their children having families just like the one that brought them into the world. The average number of children born to mothers incarcerated in Cook County Illinois jails has grown from 2 to 4 over the last ten years.

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Child Abuse Death; Every Child Matters

While the child abuse/child neglect crisis is one of major national concern, it also is of particular significance in the top 12 states that are above the national average for child abuse/neglect deaths (2.33 per 100,000 children): Florida 4.62; Nebraska 3.80; New Mexico 3.78; Tennessee 3.72; Oklahoma 3.42; Texas 3.32; Arkansas 2.99; Missouri 2.95; Louisiana and Ohio (both at 2.71); Georgia 2.67; and Colorado 2.65.

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