A New Disease of the Wealthy & Powerful

Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and new Speaker of the House voted NO to federal childcare subsidies, eliminated 16 billion dollars in Social Services block grants, including all child care funding for low income families, No to parental leave for federal employees (4 weeks for a new mother), No to food stamps, Medicaid and Pell Grants, Yes to de-funding Planned Parenthood and removing contraception from employer based insurance requirements, and yes to deporting undocumented immigrants that grew up in the United States. But he cannot and “will not” give up his family time.

Pro family yes (but just his family).

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A New Standard For Disaster; Tennessee (802 child deaths in 2011)

It’s painful to watch any children and family services system in turmoil, but the goings on in Tennessee right now might be setting a new standard for disaster. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (TDCS) is locked in a high-profile battle with the state’s most prominent newspaper, The Tennessean, which has published a series of articles questioning the department’s performance in analyzing and reporting on child fatalities.

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A Note From The Children’s Defense Fund

Today, 60 percent of fourth and eighth grade public school students in all racial and income groups, more than 75 percent of Hispanic and more than 80 percent of Black children cannot read or do math at grade level. Only three percent of eligible infants and toddlers receive Early Head Start and our nation has been unwilling to ensure high quality universal pre-kindergarten and kindergarten systems to get all children ready for school or excellent and equitable public schools to ensure that children are college ready and prepared for productive work. A child unable to read or compute at grade level and graduate from high school college or workforce ready is being sentenced to social and economic death in our globalizing and competitive economy.

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A Note On Paxil, Wellbutrin, Avandia & GlaxoSmithKline’s Paying Kickbacks to Doctors & Treating Children With Unapproved Psychotropic Medications

Today’s 3 Billion Dollar fine of GlaxoSmithKline for hiding information, bribing doctors, & promoting unapproved (and dangerous) drugs to children, included criminal as well as civil settlements.

Hennepin County Judge Heidi Schellhas shared a list she kept of psychotropically medicated children that passed through her courtroom in child protective services over a one year period. The list was staggering (some as young as 5).

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A Note to Brandon Stahl & the Tribune (abused children still need you)

It is only because you found the death of 4 year-old Eric Dean suspicious and dedicated yourself to reporting on the awful circumstances that killed him after 15 ignored reports of child abuse, that this volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem has any hope for the thousands of other terrified and tortured children in need of child protection services today.

Working for decades with traumatized children, I’ve experienced the awful truth about the lasting impact of abuse on children and the lasting impact of abused children on our community.

Brandon, your efforts and insights into the inadequacies and failures of a system in need of transparency, accountability and media attention is why Governor Dayton called out the colossal failure of the system & created the task force that has brought significant change to an institution not given to criticism or outside influence.

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A Painful Reality About Guardians ad Litem (and other child protection workers)

Recently, I asked an acquaintance who had finished an intense volunteer experience (overseas) if she would consider CASA volunteer guardian ad Litem work or something supporting the program. Her response was surprising. She explained to me how less than useless the CASA guardian ad litem program was, how poorly trained and counter productive the volunteers were and implied pretty directly that I was quite the meathead for being a part of it or asking her to help.

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A Response To Harsh & Unfair Comments Made By Unhappy Readers

Just to be clear, I am gender neutral and beyond that, blaming any sex, any religion, nationality or economic class solves nothing (it’s just a different flavor of hate speech). To accuse me of this based on one recent article (out of 400) is really unfair. Read fifty or sixty of these articles and see if you get a different perspective.

I believe that as bad as things are in child protection services (for everybody involved ), the men and women doing the work are decent fair minded people (even to have chosen this un-glorious, low paying profession) overworked, under-trained, and under – resourced. The hours are long & the results are painful. It ain’t the worker bees wrecking the children.

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A Star Tribune Mistake (impacting millions of children each year)

“Did you all see the article in the Science and Health section of the Sunday Star Tribune? – ”Study will look at the role of childhood stress in adult disease”. There is a line in there that says, to the effect, that very little is known about the connection between childhood stress and adult disease. Give me a break. What about the ACE Study? Very discouraging.”

Thank you Carol.

Here are my thoughts on your note;

Beyond the sadness of reporters and the general public lacking awareness about the plethora of * ACEs studies demonstrating the direct connection between abuse and lack of coping skills, chronic illness, dangerous lifestyles and early death, is that the most recent reprinting of the DSM* shows almost no mention of ACEs.

Professionals in the mental health field and learning institutions that train new mental health workers need to know ACEs trauma informed best practices for working with trauma victims if we are ever to increase graduation rates, reduce crime and incarceration rates and rebuild safe and livable inner cities.

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A Wish List For At Risk Children

Subsidized day care (tens not thousands of families on state’s waiting list); more mental health services (consistent and better control and use of psychotropic medications)

BA degree, mental health training & higher wages for day care workers; more training, smaller caseloads, & greater resources for social workers and school counsellors

removing law enforcement from the front lines of dealing with mentally unhealthy people & eliminating jails and prisons as housing for mentally unstable people

fail safe programs ending child death by caregiver; more and better training and resources for handling child abuse in rural MN; End child suicide

interrupt generational child abuse; expand programs for children aging out of foster care; stop courts from trying children as adults

create support, training, and alternatives for adoption and foster families; expand kinship searches & support;

encourage media to report on the state of mental health and child protection in your community

make ACEs & trauma informed policies the rule not the exception; stop child trafficking;

reduce psychotropic medication use by young children and children in child protection;

involve the community in the safety and well-being of all children;

through adequate access to mental health services);

End child abuse and mental health stigmatizing

Help KARA find and engage the brightest minds

and improved perspectives in

the search for more effective

Child Protection &

children’s

Mental

Health

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AARP and CASA

MN day care

It is a bigger step to convince people that healthy children become healthy citizens, but it is true.

Support at risk children! Become a CASA volunteer or start a KARA group in your community.
Have something to add? Attach a comment to this blog post or Contact Us to tell us your point of view or story.

Join the public debate for children (they have no senator, lobby, or voice)

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AARP vs. Five Year Olds (Abandoning America’s Children)

In just a few more years, oldsters (me & many of you) will be receiving 6 times more government dollars than children in America.

United States kids are already at the bottom of the barrel for teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, poor educations, & destruction by the criminal justice system (25% of America’s youth are tried in adult courts & we now have more incarcerated youth & people in prison than any other nation in the world).

We don’t adequately track mental health or we would see specifically just how tortured U.S. kids really are (3 million children reported abused annually & 1/2 the youth in juvenile justice with mental health diagnosis).

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Abandoning Abandoned Children

The list of inner city schools struggling to educate the children of those who could not get to (or for reasons of loyalty, love, or ethics) decided not to, escape to the suburbs where the schools still function is long.

My old high school, Edison, graduates less than 50% of its students, its sister school across town has graduated less than 30% of its students for five years.

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About Women In Prison (most are primary caregivers, many lose their children forever)

an-onlooker-watches-the-annual-solar-eclipse-in-albuquerque-new-mexicoI had the good fortune of meeting Tom Daly who wrote a history of Shakopee women’s prison and he told me how women benefited from the educational offerings and the ability to visit with their children while in prison (his book featured below).

It was Tom’s opinion that the the recidivism rate stayed well below thirty percent when the prison was in a “reform” mode.  Today it hovers around 70 percent, like the rest of American prisons (now that the reforms are gone).

Most women in America’s prisons today are incarcerated under the Kingpin laws.  Most of these women are primarily guilty of being in love with or afraid of, some man (the kingpin).  The Kingpin has had years sawed off of his drug dealing sentence for each new “assistant/dealer/co conspirator that he gives us to prosecutors.  Most of these women never see the money, not a threat to society, never posing any real threat to society.

The average tenure of women prison wardens is under one year.  I spoke at a women’s prison warden’s conference in Bloomington MN a few years back and heard the stories of how awful it is to face these women and continue the grossly unfair conditions and punishment that the law requires.

Pregnant women are or can be shackled in childbirth in 29 states.

Most imprisoned women are incarcerated for Drug Offenses

The sexual abuse of women in prison is a huge problem

Most women in prison are parents and were primary caregivers prior to incarceration

The number of children with an incarcerated mother has doubled between 1991 and 2007

The trend is getting worse and no one benefits.  Counties spend millions of dollars to find homes for the children of incarcerated moms and it makes childhood much worse for children than a public health approach to the drug laws would.

 

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Abuse That Lasts Forever, Erin’s Law

Since then, I have witnessed very young children (under 7) try to kill themselves and seen others exhibit terrifying behaviors (starting fires, stabbing, etc) that I know to be a direct result of the abuse they have suffered.

A few of these children I have been in contact with for over ten years and I know that not a day goes by without them reliving the unspeakable acts that have made them who they are.

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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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Abused and Neglected Children’s News (thank you Child Welfare In The News)

MA: Patrick To Address Controversy Surrounding Child Welfare Agency
Associated Press – January 27, 2014
The failure of the Department of Children and Families to keep track of a missing 5-year-old boy whose family had been under its supervision is inexcusable but has given the state an opportunity to re-examine the agency and make changes, Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday. Also: Gov. Patrick: DCF review to be completed by the spring: http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/24554144/2014/01/27/gov-patrick-to-discuss-dcf-probe#ixzz2rh7CVuAs
http://www.wbur.org/2014/01/27/patrick-speak-dcf-controversy

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