National Center For Youth Law

It hurts me to think that babies and very young children need to have lawyers to enforce their rights in my community, but it has been my experience.

One of my first CASA cases was a badly burned little girl whose cousin placed her into a tub of 161 degree (scalding) water when she was a little baby (because her mom was all cracked out and her diapers were 3 days old and very poopy & her 7 year old cousin could not know that the landlord had let the cold water pipes freeze & compensated by turning up the hot water heater to “scalding” to compensate).

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National Grandparents Day September 9th & A Great Day To Recognize All Grandparent Caregivers

From my guardian ad-Litem experience a few years ago, I want to thank the single grandmother who adopted 4 of her grandchildren (one a quadripalegic six year old) and all the other hard working committed kinship caregivers that have stepped forward to make life better for their children’s children when the troubled family could not be kept together. In my case, this sweet lady explained that when the youngest child was 18, grandma would be 88.

What courage, love, and commitment

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National Suicide Prevention Month and Children

*Kendrea Johnson was 6 when she suicided by hanging, Gabriel Myer was 7 (both were foster children).

*Only 1 out of 150 suicide attempts by very young children are successful (suicide is hard for a 6 year old to understand and execute).

*99% of those children only succeed in hurting themselves and cementing the feelings of failure and self-hate – none of these children make it into the newspaper or onto nightly news.

No one knows about the 149 children who tried to kill themselves or the hundreds/thousands of foster children that deliberately hurt themselves and others

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National Workshop On Adult & Juvenile Female Offenders

Last year, 33 states held children and juveniles with mental illness in detention centers without any charges.

In 2001, nearly 2/3 of California local law enforcement departments did not have written guidelines governing the care of children whose sole caretaker had been arrested (Marilyn Moses, article in Police Chief, Sept 2005

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New ACE Study DVD 3 Minute Preview:

Last night KARA boardmember Bob Olson & I attended the Academy on Violence and Abuse in Bloomington & viewed the powerful information the medical community has assembled on the consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Their information is a stunning revelation of how critical and long-lasting abuse is over a persons lifetime.

The Academy on Violence & Abuse’s demonstrates the importance of preventing child abuse and the direct cost of failure in disease, dysfunction, & shortened life expectancy.

Watch this video & visit www.avahealth.org for their comprehensive and stunning research on child abuse.

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New Book Beginnings

mississippi double exposure red wingThis is KARA’s next book about child abuse and child protection in America.  It includes chapters written by professionals as well as children, birth, foster and adoptive parents and families.

I need your stories to add to the growing body of evidence that change in child protection laws, politics and policies are overdue.

For a chance to have your story/perspective/information included, send a short outline to; info@invisiblechildren.org  with the subject line; BOOK SUBMISSION.

If you or someone you know have a meaningful story or powerful information – forward this to them.  Link to KARA’s first book INVISIBLE CHILDREN

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New Jersey Child Protection News October 2015 through April 2016

NJ: Many post-foster care teens lacking needed mental health care
NorthJersey.com – October 27, 2015
In many states, children who live in foster homes age out of this system by the time they turn 18 or 21, a transition that can leave some at least temporarily without access to health insurance or unable to continue care with doctors who were treating them before. Information Gateway Resource: Transition to Adulthood and Independent Living Programs: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/independent/programs/
http://www.northjersey.com/news/health-news/many-post-foster-care-teens-lacking-needed-mental-health-care-1.1442030

NJ: Advocate: New Jersey making progress getting kids adopted
New Jersey 101.5 – October 12, 2015
Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of the Advocates for Children of New Jersey, said she believes overall, progress is being made in the state, from kids going from foster care into legal, permanent families through adoption.
http://nj1015.com/adoption-picture-brightening-in-nj/

NJ: Several N.J. child welfare offices receive death threats
nj.com – October 08, 2015
Eight state child welfare offices have received calls this week “threatening to shoot up the site or kill everyone in the building,” according to emails from the Department of Children and Families obtained by NJ Advance Media.
http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/10/several_nj_child_welfare_offices_receive_death_thr.html

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New Video From Safe Passage For Children (it’s a Wow)

This strong new piece from Rich Gehrman at Safe Passage For Children makes a powerful case for why Minnesota’s abused and neglected children are being shortchanged and what we must do to fix our troubled systems; SafePassage Video

MN Public TV is partnering with KARA for a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. To do this we need your help.

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New York Child Protection News April – May 2016

NY: Editorial: Answering foster care, adoption need brings rewards
Amherst Bee – April 27, 2016
Becoming a foster parent or adoptive parent means an person can change the course of a child’s life, and while it can be difficult, the rewards are great, and there is no shortage of children in the United States who are in need of a temporary or permanent home.
http://www.amherstbee.com/news/2016-04-27/Editorial/Answering_foster_care_adoption_need_brings_rewards.html

NY: Connections: Fragile Lives Series Looks At The State Of Foster Care (Audio)
WXXI – April 13, 2016
In honor of Child Abuse Awareness month, WXXI News –in participation with Side Effects Public Media– is presenting Fragile Lives, a series about the health outcomes of children in foster care.
http://wxxinews.org/post/connections-fragile-lives-series-looks-state-foster-care

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New York Child Protection News December 2015- January 2016

2016-05-12 12.29.31Reporting compiled and submitted by KARA volunteer Corey Wasser

NY: New York State’s Safe Harbour Project is working to combat human trafficking (Opinion)
Buffalo News – January 24, 2016
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) works to combat human trafficking through efforts that include the Safe Harbour Project, which assists local social services and volunteer agencies in developing and providing services such as safe housing or emergency housing, mental health counseling, medical care, substance abuse counseling and education and employment skills for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.
http://www.buffalonews.com/opinion/viewpoints/new-york-states-safe-harbour-project-is-working-to-combat-human-trafficking-20160124

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New York Child Protection News October – November 2015

mississippi double exposure red wingThis page compiled by KARA volunteer Corey Wasser

NY: One More Problem Faced by Transgender New Yorkers: Food Insecurity
Slate – November 21, 2015
As health care access is clearly still a problem, the report requests that policymakers “Assure that all transgender people, including those in the foster care system, juvenile detention or criminal justice system, have access to the health care they need.”
http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/11/21/transgender_new_yorkers_poorer_more_food_insecure_than_non_trans_residents.html

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New York Saves $666 per State Ward Child (Destroying Children & An Important CASA Program)

New York State Ranks 44th in adoption of state ward children and 40th in moving children off of the state ward list.

At a cost of about $666/per child, abused and neglected children have had a personal volunteer CASA voice speak for them in the cold, hard, underfunded institution that is child protection in New York. CASA graduates in New York are half as likely as non CASA children to re enter the system (and a whole host of other positive measurements). One of my CASA case boys alone has cost Hennepin County several million dollars (without counting the people he has stabbed, teacher he assaulted, lives he has crushed, or property he has destroyed).

In his case, my county saved the money (under $500) it would have cost to complete a background check on the man who requested custody of his son while he was still in prison.

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Newborns, Death and Drug Addiction (preventable deaths of drug-dependent babies)

Narcotic addicted babies are born every 19 minutes in America. 27,000 in 2013.

A federal law requiring hospitals to report drug addicted moms to child protection services is largely ignored. This heartbreaking series about the preventable deaths of drug-addicted babies ends includes ideas that can solve the problem. Reuters filed more than 200 Freedom of Information Act requests and reviewed almost 6000 child fatality reports to identify these cases.

Only 7 states specifically tracked referrals of newborns in drug withdrawal and only half the number of cases that were diagnosed were tracked in those states. Most states only require reporting only babies exposed to illegal drugs – but prescription drug addiction is growing to become an even larger problem.

In 2005, 598,000 emergency drug related admissions included legal pharmaceutical overdoses. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twelve to twenty times more likely to use illegal street drugs than those that don’t abuse prescription drugs.

In 2010 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs non medically for the first time.

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News From Safe Passage For Children of Minnesota & The Child Protection Task Force

Follow Governor Dayton’s Budget and Child Protection Task Force News at Safe Passage for Children of MN links below;

Performance Mode

Work Group Meetings Update

Governor Dayton’s Child Protection Budget

Report on Governor’s Task Force and Work Group Meetings (Jan 14)

While I’m optimistic that these concerned people are working on improving services and strategies for abused and neglected children of Minnesota, it is painful to read the continuing sad news being reported about overwhelmed social workers, class action lawsuits, inadequate safeguards, and growing caseloads. It frightens me to think about how much (or how little) can be changed by one task force in one year within a system that handles sixty thousand children annually on a limited budget and imperfect systems. What happens next year?

If we valued children or even just understood the economic impact of under-served abused and neglected children passing through our schools, communities, courts, and in the end, juvenile and criminal justice systems, things would be different. Basic math proves the extraordinary costs to communities of failed schools and children unable to graduate on a trajectory to dysfunctional lifestyles and another generation of troubled families with more abuse and neglect.

Early childhood programs are a great investment in our communities and our children. Both the kids and our communities deserve better. Support the CASA guardian ad-Litems in your community & give children a voice.

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