The Importance of Performance Measures (from Safe Passage for Children)

  From Safe Passage for Children today; We often emphasize the importance of measuring outcomes for children. But performance measures are important too. They tell us current information about program operations. The metrics currently on the Department of Human Services’ Dashboard Report don’t cover enough parts of the system to give a well-rounded picture. However…

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News April & May 2016

CASA Child Advocates
Montgomery County Newspaper
WHY: CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County held its first in-office corporate training for volunteers last month at the new Exxon Mobil …
CASA breakfast serves up a ‘Ray of Hope’ – Bonner County Daily Bee
CASA of Denton County to hold information session – Star Local Media
Look into becoming a CASA volunteer – Victoria Advocate
Full Coverage

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CASA training begins in June
Choteau Acantha
Training will be begin in June for Front Range CASA volunteers to serve as court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children.
Golden Crescent CASA needs volunteers – Victoria Advocate
Local Scottsdale resident advocates for foster children – Scottsdale Independent
Full Coverage

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Area CASA swears in 4 new advocates
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Judge Patrick Flanigan swears in the second class of court-appointed special advocates, or CASAs, for CASA of Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties …

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New CASA advocate
White Mountain Independent
Presiding Judge Michael Latham congratulates Michele Sexton after swearing her in as a court appointed special sdvocate (CASA) for Apache County …

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Pay it Forward recognizes Jeanne Linn of CASA
KTVZ
The biggest CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) fundraiser of the year took place Thursday evening at Broken Top Golf Club CASA works with …

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CASA program a great way to help local foster children
Ontario Argus Observer
Court Appointed Special Advocates get to know children in foster care. They spend time with the kids, observe their interactions with their families, and …

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Dining For A Cause – CASA Of Ocean County
Micromedia Publications
casa1 OCEAN COUNTY – CASA of Ocean County will celebrate their 10 year anniversary advocating for Ocean County children in foster care on …

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CASA of Terrebonne: More than 100 kids need a volunteer
Daily Comet
One-hundred and eleven foster care children are currently in need of a volunteer to advocate for them in the local courts system, according to CASA of …

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Members learn about CASA
The Hillsdale Daily News
HILLSDALE — The Hillsdale Intermediate School District administration building, located on West Bacon Street, was the scene for the most recent …

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County court adds six advocates for kids
Daily Astorian
The Clatsop Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program recently announced six new volunteers have joined in serving abused and neglected …

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WEB
Become an Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocate
Idealist.org
Are you interested in being a powerful voice in a child’s life? Come to an Informational Session to learn if being a CASA Volunteer is right for you.

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Let’s Make Child Protection Great Again (thank you Safe Passage for Children)

This article by Safe Passage for Children about the need to re-engineer child protection reporting so that social workers can concentrate on the child and not data entry could be an important first step in modernizing a very troubled institution.

As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad litem, it hurts me that social workers with extraordinary caseloads are expected to work miracles with traumatized children and abusive families without the right resources or training in a system that can’t (or won’t) track results and make them public.

If the public knew how well or poorly children and families were responding to the institutional efforts of child protection workers, they could tell their legislators who then could support the people, programs and policies necessary for improving the lives of millions of American children.

This short TED talk hits the nail on the head

All Adults are the Protectors of All Children

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CASAMN October 26th Fundraiser (save the date & help us find sponsors)

We need your help! Your sponsorship of this event will be essential to the fundraiser’s success and will enable CASA Minnesota to continue providing volunteer Guardian Ad Litem’s to abused and neglected children involved in Juvenile Court proceedings in our communities & to help fund CASA Cares for kids! We would be most grateful for your sponsorship at any level (including live and silent auction items). Join us for a celebration and a great cause.

CASA volunteers – also known as Guardians ad Litem in the State of Minnesota—are everyday citizens whom judges appoint to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who are in the court system as a result of abuse and/or neglect. They stand up for these children and change their lives.

CASA Cares is a grant program, formerly known as Friends of Children that benefits children in foster care by providing bikes, helmets, camps, school supplies, and other items that allow them to enjoy a positive childhood experience and further help them to overcome adversity by seeing that we as a community can help meet their needs!

CASA Minnesota is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that supports Minnesota CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) programs and the volunteers who have helped more than two million children find safe, permanent homes. Your contributions are tax-deductible! Share this with your friends and networks (All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children)

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Children Feeling Betrayed (thank you Safe Passage for Children & PBS)

Children who are badly abused sometimes seek help from teachers, extended family, or social workers. When they get none they feel profoundly betrayed by adults. This can have lifelong consequences for the children and society, as this PBS story illustrates.

Today’s dominant political view is that children are nearly always better off with their families. This creates systemic pressures to leave children where they are even when abuse is extreme.

Decisions should be based on each child’s best interests. Children shouldn’t be vehicles for the politics of ideology, culture or race. They don’t care about these things. They just want the pain to end.

Children don’t participate in policy-making. Their interests can only be factored into child protection practices by adults who comprehend their anguish and speak out for them.

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Child Death & the Definition of Child Abuse (thank you Safe Passage for Children and DR Mark Hudson)

his morning’s update from Safe Passage for Children includes DR Mark Hudson’s informed understanding of why children die of abuse in our state and how to fix it. He points out that way more children die of abuse every year than they do from cancer. Statistically, it’s a big problem. Ethically, it’s hard to argue against DR Hudson’s prior injury observations and that “Approximately 40% of fatal/near fatal injuries occur in children who have a history with Child Protective Services”.
The letter is worth reading in it’s entirety – please share this with your state rep and your contacts. Creating awareness for the problems of our most vulnerable citizens is the only way to help them.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Best ACEs Articles for August 2016

Why Many People Don’t Talk About Traumatic Events Until Long After They Occur [TheConversation.com]
After traumatic events, such as physical or sexual assault, domestic violence or combat, that threaten to rob us of our dignity and spirit, people typically don’t tell others. In fact, many trauma survivors either never speak to anyone about what happened to them or wait a very long time to do so. The reasons for this are multi-fold and likely include shame, perceived stigma of being a “victim,” past negative disclosure experiences and fears of being blamed or told that the event was somehow their fault. And when it comes to reporting sexual harassment, women fear for their jobs, promotions or placements.

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CASA guardian ad Litem News & Stories for August 2016

Jan. 17 trial date set in Sullivan County homicide
Terre Haute Tribune Star
Tribune-Star/Lisa TriggDefendant Joshua Travis Hall is led from the Sullivan Superior courtroom by Sheriff Clark Cottom following a hearing Monday …
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Attorney Janie Lindamood leaves mark on community, children, legal profession
Johnson City Press (subscription)
She represented children in delinquency cases and was often appointed as a child’s guardian ad litem, which in Tennessee is a licensed attorney …
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Family Court: abused children need more advocates
The News Journal
The CASA is appointed as the child’s guardian ad litem, which involves being party to any court agreement or court plan for the child and is …
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Judge notes ‘disturbing evidence’ in wards of court application
Irish Times
The alleged sexual abuse and brutal treatment of two children, both aged under 10, was “the most disturbing evidence I have read in 20 years on the …
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Better Futures for Minnesota Children (from Safe Passage For Children MN)

Mission:

To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.

Vision:
There will always be a group of Minnesota citizens who advocate on behalf of victims of child maltreatment, and who will hold counties and the state accountable for continuously improving outcomes for these children and their families.

Goal:
Our goal is to build a child protection and foster care system in Minnesota that

continuously improves the lives of children, as demonstrated by objective, measurable outcomes. If the system is working well children’s outcomes will improve over time.

The following are major milestones for achieving this goal:

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By 2017 all children will be periodically assessed for their level of trauma starting when they first enter child protection.
By 2019 all children in the system will be periodically assessed for improvements in their cognitive and physical development, as well as in measures of behavioral and mental health.
Workers and supervisors will be accountable for improving these outcomes for individual children as monitored through quality reviews and updates to the courts.
Counties will be accountable for improving outcomes for children in their caseloads overall as shown by summary reports.
In subsequent years our goal is to continue to monitor outcomes at the county and state levels, and advocate for necessary budget allocations, practice improvements, and related resources to ensure that the child protection system is continually improving its response to children.

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The Child Neglect Dilemma (from Safe Passage For Children)

Contrary to a common assumption, neglect is not less damaging than abuse. Research shows neglect victims have lifelong problems because they miss developmental milestones around language, self-control, and bonding with others.

A constant dilemma in neglect cases is whether to traumatize children by removing them from their families, or leave them in situations where their brains aren’t developing normally.

Quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs can make it possible to leave children at home while helping their parents improve parenting skills.

This study documents that neglect victims who got ECE moved quickly from having a language deficit to the normal range. Language development is critical to academic success and positive interpersonal relationships.
ECE can help many children avoid foster care and still obtain the baseline skills they need to thrive.

Join the Discussion on Facebook

Make a difference for the children of Minnesota today,
Donate Here!

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Donate Books For African Children (no better way to part with old friends)

The perfect way to part with treasures that can keep on giving (and to children). St Paul and Georgia locations provided below & please read the book donation rules.

KARA supports this effort and asks you to share this link on Facebook and other social media.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Donate Books

Books For Africa appreciates all book donations. It costs 50 cents to ship each book to Africa. Consider making a financial donation to cover the costs of shipping the books you donate. Please send financial donations separately in an envelope to the BFA office: Books For Africa, 26 East Exchange Street, Suite 411, St. Paul, MN 55101, USA. Or make a donation online.

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What’s Wrong With School Choice? (from GADFLYONTHEWALLBLOG)

The proponents of school choice will tell you that they are only doing the will of the people. This is what parents want, they say. Baloney. While there are individuals who support school choice, the overwhelming majority of money behind this movement comes from conservative billionaires actively trying to dismantle the public education system. They want to steal the public system and replace it with a private one. They don’t care about your child. They just want to steal the hundreds of billions of tax dollars we pay to educate our children. This is not philanthropy. It is a business transaction meant to screw you and your child out of your rights.

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Protecting Children From Bad Politics (a note from the Child Welfare League of America)

Protecting Children in Changing Times   Our Children at Risk Never before in the Child Welfare League of America’s (CWLA) 100-year history has there been a higher level of anxiety and uncertainty about the fate and well-being of our children. The plans and policies of the new leadership in Washington, DC, will do egregious damage to social…

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SAFE PASSAGE FOR CHILDREN MN (Federal audit of MN child welfare shows inadequate metrics, resources, quality assurance & training)

If you live and Minnesota and are willing to make time for one trip a year to the Capital in St Paul to speak for a child, there is nothing more meaningful that you could do for at risk children than volunteer with Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota. The appointment with your state legislator/s is arranged by Safe Passage for Children and you are provided a brief outline of the key issues facing abused children for you to share with your legislator.

Meeting time is seldom over 15 minutes but that will be enough time for you to show commitment to children and share the most critical information available with someone who can make a difference in the lives of the children you are advocating for.

Your state legislators actually do listen to you and they care what you have to say. Without your 15 minutes of child advocacy, legislators have little insights into the issues facing abused and neglected children. After all, children have no voice in the homes they are raised in, the media or government (they can’t vote).

Thank you Safe Passage for another powerful day on the hill

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Call For Minnesota Children (pick up the phone – write something) PreK, school readiness, early learning, things kids need

The legislature is back in session after their break. That means we are back to work on advocacy. And thank you for all the contacts you have already made. Time for more.

You may have heard that the conference committee was formed and the conferees were named. Here is what that means. The house education committee has passed their bill. The senate education committee has passed their bill. Some elements in the bills are similar. Some are not. Five senators, and five representatives (the conferees) have been chosen to meet and work out the differences. Then, it will be re-passed in the House and Senate and ready to go to the governor.

The conferees of the E-12 Education Committee are:

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Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Recognition Event – Could Not Have Been Better

CASAMN’s keynote speaker and honored guest Star Tribune investigative journalist Brandon Stahl, was surprised to come face to face with his biggest fan club.
Brandon has been so busy investigating and reporting on Minnesota’s child abuse, child death and child protection news that he was caught off guard by a room full of people

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Tax Cuts To Children (thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN)

Safe Passage for Children really nails it in this short paragraph (below) about how legislators just don’t know what child friendly programs do or how they work. It’s also true that it’s been proven by very conservative people that investing in children is the most effective investment of tax dollars a society can make.

It hurts me that we routinely deny other people’s children daycare, mental health services, food, insurance, early & high quality education and the things children in most other developed nations get lots of. There appears to be little concern about the long term effects or the cost to our community (tax base, jails, school quality, public health and public safety) of allowing at risk youth to pass through childhood without the basic well-being attributes required to cope with life and lead a normal existence. All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children.

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KARA Radio Interview National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (Bill Murray/Mike Tikkanen)

This compelling interview covers the landscape of how abuse and trauma impact children and communities throughout America and shines a spotlight on what has to change to save children and build healthy communities. Bill Murray conducts a powerful in depth review of child protection, Prozac and very young children, foster homes and much more. Click below for the whole show;

Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) – 1678

Tonight’s special guest is Mike Tikkanen from Minnesota, a returning NAASCA family member who founded KARA (“Kids at Risk Action”). He’s also the author of the free book “Invisible Children; the American cycle of abuse and its… more

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Risky Child Protection Practices In MN Persist (thank you Safe Passage For Children MN)

Safe Passage For Children of MN has pointed out today that obvious child protection steps in our state are not being followed and might need legislation to be accomplished. Yes to protecting children and making these changes. Far too many children spend far too many months/years being repeatedly traumatized because our system allows risky practices.

Making the first child protection visit unannounced instead of scheduling it in advance
No longer conducting initial interviews of children in the presence of their alleged abusers
Training workers to do fact-finding

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Critical Perspectives On Child Abuse (updated regularly – send KARA your insights)

Adverse Childhood Experiences ACES NEWS Top notch reporting on research and news about abuse politics, programs and stories locally, nationally and internationally. Current and focused trauma informed news.

Richard Ross has devoted ten years of his life to documenting America’s hidden gulag of 71,000 teenagers in lockdown and solitary confinement. His photographs are eloquent and deeply upsetting.

ACE Study Preview – The most compelling video about child abuse ever. The medical communities elegant effort to reduce 30 years of research into 3 minutes. Powerful.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

FOSTER SHOCK This Frontline quality video documentary uncovers unspeakable failures in Florida’s Privatized Group Homes. THE PASSWORD IS ” foster ” or download the video

Does Your State Have Safe Passage For Children (is there a voice for the safety and well being in your state for at risk children?)

Do Your State Ward Children Have a Voice In the System That Rules Their Lives? (National CASA Here)

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Share Your Views On Child Protection (thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN)

Preferred child protection practices currently allow alleged abusers opportunities to coach and intimidate children before workers can interview them individually. These include giving advance notice of the worker’s visit, and interviewing children in front of their parents as the first step in the process. Safe Passage is weighing state legislation to end these practices

We understand our proposal raises concerns about parental rights.

But consider this: there are no similar situations – such as domestic violence or sexual harassment – where alleged perpetrators are provided access to their purported victims before fact-finding is completed.

We believe keeping children safe takes priority, and that shielding children from potential intimidation gives workers the best chance to get the information needed to protect them.

We welcome your views on this issue. Please share them here.

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A Governor’s Discussion About The Politics Of Children – December 6th 4:30 (be there)

Join us for discussions on the future of early childhood with Minnesota’s next governor!

Hosted at People Serving People – Center of Excellence
2400 Park Ave. South, Minneapolis 55404

Minnesota has made significant progress in investing in our state’s earliest learners, but much work remains. Looking ahead, a new Governor in 2018 will play a pivotal role in deciding the direction and importance of early childhood care and education in Minnesota.

MinneMinds is excited to announce the GOP candidates for governor, to discuss their plans for addressing early childhood issues in our state. These conversations are a great way for advocates, parents, providers, and any Minnesotan interested in the future of early childhood to hear about the priorities of leading candidates for governor.

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