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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Domestic Violence Through A Five Year Old’s Eyes

Dr. Phil referenced this video on the reality of how domestic violence impacts a child. In America, a child watching her mother being beaten or raped does not qualify for child protection services.

A few decades ago in Minnesota, a once progressive state, changed child protection statutes to allow children subjected to horrible domestic violence to be reported as abused (and receive some relief).

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Following Up On The 7 Year Old Foster Boy That Hung Himself & Left An Anti-Prozac Note

The recent 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 is a snapshot of what’s wrong with mental health services for abused & neglected children. Just a few months ago Abbott Laboratories paid 1.6 billion dollars for off label marketing its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. Glaxo was sued in 2004 by New York State over Paxil’s criminal marketing of psychotropics.

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According To The Numbers, Child Abuse In MN; Safe Passage For Children

The OLA report did confirm that Minnesota screens in only about 32% of reports of maltreatment compared to 62% for other states. We have a correspondingly lower rate for determining whether abuse or neglect did in fact occur. Does Minnesota simply do a better job of screening and investigating, or are we leaving too many abused children in harm’s way?

At the next step in the process, 70% of families screened in statewide are now diverted to a voluntary program called Family Assessment. In Hennepin County a Citizen’s Review Panel found that 75% of these families are not even offered services, and only 17% end up receiving them. So even when children finally get the attention of a child protection worker, they seldom get services. Is this how it works in all counties? We don’t know, because local agencies do not capture consistent information on what happens in Family Assessment cases.

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America The Beautiful (unless you’re born an at risk child)

Based on the study’s data, more than 80 percent of juveniles who enter the criminal justice system early in life have at some point belonged to a gang. Seventy percent of men and 40 percent of women have used a firearm. The average age of first gun use is 14. At any given time, 20 percent are incarcerated.

Unemployment is rampant: 71 percent of the men and 59 percent of the women are without jobs as adults. Of the 1,829 youths originally enrolled in the study, 119 have died, most of them violently — a death rate three to five times as high as the one for Cook County men in the same age group over all and four times as high as the one for women. In all, 130 have been shot, shot at, stabbed or otherwise violently attacked. As a group, they show high rates of post-traumatic stress, depression and other psychiatric disorders.

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A Law Late In Coming, Not Enough, But Glad It’s Here (Thank You Governor Mark Dayton)

In my experience, in the cases above for example, none of the people in the child protection system recommended bringing charges against the perpetrators because the damaged very young children would have had to testify in these trials (and children make terrible witnesses as they are easily confused and their testimonies are almost always useless).

As the guardian ad-Litem on these cases, I was told by the judges & my superiors that my choice was to remove the children from the home (and away from the perpetrator) with good odds of winning the long term safety of the children, or to go to battle with a 5 or 7 year old as my witness against a legal system stacked against the child.

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Abused Children In MN

Help prevent child abuse and neglect

Although not every Minnesotan is by law a mandated reporter, Minnesotans are greatly encouraged to report suspected child abuse and neglect to their county social service agency or law enforcement agency, and help in the following ways:

• Host neighborhood/community conversations and small get-togethers about how to strengthen and support families

• Reach out and connect parents to local resources, including parenting education programs, mental health/chemical health counseling, childcare, or financial assistance

• Provide support to your stressed, overworked, tired neighborhood parents by baby-sitting, inviting their children over to play, helping the youth with homework or volunteer to help out at school functions

• Join, or start, a local child abuse prevention council

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CASA Fundraiser Date Change (Save the Date – Auction Items Needed)

CASA Minnesota www.CASAMN.org is holding our annual fundraising dinner in mid January 10, 2013 (Thursday) in Minneapolis and we are seeking donations for our silent auction. Funds raised support CASA’s Guardian ad Litem program which helps families and children in need right here in Minnesota.

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 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.

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The Worst State To Be A Child In America

If you live in a state where children are 8 times more likely to be incarcerated (Wyoming), 13 times more likely to die from abuse & neglect (Oklahoma), twice as likely to die in their first year, 3 times more likely to die between 1 and 14 years old, 3 times more likely to die between the ages of 15-19, (Alaska, South Dakota, Louisiana), 3 times more likely to be born to a teenage mom (Texas), 5 times more likely to have received late or no prenatal care (New Mexico),

Would you forward this email to your state representative, Governor, Mayor, Senators, and your friends, neighbors, and relatives?

Maybe one more influential person would vote for child friendly programs that would result in one more child gaining access to programs/people/policies that would put her on the path to coping skills and a productive life instead of preteen motherhood, adolescent felonies, and dysfunctional lifestyles.

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Indiana Update (current child protection news – thanks again Mitch Daniels)

IN: The politics of children and family services
Governing – October 09, 2012
Protecting kids and trying to preserve families isn’t only the hardest job in government, it’s by far the most politically dangerous. In resigning, Payne joins an ever-growing list of first-rate leaders in the human services field who were either fired or driven from office thanks to politics and a brutal and often purposefully ignorant press.
http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/col-politics-children-family-services.html

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A Great Minnesota Network: Minnesota Adoption Resource Network

Zero Kids Waiting is the monthly eNewsletter of Minnesota Adoption Resource Network, a 32-year old organization that creates and supports lifelong nurturing families for children needing permanency. As an email subscriber to Zero Kids Waiting, you will receive a monthly update about what our organization and others are doing to promote adoption of Minnesota children and teens.

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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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Arkansas Politics; Death Penalty For Rebellious Children, Charlie Fuqua & His Bible

The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellioius children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21:

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What David Brooks Didn’t Say

FYI, the World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence & deprivation”. Every child in my CASA guardian ad-Litem caseload suffered from being tortured (half of them had been sexually abused). This explains why children in child protection suffer from PTSD at twice the rate soldiers returning from Iraq & Afghanistan do, why 2/3 of the youth in juvenile justice have mental health diagnosis (and why fully half of them have multiple, serious, & chronic diagnosis) & why 80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives.

Mr. Brooks, please continue your research & writing on this issue because no other big time news people are & this is why our prisons are full, schools are troubled, & so many communities are becoming unlivable (Flint Michigan no longer has a police presence after 5pm – and they really need one).

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Speaking From The Heart In Reno

Wow & Thank You CASA Reno for the opportunity to give the keynote talk at your CASA volunteer recognition dinner. Cathy & I had the pleasure of getting to know your very fun city & many of your committed & engaged child protection volunteers.

High energy, an elegant atmosphere, combined with a terrific dinner, a very professional video tribute to volunteers, and superbly executed silent auction made the “Speaking From The Heart” event a most memorable experience.

My best wishes and admiration for CASA Reno & all of the dedicated individuals that make your organization a necessary & powerful voice for Nevada’s vulnerable children.

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Washoe County Nevada CASA Recognition Dinner Weds Sept 19th Keynote Speaker Mike Tikkanen

The Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA), a national organization that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to represent abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings, is honoring Washoe County volunteers at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at the 2012 Speaking From The Heart recognition dinner.
The event, held at Silver Legacy Resort Casino, recognizes the hours volunteers devote to children in need in the legal and social services system. The nonprofit says volunteers often remain the one constant in kids lives until placed in a safe, permanent home.

There will be a no-host cocktails and a silent auction. Dinner begins at 7:15 p.m. with keynote speaker Mike Tikkanen to follow. Cost: $80 per person. Details: Washoe County CASA Foundation, 775-233-5849.

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Great CASA story

The hoped-for goal in all such cases is that parents repair the damage in their lives and get their children back. The hoped-for goal is that the children no longer need a guardian ad litem.

By taking the children on outings, Melchiorre worries that he could give them things that their parents couldn’t match. It also could enforce their perception of Melchiorre as a kind of surrogate grandpa who will be in their lives forever, when their parents may not even want that. He’s not about to hurry them off to Disney World. “It’s a fine line,” he said, “you don’t want to overstep.”

Suzanne Parker, guardian ad litem program director, said she’s gratified to hear that Melchiorre has concerns. “I love it when we have people who really think how their actions affect others,” she said.

She wishes she had more like him. She’s trying to find 400 new volunteers.

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Cruel & False Savings Are Cheating America’s Abused & Neglected Children (again)

Because the State refused to spend the $500 to do a basic background check on his father before assigning dad custody, even though dad had a court order in an adjacent state forbidding him from being around young boys because of what he did to them and even though dad had spent 2/3’s of his adult life in prison, Andy (the child) was taken from a loving foster home to spend 4 years (from 4 to 7 years of age) sexually abused, beaten and starved by his biological father. From 4 to 7 years old, Andy was left alone in an apartment for days at a time without food or drink, tied to a bed.

Bruised from head to toe when dad finally brought him to school (at 7 years old), placed into child protection services and not treated for mental health issues, Andy became a very disturbed young man.

Prozac, Ritalin, & other psychotropic medications, multiple suicide attempts and intermittent months of sporadic & very expensive “suicide watch” therapy (including airplane trips to emergency facilities) & group homes were the State’s underfunded, misguided attempts to manage a terrifically damaged beautiful young boy were too little and too late.

Andy has been a ward of the state now for 16 years & will most likely remain a ward of the state for the rest of his life.

If he lives to 60, he could be a 10 to 20 million dollar burden to the state, without calculating any amount for his violence, the people he hurts, & the damage he does.

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Best Interests Of The Child; ICWA, Politics, & Media

It’s obvious to almost anyone that reads this article that the best interests of the child weren’t even considered when Sierra Goodman was ripped from the Campbell’s adoptive home by ICWA. It was a home she loved and flourished in.

But the best interests of ICWA were not being served, as is again the case with baby Veronica Rose in the same disturbingly anti child court case being held in South Carolina.

Living in 20 foster homes, passing through 13 schools, and leading a tortured life, Sierra Goodman, now 28 is allowing her story to be told in the hopes of bettering the lives of the many children passing through child protection systems that are not allowed to consider the “best interests of the child” when ICWA is involved.

What have we become to use children as a football to advance out political and institutional objectives above and beyond their own precious souls?

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Everything Seems To Be Wrong With Them; The Other America

It is a very rare child that can walk from traumatic abuse into a classroom and just “be normal”. The biology of trauma means physiological change happens. Before a human being can proceed to the next level of growth, like sitting for 8 hours a day in a classroom & passively soaking in lesson after lesson while interacting normally with other children, adults, and figures of authority, real healing needs to happen.

I have seen very competent extremely committed foster and adoptive parents come unglued when faced with the insanity shown by 5, 7, and 9 year olds who have been tortured. The World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

All of the 50 children I worked with as a CASA volunteer had “extended exposure to violence and deprivation” (about half of them had been sexually abused, some as young as 2).

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Indiana’s At Risk Children & Governor Mitch Daniels;

efforts of a governor currying political favor at the cost of poor young lives.
Mitch Daniels needs to be identified for his personal policies ruining young lives; these policies are at the same time costing the state more money than useful and promising policies would.
By eliminating funds guaranteed to families adopting special needs children, he put the state in the precarious position of defending lawsuits and made the adopting of special needs children a giant problem in the years to come (who will adopt Indiana’s special needs children next year?)
These are recent Indiana child protection headlines for the State Of Indiana;

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Get The Word Out For Invisible Children

Click on this link to request that libraries carry KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN book & raise awareness for at risk children http://www.hclib.org/pub/search/suggestionforpurchase.cfm

Title; Invisible Children Author; Mike Tikkanen Publisher; Expert Publishing, Andover MN

Book & audiobook ISBN 13: 978-1-931945-34-9 ebook ISBN 978-0-9825912-7-7

PRICE; $16.95 (book), $24.95 (audiobook), $2.99 (ebook) FORMAT; BOOK, AUDIOBOOK, & EBOOK

http://www.hclib.org/pub/search/suggestionforpurchase.cfm

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