Children Living Under Bridges

Because of the media’s coverage of dog food eating seniors living under bridges, Bud and Margaret were able to live a clean, modest lifestyle and not die in the pain and disgrace of poverty, living in tents or under bridges.

Today, America has children living under bridges (lots of them).

The number of homeless students attending Duluth public schools jumped 21% this year (a statewide trend and worse in many parts of the nation).

Among the *industrialized nations, (the 24 nations with long established infrastructures and democracies) the U.S. ranks number 1 in child poverty with 23% of our children living in poverty.

Homeless children are 3 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those living at home. Homeless children find it much harder to succeed in school or in life and their delinquency & crimes rates are far higher than the general population.

There is not a religion on the planet that abandons children & those people claiming there is do not have real religion (point that out to them).

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Foster Care & Prostitution, A Terrible Relationship

The following LA Times article establishes the fact that most of the prostitutes in Los Angeles have been foster children. This rings true to me for two reasons;

1) About half the kids in my volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem cases had been sexually abused (and that lasts forever),

&

2) The most recent national data shows that 80% of of children aging out of foster care are leading dysfunctional lives. Los Angeles is now transferring the the responsibility for juvenile prostitutes from the criminal justice system to the foster care system.

Another sad statistic is that 25% of America’s juveniles are tried in adult courts, & as former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice has stated, “90% of the youth in the juvenile justice system have passed through child protection service”.

What more proof do we need to establish that American institutions are producing exactly that which they were designed to stop?

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Bastards; How Yesterday’s Rejection Of The Disabilities Treaty Damages America’s Children

Even after a wheelchair delivered heartfelt plea from 89 year old, handicapped, former Senator Bob Dole, our U.S. senate rejected the UN treat to ban discrimination against people with disabilities.

The reason given was that acceptance would “infringe on American sovereignity”.

The real reason is that we would have to agree to the International Rights of the Children Treaty and quit training American 12 year old’s as soldiers like the rest of the world has.

America is the ONLY nation to not sign the Rights of The Children Treaty (Somalia doesn’t count because it does not have a functioning government).

The rest of the world (200 + nations) agrees that it is wrong to train children as young as 12 as soldiers.

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Thank You Houston Texan Receiver Andre Johnson

Wow, what a swell guy and great example for the rest of us; Andre bought $19,521 worth of Toys R Us gifts for children in Child Protective Services today. Here’s the link (you can see the very long receipt).

I like his message too;

“A lot of these kids get discouraged because of where they grew up and things like that. I grew up in a single-parent home and I was fortunate to achieve my goals. So, whatever goals you have, just keep them out in front of you, don’t let anybody distract you away from them, because there will be distractions that try to detour you away from your goals. That’s the biggest thing.”

Pass it on to your friends (it may give them ideas)

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Another Asset For Protecting Children; The Law

Perhaps one of the best things that ever happened to foster care in Mississippi was a class-action lawsuit initiated by an advocacy group some 1,200 miles away.

Since its 2004 filing, Olivia Y. v. Barbour has shaken the state’s system to its core, not only revamping procedures and policies aimed at bolstering children’s safety and the reunification of families but also restructuring the environment of those working to make those goals happen.

“It’s not what it used to be,” said Hollye Alvarado, a family protection worker with the Division of Family and Children’s Services of the Mississippi Department of Human Services Region VI. “I definitely wouldn’t have been here without the lawsuit because there’s so many positive changes from it.

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Promoting Prisons As Public Policy

I recently toured Richard Ross Juvenile In Justice museum display in Reno NV. Heart rending photos of ten and twelve year old children in America’s justice system. So powerfully does his photographers eye catch the meaning of former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz statement that “The difference between that poor child & a felon is about 8 years”.

Chief Justice Blatz other quote hangs with me also, “90 % of the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection services”, reminds me of just how much trauma has been suffered by abused and neglected children & how by not helping them we pretty much guarantee a pipeline to prison for them and the dangerous streets & failing schools that they leave along the way.

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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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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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