Politics & Children – A Zero Sum Game

A very recent MN Governor (not this one) ended subsidized daycare in the state – the waiting list is now 7000 children.

Two percent of MN children are enrolled in high quality early childhood education programs- the national average is 25% and MN has the lowest rate among the 38 states that offer the programs.

Cutting the pie smaller for children is destructive, leads to failing students and schools, troubled communities, and the highest crime rates in the industrialized world. We talk allot about our state leading the nation in racial disparity but don’t seem to have a handle on how we might change that (Hennepin County arrested 44% of its adult Black men in 2001 – no duplicate arrests).

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Pope Blasts Capitalism

In a new Evangelii Gadium, Pope Francis has condemned doctrinaire capitalism, “deified markets,” trickle-down economics, and the finance industry. He decried the growing gap between the rich and the poor, tax evasion by the wealthy, and characterized ruthless free-market economics as a killer that was inherently sinful.

“I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth,” the pope wrote.

He also launched a broadside against former President Ronald Reagan’s signature economic theory, which continues to serve as conservative Republican dogma.

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” Pope Francis wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

The pope lamented that people had “calmly accepted (the) dominion” of money over themselves and society, which he said was expressed in the recent financial crisis and the continuing promotion of consumer-based economies.

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Pope Francis Has Joined Our Cause (yea for the Catholic Church)

Yesterday, the Pope came out against the Catholic Church’s unfriendly & unproductive public policy of repeatedly attacking the poor, the gay, and women’s rights.

By association, the Republican Party is being incriminated by the Holy Father’s words also for its own similar negative focus.

While it may appear to be muddy water at the moment, it is logical that as LBJ lost the Southern Democrats with his very unpopular civil rights push of the sixties – ruining the Democrats chances of a presidency for many years to come – the Republican Party could very well come out of this current fanatical attack on healthcare and the poor losing not the South or even the nation, but the World.

There is a growing visceral reaction across this nation and I would suggest the planet (at least anywhere people can read and think) against this mean and unfriendly tail wagging what used to be a rather friendly non-biting dog.

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Pounding On Children (the beatings continue)

Because Americans demand that almost every kind of pistol & deadly assault weapon be made available with almost no family or background check, in any quantity, and thousands of rounds of unaccountable ammunition, pretty much guarantees that children will kill themselves and be killed by others as a statistical absolute of the growing carnage that defines our nation.

At the same time, Americans turn their back on more and more poor children every year (we now have the highest child poverty rate in the industrialized world) with inadequate housing, day care, crisis nurseries, nutrition, health care, and especially, mental health care.

Three trillion dollars in the projected next 3 year base cost of war & military in this nation (59 cents out of every tax dollar) should make America the safest nation in the world. It does not.

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Poverty, Structural Racism and Children (thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN)

Today’s Safe Passage short post about the impact of poverty and racism on children hits the nail on the head.  Decades and generations of children living without enough to eat, access to health and mental health care and all the stress that accompanies people in fear of homelessness and hunger.

Does you community accept young children being expelled from daycare and elementary school?  The violence and trauma visited upon us at this time is a direct result of how America treats its children.  Life would be way better for all of us if we cared more for other people’s children.

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Powerful Stories From The Atlantic Journal (here’s a preview)

Working with abused and neglected children and dysfunctional families is complex and grueling and needs more not less understanding and support.

Blaming social workers when a baby is found in a dumpster is not so different for blaming teachers for failed schools.

Troubled students not only don’t learn, they disrupt and make teaching the rest of the class much more difficult.

This is not so different from blaming law enforcement for the boy in the squad car (admit it, that would be ridiculous – but the analogy works in both prior examples).

Support teachers, support social workers, support justice workers. It is very hard work inside of institutions with very bad governance (and that my friends is our fault).

Support KARA’S TPT documentary project to bring these issues into the limelight and help our children get a fair start in life.

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Powerful Video Expose On Drugging 5 & 10 Year Old State Ward Children

This video from Mercury News is the most comprehensive and powerful discussion I have seen on the topic of forcing abused and neglected children to take psychotropic medications.  Remember, state ward children have no voice in this discussion.  These decisions are made for them by a closed system that rarely shares information and by and…

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Practical Strategies for Helping Troubled Adopted Children with Complex Histories: Focus On Anger Issues with Dr. Richard J. Delaney

Minnesota Adoption Resource Network Announces August Webinar Wednesday, August 25, 2010 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Many adopted children are “multiply impacted” by prenatal exposure to drugs, and/or alcohol, by neglect and deprivation, complex trauma such as chronic child physical and sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, separation from or loss of significant other, and/or…

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Preteen Moms & Why (stories & statistics)

May had her first child while living as a state ward in a group home when she was 16 and her second child when she was 18 before aging out of foster care.

Her mother was 17 when May was born.

Her grandmother was even younger when May’s mother was born. How old will her daughter be when she has her first baby?

Abused children suffer traumas that last forever and leave a child feeling devoid of love with an emotional void that cannot be filled by social workers, teachers or kind foster parents.

All girls want love in their life. A baby is love. The difference between that poor child and a preteen mom with no parenting skills, a drug problem and a violent boyfriend is about 8 years.

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Preventing Child Abuse During the Lockdown of Covid19

What’s it like for stressed out families living with the profound and immediate changes that keep our children out of school, parents out of work and the pervasive fear of the Covid19 virus?

Social distancing, stay at home orders and fear are driving up 911 calls and police departments are having a hard time responding adequately.  In France, the government is paying for hotel rooms for victims of domestic violence and providing pop-up counseling centres due to the soaring numbers of abuse calls…

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Preventing Child Torture (thank you Safe Passage for Children)

Government overreach or a child’s right to not be tortured? If you have been a foster or adoptive parent or someone who has worked with children abused to the point a judge removes them from their home, you know what awful things have happened to the child and how it ruins a life.

Today, Safe Passage for Children of MN has powerful thoughts about how to prevent child torture*.

*The World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

All the children in my caseload as a volunteer CASA guardian ad litem were tortured.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Prevention – Early Intervention – thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN

Keeping children with their families through early intervention (a very big deal).

These bills at the State Legislature can help make that happen – Tune into this Safe Passage for Children webinar here for the update on the session and the intervention & support services being proposed to make it happen.

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Privatized Juvenile Prisons – Kids For Cash The Movie (watch the trailer)

KIds For Cash the movie is a documentary about two Pennsylvania Judges who were imprisoned for 40 years because they sentenced thousands of innocent juveniles to prison for 2.5 million dollars in kickbacks. This movie captures the devastating impact imprisonment has on youth and the dangers of privatized facilities. Watch the trailer here.

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Progress & Next Steps in County Child Protection (thank you SafePassageForChildren)

This week the Hennepin County Oversight Committee reviewed efforts by child protection managers to implement recommendations in the Casey Report, which was critical of the program.

Progress was reported for example in rolling out a 24/7 child protection response, and adding screening and investigation staff.

In another part of this hearing, Casey staff presented a draft child protection ‘Practice Model’. While it identified child safety as the paramount responsibility of the program, much of the language – as Commissioner Mike Opat and others pointed out – echoed the old Family Assessment philosophy, which is weighted towards the needs and preferences of parents.

The final version of this practice model should reflect more clearly the priority that recent changes in state law and recommended practices gave to child safety and well-being.

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Project Unbreakable

Grace Brown created “Project Unbreakable” in October, 2011, and the tumblog appears to really be gathering momentum. The idea: “Use photography to help heal those who were sexually abused by asking them to write a quote from their attacker on a poster and photographing them holding the poster.”

So many stories from so many different people. Men, too, not only women. I was so moved by this post, which includes both a photograph and an audio narrative by an elderly woman who was sexually abused as a 12-year-old girl during World War II in Germany. Do listen to her story.

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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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Prosecuting Legislators (can this work?)

A single Minneapolis hospital, HCMC sees 800 to 1000 emergency psychiatric visits a month (one of many metro hospitals).

There have never been enough beds and there will never be enough Prozac to humanely treat the people suffering from terrifying mental health problems.

When 6 year old foster child Kendrea Johnson suicided by hanging, her grandmother sued the County. After Jeff Weis shot dead his grandfather, himself and 8 others at Red Lake MN the community built a modern mental health facility so that it wouldn’t happen again.

The only stories that come to our attention are the most horrific.

There are thousands of stories left unknown except to the DHS staff, social workers and law enforcement, foster and adoptive parents, teachers & health workers dealing with severe, chronic and often dangerous people that would benefit with the help we are talking about.

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Protect Children In the Justice System

Support youth reentry – An estimated 100,000 people under the age of 18 have left secure facilities only to turn around and reenter the system. The report says, “Youth are often discharged from care back to families struggling with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unresolved mental health disabilities.” Also highlighted is the issue of public safety being compromised when the released youth is not afforded necessary planning and supportive services.
NJJDCP”s full report and recommendations can be viewed at:http://promotesafecommunities.org/images/pdfs/NJJDPC_RecstoCongress_03122013_web.pdf?utm_source=Copy+of+NJJDP+Report+-Congress&utm_campaign=WNR+2-8-2013&utm_medium=email

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Protect Our Kids Act Passed By Congress (with tiny funding; 2M)

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I am critical of the lack of protection (concern) this nation has for its most vulnerable citizens. Other than the “Imminent Harm Doctrine” which allows the court to take children from life threatening circumstances, there is no federal protection for children in this nation. This is a step in the right direction. Thank you Texas Rep Lloyd Doggett for introducing this bill.

From the Alliance for Children & Families website;

The law creates a national commission to examine child fatalities, which the findings state are both preventable and significantly underreported, while the states lack a national standard for reporting. In previous hearings, members of Congress heard testimony about the significant gaps in reporting that prevent effective policies and practices from being implemented.

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