A MN guardian ad-Litem speaks to Montana about child abuse.

Law enforcement officials said statistics show survivors of child abuse or neglect are likely to commit a violent crime later in life. A new strategy is being developed to stop both.

In 2010, Montana received nearly $3 million in grants to battle child abuse and neglect. “I’ve been around this business for over twenty years, and I’ve seen some pretty sad cases, and it’s just not good. If we can prevent even one case, then we’re doing our job. I think with a program like this we’re going to see more prevention,” Sheriff Mike Linder said.

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Good-By CASA?

Society has an obligation to abused and neglected children. Caring for them is our collective responsibility.
So why does the Administration’s current budget proposal end federal funding of the Victims of Child Abuse Act?
The ratio of expenses to overhead for CASA is among the best in the nonprofit world. A single dollar invested in CASA programs yields $23.40 in savings in the foster care and child welfare system.
So why would anyone allow the $12 million in funding CASA receives through the Victims of Child Abuse Act to just disappear?

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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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From Child Welfare In The News

AZ: Money for foster care in Arizona could be cut by more than half

ABC15.com April 18, 2012

The Chandler couple doesn’t understand why state lawmakers would even consider a 60 percent cut to Child Protective Services.

Under one of the two proposed budgets, $49 million used for monthly expenses would be slashed.

The Bartos said their monthly allowance was already cut by 20 percent a year and half ago.

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_southeast_valley/chandler/money-for-foster-care-in-arizona-could-be-cut-by-more-than-half

AZ: Arizona CPS seeing increase in child-abuse reports

Associated Press April 18, 2012

A record-high number of child abuse reports in Arizona has led the state’s child welfare agency to turn to a special investigative team to help with case management, officials said Wednesday.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/04/18/20120418arizona-cps-seeing-increase-child-abuse-reports.html

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Child Trauma Academy Newsletter

Symposium on Child Trauma in the Public Sector: May 31 – June 1, 2012

“Many children experience stressful events that challenge their coping resources. Some children experience a single harrowing event or multiple adverse events which impact their development and their behavior. Everyone whose work brings them into the lives of children needs to understand the latest research and policies regarding child trauma.”

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Institutional Bullying & Suicide; Bishop Gene Robinson

An increasingly popular bumper sticker reads, “Guns Don’t Kill People — RELIGION Kills People!” In light of recent events I would add religion kills young people: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people.

Perhaps not directly, though.

And religion is certainly not the only source of anti-gay sentiment in the culture. But it’s hard to deny that religious voices denouncing LGBT people contribute to the atmosphere in which violence against LGBT people and bullying of LGBT youth can flourish.

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Guardian ad-Litem Training

My second guardian ad-Litem case was a 7 year old boy (Andy) taken from his crack using mom at birth (she had spent 90% of her life institutionalized). He was raised by a loving foster family to the age of four & then the judge returned him to his father – even though the father had a court order to stay away from young boys because of what he did to them.

Andy was covered in bruises when he became my guardian ad-Litem case in 1996. He had been tied to a bed, sexually abused, beaten, and starved for four years.

What’s it like to be four years old, beat up, left alone in an apartment for days at a time, no food, & no place to turn for help . My young friend developed many troublesome behaviors, received no consistent mental health therapy and way too many psychotropic meds.

He once asked me as we play miniature golf, “when will I be normal”?

A few years later he asked me to support him in his request of the County for a sex change operation. Guardian ad-Litem training did not prepare me for these questions. We still talk, 16 years later; he has AIDS now & has not lived a happy life.

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The Commonality Of Child Sex Abuse

Like many small towns and families, people do not like to deal with child sexual assault and child abuse, in their communities and/or in their homes.

Despite the fact, that 1 in 3 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will be abused before their eighteenth birthday; despite the fact that only 10% tell and the other 90% are still living in a cloak of denial and secracy; despite the fact that 5 children die a day, due to child abuse and child sexual assualt!

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The State Of American Schools (& Stop Blaming Teachers)

Average reading level of America’s Senior High Students; 5th grade proficiency

Math questions for Georgia grade school children;

“Each tree had 56 oranges,” the first question starts. “If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”

The next question went a step further, referencing violence. “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?”

Hiding the truth about Georgia’s terrible test results (teaching teachers to lie)

Science in Tennessee public schools (soon Indiana, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, & Missouri) GOD Made It All

Not one third of Kansas City’s elementary students read at grade level.

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The Laws We Live By

George Zimmerman, If not prosecuted in Florida for killing 14 year old Trayvon Martin, opens a whole new world of hate, violence, & death for America’s children.

Similar to Brazilian police hatefully murdering street children last year, American vigilantes can now murder at will the children they deem not fit to live. The harm will fall mostly on poor Blacks & Hispanics if history is an indicator.

Now that virtually anyone can conceal and carry a gun on the street in America, the fact that a self-defense claim works in all instances means that murder is a much easier crime to commit.

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Stop The Rape & Abuse of America’s Children – Get Involved In Invisible Children’s Mission

WOW & amazement for Jason Russell’s Invisible Children Campaign to stop Joseph Kony’s rape & militarization of voiceless Ugandan children.

What a terrific example of what one person (Jason) can do.

It is stunning that in just a few short years www.InvisibleChildren.com (not Invisiblechildren.org )has raised the awareness of millions of Americans to the tragedy taking place in Africa destroying the lives of thousands of Northern Ugandan children.

Jason’s efforts are absolute proof that individuals can create powerful change. KARA would like to accomplish a similar change for America’s abused & neglected children.

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Child Abuse & The Most Powerful Suicide Note Ever

Of the children I’ve worked with as a guardian ad-Litem, a high percentage of them have been sexually abused. I have seen the horror of child sex abuse and how 10 or 25 years later, a troubled being still fighting the darkness every day.

Child sex abuse may be the most under-reported crime in America. It could also be the most under-treated horror in America. As a guardian ad-Litem, my first visit to a hospital suicide ward to visit a four year old girl that had been horribly abused was never made public, or when I worked with the seven year old that had been prostituted, or any of the family members that practiced child sex abuse.

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Bad Teacher, It’s All Your Fault

As a longtime volunteer (CASA) guardian ad-Litem, I observed how really troubled children behave in school & understand just how impossible they can be in a classroom. Suicidal behavior, sex in school, stabbing, biting, & other violence were common among them.

The blaming of teachers for poor student performance or failing schools is working directly against the possible fixing of the problem. Just like social workers, they are attacked from all sides, provided inadequate resources to do the job & expected to manage the unmanageable.

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Thank You Judge Kevin Burke

Judge Keven Burke shares a letter from an 8 year old outlining his plans to escape with his toddler brother should the parents reunite (the swearing & fighting are violent & unbearable).

I’ve written about the 7 year old that hung himself and left a note & the 4 year old I visited at the suicide ward in Fairview hospital (as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem).

Judge Burke quotes children that are not in the child protection system & draws our attention to the needs (and I would offer “civil rights”) of the large numbers of children that suffer because their communities don’t offer effective child protection services.

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Shout Out To Mitch Daniels & the YMCA Volunteers With Special Needs Kids I saw this morning.

A different kind of shout out to Mitch Daniels (Indiana’s Governor) for Terminating the state adoption subsidies to 500 families that adopted special needs children based on the state’s promise of transportation & other specialized needs help these children lead more normal lives.

What a cruel & possibly illegal act.

I met with adoptive families in Indiana a few months ago & don’t understand why a class action lawsuit has not graced this state’s heartless & hypocritical legislature. Could they even be sued personally by the children & families that executed adoptions based on existing legal documents?

This was a direct promise from the state to lower & middle income families that have put their future on the line because they saw a great need abandoned children (wards of the state) were facing because of mental or physical health issues and parental neglect & abuse .

What a cruel & illegal act to break that promise.

Call Mitch Daniels 317-232-4567 & James Payne 317.234.139 & ask them if they can imagine what it’s like to be a 12 year old adopted child with disabilities knowing that you are a burden to your adopted family because the state redirected funds promised your new family for your education, transportation, & well being.

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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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Sports, & Entertainment Vs Children, Education, & Public Safety

The largest public subsidy in Minnesota history was the Northwest Airlines subsidy in the mid 1990s. The NWA subsidy amounted to around $600 million. In 1992, NWA employed around 11,000 people in the state; average salary of $40,000 a year.

The Vikings directly employ fewer than 130 people, only a handful of which work year-round, and 53 of whom are athletes.

The Metrodome employs 19 full-time workers.

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Save Enormous Downstream Costs (Listen Carefully To David Strand’s Advice)

Compared to woeful neglect of the needs of young families in the US and Minnesota, this study revealed the success of preventative public policies that provide universal health care, universal maternity leave, and universal access to professionally staffed nursery school. This is developmental child care, not custodial care so often chosen here because it costs less. Taxpayers would be saved enormous downstream costs by the judicious use of preventative and developmental care for young, struggling families.

An example documented in Minnesota is the research done by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank under the direction of economist Art Rolnick. His team found that there is no better return to the taxpayer than the investment in high quality early childhood education. When our lawmakers intentionally ignore this highly relevant research, they do a disservice to their constituents. This is an example benchmarking, the difference between operating expenses and investments and also the value of resisting the temptation of ruinous short term gain.

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Lying To Ourselves About Caring, Children, & Religion

Jeremy Olson’s hard hitting piece in today’s Star Tribune about this communities not caring enough for children to provide them with essential services to lead a normal life starts a badly needed conversation.

The child protection program he writes about came into play a few years ago when the County budget got tight & workers were given no other option but to not answer the phone & offer services instead of removing children from toxic environments (far fewer calls are investigated than were a few years ago – see Indiana – Wisconsin – almost any other Southern State).

Toxic environment means something different to a child protection worker than it does to someone unfamiliar with child abuse. My first visit to a 4 year old as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem was the suicide ward at Fairview hospital.

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Making A Difference; Foster & Adoptive Families

Yesterday’s passing of Marilyn Olson tugs at my heart & prompts me to remember all the good that comes from foster & adoptive moms & dads working everyday to make life better for abused & neglected children.

Marilyn welcomed more than 100 children into her home over 50 years and impacted the lives of generations of at risk children who have and will go on to have their own happy families.

She has a special place in many hearts as do all of you who open your homes and lives to vulnerable children.

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Thank You Colorado Springs Gazette For Your Excellent Child Protection Reporting

A three-part series where The Gazette explores how the child protection system works, how El Paso County ranks in terms of child abuse and how child neglect differs from child abuse in the eyes of prosecutors who handle the cases.

• Chidl protection system isn’t flawless

• Not all child abuse referrals become cases

• Child abuse cases likely to land in family court

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It Can’t Happen Here (it Does happen here)

State probation agents made three visits since mid-December to the Madison, Wis., house where prosecutors say a 15-year-old girl was tortured, starved and abused by her parents and stepbrother, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The girl was found barefoot in pajamas Feb. 6 by a neighbor outside the Southeast Side house. Her stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton; father, Chad Chritton; and stepbrother, Joshua Drabek, were charged Thursday with various counts related to child abuse.

According to a criminal complaint, the girl was forced to live in an unfinished basement, scavenge food from the garbage and eat her own feces.

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Adoptees Have Answers – Best Org Ever

HA recently launched an online support group open to Minnesota adoptees and fosterees over age 18. Registered members are able to interact with one another 24/7 using the discussion board. Adoptees Julie Hart and Amy Fjellman facilitate the group, ‘live’, the first Tuesday of every month from 6 to 7 p.m. CST and check in with the discussion postings periodically. This is a secure environment that generates anonymous usernames to protect the privacy of its members. If you would like the join the conversation, visit this link to fill out four simple questions: We look forward to meeting you!

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