RECENT DOCUMENTARY INTERVIEWS (Brandon Stahl)

KARA’s interview of Star Tribune reporter Brandon Stahl was riveting. The discovery process that Brandon followed to unearth the tragedy that was Eric Dean’s life and death is a compelling drama all by itself. When he got to the part about reviewing the autopsy photos of this traumatized and tortured four year old boy Brandon choked up (as did everyone else on the set).

We the public will never see those photos. These pictures were deemed to be too disturbing to print (we need to be protected from the actual photos of what happened to Eric Dean). The public’s memory of little Eric Dean is the smiling boy in colorful clothes with bite marks on his face and a broken arm.

Brandon’s description of the autopsy photos reminded me of the seven year old guardian ad-Litem case child that had spent four years tied to bed, sexually abused, beaten and starved and covered from head to foot with bruises, welts, and cuts when he entered child protection. My little friend is alive today, but he carries his many mental and physical traumas with him every where he goes. None of the horrid stories I encountered as a guardian ad-Litem ever made the paper.

Brandon explained what it’s like to get information from agencies that would rather not give it. He pointed out that the average person would most likely become frustrated and give up as the process is very tedious, very frustrating, and very expensive.
This story would not have ever made the newspaper if the Star Tribune had not supported Brandon with thousands of dollars to spend on the simple information requests that allowed this reporter to piece together the complex series of events that lead to the murder of a four year old little boy over a two year period. Each report of Eric’s abuse (15) by mandated reporters, what steps were taken by the County to see that the child was safe (one ineffective/useless family assessment where the question of whether the boy had been abused was never raised).

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RECENT DOCUMENTARY INTERVIEWS (David Strand)

The most disturbing realization from my interview with David Strand is the difference between America’s loud and persistent rhetoric about how “valuable” our children are and how our public policies actually treat them.

We have the highest rate of child poverty among the industrialized nations, charge 25% of our youth in adult courts (just recently quit executing juveniles), and have no meaningful public policy for child safety outside of the “Imminent Harm Doctrine” (which allows a judge to remove a child when his/her life is endangered by their caregivers).

If you want to know how other industrialized nations value children, ask David Strand. David helped form public policy for children over the ten years he lived in Europe. When he returned to the U.S. he wrote an in depth evaluation of the vast difference in public policy towards children between the U.S. and the other 23 advanced nations that we had historically compared ourselves to. NATION OUT OF STEP was the title of his book and it clearly articulated the falling quality of life measurements resulting from failed or non existent public policies regarding how AMERICA treats its children.

If America wants its schools to compete, prisons and crime to shrink, and build a healthier and more capable citizenry, David makes clear that none of this can happen without functioning public policies that address the safety and well-being of children.

Strand spent time as a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem and became familiar with the depth and scope of the problems facing at risk children in his home state (MN). His observations about just how out of whack our public policies are towards children and young families go a long way towards explaining why we have ten times the crime and ten times the prison populations of most other advanced nations. David knows Art Rolnick and Art’s work at the Federal Reserve bank in 2003 defining the high rate of return on investments in programs that promote healthy children.

Perhaps the most painful recognition I came away from this ninety minute interview that it is common for other industrialized nations to use America as an example of what not to do. They don’t want bigger prison systems, more crime and failing schools and they will vote for whatever it takes to not have those our failures.

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Recent International Child Protection News

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and  attention to our youngest and most vulnerable  citizens. This is only a sampling of what should be reported –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported. ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN –  Join The KARA Team (and…

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Recent KARA Media

Part 1 of a 3 part series looking into Child Abuse and the Child Welfare System. This episode we are joined by Mike Tikkanen, world leader in advocacy for abused children. He explains the state of the system, the secrecy and lack of transparency inherent in the system and why it is a widespread phenomena.

Hear Episode and Read Article

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Recent Mental Health Guidelines For Psychotropic Medications and Three Year Olds (I certainly don’t like them)

MN DHS, MN legislature, treatment guidelines, collaborative psychiatric consultation, high dose ADHD & sga drugs, medical assistance, fee for service, add protocol, pediatricians, family practice physicians, psychiatrists, child protection, state ward children, gabriel myers

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Recent MN Child Abuse In The News (would daycare or crisis nurseries have prevented these sad stories?)

1.16.16 Minneapolis, Reggie Delaine Harper pleads guilty to intentional murder of 23 month old infant son because the baby was crying (Reggie had been reported at least 3 times for prior child abuse).

1.8.16 Minneapolis Father arrested in assault of 21 month old Rae’Ana Hall

1.6.16 Ramsey County, Austiin Gustafson pleads guilty to killing 3 month old

1.5.16 Minneapolis, 22 month old Rae’Ana Hall in critical condition with life threatening injuries (broken ribs, fractured pelvis and head injuries apparentlyh the cause of a strong force) while in the care of her father.

1.5.16 MN Vikings Adrian Peterson reflects on violent death of his 2 year old son, beating his boy and violence in his own life. USA Today

1.4.16 St Cloud 22 month old Billy Rebel Chapman Died of multiple blunt-force injuries & being investigated as a homicide. Star Tribune

12.30.15 Blooming Prairie MN Cory Stucky Charged in alcohol related manslaughter death of 8 week old son Myles Stucky.

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Recent MN Child Protecton Stories

.8.16 Minneapolis Father arrested in assault of 21 month old Rae’Ana Hall

1.6.16 Ramsey County, Austiin Gustafson pleads guilty to killing 3 month old

1.5.16 Minneapolis, 22 month old Rae’Ana Hall in critical condition with life threatening injuries (broken ribs, fractured pelvis and head injuries apparentlyh the cause of a strong force) while in the care of her father.

1.5.16 MN Vikings Adrian Peterson reflects on violent death of his 2 year old son, beating his boy and violence in his own life. USA Today

1.4.16 St Cloud 22 month old Billy Rebel Chapman Died of multiple blunt-force injuries & being investigated as a homicide. Star Tribune

12.30.15 Blooming Prairie MN Cory Stucky Charged in alcohol related manslaughter death of 8 week old son Myles Stucky. Read more here

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Recent Stories, Statistics & Articles About Adoption & Foster Care

After a 9 day trial, foster mom Melissa Sondrol was convicted of of assaulting her infant state ward child, breaking multiple bones and withholding medical information from providers. The court was not allowed to hear her prior histories of abuse. This infant has suffered for years in MN and will live a life very different from other children due to the traumas visited upon him as a foster child – and the things that happened to him prior to entering child protection.

Stories about the shortage of foster care providers, lack of training and resources and transparency within the system are not uncommon – remember, we only read about the very worst cases – the sadness in foster care goes much deeper.

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Recruiting Child Soldiers (yes, we do)

The United States is one of two nations that has not signed the International Rights Of the Child Treaty.  The other is Somalia (and it doesn’t have a functioning government).  It is KARA’s position that the primary reason we refuse to sign the treaty is that it includes a prohibition against recruiting child soldiers (and…

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Reducing Child Fatalities (from Safe Passage for Children)

This article by Safe Passage for Children of MN notes the Federal Child Fatalities Commission and clearly articulates the procedures and data gathering necessary for reducing the death and trauma suffered by abused children. One more important thing to support for the at risk children in your state. All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children.
Reducing Child Fatalities

Posted on April 6, 2016 by SPadmin
Safe Passage LogoThe Federal Child Fatalities Commission (see summary, full report) notes that 50% of children killed by their parents or caregivers are infants, so are frequently unknown to child protection.

But usually someone knew the child was in danger and could have taken action.

This is why the Commission proposed $500 million in funding for multidisciplinary pilot projects, which would integrate operations and data sharing between child protection and other agencies – including First Responders, law enforcement, hospitals, pediatric clinics, mental health providers, and domestic abuse programs.

This is the kind of in-the-weeds overhaul of procedures, training, and IT systems that no one thinks they have time for, and which is notoriously hard to fund. Nevertheless we must find ways to do this work if we are serious about reducing child fatalities.

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Reducing Violence Against Children; Protect Our Kids Act (contact your senator today)

The bill would address violence against children in their homes by creating a national commission to address child abuse and neglect fatalities—upwards of 2,000 per year. Eighty percent of the victims are 3 years old and younger. The bill has the backing of hundreds of organizations, including the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, which has spent the last three years working to advance legislation.

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Register For Beyond Consequences Training & Support MN Adopt

Join Brenda Benning, MSW, LGSW, for Part II of the popular Beyond Consequences Training and Support developed by Heather T. Forbes, the founder of the Beyond Consequences model. This second session is for parents who have previously attended the full 10 session Beyond Consequences Training & Support series, because it builds on the skills and techniques taught from Part I. This special series explores Volume 2 of Heather Forbes’ book and offers parents a “love-based” approach to helping children with severe behavior and trauma/attachment histories. Part II presents new scenarios and behaviors seen in the home and encourages parent’s participation. The price of the training includes the book, Volume II, “Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control” by Heather T. Forbes. Books are available at the door to walk ins. Class is only open to adoptive, kinship, and foster parents.

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Religious Freedom In Philadelphia Kills 2 Young children (4 years apart, same home)

In April, 2 year old Kent Schailble died of treatable pneumonia because his parent’s fanatical religion demanded it. Kent’s 4 year old brother Brandon died for the same reason in the same home just a few years earlier (he was also denied medical treatment for a completely treatable disease).

As a CASA guardian ad-Litem, I witnessed 49 police calls to a home where a seven year old had been prostituted and the only reason the children (girls 4 and 7) were removed from the home on the 49th call, was that the 7 year old tried to kill the 4 year old in the presence of police officers (it was a child’s cry for help).

Somewhere in this conversation we need to discuss child protection and the civil rights of children.

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Remembering Mark Proctor

Mark Proctor passed away this past week and Minnesota lost one of its most committed and effective advocates for children in the child protection and foster care system. I know of no one more dedicated to making life better for abused and neglected children. Mark brought depth, wit and a deep working knowledge of the child protection system to our CASAMN board meetings. He was a truly positive force and a joy to work with.

Mark supported guardians ad litem as a former director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA program in South Dakota, and as a member of the CASA Board of Directors here. He got the first legislation ever proposed by Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota introduced in the state Legislature in 2010.

He was always present when any advocacy for children needed to be done.

Mark will be greatly missed not only by his colleagues but by the children of Minnesota, many of whom did not know him but still benefited from his work.

Here is the information about his memorial services this coming Saturday, September 17th:

Mark Proctor passed away in Mendota, MN September 6, 2016.

An “Irish Wake” Celebration of Life will occur at 1:00 PM on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Mendota VFW in Mendota, MN. Buffet lunch will be beforehand from 10:45 AM-12:30 PM; please let me know if you plan to attend the lunch and how many people to prepare for by emailing drkaylazp@yahoo.com.

Memorials can be given to the Mark Proctor Scholarship at Black Hills State University (http://www.bhsu.edu/)or to Safe Passage for Children of MN (http://safepassagemn.com/donate/).

Thank you for your support at this time.

Kayla Zirpel-Proctor and Family/Friends of Mark Proctor

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Removed; Short Painful Film About Foster Care

“Sometimes someone hurts you so bad, it stops hurting at all. Until something makes you feel again, and then it all comes back: every word, every hurt, every moment.”

Those are the first words spoken in “ReMoved” — a powerful short film, directed by Nathanael Matanick, which exposes both the bleakness and the potential hope that exists within the foster care system.

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