Sad Stories; How America Values Its Children (a national disgrace)

“National Disgrace” is the headline in the Wednesday Star Tribune report on the Federal Government’s failure to enforce child protection laws, and the many children dying of abuse and neglect in plain view of child protection workers.

“Colossal Failure” were the words of MN Governor Mark Dayton when speaking about his state’s failure to provide child protection services to 4 year old Eric Dean after 15 ignored reports (by mandated reporters) of the bite marks and broken bones prior to his murder this year. The photos and the stories presented by journalist Brandon Stahl at the Star Tribune were horrific and caused the Governor to create a task force to stop the awful happenings in Child Protective Services.

Mark Dayton’s task force is recommending transparency and changing the awful laws and practices that currently make keeping children safe next to impossible.

Minnesota was a leader in child protection services twenty five years ago (as was California). Today, our state spends less on child protection than 46 other states and the results are in; Racial disparity, very troubled schools, and horrific child protection failures.

Don’t use my words to blame service providers. It’s not them it’s us.

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Safe Passage For Children Forum; Early Childhood Development & the Child Welfare System (11/23 6pm)

Safe Passage Forum: Early Childhood Development & the Child Welfare System
Gather in Person 6pm; Via Phone/Webinar: 6:15pm
Program Beings 6:30pm
Webinar/Phone login Details Below.
Join Safe Passage for Children for a presentation and discussion on the relationships between early childhood development and child protection. Option to participate in person or via webinar.
Bob-e Simpson Epps, Master Trainer / Facilitator for Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and 2012 Bush Fellow will lead this forum designed for Volunteers of Safe Passage and friends.
Together we will explore the connections between child abuse / neglect and early childhood development; including the impact of trauma on brain development and what has been learned more broadly from ACES research.
Please invite friends and colleagues.

Login Details:
By Phone: +1 (571) 317-3112; Access Code: 298-987-637
By Video Webinar: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/298987637; For Audio: Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone: +1 (571) 317-3112, Access Code: 298-987-637

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SAFE PASSAGE FOR CHILDREN MN (Federal audit of MN child welfare shows inadequate metrics, resources, quality assurance & training)

If you live and Minnesota and are willing to make time for one trip a year to the Capital in St Paul to speak for a child, there is nothing more meaningful that you could do for at risk children than volunteer with Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota. The appointment with your state legislator/s is arranged by Safe Passage for Children and you are provided a brief outline of the key issues facing abused children for you to share with your legislator.

Meeting time is seldom over 15 minutes but that will be enough time for you to show commitment to children and share the most critical information available with someone who can make a difference in the lives of the children you are advocating for.

Your state legislators actually do listen to you and they care what you have to say. Without your 15 minutes of child advocacy, legislators have little insights into the issues facing abused and neglected children. After all, children have no voice in the homes they are raised in, the media or government (they can’t vote).

Thank you Safe Passage for another powerful day on the hill

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

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Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota (and how lawsuits help two year olds)

Sad as it may be, lawsuits might be the most effective tool available for abused and neglected children to get the services they need from the state. Today’s message from Safe Passage for children of Minnesota about the AFSCME union lawsuit (below) is one of several game changing service provider suits that I have witnessed. The recent suit threatened by MN sheriffs worked to the advantage of at risk youth as it opened up the conversation around the lack of mental health services in this state (and most other states). The AFSCME suit points out how unfair it is to load up case after case on workers doing an almost impossible job and them blaming them when things go badly for a child (it always seems to be the social workers fault when a terrible child story hits the paper.

Legislators have all they can do to answer the people they have yelling at them (business interests, sports fans and transportation enthusiasts among them)

Abused children don’t have a say in the matter and things continue to degrade in in their young lives until some adult somewhere does something. Sue the pants off of em (my grandmother used to say and now I see why.

Safe Passage For Children of Minnesota article;

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Safe Passage For Children Of MN

The 2014 state legislative session is almost here! It will start on Tuesday February 25th.

Safe Passage for Children is proposing a bill with two provisions. See a summary here.

The legislature plans to get all the bills through the committees and onto the floor of the House and Senate in 3 ½ weeks, so we need to be ready to communicate our support for the bill.

The key events for volunteers will be:

1. Training sessions to prep you for the session (see options below)

2. Visits with your state Representative and Senator.

3. Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 5th.

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Safe Passage For Children Of MN (unintended consequences of legislation)

Guardrails Plus Guidelines

Legislation often has unintended consequences. For example a proposed Minnesota bill would eliminate smoking from foster homes. Makes sense for new licenses, but it could disrupt current placements where children are doing well.

Rather than addressing every situation with a law or regulation, consider ‘guardrails’ for ones that are clearly out of bounds, and guidelines for the rest.

A guardrail for example would be that an adult who has sexually perpetrated on children should never have access to kids. Guidelines would help determine if a father who had a felony 15 years ago gets consideration in a custody decision.

Guidelines require ongoing training, quality control, and accountability for outcomes. But they are more efficient than continually working around inflexible rules. Plus, they give skilled workers room to apply their expertise.

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Safe Passage for Children of MN Advocacy (shining a light on at Minnesota’s at risk children)

By the time she was 11 years old, McKenna Ahrenholz of Swift County, Minnesota, and her four younger brothers and sisters had endured years of abuse and neglect by her father.

The abuse was frequently reported to child case workers, but each time, time after time, the Ahrenholz children were returned to their father. Even when they asked not to be returned. Every time – seventeen times.

Today, McKenna and her siblings live safely and happily with their grandparents. But in too many cases, Minnesota’s child welfare system continues to fail our state’s children.

Safe Passage for Children advocates for reforms in the child welfare system. As you make your year-end charitable donations, please help us reach our $8,000 goal with a contribution to Safe Passage – and the future of Minnesota children.

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San Francisco Chronicle Article Rob Waters (it’s been 10 years and not much has changed)

reprinted from Sunday, February 12, 2006 (SF Chronicle)

One Child, One Therapist/An innovative program partners foster children with therapists for as long as they’re needed, providing a stability otherwise missing
Rob Waters

When child psychologist Norman Zukowsky first met him, 6 1/2-year-old “William” had already lived through more hardship and trauma than many people experience in a lifetime.

He was born exposed to drugs and alcohol,one of three children of a drug-addicted mother who lived in an unheated garage with no cooking or bathroom facilities.

Child welfare reports suggest that the children were physically abused, exposed to sexual behavior and often went without food or clothing. Eventually, William was
removed from his mother’s care only to be placed with a relative who scarred his chest beating him with a belt.

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San Francisco: 1 in 3 Gay School Youth Attempt Suicide & 1 in 2 Transgender Students (Center for Disease Control)

My stepfather was gay and had served in the military in the 1940’s. He experienced no kindness and very little acceptance for his sexuality during his time on this planet.

As a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I have come to know a good many GLBT youth and identify with the exclusion and cruelty they face on an all too regular basis.

This report from the Center for Disease Control delivers a clear picture of the extent to which GLBT issues are overwhelming millions of children in our nation today.

Not being accepted by society is it’s own kind of perpetual torture and a whole lot of innocent children suffer to the point that they want to die. San Francisco is a relatively progressive community. If it is this bad there, what’s it like in Texas, or Alabama?

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Sarah Westall, Mari Frankel & Florida Foster Care Nightmare

Foster Care Nightmare, Sex Abuse and Trafficking – Part 3, PizzaGate series w/Foster Shock, Mari Frankel

by swgalex | Mar 8, 2017 | Podcast | 0 comments

imgres Foster Care Nightmare, Sex Abuse and Trafficking – Part 3, PizzaGate series w/Foster Shock, Mari FrankelPart 3 of our series: PizzaGate, child sex abuse and trafficking, Foster Shock

This episode focuses on the very real issues within our foster care system. Mari Frankel, documentary film maker of “Foster Shock“, joins the program to share the horrifying environment children have to endure in the “system”. Her film focuses on the welfare system in Florida, which, according to many in the system, is a realistic look into the problems found across the country.

Audio Player

04:52

59:46

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Podcast: Play in new window | Download

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FosterShock is intended to educate the public about how Florida’s ‘privatized’ child welfare was created and how this has left to massive amounts of taxpayer dollars being spent with little oversight and no accountability.

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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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Save the Date (CASA guardian ad Litem event) August 3rd 630 pm

When the court is making decisions that will affect a child’s future, the child needs and deserves a spokesperson — an objective adult to provide independent information about the best interests of the child. While other parties in the case are concerned about the child, the Guardian ad Litem is the only person in the case whose sole concern is the best interests of the child and he or she is assigned as an advocate for the child for the duration of the court process.

This is unlike any other volunteer experience. The impact you can have on a child’s life is tremendous. Currently, there are approximately 375 children in Hennepin County, alone, waiting for a GAL, waiting for their spokesperson, their advocate. Thank you for thinking of the abused and neglected children in our community!

We look forward to seeing you and please feel free to invite others!

RSVP, yes’s only please, before July 28th to Monica Bordonaro: mjbordonaro@gmail.com

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Saving Ourselves From the Next Virginia Tech

At that time in Minnesota there were 15 child psychiatrists in the entire state (population about 4 million) and the student to counsellor ratio in MN high schools was 900 to 1.
As a child advocate (long time guardian ad Litem) I strongly feel the need for mental health therapy for those who need it. The children I work with have been severely traumatized and need adequate attention paid to their needs.

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School Starts Soon Be Glad It Does; Uneducated Citizens Value Football, Beer, & Reality Shows Above Safe Streets, Healthy Children, or a Functioning Democracy

The foundation of democracy is an educated citizenry; not an incarcerated citizenry – the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population & 25% of the world’s prison population (Minneapolis MN arrested 44% of its adult black men in 2001, no duplicate arrests).

Politicians making political hay by berating teachers for failing schools instead of identifying and solving the problems should be forced into a course on what the student body looks like today and required to make sensible statements about programs and solutions that might work.

What we do to our children they will do to our society (Pliny 2500 years ago – explain this to your neighbors)

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Schools Criminalizing American Children

East coast schools are experiencing the mass incarceration and expulsion of student populations.

Using police instead of counselors has lead to a giant leap in overcrowded courts, incarcerated youth, & privatized juvenile justice facilities.

New Jersey eliminated all mental health services from schools and uses the justice system to deal with adolescent problems.

New York students with disabilities are 4 times more likely to be suspended than the non-disabled (New York Times/Molly Knefel) with 69,000 expulsions and 2,500 arrests last year, mostly for infractions that would have dealt with by counselors in years past.
Pennsylvania recently sent 2 judges to prison for 40 years for receiving kickbacks for sending thousands of mostly innocent youth into the privatized youth prison system.

The data is clear that children of color and poverty are grossly over-represented in this newly criminalized society that is sweeping the nation.

In a nation that pays day care workers less than food service workers (the least paid profession in the nation) and has refused to adequately fund crisis nurseries, or subsidized day care, we should not be surprised that our youth are unprepared to learn in school and a source of non-criminal behaviors that trouble school officials.

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See No Evil – 90% Of Child Abuse Reports Screened Out In Minnesota Counties (Red Lake, Wilkin, LeSeur, Waseca)

Today’s Star Tribune *article draws attention to the thousands of children that are neglected, abused, traumatized enough to be seen and reported by others. The vast majority of child abuse is never seen and never reported.

Minnesota, decided that denying children safety saves money. Statewide our screened out average is 71% compared to the national average of 38%. It is one thing to read about the horrid conditions facing babies and children, another to meet the child and see what sex, starvation, neglect, or other forms of violence actually does to a 5 or 10 year old child

I’ve written about the 7 year old foster child that hung himself and left a note about Prozac and visited a 4 year old in a hospital suicide ward.

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Send A Message For Early Learning In MN (only 9% of MN kids get early learning scholarships today)

Even though the legislative session doesn’t start for another month, the MinneMinds campaign continues to work to ensure more kids have access to high quality early learning. Bills have already begun to be filed and one of the first bills to be introduced calls for more resources for early learning scholarships.

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Send KARA Links to Articles/Video, TV/Radio Shows About Child Abuse & Contact Us To Find Out More About This Exhibit

Have you thought, “people need to see or hear this” when experiencing a powerful video or radio interview or story about how children are treated in America? KARA wants to include those links in a child abuse / child protection exhibit we are sending for free to colleges around the nation.  Take a minute to…

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September 2018 Child Sex Abuse & Trafficking (I)

KARA (Kids At Risk Action) tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
Human trafficking is rapidly growing crime across Tennessee
In Tennessee alone, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 110 cases were reported in 2017. Those are the ones we know about.

Man accused of trafficking teens for sex in North Texas arrested by feds

A Texas man known as “Iceberg” was arrested for allegedly engaging in child sex trafficking, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in …

Ex-senator may get life in prison for child sex trafficking
ABC News

A former Republican state senator in Oklahoma was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Monday on a child sex trafficking charge. U.S. District …
Former Oklahoma senator convicted of child sex trafficking sentenced to 15 years in prison – kfor.com
Former Oklahoma senator sentenced to prison for child sex trafficking – NewsOK.com

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September Sad Stories (part 1 through September 15)

Homeless woman accused of child neglect, children covered in filth, lice, suffering health problems
Bennington Banner (subscription)
BENNINGTON >> A homeless woman is facing charges after her children were found covered in filth, infested with lice, and suffering numerous health …
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Calgary hosts international anti-child abuse, neglect conference
CBC.ca
Former Flames hockey player Sheldon Kennedy gave a keynote speech to the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect …
Calgary conference focused on preventing child abuse kicks off at Telus Convention Centre – Calgary Sun
More than 1100 delegates in Calgary to attend international conference on preventing child abuse – Calgary Herald
International conference battling child abuse meeting in Calgary – CTV News
Full Coverage
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Child neglect case of Unionport-area man now includes molestation charges
Winchester News Gazette
Both McKinney and his wife, Amy, were charged Tuesday with three counts each of neglect of a dependent, a Level 6 felony. At initial hearings, they …
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