Across Ages, Youth Substance Abuse & Programs That Work

* a mentoring program; pairing an adult over 55 years of age with each youth between ages 9 and 13. The mentor spends at least two hours per week with the child doing recreational activities, providing tutoring, counseling, and assistance with community service (Across Ages, 2010).

* each youth spends one to two hours every week performing community service.

* social competence training; 26 weekly lessons that teach cognitive and behavioral approaches to dealing with problems and decisions. In particular, these skills are applied to the prevention of substance abuse and high-risk sexual behavior.

* involvement in family activities; Across Ages hosts monthly events that engage the youth, their families, and their mentors to strengthen the relationships between the children and the adults in their lives (Across Ages, 2010).

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We’re Number 1, & that’s not good…

Bishop Gene Robinson draws attention to youth suicide & particularly that seven students in one Minnesota school district have taken their own lives, including three teens.

GLBT issues underly most of the suicide the Bishop writes about. The idea that life can be made so unbearable for children so young is incomprehensible unless you have been near someone living the nightmare.

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254 Children, 220,000 Crimes, 12 Months

Drug use and sale in American schools has been the highlight of much research. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University conducts a survey each year aimed at discovering trends in teenage drug use. The survey this year has identified a drastic increase in the percentage of children attending middle schools considered “drug-infested,” meaning that drugs are kept, used, or sold on school property. This year’s survey showed that 32 percent of middle school students were attending drug infested schools, compared to 23 percent in 2009.

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Rally To Restore Sanity

MN governor Tim Pawlenty said to Andy Dawkins and David Strand several years ago that “Children that are the victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem or the problem of the state of MN”.

That a major political party would make this a keystone of its platform indicates a gross misunderstanding of the most basic issues facing abused and neglected children. This shows a lack of compassion as well as a misunderstanding of the economics of failing to help children while they are young enough to make a difference in their behaviors and development.

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Cancellation of a Successful Education Program

The need for strong education programs should be a primary concern for state and local governments. In addition to improving students’ chances for success in college and their subsequent careers, effective education programs can help keep juveniles from engaging in delinquent activities. This, in turn reduces costs to taxpayers for funding court proceedings and, if necessary, housing juvenile offenders.

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Abuse That Lasts Forever, Erin’s Law

Since then, I have witnessed very young children (under 7) try to kill themselves and seen others exhibit terrifying behaviors (starting fires, stabbing, etc) that I know to be a direct result of the abuse they have suffered.

A few of these children I have been in contact with for over ten years and I know that not a day goes by without them reliving the unspeakable acts that have made them who they are.

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Response to Star Tribune Article

Yes to constructive solutions; more resources for troubled families and help for abused and neglected children.

No to destructive and inflammatory criticisms of people trying hard to make life livable for terribly abused and neglected children within an overwhelmed social services system and not enough resources to do the job. It’s almost impossible work and there is little support for the worker or the child these days.

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Quality Of Life

There is little that comes easier for a sixty or seventy year old person when it comes to raising children.

The physical and mental demands made on grandparents by their younger charges are tremendous.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

From the rest of us, let’s see to it that they and the children they care for, get adequate help from our communities to make their tasks a little easier and more successful.

Happy Grandparents Day in advance.

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Back To School & In Support of Education

This child’s traumatic and fearful entry into an unprepared and under-resourced public school system is the tip of the iceberg.

The Prozac, Ritalin, and other psychotropic medications being prescribed to very young children is terrifically overused in many child protection systems. Judge Heidi Schellhas shared with me the pages and pages of very five, seven, and nine year old children that passed through her courtroom that were heavily medicated on antipsychotic drugs.

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Really Good Child Advocacy Links

AZ: Child abuse isn’t a priority in Arizona
Arizona Daily Star August 31, 2010
Michael is the sixth Pima County child to die in recent years while under the watch of state Child Protective Services. Each killing spurred outrage and demands that things be done better, that children be saved from the relatives who do them harm. “Reforms” were put in place in 2008. Little, it appears, has changed.

http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_627221d8-c0b6-55f4-b03b-a663abc9e15c.html

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Attitude Adjustment; Children Count

The good news is we have created workable models to heal terribly abused children. The bad news is our communities are shutting down services that would heal terribly abused children. This will cost us for generations to come.

We will only recover our place in the world as a productive first place nation, if we recapture our sense of humanity and concentrate on making children healthy enough to become productive citizens.

It is economically sound policy and caring about children is the right thing to do.

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International Symposium on Human Nature and Early Experience at Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame’s Department of Psychology and Center for Children and Families invites you to a multidisciplinary symposium entitled “Human Nature and Early Experience: Addressing the ‘Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness’” October 10-12, 2010. This symposium brings together an international audience interested in innovative approaches to human development, children, families, parenting, and human evolution. Speakers will present their research on the relationship between caregiving practices and outcomes.

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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 multiple out-of-home placements.

Please join Dr. Richard J. Delaney, internationally known speaker, acclaimed author and consultant to foster, kinship and adoptive parents for this 90-minute webinar presentation as he addresses adoptive parenting issues that include, how to get to the bottom of why children behave and how to approach problems, especially social aggression and anger outbursts.

Substantial time for discussion, questions and answers will be included during this 90-minute online presentation. Parents, professionals and others are invited to participate in this interactive online training. All you need is a computer with internet access, a telephone and a pioneer spirit!

$15.00 webinar only – REGISTER NOW
$25.00 webinar & CD – REGISTER NOW

Registration will not be available the day of the webinar.

For more information, please contact Anne Johnson at 612-746-5122 or ajohnson@mnadopt.org.

To learn more about MN ADOPT, visit www.mnadopt.org

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Counterpoint To Yesterday’s Post

As a result of ASFA, when the federal government gave money to states for the purpose of increasing adoptions, large numbers of kids did get good homes. Thirteen years later, hoards of those kids are re-entering the system because they came to parents with severe mental and emotional scars as a result of infant and child trauma, neglect, and abuse.

States refuse to help in any way with the astronomical mental health fees, such as $150,000 per year for residential care. Health insurance, Medicaid, and adopt subsidies pay nothing towards this care, not $1. Adoptive families are being forced to relinquish them back to the states to access astronomically expensive mental health care.

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What Oklahoma Will Show The Nation

The original plaintiffs were nine children who are alleged to have suffered in DHS placements. The case has since become a class-action lawsuit with thousands of children in DHS custody as plaintiff

How many states have caseloads that are just too high to provide a realistic safety net for the children they support? How many states need more training and education for the agency employees, foster parents, and adoptive parents?

I would add that without educating judges, court workers, and criminal justice people, this nation is still on the path to maintaining excessive prison populations and disastrous school performance among the population of abused and neglected children.

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Art Rolnick & Pliny, Friends of Children

Lori Sturdevant points out in her July 4th Star Tribune column how our state has done very well by investing in children and how Art Rolnick’s extensive studies as director of research at the Federal Reserve Board have made those investments measurable.

Just like investing in the stock market or tax increment financing, putting money into early childhood programs brings solid financial and social returns back into a community.

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