SPEAK FOR A CHILD (be a CASA guardian ad litem & the voice for a child in court – children need a voice)

Learn about the CASA guardian ad-Litem program and how your can make life better for abused and neglected children – Today, there are 500 abused and neglected children in Ramsey & Hennepin County child protective services without a guardian ad-Litem. Being a State Ward child is painful. Being a voice for that child is rewarding and makes a difference in the life of that child.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children; learn more here;

CASA MINNESOTA

CASA NATIONAL

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Speak For An Abused Child in Court (short video) WE NEED YOU!

Volunteer: Be the voice for a child that doesn’t have one! (Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area OPPORTUNITIES)

One hundred and seventy five Hennepin County children are without a guardian ad litem today – WE NEED VOLUNTEERS.

Do you know any? Send this to a friend and share it with your social media.

With the response to recent reporting of child abuse and child death in MN, a corresponding increase of child abuse cases are entering the system & means that volunteers are badly needed.

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Speak Up For Children

More importantly, supporting day care for disadvantaged children is the right thing to do for all Minnesota’s kids.

In a public meeting at Hamline, Rolnick lamented that this ‘no brainer’ idea is overshadowed at the Capitol by wasteful sports stadiums (and cries for lower taxes*).

More of us need to raise our voices for children if there is going to be a change in public policy toward the weakest and most vulnerable among us (children have no voice but ours in this political system).
* authors words

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Speaker Mike Tikkanen

guardian ad-Litem, founding board member of CASAMN, Founding member of the Friends of Children Foundation (now CASA CARES), and founder of the 501c3 nonprofit KARA, Kids At Risk Action. Mike has a mission to speak for abused and neglected children about what impacts their lives and their profound impact on our communities and institutions.

How does generational child abuse impact schools, teachers, public health and public safety?

Could a few policy changes in your community improve graduation rates, reduce crime and make neighborhoods safer?

A clear view of the economic impact of child abuse will change many minds.

By generating conversation around the issue and exposing facts that have for too long been left unspoken, Mike brings attention to solutions that will reverse the direction of current problematic trends that are overwhelming our communities and institutions today.

Breaking this cycle of child abuse and the resulting quality of life issues permeating our neighborhoods and institutions is Mike Tikkanen’s mission.

Presentations are designed to address issues specific to your community & provide insights and answers for improved outcomes for children and families where you live.

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Speaker’s Bio

Long time CASA volunteer guardian ad Litem, Fonder of Kids at Risk Action (KARA)Founding board member of CASA MN & Friends of Children (now CASA Cares), author (1000 articles Star Tribune & the book INVISIBLE CHILDREN, national speaker (including United Nations & Women Prison Warden’s conference), CASA volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem, founding board member of CASAMN, CASA CARES), and Kids At Risk Action.

Mike advocates for abused and neglected children making the rest of us see the profound impact the crisis of childhood trauma is having on our schools, public health, public safety and neighborhoods.

Poor public perception & misguided policies, lack of institutional transparency, awareness and accountability are compounding serious failures in our child protection systems that directly impact each and every one of us in many ways.

By generating conversation around the issue and exposing facts that have for too long been left unspoken, Tikkanen brings attention to ACES, (adverse childhood experiences) and solutions that reverse trends of generational child abuse to make our communities safer and happier places.

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Speaking For The Weakest & Most Vulnerable Among Us – Star Tribune Articles

It hurts me to see people in high positions who are responsible for child protection make claims that there’s nothing to see here, things are just fine, child protection is working as it needs to (“Counties are committed to safety of kids,” April 25).

There is very little fine about it, and by accident or by design, information about it is hard to find and rarely published. By almost any measure and from my perspective over many years as a volunteer guardian ad litem within the system, there are not enough resources, record keeping is poor, child protection cases need to be over the top to get into the system, and children stand only a small chance of getting what they need to recover from the years of abuse and neglect they have suffered.

Things have gotten worse since Minnesota went from screening out one-third of the cases to screening out two-thirds. Screening out 90 percent of cases (as four Minnesota counties do) is a very big deal.

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Speaking From The Heart In Reno

Wow & Thank You CASA Reno for the opportunity to give the keynote talk at your CASA volunteer recognition dinner. Cathy & I had the pleasure of getting to know your very fun city & many of your committed & engaged child protection volunteers.

High energy, an elegant atmosphere, combined with a terrific dinner, a very professional video tribute to volunteers, and superbly executed silent auction made the “Speaking From The Heart” event a most memorable experience.

My best wishes and admiration for CASA Reno & all of the dedicated individuals that make your organization a necessary & powerful voice for Nevada’s vulnerable children.

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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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Standing In A Soviet Bread Line (thank you James Eli Shiffer)

Trying to get information out of the government can feel like standing in a Soviet bread line” gives the reader a sense that the bread will be there, maybe stale or moldy but there will be bread to take home if you wait long enough (which is not true regarding getting information out of the government about child protection issues).

You can wait all day, all week, all year and never find out about how many five and six year old children were on drugs, were sexually molested, tried to commit suicide or were grievously injured by their parents or caregivers last year (the information exists).

Nor will you have access to the necessary paperwork made available to Brandon Stahl at the Star Tribune in his investigation into the death of Eric Dean without a major newspaper filing a freedom of information act and spending thousands of dollars to placate a County that wants no part of your investigation (8 children have died under similar circumstances since Eric Dean’s death).

Transparency of the data surrounding abused and neglected children (not names – data) would show just how impactful the problems of child protection, mental health, generational child abuse, are as a giant institutional and financial burden that has evolved out of lawmakers not understanding the most important building blocks in making productive citizens (instead of manufacturing state wards like we are doing today).

The reason transparency of this unhappy data is important is that without information there appears to be no problem. If there is no problem, there is no discussion. No discussion = no attention, no solution and the child is abused again (this time by the community). Governor Dayton’s proposals need our support.

Let your Legislator know that All adults are the protectors of all children.

KARA is looking for a few new committed board members to help us expand our reach and function. Please contact mike@invisiblechildren.org

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State of MN Falls Behind In Abuse Inquiries

State Falls Behind In Abuse Inquiries (today’s Star Trib headlines)

The sentence seems harmless unless you are a five year old child tied to a bed, left alone for days without food, beaten and sodomized, prostituted as a 7 year old, or left alone in a crib for days without food or contact.

These were my first experience with child abuse as a volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem.

The backlog of 724 cases (double what it was 18 months ago) means that children will wait for their sexual abuse, beatings, and neglect to be investigated.

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State Ward Children As Medical Guinea Pigs (or parents withholding medical treatment for religious reasons?)

Justina Pelletier’s sad case of medical experimentation on state wards in Massachusetts and the religious freedom to deny children with treatable diseases medical care in so many states, proves the awful truth that children have no significant rights in this nation. Almost five hundred children have died in Florida after DHS contact, more than seventy children died in California from 2008 to 2011, and the Governor of Kentucky (Steve Beshear) hid the evidence of dozens of children murdered by their parents.

Consider that

* thousands of five, six, and seven year old children in child protective services in this nation are prescribed psychotropic medications to mask their terrible behavioral problems (generally without any significant therapy), &

* the explosive growth of privatized detention centers and prisons that provide inadequate and poorly supervised services for at risk youth which has lead to the exponential growth of prison populations and preteen moms,

and the picture of how America values its children becomes pretty gloomy.

That America pays day care workers about the same as it pays food service workers really shows the low value of our youngest citizens. Most other industrialized nations demand more training and credentials of their daycare workers and they pay them more (a genuine indication that children have value in those societies).

State ward children used as guinea pigs in medical experimentation needs way more scrutiny than it receives as does the consumption of Prozac like drugs on very young children.

America’s youngest citizens need more rights to safety, health, and well-being (sign our pet

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Statistics & Data About America’s Abused Children

This page is for those of you who know the value of data and the importance of tracking information about the issues of child abuse.  KARA will work to update it regularly and we encourage you the reader to send compelling statistical information in this area.  KARA will publish it if it fits – especially welcome are those of you with new information from your masters or PHD programs in this field.

Please submit your findings to us at; info@invisiblechildren.org with Statistics & Data in the subject line.

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Stealing Candy From Minnesota Babies (thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN)

If you live with, work with or know at risk children, you know how your community values children. Not much. Since 2004, America had remained 3rd from the bottom on spending for children among the developed nations.

Not long ago, America ranked at the top of quality of life indices and our children had good schools, healthcare and a good chance of becoming productive citizens leading happy lives. American children don’t get healthcare, quality daycare or education and critical prenatal care is very rare.

America’s at risk youth become dysfunctional juveniles, felons and preteen moms living in poverty, jail and prison on their way to becoming the long term problem their parents were to the community.

If you live in Arizona, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, or New Mexico (states treating children the worst) you have known for many years how badly your state treats children and why your schools don’t work, public health and public safety are endangered and communities of poverty outnumber communities of hope and happiness. Share this with your friends and networks (especially your friends in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas & New Mexico)

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Stone Arch Foundation Audio Presentation – 30 minutes + questions (recorded by iDream.tv)

Working with abused and neglected children as a volunteer county guardian ad-litem, Mike speaks directly about the financial and physical disaster happening daily to children, schools, and neighborhoods because of poor public policy and the dysfunction of well- meaning people and institutions.

Visit www.InvisibleChildren.org and www.CasaMN.org

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Stop Child Abuse Now Radio Show Interview;

I will be talking about my experiences as a CASA child protection volunteer on an upcoming interview with Bill Murry & his Stop Child Abuse Now / Community Matters Radio Show http://naasca.org/index.html on December 12th Monday Night 730pm Call in phone: 323-552-6150

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bill-murray/2009/10/13/community-matters–9pm-et-6pm-pt

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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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Substance Abuse & the Cycle of Family Abuse (from Steps to Recovery)

Substance abuse is a major contributing factor to domestic violence in the United States. The link between the use of alcohol and narcotics, and the use of aggression, physical and mental violence against partners is part of a desperate cycle in our society. It is a cycle that can, and does, affect our children too – one that can make them future abusers.

Studies are showing that a high proportion of adult abusers and victims have some kind of addiction to alcohol or drugs. Here’s some stats:

25-50% of men who commit domestic violence have an addiction issue
90% of these men used a substance on the day they abused/attacked someone
42% of victims have a substance abuse problem
75% of those victims have an abusive partner who also has a substance abuse problem

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Summer Is No Vacation For Abused Kids

Thousands of names ahead of them on a list for subsidized day care that won’t provide help for years to come, means that any available family member, friend, or neighbor is considered a better option than leaving a three, five, or seven year old unattended (or is it?)

Leaving your child with that drunken or meth using uncle or aunt, the friend with the mental health issues, the dangerous or abusive teenager. Children need and deserve better choices.

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Support KARA Pages & Projects

coneflowersAll Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Please donate now and support these pages &

1) Our documentary on the needs of at-risk children and breaking the cycle of abuse

2) Our second book, a collection of micro-bios following at-risk children through their journey

Accepting all donations, small and large. Their lives will not improve without help.

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Support MN CASA Guardian ad-Litem Program (with a year end gift)

support CASA MN with a year end gift here;

“To give a child a volunteer advocate is to give them a voice. To give them a voice is to give them hope, and to give them hope is to give them the world.

I believe that with all my heart.”

Pamela Butler, Former Foster Child

At CASA Minnesota we believe that every child deserves a voice. CASA volunteers provide the voice for children who are experiencing times of great vulnerability due to abuse and neglect. Support from people like you means that we can assist in recruiting committed advocates to be that voice for children involved in juvenile court proceedings. Your tax-deductible investment in our nonprofit program allows us to provide resources to enhance recruitment, training, retention and support for more than 470 CASA Minnesota volunteers every year – caring, knowledgeable people who make sure the best interests of these children are served.

Thanks to support from our community, our volunteers are the dedicated champions that children need while facing the unknown. Consider Janell. She was just over four years old when she entered the court system. Sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend, parental rights were eventually terminated when reunification was not an option. Her volunteer advocate saw a solution. He was vocal in supporting adoption by her foster mother with whom Janell had developed a strong attachment. Now 11 years old, Janell plays acoustic guitar, writes songs, does yoga with her adoptive mom, plays basketball and soccer, and likes math and reading. She is able to see her siblings on a regular basis as well. Without a volunteer advocate taking part in this process, this may not have been a successful outcome for this child.

Our mission at CASA Minnesota is to assist in recruiting, training and supporting the important volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children like Janell. Will you please consider a year-end gift to help us continue our important work? Your donation will make it possible for us to give a voice of hope to children and support for those who serve them. You can change the life of a child in need. You can give by going to https://givemn.org/organization/Casa-Minnesota .

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