Thank You Indiana

I was impressed with the tenacity and commitment of Indiana’s foster and adoptive parents in the face of this state’s mean spirited children’s politics.

The evening before my talk I listened to story after story of the “fluid” nature of Department of Child Services policy, families not being allowed to question decisions or policy for fear of being blackballed, and what it’s like to watch long established, workable policies disappear to be replaced by whimsy and bullying.

Details

Occupy Wall Street For America’s Children

Children have no lobby, no voice, & can’t fight back when a MN Governor* states that “children that are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem of the State Of Minnesota”.

There’s nothing a five year old can say to the governor of Indiana about the elimination of the state’s newborn screening fund (paid for by birth fees collected from parents), or the retroactive termination of adoption subsidies to the five hundred families that adopted special need children based on the promise that they would have assistance for their special needs children.

I doubt that a nine year old could clearly explain the problem facing California foster children because 1,000 state-licensed facilities match sex offenders’ addresses;

Details

A Call To Action; The System Will Succeed When The Public & Private Sectors Work Together

It was clear after talking with adoptive and foster families at their annual conference that Indiana’s failure to protect it’s children is due to the politicizing of children’s issues and not the hard work being done by foster & adoptive parents, educators, & social workers that are trying to provide homes, education, and services.

We all know that healthy children become healthy adults & contributing members of our community & that unhealthy children become preteen mothers & juvenile felons that cost our cities and states a fortune over a lifetime.

Wake up Indiana politicians. Your citizens depend on you to understand basic humanity and economics.

Citizens, wake up your politicians (the children can’t do it without your help).

Details

It Costs Way Less To Hire & Train Social Workers;$68 Million Settlement Proposed for 10 Children Fraudulently Adopted and Abused

It would be far less expensive (see the studies & long term costs) and the right thing to do to see that foster & adoptive parents were well funded, well regulated, and early childhood programs set up to insure that every child had a chance to have a meaningful life in America.

Until then, let’s sue the pants off of states and counties that refuse to care for children.

Details

Universal Rights Of The Child; All Talk No Action

There are two nations (of the 196 nations in the world) that have not ratified the Universal Rights of the Child. Somalia and America.

Somalia, because it has no functioning government, and the U.S. because we will not stop training child soldiers*.

Americans are proud of and outspoken about spirituality, values, and freedom – making proclamations about human rights, women’s rights, and so on.

Details

Growing Up Inner City

It is up to communities to understand the nature and scope of these issues and treat children with sufficient care and resources to end the madness as stated by MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz; “The difference between that poor child and a felon is about eight years”.

Let’s all get behind child friendly programs and politics and end the pipeline to prison & preteen pregnancies that America now promotes.

Details

43 Child Deaths Due Policy Violations In Colorado Social Services

To appreciate the meanness of some states I point to (Mitch Daniels) Indiana’s stealing (redirecting) the funding promised to parents that adopted abandoned special needs children (after they had been adopted) & the fiscally irresponsible de-funding of subsidized daycare which forced the county to place children in foster homes because their father’s job did not pay enough to afford daycare.

It costs way more to place children in foster care than it would have to subsidize his daycare payments. Thank you Tim Pawlenty.

It cost Hennepin County millions of dollars to pay for the care of the four year old boy the court thought would be better off with his father even though dad had a court order to stay away from young boys because of what he did to them. My client is now is now 23, has AIDS, and has been in over 30 foster homes and he will be a ward of the state until he dies. He was been tied to a bed, starved, beaten, sexually abused and left alone for days at a time from 4 to 7 years of age. That never made the paper. Nor did the four year old girl who I visited in the suicide ward of Fairview hospital (her sister’s story was much worse).

Details

America; The Worst Child Abuse Record In The Industrialized World

This BBC report (video link) articulates the sorrowful truths that this guardian ad-Litem has reported on over the years.

It’s frightening and moving proof of the epidemic that is preventable child death in America and the fast growing army of future child abusers.

Why is it that important reporting like this are created by other nations (and not right here in America)?

Details

Race To The Bottom, Untrained Social Workers, Over Work & More Dead & Suffering Children In Indiana

“We have children dying in our region and we are awarded with recognition of system improvement. Really?” he wrote. “The timing of this award is hard to accept given the recent tragic death of 10-year-old Tramelle Sturgis.

“How many more kids will die before we all take a deep look at what is going on with child welfare services in Indiana and reverse the draconian cuts in funding and see how those cuts are negatively affecting the safety net of child welfare?”

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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).

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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.

Details

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

Details

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?

Details

Children Murdered In Kentucky, Governor Beshear Hides The Evidence

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is hiding the records of dozens of dead children (from child abuse) because life for abused children is so awful in his state he wants it hidden from the rest of the nation.

The core issue in this nightmare of crazy people killing and abusing their children is the hiding or destruction of court records.

If you think your state doesn’t live by the same standards as Kentucky, look again.

Many states delete records of horrible abuse after three or four years.

My own state, Minnesota has the problem, Indiana, has the problem (the state known for cancelling funding promised to parents that adopt special needs children).

Details