A Note to Brandon Stahl & the Tribune (abused children still need you)

It is only because you found the death of 4 year-old Eric Dean suspicious and dedicated yourself to reporting on the awful circumstances that killed him after 15 ignored reports of child abuse, that this volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem has any hope for the thousands of other terrified and tortured children in need of child protection services today.

Working for decades with traumatized children, I’ve experienced the awful truth about the lasting impact of abuse on children and the lasting impact of abused children on our community.

Brandon, your efforts and insights into the inadequacies and failures of a system in need of transparency, accountability and media attention is why Governor Dayton called out the colossal failure of the system & created the task force that has brought significant change to an institution not given to criticism or outside influence.

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A Note On Paxil, Wellbutrin, Avandia & GlaxoSmithKline’s Paying Kickbacks to Doctors & Treating Children With Unapproved Psychotropic Medications

Today’s 3 Billion Dollar fine of GlaxoSmithKline for hiding information, bribing doctors, & promoting unapproved (and dangerous) drugs to children, included criminal as well as civil settlements.

Hennepin County Judge Heidi Schellhas shared a list she kept of psychotropically medicated children that passed through her courtroom in child protective services over a one year period. The list was staggering (some as young as 5).

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A Note From The Children’s Defense Fund

Today, 60 percent of fourth and eighth grade public school students in all racial and income groups, more than 75 percent of Hispanic and more than 80 percent of Black children cannot read or do math at grade level. Only three percent of eligible infants and toddlers receive Early Head Start and our nation has been unwilling to ensure high quality universal pre-kindergarten and kindergarten systems to get all children ready for school or excellent and equitable public schools to ensure that children are college ready and prepared for productive work. A child unable to read or compute at grade level and graduate from high school college or workforce ready is being sentenced to social and economic death in our globalizing and competitive economy.

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A New Standard For Disaster; Tennessee (802 child deaths in 2011)

It’s painful to watch any children and family services system in turmoil, but the goings on in Tennessee right now might be setting a new standard for disaster. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (TDCS) is locked in a high-profile battle with the state’s most prominent newspaper, The Tennessean, which has published a series of articles questioning the department’s performance in analyzing and reporting on child fatalities.

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A New Disease of the Wealthy & Powerful

Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and new Speaker of the House voted NO to federal childcare subsidies, eliminated 16 billion dollars in Social Services block grants, including all child care funding for low income families, No to parental leave for federal employees (4 weeks for a new mother), No to food stamps, Medicaid and Pell Grants, Yes to de-funding Planned Parenthood and removing contraception from employer based insurance requirements, and yes to deporting undocumented immigrants that grew up in the United States. But he cannot and “will not” give up his family time.

Pro family yes (but just his family).

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A Modest Proposal & The Kansas State House (special thanks to Jonathan Swift & Gail Finney)

The juxtaposition of Jonathon Swifts “Modest Proposal” to sell the poor newborn babies of Ireland as food to solve the poverty and suffering of Irish parents has a parallel to the beating and bruising of children proposal being advanced by Kansas State Rep Gail Finney in several ways.
First and foremost, is the repugnant assumption that beating or eating children will make anyone’s lives better is insane. Murder is murder. We also know that beaten children will beat their own children (and others).

2500 years ago, Pliny told us “what we do to our children, they will do to society”. Look around you at the full prisons, troubled schools, and dangerous streets. It didn’t get this way because of the overemphasis on early childhood programs and support for poor young families.

In Swift’s defense, he was being satirical and ironic. Finney has no defense (she’s just mean and crazy – like Bachman). Parallel two is that 30 states have outright banned corporal punishment (proposed by Finney) and there are no states that allow the boiling, broiling, or baking of children (as proposed by Swift).
For readers among us, below are Swift’s full text and a more about Representative Finney’s bizarre work in Kansas.

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A Modest Proposal (satire & similarities)

300 years ago, an Irish Minister wrote an explosive satire that was misinterpreted by many readers of his day (printed in its entirety below).

In a gruesome and widely read logical argument, Jonathan Swift clearly articulated a plan that would relieve the suffering of Irish families and their youngest children by selling babies to the English to be eaten (in a stew that he included the recipe for).

Back in the day, these writings were the modern equivalent of you tube or a precursor to Twitter and consumed voraciously by all who could read (or read them to others).

Public policy treated poor Irish more like animals than people and Irish children were doomed to lives of crime, prostitution, and abject poverty.

Was Swift’s underlying argument that death might be preferable to children doomed to disease, crime, prostitution, & the cruelties suffered by abandoned children of his time?

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A MN guardian ad-Litem speaks to Montana about child abuse.

Law enforcement officials said statistics show survivors of child abuse or neglect are likely to commit a violent crime later in life. A new strategy is being developed to stop both.

In 2010, Montana received nearly $3 million in grants to battle child abuse and neglect. “I’ve been around this business for over twenty years, and I’ve seen some pretty sad cases, and it’s just not good. If we can prevent even one case, then we’re doing our job. I think with a program like this we’re going to see more prevention,” Sheriff Mike Linder said.

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A Law Late In Coming, Not Enough, But Glad It’s Here (Thank You Governor Mark Dayton)

In my experience, in the cases above for example, none of the people in the child protection system recommended bringing charges against the perpetrators because the damaged very young children would have had to testify in these trials (and children make terrible witnesses as they are easily confused and their testimonies are almost always useless).

As the guardian ad-Litem on these cases, I was told by the judges & my superiors that my choice was to remove the children from the home (and away from the perpetrator) with good odds of winning the long term safety of the children, or to go to battle with a 5 or 7 year old as my witness against a legal system stacked against the child.

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A KARA Guide To Understanding Texas Approach To Education

begin with a puritans early world view that corporal punishment & abstinence works (think Cotton Mather & the WitchCraft trials) and denouncing the teaching of “higher order thinking”.

In 2011, Representative Michael Villarreal proposed that sex education taught in public schools be medically accurate (the bill never made it out of committee). In its place Texas Republicans approved Corporal punishment, refusing federal funding for schools, and denying pre-school and kindergarten, as a step forward for Texas children.

At least 3 Texan school districts teach that;

Premarital sex can have fatal consequences,

If a woman is dry, the sperm will die,

3 of the 4 text books used in 30% of Texan school districts never mention condoms but do promote “getting plenty of rest” to avoid contracting Sexually Transmitted Disease.

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A Grim Truth About Big Pharma

Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter # 237   Michigan Lawsuit Uncovers Psychiatry’s Dark Secret: Psychiatric Drug-Induced Movement Disorders in Young Children by Ben Hansen – From the Spring 2007 newsletter of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology ( www.icspp.org). Last month the New York Times exposed yet another example of unethical marketing practices…

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A Great Rally for Children In MN (Thanks Amy)

* Foster children are twice as likely as war veterans to develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder);
* 25% of U.S. youth in the Juvenile Justice System are tried as adults;
* 50-75% of U.S. youth in the Juvenile Justice System have a diagnosable mental illness;
* 25% of high school graduates in the United States are illiterate;
* Most states are growing prison spending much faster than higher education spending;
* firearms deaths of children in the U.S. are more than 10 times higher than all the other industrialized nations combined.

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A Great Minnesota Network: Minnesota Adoption Resource Network

Zero Kids Waiting is the monthly eNewsletter of Minnesota Adoption Resource Network, a 32-year old organization that creates and supports lifelong nurturing families for children needing permanency. As an email subscriber to Zero Kids Waiting, you will receive a monthly update about what our organization and others are doing to promote adoption of Minnesota children and teens.

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A Governor’s Discussion About The Politics Of Children – December 6th 4:30 (be there)

Join us for discussions on the future of early childhood with Minnesota’s next governor!

Hosted at People Serving People – Center of Excellence
2400 Park Ave. South, Minneapolis 55404

Minnesota has made significant progress in investing in our state’s earliest learners, but much work remains. Looking ahead, a new Governor in 2018 will play a pivotal role in deciding the direction and importance of early childhood care and education in Minnesota.

MinneMinds is excited to announce the GOP candidates for governor, to discuss their plans for addressing early childhood issues in our state. These conversations are a great way for advocates, parents, providers, and any Minnesotan interested in the future of early childhood to hear about the priorities of leading candidates for governor.

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A Glimmer Of Hope (push for preschool)

Preschool is having its moment, as a favored cause for politicians and interest groups who ordinarily have trouble agreeing on the time of day. President Obama devoted part of his State of the Union address to it, while the deeply red states of Oklahoma and Georgia are being hailed as national models of preschool access and quality, with other states and cities also forging ahead on their own.

With a growing body of research pointing to the importance of early child development and its effect on later academic and social progress, enrollment in state-funded preschool has more than doubled since 2002, to about 30 percent of all 4-year-olds nationwide. In just the past year, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and the city of San Antonio have enacted new or expanded programs, while in dozens of other places, mayors, governors and legislators are making a serious push for preschool.

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A Finished Book

The book is finished. It just arrived from the publisher. Books are always neater and cleaner than the process that makes them. Hundreds of hours, stacks of paper, and dozens of edits. I’m genuinely embarrassed by some of the poorly edited pages that I sent to people to review and comment on what I had been writing.

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A Fantastic TED Talk (learn a whole new perspective on healing)

Jane McGonigal’s TED talk takes an approach to life and trauma that is very different, uplifitng, and perhaps the most remarkable insights I have experienced on this topic in years.    When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better.…

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A Different War On Drugs (fought by children)

Every day between six to eight million children take psychotropic medications – about 10% of all U.S. children.

This compares to 1.2% in Israel, 1.4% in Germany, and .3% in the UK. My concern is mostly the giant percentage of foster care children being forced to take these drugs. The side effects are real and there is little meaningful mental health therapy to coincide with the taking of these drugs. I would argue, that we use these drugs in place of therapy which leads to medicated kids never learning how to cope with their mental health issues (which is why we have so many preteen moms, adolescent felons, and unsafe neighborhoods).

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