Our most recent radio interview; (ten minutes) September 9th live WCCO radio interview with Jordana Green (ten minutes) A lively discussion of the critical issues facing abused and neglected children and what we can make life better for them. Support KARA’s MN Public Television documentary project on this topicDetails
Nicholas Christof’s article in the NYTimes today points a finger at “pro-family” people “preserving” child poverty in America.
Lest you believe this a stretch, America stands out as the country with the highest child poverty rate and one of the lowest levels of social expenditure. This has been true for many years.
This means food insecurity for five year olds, and the statistical probability that homeless ten year olds are three times more likely to be sexually abused than other children.
There is a heartlessness behind the politics of separating immigrant babies from their mother (over 5000) and not returning those children to their birth parents (over 1000 still are separated today).
We the people now have public policies that have led to the sad reality that;
37% of children are reported to child protection agencies in this nation by their 18th birthday.
almost one third of American children will have a criminal record by their 23rd birthay
80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives
We Are All Nuts (the costs and dangers of undertreating and ignoring mental health – thank you Star Tribune)
If you have children, grandchildren or just like other people’s children, you should read this to the end. You could help keep them safe from terrible things by understanding the connection between this mental health discussion and those terrible things.
Today’s Star Tribune article by Chris Serres should wake us up as to the cost and danger we all face by ignoring, undertreating and maltreating mentally at risk people. Last week Chris wrote about the broken bones and violence done to children in the justice system because of their mental health struggles. Thank you Chris Serres and the Star Tribune for bringing this long avoided topic to the front page.
Chris’s article concentrates on the logjam and wait periods patients and providers face in this state and the human suffering that that accompanies it.
Not mentioned are the 900-1000 emergency psych visits to HCMC every month and some psych patients are waiting three months to be admitted (and that’s just one MN hospital). Allina Health DR Paul Goering states that “it’s been so paralyzing for the community to say ‘it looks like things are broken,’ and then to say it again next year”.
I agree with Dr Rahul Koranne (Chief Medical Officer for the MN Hospital Association) quote thatDetails
While the CASEY Foundation ranks MN 5th in the nation for child well-being, there are serious flaws in our racial disparity and early childhood numbers.
Almost half of MN’s African American children live in poverty. In 2001, half of the adult African American adult men were arrested (no duplicate arrests and 58% of those men went on to be rearrested for a second crime within 2 years).
Our educational performance racial disparity is among the worst in the nation.
From the CURA reporter
MN ranks at the very bottom of states that provide early childhood education to four year old’s (2% vs the national average of 25%). We now have 8000 families on a backlog for subsidized child-care.Details
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.Details
We are now number one in child homelessness; one in thirty kids – 2.5 million American children, experienced homelessness last year.
Many states don’t offer children insurance, daycare, prenatal care, or healthcare and parental leave for new babies is off the table in half the states.
The U.S is well known for having the highest child poverty rate among advanced nations.
States that don’t offer prenatal care, daycare, insurance, or housing for 2 year olds cost themselves in the long run in crime, prisons, and dysfunctional adults (the opposite of taxpaying, productive citizens). I maintain that those states are filled with legislators that can’t add. If they could, they would see the terrific long term costs unhealthy children without coping skills cost their communities in crime, prisons, health care and extreme costs to schools and social services in their communities (and they make for really unhappy/unsafe communities).
Unhealthy and unprepared children explain our why our schools repeatedly rank at the bottom with reading, math, science, history test scores and our graduation rates remain among the lowest of the industrialized nations.
Today’s Star Tribune article by Daniel Heimpel on creating an Office Of Child Protection is a great idea but long term probabilities for its success are not very good.
Children can’t vote and adults are mostly given to fist shaking and blaming if reminded of institutional failures when a child is found in a dumpster or dead after fifteen reports of child abuse. States will fight for their rights to not provide insurance, prenatal care, or child protection and make it sound like they are “saving families” in the process. A child protection Czar would be busy 24 / 7 fighting state by state with Louisiana, Mexico, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and a handful of others that are really committed to policies of ignoring poor families, child death, child mortality, child poverty, and uninsured children.
I like the idea of protecting children and creating a child protection Czar, but Hercules died a very long time ago and I don’t know who else could fight that fight.Details
The following is my synopsis of the Minnesota Medical Associations March 2006 article on Child Maltreatment by Dr. David McCollum. It’s meant for medical professionals, but I found it very well written and understandable; (the article) http://www.mmaonline.net/publications/MNMed2006/March/clinical-mccollum.htm Dr. McCollum clearly articulates the relationship between childhood abuse and a lifetime of physical and mental health issues.…Details
Those of us that know about the traumas abused children suffer need to say more if we are ever to reverse the trend of generational child abuse in America. These articles were compiled over the last week. The COVID pandemic has reduced reporting and increased domestic violence & child abuse. Read these short articles and help KARA spread the word about the problems facing at risk children.Details
FYI, the World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence & deprivation”. Every child in my CASA guardian ad-Litem caseload suffered from being tortured (half of them had been sexually abused). This explains why children in child protection suffer from PTSD at twice the rate soldiers returning from Iraq & Afghanistan do, why 2/3 of the youth in juvenile justice have mental health diagnosis (and why fully half of them have multiple, serious, & chronic diagnosis) & why 80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives.
Mr. Brooks, please continue your research & writing on this issue because no other big time news people are & this is why our prisons are full, schools are troubled, & so many communities are becoming unlivable (Flint Michigan no longer has a police presence after 5pm – and they really need one).Details
For Thanksgiving this year, let’s all wish really hard to make life better for at risk children.
As a long-time Volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I wish for; The implementation of the recommendations by the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection and the additional attention and resources necessary to make children safe in my community (and yours too).
Fewer ten and twelve year old children charged as adults in our judicial system,Details
We are the only three nations in the world lacking paid maternity leave for working moms. Most developed nations offer 15 to 52 weeks of leave for a new baby to be with mom.
Another stunning statistic was the cost of childcare as a percent of net family income; the majority of the industrialized nations fall between five and ten percent – Americans pay 23.1 percent of their income for childcare.
The majority of advanced nations offer paid paternity leave for dads. We are at zero.
For a nation that talks big about family values, this is embarrassing. If you don’t call your State Representative (and other politicians) to support these policies, there is a good chance that nothing will change.Details
Money losing newspapers are hard pressed to assign reporters to these tragic stories. As a guardian ad-Litem, I had a case with 49 police calls to a home before the children were removed (& only because the seven year old attempted to kill the five year old in front of the officer). I believe that the seven year old had been prostituted.Details
The Red Lake massacre 13 years ago happened when 16 year old Jeff Weise was ignored and unable to find help after repeatedly talking about homicide and suicide and even posting these thoughts on social media. Within a year after the tragedy, a 3.5 million dollar mental health center was opened on the reservation.
A few years later, I interviewed a police chief from a town of 10,000 people. He spoke of the inability of his officers to provide anywhere near appropriate services or the level of service necessary for health and safety of children and young families in his community.Details
Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher (who receives 3.5 million in federal crop subsidies) told the New York Times that his bible states “he who is unwilling to work shall not eat”. Not my kind of religion.
Walmart pays its employees so little that they need food stamps and have been living without health care. So the government gets to support Walmart employees and add to Walmart profits.
New Jersey eliminated mental health workers in its schools a few years ago sending all misbehaving youth to jail. New Jersey school counselor Thomas Kersting told Fox News that denying lunch to low-income children whose parents had not filled out eligibility forms would be a “teaching moment” (ie, a great idea).
No diapers, no mental health services, no food stamps, and no lunch. What makes us so mean?Details
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.Details
JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. – In Kentucky, a lot of children are being raised by extended family members: at 6 percent of all kids, it’s one of the highest kinship-care rates in the nation. A new report from Kentucky Youth Advocates outlines what the group says needs to be done to increase support for grandparents and others raising kids who cannot safely live with their parents.
According to Jeanne Miller-Jacobs, who with her husband is raising their three grandkids, more assistance is badly needed.
“The biggest hurdle that we’ve had is misinformation,” she said. When we first got the kids, the financial part of kinship care never came up.”
She said her grandchildren, ages five, three and one, came to live with them because their parents struggle with drug addiction.
Kinship care has doubled in Kentucky in the last decade, and earlier this year, the state stopped taking new applications for its Kinship Care Program, which provides caregivers $10 a day to help meet a child’s basic needs.Details
Do you know your state representative? If you don’t, find out today and call her/him with the important message that you know short term savings DO NOT APPLY to children.Details
Our precious America, we are taught, is the exception to the world. No other nation can even come close. Tragically, a great many children suffer from a denial of the reality in our country.
The evidence is confirmed by new studies reported in the mainstream media. In March the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) among teenage girls. It was a shock. One in five white teens and half of African-American young women are infected with a STD. Across all groups the incidence was one of every four teens, and climbing!Details
Only one out a hundred very young children are successful in their suicide attempts. Most child suicides are not by guns (the primary means of adult suicides), but by hanging and poison. Kendrea (6) and Gabriel (7) successfully hung themselves a few years ago. They came from different states but suffered the same afflictions.
Many child suicides are by children that haveDetails
In one poor school district in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, students take classes in a bus garage, using plastic sheeting to keep the diesel fumes at bay. In another, there is no more money to tutor young immigrants struggling to read. And just south of Denver, a district where one in four kindergartners is homeless has cut 10 staff positions and is bracing for another cull.Details
It hurts me to know that I live in a state that pays the least of almost all states in training social workers and continues to underfund the federally mandated guardian ad litem program so severely that over six hundred children do not have a Court Appointed Special Advocate even today. A Court Appointed GAL is the only voice abused children have in court once they have been removed from their homes.
The list of underfunded programs for the most vulnerable citizens in our community is long and been growing (we have the money*).
Without the Star Tribune’s continued reporting on child abuse issues, trauma and abuse would still be non-issues as they were when 3-year-old Dennis Jergens was tortured to death in White Bear Lake in the 1960’s. His mother Lois Jergens went on to adopt four other children by moving out of the state.Details
Minnesota’s racial disparities: a Judge’s view (who will speak for children?)Details
For a teenager at home with your laptop and 7th grade course work with too many people making too much noise or drunk uncle William downstairs screaming at the TV set?
If your mom and dad are fighting and the atmosphere is toxic?
or your uncle is hurting you?
Can safety be found?
Can I call for help?
What if you are a single working parent or two parents working and no child care and no money and spending long days and troubling nights wondering about safety, food, the next day, next week and what’s next.Details