Thank You Governor Dayton (shining a light on Minnesota’s Child Protection system)

It took real courage for Minnesota’s Governor to use the phrase “Colossal Failure” when describing the role child protective services played in the tortured death of four year old Eric Dean.  The politics of child protection are not favorable to politicians. Plenty of Governors would have let the story die down without making too much…

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Thank You Colorado Springs Gazette For Your Excellent Child Protection Reporting

A three-part series where The Gazette explores how the child protection system works, how El Paso County ranks in terms of child abuse and how child neglect differs from child abuse in the eyes of prosecutors who handle the cases.

• Chidl protection system isn’t flawless

• Not all child abuse referrals become cases

• Child abuse cases likely to land in family court

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Thank You Century College

This weeks KARA presentation for Century College Luncheon Speaker Series prompted good questions and brought a solid discussion to the critical issues facing at risk children.

We are all seeking better and happier endings.

It will take some participation by all of us to shift the culture to where it respects and cares for America’s children, for that to happen.

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Thank You Canada (for your clear speaking about child protection)

This CBS report on child protection in British Columbia is direct and to the point. It’s honesty and tone would be instructive for many U.S. states that suffer from the same issues without the will to face them head on.

It hurts me that we don’t talk more openly about child abuse and how life changing it is for children. Until we do, there’s little chance that the changes required to make our systems work will occur.

I really liked this quote from the report; “In the future, we must accept and act on a simple principle: child protection is one of the most difficult jobs in government and it should be recognized and rewarded with higher compensation.” It is.

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Thank God For Lawyers, Lawsuits & the Star Tribune

Today’s Star Tribune reporting on the civil rights lawsuit for abused children (by reporter Chris Serres) validates my belief that child rape and other crimes against children are the most ignored and cruelest reality in our community.  We hate the conversation so we avoid it and children suffer continued awful traumas because of us. I…

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Texas Wins Again (Criminalizing 300,000 students / year)

Cursing, farting, or an honors student spraying perfume on her neck, all valid reasons for being arrested in Texas schools (citations to six year old’s even).

Does the nation need more disadvantaged youth in the criminal justice system? Texas thinks so.

Texas, the state eliminating higher order thinking from it’s schools & teaching that premarital sex has fatal consequences, and that getting plenty of rest and avoiding condoms saves one from sexually transmitted diseases (& leads all states and many third world nations in the incidence of STD’s among youth) now rests comfortably ahead of all states and the rest of the world in criminalizing students.

Texas also leads in Executions (including of the mentally ill – ignoring federal mandates), juvenile incarceration, uninsured children, child poverty (including food insecurity/starvation of children), preteen pregnancies (and the highest rates of repeat births to teen moms).

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Tennessee’s High Infant Death Rate

Of the 23 richest countries, the United States has the highest rate of infant mortality, according to the CIA World Fact Book. And in Shelby County, Tenn., which encompasses Memphis, the state health department says a baby dies every 43 hours — a rate higher than that of any other major city. The babies most at risk come from impoverished parts of town with largely black populations.

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Teaching In a Strange Land (mental health workers without training)

What struck me hardest in today’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN presentation at a suburban elementary school was the dedication and desire my audience of 60 educators have for the children in their classrooms. Even the most difficult kids.

Martin Luther King Day was a train the trainer day for these teachers. Our discussion on trauma and dealing with traumatized children sparked keen conversation and shined a light on the depth and scope of the mental health issues students bring to school.

Did you know that 37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

This a particularly American problem and it is growing. Educators, like social workers, law enforcement, adoptive and foster parents, must grasp the new mental health reality if they are to succeed in their work with this population.

Most of my audience today “got it” when I talked about child abuse, foster homes, and what it takes to get into Child Protective Services and why abused and neglected children exhibit irrational and sometimes dangerous behaviors and need to be understood if learning is to occur.

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Teachers As First Responders

What’s it like to be a first grade teacher frightened by an out of control little boy who kicks, punches or stabs classmates with pencils? Is the principal trauma informed? Are their teams of trauma informed teachers or sufficient mental health resources that can lessen the chances of expelling a seven or nine year old from the school?

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Teachers Are People Too

This KARA post from 2005 suggests a significant improvement in graduation rates in Minneapolis schools. No Child Left Behind really did leave behind a great many children.

From our 2005 piece;

Roosevelt High school graduated 28% of its students last year—Minneapolis and other big city schools averaged graduation rates between 50% and 60% nationwide. 25% of graduating U.S. high school seniors are functionally illiterate.

Teachers and school administrators are accused of bad stewardship. That is like blaming the police for who sits in the back seat of a squad car. It’s not their fault.We are all in this together, or as Pliny the elder said 2500 years ago, “what we do to our children, they will do to our society”

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TC NonViolent Event – Invisible Children September 25th

September 25th 4 to 5pm – Chapel

Dayton Av Presbyterian Church

217 Mackubin Street Saint Paul, MN 55102

How childhood trauma evolves into chronic illness, dangerous lifestyle & early death and shadows children into adulthood impacting schools, public safety, public health and quality of life in the community.

What we need to know & need to do to interrupt abuse, heal children and fix our community

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Taxes, Children & a Guardian ad Litem’s Perspective

Today’s Miguel Otarola’s Star Tribune attention on the additional 43 million dollars needed to fund these programs should be put into perspective.

One of my CASA guardian ad litem caseload children cost the State and County about 3 million dollars by the time he aged out of foster care – not including the teacher he beat up, student he stabbed and terrible things he did to the 29 foster families he lived with. He contracted AIDS as a teen and will always be a State Ward and high cost to the County. This child will likely end up being a 5 to 10 million dollar tax burden just because

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Taxes 2 Year Olds (what the feds know that we should)

It turns out that investing in children and young families provides the highest return on investment a government can make.

It’s apparent how terrible many government investments are and it’s easy to see how providing skills and basic needs for children and you families are superior investments to giving the homeless bus tickets to other states so they would be a burden elsewhere.

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Tax Cuts To Children (thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN)

Safe Passage for Children really nails it in this short paragraph (below) about how legislators just don’t know what child friendly programs do or how they work. It’s also true that it’s been proven by very conservative people that investing in children is the most effective investment of tax dollars a society can make.

It hurts me that we routinely deny other people’s children daycare, mental health services, food, insurance, early & high quality education and the things children in most other developed nations get lots of. There appears to be little concern about the long term effects or the cost to our community (tax base, jails, school quality, public health and public safety) of allowing at risk youth to pass through childhood without the basic well-being attributes required to cope with life and lead a normal existence. All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children.

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Target Practice On The Mentally Ill

America owns the market of mistreating people with mental health problems. Whether Tasering 12 year olds or shooting disturbed people, we just don’t care enough to make health services available to stop the carnage.

16 year old Jeff Weise’s father committed suicide a few years before Jeff started writing about his homicidal and suicidal thoughts and listening to his mother’s wishes that he had never been born.

A few months later he shot dead his grandfather and 14 other people before killing himself. Talk about warning signs.

The year after the carnage, Red Lake found 3 million dollars to fund a mental health facility for the community.

Michael Swanson’s mom (an educated and very capable person) worked for years to find mental health services for her tragically disturbed boy before he drove to an adjacent state and murder 2 convenience store clerks for shits and giggles.

My friend Patti adopted 4 children from a county that assured her they came from fairly normal backgrounds. If being sexually abused at very young ages is normal, then the county did not lie.

20 years later, the mental health issues this family still endures make me hate our institutional habits of obfuscating and lying.

When it is your family or friend that is visited by violence or other forms of insanity the sensation is unbelievably painful. Until then, let’s just not care about affordable health care.

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