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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Note To InvisibleChildren Readers

www.avahealth.org You can spend hours listening to the medical professionals address these topics on this site in a very straightforward manner. Their videos are powerful – in particular, study the ACES information.

www.juvenile-in-justice.com This site provides an overview of how our institutions are working together and paints the picture of how at risk children are aging through society today. While it does not speak directly to pre-teen pregnancy, and the many important young women’s issues, it will draw your attention to the racial and economic disparity that is destroying so much of our inner cities.

& of course, Google, Art Rolnick, / Rob Grunewald Federal Reserve Bank Early Childhood Development. Study their report. It makes a statistical / financial argument for taking better care of American children.

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Over 90% Of New Orleans Elementary School Children Witness Violence (over half have been victims – 40% have seen a dead body)

Much of the violence occurs in the home, and it occurs again and again and again. That has also been my experience as a CASA volunteer guardian ad-Litem.

Most of the families experiencing violence in the home also report child abuse. 77% of children in high violence families were abused over their lifetime.

Most children who witness domestic violence suffer from PTSD and go on to lead lives much like their parents taught them (unless they are lucky enough to have good daycare, crisis nursery access, and mentoring – fairly rare in America today).

Full report here; http://www.childwitnesstoviolence.org/facts–myths.html

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The State Of Child Protection In America Today

American institutions are producing exactly that which they were designed to stop. Almost all the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection programs. Virtually all criminal justice candidates have been juvenile offenders. 2/3’s of these people have mental health problems (fully half of this number have multiple, serious, and chronic conditions (these are the dangerous and dysfunctional folks that so often make the news).

Much of what I write and speak makes people angry. Imagine what it’s like to be child protection worker or volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem and meet a seven year old boy that’s been tied to a bed, left alone for days at a time, starved, sexually abused, and beaten to a pulp with bruised covering his body or come to know very young girl that was prostituted by her mother.

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KARA’s Minnesota Friends of Children Please Support Bill Number SF 704/HF 1106

KARA board members Sam Ashkar and Mike Tikkanen accompanied Rich Gehrman and his Safe Passage For Children colleagues to support a bill at the state capital on thursday supporting child protection screening practices protecting children throughout MN. This bill SF 704 / HF 1106 gives simple guidelines, clarifies standards, and improves accountability for reporting and screening practices for abused children in terrible circumstances. It is the least we can do.

Please forward this to your friends and make a call to your state representative (and to State Senate Republican leader David Hann who is influential on this committee; 651-296-1749 )

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Magic Potions For Children

Teachers, social workers, justice workers, and parents today are forced to collude with big pharma to medicate children who would no more be able to handle suicidal ideation than they could handle rape. If you know someone using psychotropics, ask them if they have had the experience of suicidal ideation.

There is nothing like it. There is no good excuse for ignoring mental health on a national scale (especially where five year old’s are concerned).

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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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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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More Cheating Fallout From the NCLB Tragedy (DC Schools This Time)

Teachers that lived through the Bush era No Child Left Behind fiasco understand the impossibility of making students succeed and schools look good with inadequate resources and classrooms bulging with kids that can’t read, Prozac, and violence.

The “Texas education Miracle” that lead the NCLB’S deconstruction of America’s schools proved to be as wrong and dysfunctional as the erasures on thousands of test questions executed by hundreds (if not thousands) of teachers in Georgia and now DC (and there may well be other states as yet undiscovered).

If you study the DC memos being made public you will see just how hard it is to identify and pursue this kind of criminal activity (if it weren’t for excellent journalists at the Atlanta Journal, none of this would have been discovered).

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American Exceptionalism; Child Daycare

This extensive article from the New Republic clearly defines the nightmare that is child daycare for so many American children and infants. Not only is this unregulated field filled with underpaid, under-trained service providers, but poor people (about half of U.S. families) can’t afford or can barely afford any day care for their children.

A good percentage of America’s 8.2 million children under five spend part of their week in care outside the home.

America’s weakest and most vulnerable citizens are too often left in the care of drunk uncles and worse because low wage parent just don’t earn enough to pay for daycare.

The only time we read about the pain cause by inadequate daycare is when a baby chokes to death on a condom or has its brains dashed out on a wall.

Subsidized day care not only creates a safe place for the child, but a smarter citizen, and a happier and more productive family living in a better community.

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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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Judges Jailing Children For Money In America (yes it happens)

A second Pennsylvania judge (Michael Conahan) has plead guilty for receiving commissions for each child sent to privately held detention facilities (PA Childcare and Western PA Childcare) .

2.6 million dollars in fees were paid for between one and two thousand children sentenced for things they did not do. Judge Mark Ciavarella was identified some months ago as the primary offender in this case.

This adds a sorrowful twist to Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz statements that “90% of the youth in juvenile justice have passed through child protection” & “”The difference between that poor child and a felon, is about 8 years”.

In Pennsylvania 90% just isn’t filling privately held facilities with enough human prison fodder. I know how hard life is for at risk children and find this kind of crime to be a hanging offense for both the owners of the privately held facilities as well as the corrupters of our legal system.

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How To Sell Guns To Five Year Old’s (yes we do)

Mother Earth News this month includes weapons manufacturers marketing materials aimed at very young children. It is disturbing. It was just last week a five year old Kentucky boy killed his two year old sister with his “Crickett” “my first” rifle. You can buy them in hot pink for little girls:

“The Crickett rifle is ideally sized for children four to ten years old and comes in a …Arms manufactures the following youth rifles: Crickett .22WMR Youth Rifles”
Mom was outside & said she did not know the gun was loaded. Gun marketing pictures from the Crickett marketing page (the site was down today when I went to include the link – it will be interesting to see if it has been changed) http://www.crickett.com/

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Mental Health Month (we all have nutsey behaviors – let’s talk about it)

It hurts me to see people shy away from mental health conversations. By my observation over 60 some years, we could all benefit with a more open and honest discussion on the topic.

Today’s Star Tribune article by Christina Roegies explains how mentally ill people can lead amazing and fulfilling lives.

Long ago I listened to a mental health expert tell his psychologist audience not to think themselves too different from the people they saw daily for treatment. His logic was that we all have idiosyncracies and periods of our lives when our coping skills are low and we act in nutsey/irrational ways.

Assistant Commissioner of MN Department of Human Services, Dr Read Sulik’s “ability to cope” definition is the most understandable and meaningful definition I have heard.

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Kids At Risk Action Discussion Saturday, June 8, 8 – 930am Gardens of Salonica Restaurant, Minneapolis

Join us for coffee and treats and an enlightening conversation about improving the lives of at risk children and the quality of life in our community.

Saturday, June 8 at 8:00am -930am Stone Arch Discussion Group

Where: Gardens of Salonica, 19 5th St NE, Minneapolis, MN‎ (map) Good coffee & treats and easy parking.

(4 minute) Short Speaking Video

Please share this with your network, anyone that wants to know how to make life better for at risk children, lower crime rates, and improve schools and the quality of life in our communities.

KARA is working to make this national conversation. Help us deliver a good turnout for this event and put these issues front and center for a more public discussion on a greater scale.

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Twin Cities Marathon & CASA MN (a great combination)

We are proud to announce that, for the second year in a row, CASA Minnesota is a participating charity in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 6, 2013. We are reaching out to runners and supporters to fundraise for Team CASA Minnesota.
CASA Minnesota is a local nonprofit whose mission is to support and promote volunteer advocates to ensure that every abused and neglected child in Minnesota has a safe, stable and permanent family. Our advocates are everyday citizens who become extraordinary volunteers.

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Free College Tuition For Foster Children and other good news for at risk youth

Here are recent positive developments in support of people, policies, and programs for abused and neglected children;

Arizona has granted free tuition for foster children

California; Overwhelming response to request for more foster homes

New Mexico offers free home visits to first-time families (including fathers and adoptive families)

Oregon legislates a Foster Children’s Bill of Rights

Pennsylvania DHS receives U.N. award for improvements

U.S. Senate provides automatic citizenship to all persons born outside the U.S. and were adopted by American Citizens

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Minnesota’s Gaps & Mitch Pearlstein’s Room Full Of Elephants

About a third of the children in child protection use psychotropic medications (when tracked – most often not published). Judge Heidi Schellhas provided me with a list of children in her courtroom that were forced on to psychotropics, it was long and children as young at six and seven years old were prescribed Prozac type drugs.

If your sister is born into is drug addicted, abusive, or otherwise toxic family, without community assistance, she will herself raise babies that are soon to be drug addicted, abusive, or toxic to their own children (and so on and so on and so on).

The male side of that statement was made much more eloquently by former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz “the difference between that poor child and a felon is about 8 years”.

The beatings will continue until the morale improves (anonymous)

“What we do to our children, they will do to society” Pliny the Elder 2500 years ago

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Most Recent KARA Presentation (video)

Watch KARA’S recent Invisible Children presentation at the DFL Stone Arch Education Foundation; (video – 23 minutes)

Great audience participation and terrific question and answer period following (audio only)

Invite us to start a conversation at your organizations next function

Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org

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How Things Get Worse

What makes life worse for sexually abused five and seven year old’s is not talking about it. Not reporting it. Not disclosing it publicly or privately. The fewer people that know about the wretched things that are happening to NJ children, the smaller the problem appears to be and the less will be done to support the agencies chartered to help New Jersey Children.

New Jersey has taken a big step forward in making sure that the abuse is worse and lasts longer for its youngest citizens;

NJ: Child welfare agency proposes less disclosure of fatal child abuse cases.

The Star –Ledger- June 12, 2013.

The Department of Children and Families Plans to limit the information it publicly discloses when a child die or suffers life threatening injuries from abuse and neglect

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Children Of The Incarcerated; Collateral Damage

About 3 out of 100 Americans are incarcerated, on the way to being incarcerated, or have been released from incarceration. When broken out by race, these numbers are dramatically worse for people of color.

Minneapolis, MN for instance, arrested 44% of its adult Black men in 2001. There were no duplicate arrests and 58% of those men went on to be rearrested for a second crime within 2 years. America now leads the world in incarceration; 5% of the earth’s population and 25% of its prison population.

The children of incarcerated parents have higher rates of pregnancy, dropout and expulsion rates from school, STDs, mental health issues & criminal behavior. In fact, the children of incarcerated parents have more involvement with the criminal justice system than their offending parent did.

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