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COVID and Foster Care

The COVID crisis is stretching all of our community resources.  Every state is struggling to provide safe homes for foster children.

Fixing the problems this article brings to light will require an informed and involved community and government…

Click here to find out how to begin to make this happen where you live.

COVID & Child Protection, Foster Care & Privatized Group Homes

The State of Minnesota forcibly closed the privatized group home at St Cloud for repeated violations  including head banging that caused concussions & sex in front of staff.  2 St Paul boys group homes have been closed recently and there has long been a shortage of qualified foster homes in outstate Minnesota (as it is all around the nation).

This video demonstrates how terrible privatized group homes can become (Florida forces 48% of their state wards onto Prozac like drugs and now lives with eleven year old’s prostituting themselves out of their foster group homes).

You’re Hurting Me – Children Living In Toxic Homes During The Covid Lockdown (domestic violence statistics)

TThe absence of reports of violence against children in the media does not reflect the amount of trauma and suffering of children in toxic homes in our communities today.

The COVID lockdown has almost ended domestic violence abuse reporting in the media and for children, there are no classrooms to escape to.  Social workers can’t get into the homes to talk to or look at children to hear their stories and see their bruises. 

Can You Imagine?

What’s it like for the social worker or guardian ad Litem knowing that the child they are talking to online is living in a toxic home of violence, neglect and drugs and it’s not possible to visit or confirm or remove that child to safety because of the COVID restrictions?

What’s it like knowing that a caregiver is watching the child answering the social workers questions leaving little chance for that child’s honest answers to the hard questions a social worker will ask?

What is occurring in too many homes to too many children at this time of crisis will be with us forever as a growing number of traumatized children are stamped with the mental health and behavioral problems that follow beatings, sexual abuse and neglect in the home.

Yes, these things were happening prior to this pandemic, but at least there was some escape to school with a chance for shelter, normalcy and a caring adult that would listen.

Today, the abuse and trauma continue uninterrupted.

These short public service announcements are hard to watch, but they could save lives by provoking support for at risk children and their families.

Please support KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN local public Service Announcement program

Kids At Risk Action advocates for abused and neglected children – this website has over one thousand articles about trauma and the issues of child abuse.  Please share these stories widely,  contribute your questions and insights through our onsite comments and send us your suggestions for future topics.

30.2 % of America’s Youth Arrested Before Their 23rd Birthday (25% of us are state wards & special needs people)

Add this to the fact that American youth (as young as 11) are routinely charged as adults (25% nationally) and that cities around the nation arrest extremely high percentages of their minority populations (in 2001 Hennepin County – Minneapolis MN) arrested 44% of it’s adult Black Men – no duplicate arrests/58% of those men were rearrested for a second crime within two years making Minneapolis the Jail & Prison capital of the world.

Many states have funded their prison and jail systems at far greater rates of increase than their schools, daycare, or health systems, either of which could reduce the stresses driving the extreme growth in crime and courts.

Making Minnesota A Trauma Informed State (trauma informed resources during covid 19 quarantine)

Be It Resolved That;

Minnesota has conducted the ACEs Survey and confirmed the results of the original ACEs survey.
Nadine Burke Harris, Surgeon General of California has declared childhood trauma a public health epidemic and public schools crisis.
Minnesota should proclaim itself to be a Trauma Informed Care State and action its largest agencies to determine what this means for their areas of responsibility.
Nine other states have done so, multiple MN communities are working towards becoming trauma informed communities
Our state should appoint an ACEs Czar to pull together these diverse activities.

Child & LGBTQ Suicide & Self-Harm (stories, statistics & trauma informed resources for covid19 quarantine)

What would you say to the 12 year old boy who told you how he plans to suicide by cop? Or to the mother of the young girl you speak for in court that told her child “I wish you’d never been born”?

Words don’t come easy.

This survey of 12,000 LGBTQ youth identifies the extreme stress, anxiety, rejection and overwhelming feeling of danger these children grow up with.

Impossible Questions & Painful Statistics

Are children property of their parents even if those parents

re violent, addicted, severely mentally ill or criminal?

Harder question.

Do teen and preteen mothers own their fetuses & babies

even if they abuse their children,

are addicted and out of control with little understanding of how

or ability to raise a child safely?…

Is this child’s child doomed prior to birth?

Children have no voice at the legislature, the media or in the home they are born into.  They have no choice in who raises them or what is done to them.

Child Care – Brutal Truths & Worst Practices

in many states, single Parents pay over 50% of their income for infant center care and married parents with 2 children pay over 100% of their household income for center based care (or they would if they could make it work). Minnesotans pay over 15 thousand dollars for infant care (when public college tuition is 11 thousand dollars.

For a nation claiming to value children – one could argue it’s for the dollars they bring in and not their future role as citizens. Drunk uncle/boyfriend daycare is an awful thing the media…

Child Sex Abuse & The Most Powerful Suicide Note Ever (Bill Zeller from 2011)

This is the longest and most powerful and articulate suicide note I’ve ever read and it has great meaning to me for its power to relate these two incomprehensible sorrows (abuse & suicide).

I could not read Bill Zeller’s last letter without feeling the terror, physical and mental impediments, and daily reminders of his childhood nightmares and adult confusion and suicide.

Arming Teachers/Shooting Students (advocating for less violence and a more civil society)

After the COVID19 lockdowns are lifted, and children and teachers return to the the classroom after months of fear and isolation, wouldn’t it be wonderful if students and teachers do not have to replace the daily fear of a virus with the daily fear of violence? 

What can the community do to make that happen?

How many teachers have combat training or signed up to pack a weapon when they entered the profession?  Turnover in education is already a huge problem.  Packing a gun is what police and soldiers do. Shooting someone takes training – shooting the right person takes extensive training.  For decades now, guns have been more often used for suicide than self-defense in America.  This is true also for domestic violence.

American Crime Costs & Statistics

Louisiana (the World’s Prison Capitol), Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma & several other states have incarceration rates 20 times that of incarceration rates in most other industrialized nations. The best prisons in the world release good neighbors back into the community American prisons release hardened criminals with mental health problems and an 80% change of recidivism within five years.

Federal Prisons are 131% of design capacity – 2015 18 states are over capacity. 800% increase in women in prison since 1980.

These statistics and research calculate crime in America today and its cost…

Helping Homeless Kids In the Metro

Today, there are about 100 youth shelter beds for the almost 5000 youth that experience homelessness every year in our state.

Sad facts;

15% of homeless youth have traded sex for shelter and food.

Over 20% of homeless youth have been physically or sexually attacked while homeless.

Almost 1/3 of homeless youth have been sexually abused.

Almost 40% of homeless youth have stayed in abusive homes because they had no where else to go.

The Y’s host program matches friendly families willing to share their safe homes with homeless youth as the Y staff helps these kids attain self-sufficiency.

Recent Stories, Statistics & Articles About Adoption & Foster Care

After a 9 day trial, foster mom Melissa Sondrol was convicted of of assaulting her infant state ward child, breaking multiple bones and withholding medical information from providers. The court was not allowed to hear her prior histories of abuse. This infant has suffered for years in MN and will live a life very different from other children due to the traumas visited upon him as a foster child – and the things that happened to him prior to entering child protection.

Stories about the shortage of foster care providers, lack of training and resources and transparency within the system are not uncommon – remember, we only read about the very worst cases – the sadness in foster care goes much deeper.

Give Children the Rights Every Other Nation Gives Them

America is the only nation on earth that is not a party to the international rights of the child treaty of 1989.

Children have no voice in the media, courts, homes and they can’t vote for legislation to keep them safe from harm.

Child rights in America today are the rights of women in 1917 (a personal possession – a slave or pet).

Only a fraction of parental violence and abuse against children is ever reported, a tiny percentage of that number is ever prosecuted and parents can legally withhold life saving medical care from their children in 27 states with some states putting only token resources into child protective systems leaving children trapped in a lifetime of violence, trauma and abuse.

Most child abuse cases in state courts meet the World Health Organization’s definition of torture “Extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

Collateral Damage – ACEs & Education

Today’s Star Tribune article, Teachers Turning to Other Careers shines a light on the punishing effects of ACES on education in our state.

The violence & chaos brought to school by increasing numbers of abused children (ACEs) creates classroom chaos, puts students and teachers in danger and makes teaching exponentially harder.

It’s why over half of Minnesota’s licensed teachers were not teaching last year, recruitment is a statewide problem, teacher turnover is high and student performance is low….

Our Creeping Mental Health Crisis (& statistics)

As a new CASA guardian ad Litem volunteer I was stunned by the Prozac, Ritalin and other psychotropic medications prescribed to my seven, eight and nine year old State Ward children. About 1/3 of all state ward children (nationally) are forced onto psychotropic medications. Suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death among 10 to 24 year olds.

Over 1 million children under 6 are prescribed psychiatric drugs in America today. In 2014, 20,000 one and two year old’s were on Prozac like drugs & *Johnson & Johnson was fined billions of dollars for illegally selling those drugs to pediatricians for use on very young children…

1 In 3 Children Investigated For Child Abuse by 18 (Washington University Study)

As a long time volunteer County CASA guardian ad Litem it has been hard to comprehend the explosive growth of child abuse in my lifetime. This study (lead author Hyunil Kim PhD Student at the Brown School at Washington University St Louis) published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health is troubling on several levels.

First, to reach numbers this high by only including reports of child abuse that met County standards for a case to be investigated, indicates that this already high number (37% overall & 53% for Black Children) is possibly even higher

Hospitals Turning Away Mental Health Patients (nothing to be proud of)

Thank you Chris Serres for reporting on the troubling development at St Joseph’s Hospital in Brainerd.

This is one of our community’s (nation’s) most serious health problems.

St Joe’s failure to admit mental health crisis patients reflects the growing nightmare of how medical institutions are dealing with mental health at a management level.

Refusing help to our most troubled citizens (people in crisis) means more sad & awful things happen to the rest of us.

People in crisis…

Child Abuse Statistics (& the best resources)

The following information is gathered from Kids Count, Children’s Defense Fund,& American SPCC

Nationally over 7 million U.S. children come to the attention of Child Protective Services each year according to a Children’s Bureau 2015 report.

37% of American children are reported to Child Protective Services by their 18th birthday (African American children are reported at 54%)
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.13 3
34% of people who sexually abuse a child are family members. 4

SPEAK FOR A CHILD (be a CASA guardian ad litem & the voice for a child in court – children need a voice)

Learn about the CASA guardian ad-Litem program and how your can make life better for abused and neglected children – Today, there are 500 abused and neglected children in Ramsey & Hennepin County child protective services without a guardian ad-Litem. Being a State Ward child is painful. Being a voice for that child is rewarding and makes a difference in the life of that child.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children; learn more here;

CASA MINNESOTA

CASA NATIONAL

Body Memories – Why Child Sex Abuse Never Ends (letters from survivors and non survivors)

Dear Doctor,

As a medical professional you have taken an oath to do no harm, but there are ways in which you can hurt your patients without even recognizing you are doing so. What seems to you as a simple exam may cause injury to those who have been victimized by someone’s touch. This is a subject that we, survivors of sexual violence, have been meaning to discuss with you for some time now, but your authority can be more intimidating than you may know. I am also unsure if you are aware just how much power you, as a physician, hold and to the extent that you affect the lives of all of your patients. Your interactions with us travel much deeper than the physical core.

The relationship between patient and doctor is also mental, built on trust, understanding, and the security of knowing that your doctor has your well-being at heart. We, as your patients, entrust in you the most intimate parts of our bodies and our lives. But this trust has to be earned, and it is much harder for us patients who have been so severely violated. The intent of this letter is not to in any way criticize your work as a