Invisible Children Campus Program

WHAT IS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS?

Polio, smallpox & measles were public health emergencies – policies & programs were created to end these crisis.
FIRST, A conversation.

A conversation about identifying and understanding the issues is a first step to discovering the policies & tools to interrupt generational child abuse and heal troubled children and families.

Once policy makers recognize the depth and scope of the problem, it becomes possible to divert resources and attention from policies and programs that don’t work to policies and programs that do work.

Until then, cities will suffer levels of violence, school failure, racial inequities and all the sadness and failure trauma survivors bring to the communities they live in.

Kids At Risk Action invites you to start the conversation in your community with KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN Campus program.

Posts & Video From ACEs Connection (Adverse Childhood Experience)

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

 

These posts & video from the ACEs Connection Network (the most active, influential ACEs community in the world), are powerful demonstrations of child trauma issues and how best (and worst ways) to face them.

(intro to) ACE study – 3 minute video  ACE policy brief – 8 minute video  14 minute video (the study)

Building Trauma/Resilience Informed Communities (part 1) (part 2)

 

ACES ConnectionJoin the ACEs Connection

Sample posts;

KARA & 4th Annual Law Enforcement & Social Services Conference

4th Annual Law Enforcement and

Social Services Conference

October 17, 2019

Best Western Plus Kelly Inn 100 4th Avenue South St. Cloud MN, 56301

Sponsorships & Exhibitions • Panels & Discussion

Presentations & Workshops • Networking & Partnership Building

Greetings Law Enforcement, Social Services Professionals, and Honored Guests!

Healthy Students – Healthy Schools

1/3 of foster children have mental health issues serious enough to be forced onto psychotropic medications.

Of the 2 million youth arrested in America every year, 70% or them have mental health issues – half of them have severe, chronic and often multiple diagnosis.

That’s what teachers and schools face every day with one school nurse if they are lucky enough to have one.

KARA Needs Your Videos & Stories

KARA needs children’s issue videos for our traveling INVISIBLE CHILDREN Campus Program

Do you know someone with a compelling video story about child abuse, foster care, child protection or other at risk children’s issues?

Forward this to them and help Kids At Risk Action as we build awareness and support for the people, policies and programs that improve the lives of abused and neglected children.

Contact info@invisiblechildren.org with video project in the subject line

Be A Squeaky Wheel For Children

Annual teacher turnover is highest in Arizona (24%) and New Mexico (23%) Minnesota is 14th highest in teacher turnover.

After my workshop in New York at the United Nations Annual Youth Assembly, a line of ex social workers formed to tell me their stories of why they quit. Annual social worker turnover has been 20 to 40% for many years with individual agency rates as high as 65%.

Police officer turnover rates fall in the middle of teacher/social turnover rates (about 14%) but their suicide, divorce & substance abuse rates are significantly higher.

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….

The Ghost of Christmas Past (the value of healthy children)

If we knew the costs abused children carry with them through a lifetime and the cost of multiple generations of abused children there would be

They proved that by investing in early childhood programs children became much more likely to succeed in school and lead a productive life. This research was the most practical approach to the economics of childhood development this nation has ever seen.

KARA believes that this federal reserve study has not had the impact it should have had because;

We don’t respond to how much money is saved as powerfully as we do to how much things cost,
Almost no one knows the short or long term costs abused children carry with them through a lifetime or,
The cost of multiple generations of abused children

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”

YAY Teachers (running for office)

Our mean spirited and child unfriendly politics is driving teachers into public office. This is a sample and it the most positive movement towards better treatment of children than we have seen in a long time. Blaming teachers for trouble schools is so wrong.

Looking for better schools, higher graduation rates and safer communities? Support schools and the people on the front lines.

What we do to our children, they will do to society (Pliny the Elder 2000 years ago)

Child Suicides – what’s left unsaid

After all these years of Prozac and drugging of children with mental health issues and so little access to mental health services, it’s refreshing to see students and their petition for improving these services in the schools.

Thank you students at Mounds View and Hopkins high schools for speaking out and your effort to create a more compassionate and safe atmosphere for troubled youth.

When child suicides make the news (today’s Star Tribune article), there is a gaping hole where failed suicide attempts and other self harming behaviors of children should be accounted for and reckoned with.

State Ward children so often have dangerous lifestyles – self harming and even life threatening behaviors that we don’t speak of and no one knows but a few people involved in these tragedies.

When foster child Kendrea Johnson hung herself the County Corornor stated that six year old children just did not have the mental capacity to execute a suicide successfully (he called her death an accident – she left a note).

The Star Tribune’s chart showing 5-14 year old children as a tiny part of child suicides would be dwarfed by including their attempted suicides, cutting and other self harming behaviors.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

ACE Study, Crime & Ramsey County (reprinted from 2006)

ACE research shows a strong historical pattern of criminality in families of child delinquents. Using Cohen’s estimates, we calculate the multi-generational “multiplier effect” to be between $3.4 and $11.5 million. In these families, criminality is likely to grow exponentially.

Sad Stories Part VII Feb 13-28 (child protection – find your state here)

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)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines

Good Governance, Betsy DeVos & Education For the Rest of Us

Institutions define us (they keep us safe, educated and healthy)Why anyone with a stake in a safe, functioning community would withhold support or throw rocks at people doing this work is incomprehensible.

Turning our schools, highways, corrections and care of the young, sick and elderly into the hands of greed driven Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli and Trump University folks is not helping build healthy communities. It’s to be expected that institutional outcomes (public health, public safety, public education – don’t forget bridges) are suffering. Performance of any complex institution or endeavor demands support & critical thinking.

A safe, livable community requires support for the worker bees laboring in schools and other social institutions for those institutions to perform well. It’s for your own good.

Sad Stories Feb 2018 Part IV (child abuse & trauma articles and statistics)

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)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Fetal Alcohol Babies (FASD) & the Harm in Minimizing Terrible Realities (JAMA February 2018)

This months JAMA article indicates that we continue to underestimate the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders by a factor as high as 10. If this is true, 5% of American children are born with a wide range of permanent and lifelong physical & mental health deficits that will result in school & life failure and premature death.

Most people in the fields of education, law enforcement or social work know the explosive growth of mental health issues of children in their in schools, homes and squad cars. We are all becoming mental health workers.

The greater and sadder truth reflected in these studies is the continued minimizing, euphemizing and obfuscation of how America treats its children and troubled young families.

The ground truth is that children can’t speak for themselves, the media sees this as a negative story and the institutions involved benefit through non-transparency and under-reporting.

These sad truths insure generation after generation of child abuse and children born of drug and fetal alcohol abuse. The cost to society and taxpayers is horrendous. We would all benefit by understanding these grim truths.

January Sad Stories 2018 Part II

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)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines

Learn About Speaking For An Abused Child In Court (HELP Save a child – save the date – Thurs Feb 8th 630pm)

CASA guardian ad litem: Please join us as we come together as a community in the name of abused and neglected children!
When: Thursday, February 8, 2018 @ 6:30pm Where: SeilerSchindel, PLLC

5901 Cedar Lake Road Minneapolis, MN 55416

Food & drink provided!

Discussion Topics:*What is a volunteer Guardian ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate?

*What are the requirements & training aspects to serve as a volunteer? All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children (share this)

MN At Risk Children’s News July – September 2017 (V)

Brandon Stahl Reporting

KARA gathers news about Minnesota’s abused children to provide a snapshot of Child Protection and how our state values its children.

Only a fraction of serious child abuse stories, statistics and facts we should be aware of.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Follow;

Safe Passage For Children MN (Join their legislative volunteer efforts and make child friendly legislation a reality)

MN At Risk Children’s News July – September 2017 (IV)

Brandon Stahl Reporting

KARA gathers news about Minnesota’s abused children to provide a snapshot of Child Protection and how our state values its children.

Only a fraction of serious child abuse stories, statistics and facts we should be aware of.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Follow;

Safe Passage For Children MN (Join their legislative volunteer efforts and make child friendly legislation a reality)

MN At Risk Children’s News July – September 2017 (II)

KARA gathers news about Minnesota’s abused children to provide a snapshot of Child Protection and how our state values its children.

Only a fraction of serious child abuse stories, statistics and facts we should be aware of.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Follow;

Safe Passage For Children MN (Join their legislative volunteer efforts and make child friendly legislation a reality)

Interrupting Child Abuse (1 Year Ago – thank you Commissioner Jan Callison & Star Tribune)

It should be big news* that Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison** stood up for abused and neglected children when she found out County Child Protection service providers did not respond to abused & neglected children on weekends, late nights or holidays.

You could tell Commissioner Callison was upset when a service provider at a Task Force Oversight Committee meeting described the County’s procedure of leaving children in violent and abusive homes for days because public policy favored social workers not working holidays, late nights and weekends over the safety of children in dangerous circumstances.
The good news is that Governor Mark Dayton created a task force to investigate Child Protective Services and that many of the worst failures are being addressed instead of ignored.

The bad news is that four, five and six year old children had to die tortured deaths to attract the media and outrage a public before terrible public policy could be exposed and corrected.

None of the 50 children I worked with in Child Protection ever made the newspaper.

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

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.

A Star Tribune Mistake (impacting millions of children each year)

“Did you all see the article in the Science and Health section of the Sunday Star Tribune? – ”Study will look at the role of childhood stress in adult disease”. There is a line in there that says, to the effect, that very little is known about the connection between childhood stress and adult disease. Give me a break. What about the ACE Study? Very discouraging.”

Thank you Carol.

Here are my thoughts on your note;

Beyond the sadness of reporters and the general public lacking awareness about the plethora of * ACEs studies demonstrating the direct connection between abuse and lack of coping skills, chronic illness, dangerous lifestyles and early death, is that the most recent reprinting of the DSM* shows almost no mention of ACEs.

Professionals in the mental health field and learning institutions that train new mental health workers need to know ACEs trauma informed best practices for working with trauma victims if we are ever to increase graduation rates, reduce crime and incarceration rates and rebuild safe and livable inner cities.

Minnesota’s At Risk Children’s News (first 6 months of 2017)

What’s it like to be an abused child in Minnesota? The stories and articles below shine a light on the sadness and traumas faced by five year-olds, infants and other helpless children in our state. These stories are only a tiny percentage of the pain suffered by at risk children in our state. The vast majority of violence against children is unknown outside the family. Share this widely and consider supporting a child friendly legislator or service providing organization with your time or dollars. Be a voice for abused and neglected children (they can’t call their state representative to ask for help – they need us to do it for them).

International At Risk Children’s News May 2017

KARA gathers current news about child protection and risk children to bring transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. This is a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

Aspiring researcher / writers, KARA needs you. Help KARA report on at risk children in your community.

Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with Research/Writing in the subject line.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN – Join The KARA Team (and receive free weekly updates on Friday mornings)

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of the KARA team and volunteer Eshanee Singh

International At Risk Children’s News April 2017

KARA gathers current news about child protection and risk children to bring transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. This is a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of children’s issues, child trauma & abuse is never reported.

Aspiring researcher / writers, KARA needs you. Help KARA report on at risk children in your community.

Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with Research/Writing in the subject line.

Sad Stories April 2017 Part III

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
These pages are a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma, abuse & tragedy are never reported.
American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect in our communities.
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 January 2017)

6-12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines Florida reports 48% of its foster children are forced to take Prozac like drugs.
ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

Call For Minnesota Children (pick up the phone – write something) PreK, school readiness, early learning, things kids need

The legislature is back in session after their break. That means we are back to work on advocacy. And thank you for all the contacts you have already made. Time for more.

You may have heard that the conference committee was formed and the conferees were named. Here is what that means. The house education committee has passed their bill. The senate education committee has passed their bill. Some elements in the bills are similar. Some are not. Five senators, and five representatives (the conferees) have been chosen to meet and work out the differences. Then, it will be re-passed in the House and Senate and ready to go to the governor.

The conferees of the E-12 Education Committee are:

Traveling College Child Abuse – Child Protection Exhibit (for your campus activity space, library/museum)

KARA delivers to campus activity centers and departments a low cost, powerful visual display series of stories, graphics and news to build awareness and start discussion about the issues facing at risk children in your community. Six month lead time is projected presently. This display includes a menu of presentations and workshops and can be tailored to events and conditions in your community. Start this conversation on your campus.

Support this program directly (contact KARA for more info – info@invisiblechildren.org Campus Display in subject line)

International Child Protection News March 2017 (send us your news from around the world – info@invisiblechildren.org with research/writing in the subject line)

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. This is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

Aspiring researcher / writers, KARA needs you. Help KARA report on at risk children in your community.

Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with Research/Writing in the subject line.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN – Join The KARA Team (and receive free weekly updates on Friday mornings)

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of the KARA team and volunteer Eshanee Singh

Please donate now and support these pages &

1) Our documentary on the needs of at-risk children and breaking the cycle of abuse

2) Our second book and college child abuse travelling displays (let us know if your college or university wants to participate)

Sad Stories March 2017 Part IV (child protection news from around the nation)

Dad jailed in Gentilly infant’s death accused of mentioning crack use, accidental fall before arrest
The Advocate
Under questioning after his infant son’s death last week, Jeffery Edward Coleman said that he had used crack before the boy accidentally fell from a .

Sad Stories March 2017 Part III

Sign Up Here For KARA’s Free Friday Morning Real Story

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

These pages are a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma, abuse & tragedy are never reported.

Wanting To Know (caring enough to know)

Does Minnesota (your state here) want to know how its thousands of foster children are doing in school? Is there information available for people that care and want to see abused and neglected children at least get a chance to graduate from high school and lead a normal life?

The lack of transparency surrounding child abuse, child protection, foster care, drugging of very young children (Prozac, Ritalin, Zoloft…) indicates that while we talk big about valuing children in our community, we don’t care enough to want to know what their needs are.

If we knew that 80% of youth aging out of foster care were leading dysfunctional lives (last study of ten years ago), that 48% of state ward children are being forced to take psychotropic medications (true in Florida today) or that 4 MN counties screened out 90% of child abuse calls (true at the time of 4 year old Eric Dean’s murder by his step mother), then some concerned citizen, politician or administrator somewhere might be outraged enough to lobby for change.

Until information by our institutions becomes public, the problem simply does not exist and no one appears to care enough to see these awful things change.

Cudos to Minnesota for turning the child endangerment model into a genuine child protection model. It’s a great first step.

Sad Stories March 2017 Part II

OR: Report: Child welfare review teams under microscope
Merced Sun-Star – March 06, 2017
Barely three days after 12-year-old Caden Berry of Keizer died, the head of Oregon’s child welfare agency ordered a full review of the agency’s interactions with his family.
Also: Report: Child welfare agency struggled to fix problems: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/5126903-151/report-child-welfare-agency-struggled-to-fix-problems?referrer=fpblob
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/business/article136731693.html
OR: 44 children left in harm’s way: Oregon’s child welfare agency struggled to fix problems
Statesman Journal – March 04, 2017
Clyde Saiki, director of the state Department of Human Services, wanted to know if “system issues” may have prevented the state from saving the boy’s life. DHS has publicly published reviews for at least 44 children since 2004, involving children the agency knew of who died or were severely injured.
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/03/04/inside-state-child-welfare-investigative-team/96928358/
TX: Democratic lawmaker says Texas CPS workloads make ‘a travesty’ of child protection
Dallas Morning News – March 06, 2017
The bill would encourage CPS to hire 893 more employees over the next two years and create an additional 825 slots at sister agencies such as Adult Protective Services, Child Care Licensing and the unit that operates the protective services department’s hotline for reporting abuse, the Legislative Budget Board has estimated.
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/child-protective-services/2017/03/06/democratic-lawmaker-says-texas-cps-workloads-make-travesty-child-protection

What’s Wrong With School Choice? (from GADFLYONTHEWALLBLOG)

The proponents of school choice will tell you that they are only doing the will of the people. This is what parents want, they say. Baloney. While there are individuals who support school choice, the overwhelming majority of money behind this movement comes from conservative billionaires actively trying to dismantle the public education system. They want to steal the public system and replace it with a private one. They don’t care about your child. They just want to steal the hundreds of billions of tax dollars we pay to educate our children. This is not philanthropy. It is a business transaction meant to screw you and your child out of your rights.

International Child Protection News January 2017

Uganda: This former Ugandan child soldier is accused of war crimes. But is he also a victim? (Opinion)
Washington Post – December 06, 2016
More than two decades ago, Dominic Ongwen was a boy on his way to school in northern Uganda when he was abducted by the brutal rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army and turned into a child soldier. On Tuesday, he took a seat before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for the first day of a trial in which he is charged with 70 war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, torture and sexual slavery, mostly committed in attacks on camps for internally displaced people.

Serving Children (“What we do to our children, they will do to society”) Pliny 2400 years ago

A recent conversation with a metro police chief opened my eyes to how failing to provide resources to officers dealing with troubled youth makes policing much harder— the results much less positive.

The chief was clear about his commitment to (and understanding of) best practices in dealing with at-risk youth. He has participated in multiple community programs that work for seriously troubled kids. He radiates his genuine desire to make policing a solution for kids and not another link in the path to prison. He has helped launch youth skill-building options and other positive approaches law enforcement can employ to meet the ever-growing need of solutions for at-risk kids.

Without these tools, many of these children become longtime state wards while making our city streets uncomfortable and unsafe, filling jails and prisons instead of classrooms and jobs.

Here’s the reality: politics and a public’s desire to punish can exceed its desire to understand and to heal.

This is a bitter pill for a concerned police chief always hoping for better outcomes. Without quality alternatives available, officers are forced to be just one more link in the chain, dragging juveniles into the criminal justice system and a dysfunctional life.

CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation December 2016 -January 2017

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

Support KARA Pages & Projects

coneflowersAll Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Please donate now and support these pages &

1) Our documentary on the needs of at-risk children and breaking the cycle of abuse

2) Our second book, a collection of micro-bios following at-risk children through their journey

Accepting all donations, small and large. Their lives will not improve without help.

Donate Books For African Children (no better way to part with old friends)

The perfect way to part with treasures that can keep on giving (and to children). St Paul and Georgia locations provided below & please read the book donation rules.

KARA supports this effort and asks you to share this link on Facebook and other social media.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Donate Books

Books For Africa appreciates all book donations. It costs 50 cents to ship each book to Africa. Consider making a financial donation to cover the costs of shipping the books you donate. Please send financial donations separately in an envelope to the BFA office: Books For Africa, 26 East Exchange Street, Suite 411, St. Paul, MN 55101, USA. Or make a donation online.

Criminalizing Elementary School Children (policing our schools & punishment)

Federal Funding, Zero Tolerance and Inadequate Alternatives mean that more states are policing schools with armed officers. Before the 1970’s police were almost absent from elementary and junior high schools.

Today, armed officers are dealing with an escalation of violence and criminal prosecutions for children as young as 6, 7 and 8. Prosecuting kids in place of using resources to help them adapt destroys the fabric of a child’s life and achieves the exact opposite of what children need and society expects from an elementary or junior high school experience.

There are a significant number of us who believe it more important to punish bad behavior in children than it is to help them develop the skills they need to live among us. When these folks hold sway in education, the institution suffers, the child suffers, and the community gains one more troubled adult a few years later. For too long, America has led the world in crime, incarceration, violence and troubled schools. While not the only reason, treating at risk children with behavioral problems as offenders instead of troubled youth has played a big role.

The articles below are obvious examples of policing and education gone wrong. No child should have to live with this kind of institutional abuse. ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

When 14-year-old Ryan Turk cut ahead of the lunch line to grab a milk, he didn’t expect to get in trouble. He certainly didn’t plan to end up in handcuffs. But Turk, a black student at Graham Park Middle School, was arrested for disorderly conduct and petty larceny for procuring the 65-cent carton. The state of Virginia is actually prosecuting the case, which went to trial in November.

Changing the rules of the game requires federal, state, and local reforms. With little evidence that police in schools make students safer and plenty that they facilitate harm to students’ liberty and well-being, the Department of Justice should end the cops program’s SRO grants to districts. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for billions that promote unjust school conditions and put kids at greater risk of future involvement with the criminal justice system. And students should feel like they can talk to school officials when they have problems without forfeiting their constitutional rights and winding up in the back of police cars.

The Child Neglect Dilemma (from Safe Passage For Children)

Contrary to a common assumption, neglect is not less damaging than abuse. Research shows neglect victims have lifelong problems because they miss developmental milestones around language, self-control, and bonding with others.

A constant dilemma in neglect cases is whether to traumatize children by removing them from their families, or leave them in situations where their brains aren’t developing normally.

Quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs can make it possible to leave children at home while helping their parents improve parenting skills.

This study documents that neglect victims who got ECE moved quickly from having a language deficit to the normal range. Language development is critical to academic success and positive interpersonal relationships.
ECE can help many children avoid foster care and still obtain the baseline skills they need to thrive.

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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.