Child Abuse, Covid & What We Know (stress and domestic violence)

Kids At Risk Action writes and reports on child abuse issues & provides a passionate voice for at risk children All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children Support KARA’s Public Service Announcements KARA Signature Video (4 minute) Public Service Announcement( 30 Second) Struggling families in America have never had it easy.  The stresses of…

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).

Poverty, Structural Racism and Children (thank you Safe Passage for Children of MN)

Today’s Safe Passage short post about the impact of poverty and racism on children hits the nail on the head.  Decades and generations of children living without enough to eat, access to health and mental health care and all the stress that accompanies people in fear of homelessness and hunger.

Does you community accept young children being expelled from daycare and elementary school?  The violence and trauma visited upon us at this time is a direct result of how America treats its children.  Life would be way better for all of us if we cared more for other people’s children.

What’s It Like?

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.

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.

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.

92% of Foster Care Kids Using Psychotropic Meds Get Them For Unaccepted Reasons

From the Washington Post yesterday, most foster care children on antipsychoctic drugs get them for far too long and without medical justification. 2/3 of the nearly 700 claims studied raised high-risk “quality of care” issues. As a long time CASA volunteer guardian ad-Litem, many of my case kids were on multiple drugs simultaneously and many of them hated being forced to use them. Some kids threw the drugs away.

In Minneapolis, I would like to know (there should be more transparency) if six year old Kendrea Johnson’s suicide by hanging involved psychotropic medications. She was a very troubled foster child, in therapy and had talked about homicide and suicide. When Jeff Weise killed himself, his grandfather and 14 others he had talked about suicide and homicide and was taking Prozac.

7 year old foster child Gabriel Myers hung himself and left a note about how he hated Prozac. KARA’s video interviews include families, a City Councilman, and other professionals talking about antipsychotic medications, very young children and suicide. This subject needs our attention now. It is cruel punishment for a child suffering from the traumas of abuse and removal from a birth home to be dealt with.

There are 3 children’s hospitals in the metro area and NO children’s mental health hospitals and there are 800 to 1000 emergency psychiatric visits at HCMC every month (many of them children).

This conversation is overdue.

What we don’t know cannot be dealt with and will not be improved. Let’s stop the next awful six year old suicide.

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.

Sign KARA’s Petition Demanding Congress Ratify the Children’s Rights Treaty of 1989

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

This reqest for action submitted by long time CASA guardian ad Litem Mike Tikkanen

Sign KARA’s Petition for American Lawmakers to Ratify the UN Rights of the Child Treaty

Beat Up, Dead & Prostituted – Kids In CA’s, Florida’s Privatized Foster Care & Juvenile Systems (videos)

These videos are disturbing but accurate. Not knowing cannot help the state ward children of Florida (the password is “foster”). What we know, we can change. What we don’t know, gets worse until we do know.

Florida To Completely Privatize Juvenile Correctional Facilities. In an effort to reduce costs, Florida’s state-run residential programs for juveniles will soon be completely privatized. … About 95 percent of Florida’s youth residential facilities for underaged offenders are now privately run.

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…

Revisiting the Tragic Abusive Death Of Eric Dean (& the legal non requirement of “due care”)

Thank you Star Tribune and Brandon Stahl for your in depth reporting on the awful state of child protection in Pope County MN.

Today, Safe Passage for Minnesota children is reporting that Pope County will face no legal penalty for its role in the slow tortured death of 4 year old Eric Dean.  Safe Passage states that “if this case doesn’t rise to the level of malfeasance, no case ever will.”

People That Know Child Abuse

Know how traumatized children respond to more punishment

We know how valuable the ACES, Adverse Childhood Experience healing methods are in mending children and ending the growing public health problem generational child abuse has become.

We are familiar with, 3 strikes you’re out, Lock’em up, and throw away the key

As references to the litany of punishment practices our nation is built on –

and the damage more punishment does to millions of damaged children that are living in abusive homes.

When Children Can’t Add (or write, or learn…)

America became a great nation because we educated every citizens children.  Our commitment to public education, developed a very smart and able citizenry that worked hard, invented great things and governed itself well.

Because our population was smart and able we led the world in education, public health and public safety and most other quality of life indicators…

Early Education (return on investment)

Let’s stamp out homelessness for 2 year old children. .

Let’s change the sad fact that children in many third world nations stand a better change of being vaccinated against preventable deadly diseases than U.S. kids…

Make a resolution to support reading programs and mental health programs that teach children how to cope with their surroundings and insure that they can read by the third grade. This will have a great and positive impact on graduation rates, crime rates, and the overall safety and happiness of our communities.

Le’t’s resolve to promote good public health programs and reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted disease among our youth (we lead the world in this realm).

Overall, we need to recognize the value of children in our society. As Pliny said 2500 years ago, “What we do to our children, they will do to society”.

Read David Strands Early Childhood Education Manifesto below, it is a first rate strategy for saving the next generation in America;

Thank You Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota

This year Minnesota children were safer and received more services due in large part to the loyal donors and passionate volunteers of Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota.

Safer Children

13,600 more children annually are getting help from county child protection agencies due to changes our passionate volunteers helped make in state law.  

More Resources

Counties and the state increased their budgets for child protection and foster care by over $200 million since 2015.  In addition, counties added nearly 500 caseworkers – a 60% increase.

Draft KARA TEDx Talk (14 minute video)

Addressing Generational Child Abuse As A Public Health Issue (14 minute video) & how to heal damaged children to make our communities happy and safe again

Take a moment and share your response to KARA’s short video overview of child abuse & child protection in America as an online comment to this post or by email; info@invisiblechildren.org.

Day of Justice in the Death of 3 Year Old Arianna Hunziker

Arianna was wrapped in sheets, left alone in a closed room and slowly starved to death. Foster parents Sherrie and Bryce Dirk will go to prison for murdering Arianna. This solves nothing.

There is something terribly disturbing about a State sanctioned foster family starving a 3 year old State Ward child to death that needs to see the light of day.

Arianna must not have had a County social worker (today’s Star Tribune article …

MN Child Abuse/Child Protection Articles, Statistics & Events 2019

KARA gathers news about Minnesota’s at risk children
to provide a snapshot of
how our state
values its children.
Only a fraction of serious child abuse makes the news.
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)
CASAMN (become a guardian ad Litem and speak for abused children)

Childhood Trauma – Making Children Crazy

This powerful ACEs Too High article contains tons of statistics and information related to the prevalence of child abuse in America. What has struck me most is the impact abuse has on school engagement and the number of states where being an at risk child can be dangerous. The list of states with a lack of prenatal care and poor services for young mothers, lack of insurance, affordable day care and other early childhood programs has grown to about 1/3 of America.

United Nation’s Rights of the Child Treaty (sign here now)

Children have no voice in the media, courts, homes or legislature.

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 37 states and some states put only token resources into child protective systems leaving children trapped in a lifetime of violence, trauma and abuse.
Please join KARA in sending your support to president Obama in asking Congress to sign on. Without this treaty, children in this nation have almost no rights outside of the Imminent Harm Doctrine that forbids parents from (almost) killing their children. After many years as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem, countless tragic stories of horrific abuse, backlogged courts and troubled child protection systems, these children need the basic rights outlined in this treaty. It is the right thing to do.

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.

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.

The Cost of Saving Money

at the time, argued that subsidized daycare was unnecessary (like bus service and bridge maintenance—his words) and he diverted all the money allocated to subsidized daycare for poor families and children into a “general fund.”

The waiting list for low-cost daycare climbed from 34 to over 7,000 families. People quit applying.

My state was saving money at the expense of 1- and 2-year-olds. Drunk uncles and boyfriends became daycare providers overnight, and terrible things happen to children when that occurs…
“What we do to our children, they will do to society” (Pliny the Elder 2000 years ago)

Hard to Watch; Immigration & Children as Political Footballs

Dropping napalm on children and families in Vietnam (PBS video) was an unforgivable evil. Thousands of small children died by napalm.

Burned alive is the most painful death anyone can suffer. Survivors live with scars and trauma that never end.

Today, my government takes helpless babies & children from parents and places them in the custody of money driven defense contractors who warehouse them in cages at vacant shopping centers by the thousands.

The American Psychological Association condemns this act as needlessly cruel threatening “the mental and physical health of both the children and their caregivers”.

*Torturing immigrant children for political reasons is a vile act and it needs to be called out. *The World Health Organization defines torture as “extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

Ensuring Children Will Die Lawsuit in Indiana (the other way of getting better public policy)

I visited Indiana a few years ago after the governor redirected funding from parents adopting special needs children after the adoptions had been completed (AFTER). Then governor mitch daniels directed those dollars to people most successful in dismantling services to abandoned children.
The complaint (new lawsuit) alleges that Indiana removes children from their homes to be placed into foster care at a “staggering rate — more than double the national rate” and then fails to keep them safe while in DCS custody “often placing them in inappropriate, unstable or overly restrictive placements; fails to provide necessary support services and medical and mental health care; and fails to provide meaningful case management.”

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.

June Sad Stories (I) 2019 (find your state here)

American states are struggling to find answers for ending adverse childhood experiences and saving at risk children by reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect.

Today, many state ward children are 4th and 5th generation abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and with serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues.

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)

6 to 12 million children a year are reported to child protection services and in most states, 1/3 of foster children still forced onto psychotropic medicines

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.

Early Learning Scholarships (thank you Safe Passage for Children)

Please take a moment and connect to your legislator through this Safe Passage Link and let your legislator know you want children to have access to quality early learning. It only takes a few minutes and gets the message to your representative.

This program reduces child abuse and builds healthy children and communities (and we all want that).

Canada’s Injustice to Indigenous Children (statistics & solutions)

Almost half of Canada’s youth correctional services is made up of Indigenous youth, but they represent less than 10% of the general population. Self-harming behaviors and suicide rates among Indigenous youth are 11 times the national average and are the highest in the world.

Child Abuse – Minnesota’s Public Health Issue

Today’s edition presented multiple articles (linked below) on at risk children and mental health.

It has taken some years to get here but it is apparent to this volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem that my state is waking up to the public health crisis of child protection and children’s mental health.

County Sees Drop in Child Protection Caseloads (by almost half) is the best news I’ve seen about child abuse since the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection was formed in 2014.

Investing in social workers (adding 262 workers) and transforming the system means…

What It’s Like Outstate For At Risk Children – Ogema Today

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.

National Workshop On Adult & Juvenile Female Offenders

Last year, 33 states held children and juveniles with mental illness in detention centers without any charges.

In 2001, nearly 2/3 of California local law enforcement departments did not have written guidelines governing the care of children whose sole caretaker had been arrested (Marilyn Moses, article in Police Chief, Sept 2005

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”.