Making Minnesota A Trauma Informed State (share this and let’s make it happen)

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.

It Can’t Happen Here (Sally’s Story)

This had to have been one of the most detailed Childline referrals the county had ever seen, not to mention Sally had a wonderful, dedicated psychiatrist. As the time went by, the treatment team eagerly awaited the results of her abuse referral, as she had won over the hearts of all the hospital staff and we all wanted to see her safe and free from harm.

The referral came back as unfounded.

Due to her intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities, she was deemed in-credible.

International Child Protection Stories, Statistics & Articles January 2020

Congo – Apple, Good, Microsoft, Dell, Tesla sued over allged child labour in Congo.
CTV News.
A class action lawsuit has been filed, on behalf of anonymous plaintiffs, who are described as guardians of children that have been killed or maimed in tunnel or wall collapses in cobalt mines. Cobalt is one of the main parts of lithium ion batteries, batteries which are used in rechargeable electronic gadgets. Young children are often used in the mining of cobalt for their cheap and unregulated labour. It is claimed that the named companies are knowingly benefitting and aiding and abetting the use of child labour to mine cobalt.
https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/apple-google-microsoft-dell-tesla-sued-over-alleged-child-labour-in-congo-1.4733644

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.”

A Modest Proposal (satire & similarities)

300 years ago, an Irish Minister wrote an explosive satire that was misinterpreted by many readers of his day (printed in its entirety below).

In a gruesome and widely read logical argument, Jonathan Swift clearly articulated a plan that would relieve the suffering of Irish families and their youngest children by selling babies to the English to be eaten (in a stew that he included the recipe for).

Back in the day, these writings were the modern equivalent of you tube or a precursor to Twitter and consumed voraciously by all who could read (or read them to others).

Public policy treated poor Irish more like animals than people and Irish children were doomed to lives of crime, prostitution, and abject poverty.

Was Swift’s underlying argument that death might be preferable to children doomed to disease, crime, prostitution, & the cruelties suffered by abandoned children of his time?

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.

Foster Care Fail

There are ten states that place foster children in juvenile detention centers because there are not safe foster homes or other adequate facilities for them.  What’s it like being placed in a jail like setting just because you came from a toxic birth home?

Montana is not the only state to shut down a licensed child care facility for foster children.  Every state has the problem.  The Great Falls Tribune news in Montana today of “egregarious, chronic and persistent child abuse and neglect by this licensed child care facility is just the tip of the iceberg.  Anyone from Montana reading this should contact their State Representative and complain that the DHS hearings should NOT be kept confidential and closed to the public.

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 …

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.

Minnesota Foster / Adoption Children Articles, Events & Statistics 2019

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.

On any given day in Minnesota, there are more than 10,500 kids in foster care.

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)

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.

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”.

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

Active shooter drills are giving kids a lifetime of anxiety.  Emergency gun violence drills are for adults – not 6 year olds.  Port-a-potties in classrooms as a public surrender to the coming gun violence.

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.

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)

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…

It Didn’t Start In a Vacuum (crime – impact & statistics)

DJ Tice Star Tribune article recently made crime very real by describing his wife’s rape, his own assault and home burglary along with the awful Barry Latzer assumption that 80% of Americans could become victims of a violent crime in their lifetime.

No obfuscation here.

Crime hurts when it happens to you or someone you love.

What best should be done about crime and punishment is our national conundrum.

Damn the data, “hanging’s too good for em’ and “lock em up” our national chant for fifty years bringing us such data as;

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”.

Child Protection & Privatized Group Homes (when they hurt the children they care for)

At that time, the institution spent the weeks trying to convert him to their religion instead of helping him. The month long visit was painful and not helpful.

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).

International Child Well-Being News (June 1019)

We all look to the government to provide support in order to protect our children.

Eshanee’s reporting points to a disturbing trend of state inaction in preventing or even intervening in child welfare violations.

To hold our governments accountable and to ensure the well-being of children, more of us need to

contact our local politicians and policy makers and make our concerns known.

Children have no voice in politics, law or the media.

We must be relentless to effect change.

Be the Squeaky Wheel for Children

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.”

Civil Rights of A Three Year Old (and what happens without them)

Zepora Fortenberry will spend 27 months in prison for watching her boyfriend Charles Homich punch 3 year-old Zayden Lawson to death.

Zayden was one of two foster children this mom cared for along with her two biological children.

For weeks (or months) Zayden and his siblings lived in sheer terror of Zepora’s boyfriend.

It must have been torture and traumatizing for the other children to witness the insane and evil violence repeatedly done to Zayden in their home while their mother watched.

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.

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.

Group Homes & Foster Children

Group homes are the State’s stop gap keeping children from living under bridges and prostitution.

The shortage of foster and adoptive homes for state ward kids is a sad reality in every state.
Every child needs a family.

Every child needs a place to call home.

The trauma experienced by a child forcibly removed (unattached) from a birth home because of violence, trauma and abuse needs to reattach to someone – somewhere – somehow.

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…

Child Suicides & Self Harm Stories & Statistics (a hidden public health crisis)

Please share this with teachers, law enforcement and social workers in your circles

Current literature reporting included below

What to do when a six year old climbs out the window of your kindergarten classroom threatening to jump three stories to the concrete below?

What do you say to a seven year old girl with scarred arms that is obviously cutting herself repeatedly with a knife or razor?

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.