CASA MN Trivia Night & Silent Auction (Oct 17)

CASA MN supports the guardian ad litem child advocacy program gives grants to children in foster care through CASA Cares. This is our annual fundraiser and it’s great fun and a great cause.

Gather a group of friends or co-workers for a team or come and join a team to compete in a fun night of trivia.

Wow – Thank You Amy and Friends

Last night’s KARA party and fundraiser was great fun and a super success. The food was remarkable and between the banana ice cream cinnamon wonder and the multiple courses of beefy and veggie creations, I was hard pressed to not have two of many things.

We met new volunteers and supporters and raised significant money for KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN Campus program

Damon & I had the pleasure of engaging many of you in KARA’s mission and strategy. We have high hopes of keeping your interest in our efforts in the years to come as we build an army of people that want to improve the lives of at risk children.

Give A Child A Voice (save the date)

This is unlike any other volunteer experience. The impact you can have on a child’s life is tremendous. Currently, there are hundreds of children in Hennepin County alone, waiting for a GAL, their spokesperson, their advocate.

Thank you for your interest in — and for considering advocating for — the abused and neglected children in our community! We look forward to seeing you and please feel free to invite others!

The Ghost Of Christmas Future

TAt a Governor’s Task Force Oversight Meeting (on Child Protection in MN in 2014) the head of Hennepin County Commissioners Jan Callison showed genuine anger and concern when she found out* that Social workers weren’t available on weekends or evenings for abused and neglected children and that she directed the department to “fix it”.

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

Don’t Blame The Mandated Reporter (why child abuse reporting is sporadic)

This review about the dangers mandated reporters are facing is taken from a series of excellent articles on child abuse by the Daily Kos

As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I have too much experience with failure to identify/failure to report terrible things done to children. Reporters genuinely fear for their safety and reputation and fail to report (0r, “see”) horrific abuse to avoid potential damage to themselves.

Support KARA’s Public Television Documentary project to bring attention, awareness, and change to children’s issues.

Mental Health Service Calls Police & Health Care (thank you Minnetonka Officer Scott Marks & HCMC)

All service providers are struggling to meet the increased volume and severity of mental health related cases they are forced to deal with every day.

In Minnetonka the crisis and mental health calls are on track to reach 377 this year (from 120 in 2005).

Community Engagement Police Officer Scott Marks of Minnetonka MN has just received a national “Why We Serve” contest for his proposed “Aftercare Program” training of officers to visit patients that have been sent to the hospital and help them find resources after they are released.

Programs like Officer Mark’s will make our communities safer and more livable. As a long time volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem, I have watched far too many traumatized teen and preteen children behaving badly and treated like criminals when what they need is the aftercare this police officer is working to make happen.

Share this with your networks and send it to your local police department with a donation you can afford and a request that the money is used for a program like Officer Scott Marks is building.

Save the Date (CASA guardian ad Litem event) August 3rd 630 pm

When the court is making decisions that will affect a child’s future, the child needs and deserves a spokesperson — an objective adult to provide independent information about the best interests of the child. While other parties in the case are concerned about the child, the Guardian ad Litem is the only person in the case whose sole concern is the best interests of the child and he or she is assigned as an advocate for the child for the duration of the court process.

This is unlike any other volunteer experience. The impact you can have on a child’s life is tremendous. Currently, there are approximately 375 children in Hennepin County, alone, waiting for a GAL, waiting for their spokesperson, their advocate. Thank you for thinking of the abused and neglected children in our community!

We look forward to seeing you and please feel free to invite others!

RSVP, yes’s only please, before July 28th to Monica Bordonaro: mjbordonaro@gmail.com

Foster Care & Adoption In America (families and change needed)

Almost every state needs more foster / adoptive families. This shortage reflected in the articles and stories below point to one more overwhelmed part of America’s troubled child protection system.

There are correctable reasons children are being left in hospitals and state facilities because there are no foster / adoptive homes.

To name a few;

Some states pay a base rate to foster families lower than the actual cost of feeding a child and almost no help for adoptive families.
Too many states make it hard for grandparents and other family members to adopt or foster a state ward child.
Some states provide far to little help to foster /adoptive families for the trauma & behavioral problems state ward children often bring with them into the home.
A quick review of the articles herein give you a sense of the depth and scope of the problems state ward children are facing and a better understanding of why so few of the 12 to 18 million children reported to child protection in this nation each year are receiving the help they need to become contributing members of our communities.

These sad stories go a long way in explaining why schools are so troubled and jails are so full.

Feel free to share this article widely (especially with policy makers and legislators – include a personal note and speak for a child).

CASA guardian ad-Litem News Feb Thru May 2017 Part III

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.

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.

Volunteer to be a CASA guardian ad Litem,

Help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

CASA guardian ad-Litem News Feb thru May 2017 Part II (be a voice for children)

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.

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.

Volunteer to be a CASA guardian ad Litem,

Help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Recognition Event – Could Not Have Been Better

CASAMN’s keynote speaker and honored guest Star Tribune investigative journalist Brandon Stahl, was surprised to come face to face with his biggest fan club.
Brandon has been so busy investigating and reporting on Minnesota’s child abuse, child death and child protection news that he was caught off guard by a room full of people

Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota (and how lawsuits help two year olds)

Sad as it may be, lawsuits might be the most effective tool available for abused and neglected children to get the services they need from the state. Today’s message from Safe Passage for children of Minnesota about the AFSCME union lawsuit (below) is one of several game changing service provider suits that I have witnessed. The recent suit threatened by MN sheriffs worked to the advantage of at risk youth as it opened up the conversation around the lack of mental health services in this state (and most other states). The AFSCME suit points out how unfair it is to load up case after case on workers doing an almost impossible job and them blaming them when things go badly for a child (it always seems to be the social workers fault when a terrible child story hits the paper.

Legislators have all they can do to answer the people they have yelling at them (business interests, sports fans and transportation enthusiasts among them)

Abused children don’t have a say in the matter and things continue to degrade in in their young lives until some adult somewhere does something. Sue the pants off of em (my grandmother used to say and now I see why.

Safe Passage For Children of Minnesota article;

SAFE PASSAGE FOR CHILDREN MN (Federal audit of MN child welfare shows inadequate metrics, resources, quality assurance & training)

If you live and Minnesota and are willing to make time for one trip a year to the Capital in St Paul to speak for a child, there is nothing more meaningful that you could do for at risk children than volunteer with Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota. The appointment with your state legislator/s is arranged by Safe Passage for Children and you are provided a brief outline of the key issues facing abused children for you to share with your legislator.

Meeting time is seldom over 15 minutes but that will be enough time for you to show commitment to children and share the most critical information available with someone who can make a difference in the lives of the children you are advocating for.

Your state legislators actually do listen to you and they care what you have to say. Without your 15 minutes of child advocacy, legislators have little insights into the issues facing abused and neglected children. After all, children have no voice in the homes they are raised in, the media or government (they can’t vote).

Thank you Safe Passage for another powerful day on the hill

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Friends of KARA – A Favor (watch this video)

Mari Frankel’s video documentary “Foster” below is stunning. Although it is about Florida’s foster system (by a CASA GAL just like me) it demonstrates the problems within the child protection system and the traumas & medications foster children live.with.

Mari Frankel’s video is aligned with KARA’s book and documentary projects that address child protection stories that are happening in MN.

Share this with people you know and/or,

Contact me to talk about ideas for making this video in MN (we have begun the process and have been partnered with TPT) but need help to complete the project.

Let’s be a voice for children

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

https://vimeo.com/139417634

The password is foster

Social Work (from the smartest person in the room – Dee Wilson from the Casey Foundation)

I had the honor of sitting next to Dee Wilson when he delivered the Casey Family Assessment of Hennepin County’s Child welfare system to the Hennepin County Commissioners (Minnesota’s Child Endangerment Model). Dee drew attention to damage being done by the toxic atmosphere in the Child & Family Services system, the inability of St Joseph’s home for children to manage the level of trauma their young clients were living with and pointed out the red herring that HIPPA laws have created by forbidding almost any public discussion of the conditions within the homes of abused children and the institutions of child protection. I resonated with how social workers are traumatized by their work and how community based solutions involving stakeholders and redefining what we want for outcomes.

All a part of why turnover is high in social work and terrible policies doom children and families to more cyclical trauma and failure.state child welfare systems

ssss

When reading Dee’s recapping of County screened out rates remember that when 4 year old Eric Dean died after 15 reports of child abuse by mandated reporters, there were 4 MN counties that screened out 90% of all child abuse calls.

Dee keeps a blog and wrote something recently that every social worker needs to read. He is the smartest person in the room on the topic.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Fostering Special Needs & Dying Children (a special kind of parent)

Too many children know tremendous suffering without getting to experience most of the joys and wonders of childhood.

For paralyzed, chronically or terminally ill children life is very different and extremely demanding on the parent caregiver.

In Los Angeles county’s department of Children and Family Services, there are 600 children (out of the 35,000 monitored by the county) who have severe medical needs and have been abandoned by their birth parents.

Whether it is the sadness and trauma of abuse or the inability of a parent to care for a child a judge has ordered the child be removed from the only home she has ever known.

What kind of person has the courage to say, “I want to be your father, I want to be your mother” to a child in a county welfare system who cannot walk, or play, suffer daily seizures and cannot speak?

Mohamed Bzeek, a quiet, devout Muslim foster father and his wife Dawn in Azusa CA have fostered dozens of traumatized and seriously disabled children. Mohamed has buried about ten children, some died in his arms.

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.

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.

Better Futures for Minnesota Children (from Safe Passage For Children MN)

Mission:

To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.

Vision:
There will always be a group of Minnesota citizens who advocate on behalf of victims of child maltreatment, and who will hold counties and the state accountable for continuously improving outcomes for these children and their families.

Goal:
Our goal is to build a child protection and foster care system in Minnesota that

continuously improves the lives of children, as demonstrated by objective, measurable outcomes. If the system is working well children’s outcomes will improve over time.

The following are major milestones for achieving this goal:

Read More
Read More
By 2017 all children will be periodically assessed for their level of trauma starting when they first enter child protection.
By 2019 all children in the system will be periodically assessed for improvements in their cognitive and physical development, as well as in measures of behavioral and mental health.
Workers and supervisors will be accountable for improving these outcomes for individual children as monitored through quality reviews and updates to the courts.
Counties will be accountable for improving outcomes for children in their caseloads overall as shown by summary reports.
In subsequent years our goal is to continue to monitor outcomes at the county and state levels, and advocate for necessary budget allocations, practice improvements, and related resources to ensure that the child protection system is continually improving its response to children.

The Election & Children (from Safe Passages For Children of Minnesota)

This recent piece from Safe Passages for Children of Minnesota paints a more positive picture for Minnesota’s at risk children than can be seen in the rest of the nation.

It’s good to know that MN politicians on both sides of the isle care about the youngest and most vulnerable among us. They recognize that healthy children become healthy adults creating a safe and productive community.

The rest of the nation’s children are at risk as attacks on healthcare and education will dismantle working programs and the well-being of millions of America’s poorest and youngest citizens.

Politicians blaming educators and other service providers replace objective discussions about what it takes to improve safety nets and troubled institutions. It hurts me to see just how quickly children’s services become wasted money that some states have been all too ready to reduce for political benefits.

Thank you Minnesota legislators for doing the right thing. Your critical thinking skills and the ethical standards you have maintained to accomplish so many of the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection Services and Mental Health will benefit this state for decades to come.

As the holiday season approaches, let’s all be grateful for the hard work of these two task forces (and the people that volunteered to staff them) and the results they have accomplished this year.

Remembering Mark Proctor

Mark Proctor passed away this past week and Minnesota lost one of its most committed and effective advocates for children in the child protection and foster care system. I know of no one more dedicated to making life better for abused and neglected children. Mark brought depth, wit and a deep working knowledge of the child protection system to our CASAMN board meetings. He was a truly positive force and a joy to work with.

Mark supported guardians ad litem as a former director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA program in South Dakota, and as a member of the CASA Board of Directors here. He got the first legislation ever proposed by Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota introduced in the state Legislature in 2010.

He was always present when any advocacy for children needed to be done.

Mark will be greatly missed not only by his colleagues but by the children of Minnesota, many of whom did not know him but still benefited from his work.

Here is the information about his memorial services this coming Saturday, September 17th:

Mark Proctor passed away in Mendota, MN September 6, 2016.

An “Irish Wake” Celebration of Life will occur at 1:00 PM on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Mendota VFW in Mendota, MN. Buffet lunch will be beforehand from 10:45 AM-12:30 PM; please let me know if you plan to attend the lunch and how many people to prepare for by emailing drkaylazp@yahoo.com.

Memorials can be given to the Mark Proctor Scholarship at Black Hills State University (http://www.bhsu.edu/)or to Safe Passage for Children of MN (http://safepassagemn.com/donate/).

Thank you for your support at this time.

Kayla Zirpel-Proctor and Family/Friends of Mark Proctor

CASAMN October 26th Fundraiser (save the date & help us find sponsors)

We need your help! Your sponsorship of this event will be essential to the fundraiser’s success and will enable CASA Minnesota to continue providing volunteer Guardian Ad Litem’s to abused and neglected children involved in Juvenile Court proceedings in our communities & to help fund CASA Cares for kids! We would be most grateful for your sponsorship at any level (including live and silent auction items). Join us for a celebration and a great cause.

CASA volunteers – also known as Guardians ad Litem in the State of Minnesota—are everyday citizens whom judges appoint to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who are in the court system as a result of abuse and/or neglect. They stand up for these children and change their lives.

CASA Cares is a grant program, formerly known as Friends of Children that benefits children in foster care by providing bikes, helmets, camps, school supplies, and other items that allow them to enjoy a positive childhood experience and further help them to overcome adversity by seeing that we as a community can help meet their needs!

CASA Minnesota is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that supports Minnesota CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) programs and the volunteers who have helped more than two million children find safe, permanent homes. Your contributions are tax-deductible! Share this with your friends and networks (All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children)

CASA Guardian ad Litem News From Around the Nation July 2016

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of  CASA’s around the U.S.  If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.  Thank you KARA volunteers for your research and writing on this page.

All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children

Join the Conversation at Linked In & receive weekly updates from around the nation

Guardian ad Litem Presentation for Prospective Volunteers

I’ll Be There Next Year Too (CASA Cares Golf Tournament for Foster Children)

Thank You Steve Betchwars for your seventh fun and most terrific year supporting the needs of foster children with your Birdies, Bogies & Bratwurst event.

Everyone had fun, almost everyone won something and everyone did just fine on the course (far as I could tell).

Savory food, great weather and wonderful people (see you again next year).

CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation for June 2016

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of 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.

This is where you can find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Volunteer to help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children

Join the Conversation at Linked In & receive weekly updates from around the nation

CASA guardian ad-Litem News April & May 2016

CASA Child Advocates
Montgomery County Newspaper
WHY: CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County held its first in-office corporate training for volunteers last month at the new Exxon Mobil …
CASA breakfast serves up a ‘Ray of Hope’ – Bonner County Daily Bee
CASA of Denton County to hold information session – Star Local Media
Look into becoming a CASA volunteer – Victoria Advocate
Full Coverage

Flag as irrelevant

CASA training begins in June
Choteau Acantha
Training will be begin in June for Front Range CASA volunteers to serve as court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children.
Golden Crescent CASA needs volunteers – Victoria Advocate
Local Scottsdale resident advocates for foster children – Scottsdale Independent
Full Coverage

Flag as irrelevant

Area CASA swears in 4 new advocates
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Judge Patrick Flanigan swears in the second class of court-appointed special advocates, or CASAs, for CASA of Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties …

Flag as irrelevant

New CASA advocate
White Mountain Independent
Presiding Judge Michael Latham congratulates Michele Sexton after swearing her in as a court appointed special sdvocate (CASA) for Apache County …

Flag as irrelevant

Pay it Forward recognizes Jeanne Linn of CASA
KTVZ
The biggest CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) fundraiser of the year took place Thursday evening at Broken Top Golf Club CASA works with …

Flag as irrelevant

CASA program a great way to help local foster children
Ontario Argus Observer
Court Appointed Special Advocates get to know children in foster care. They spend time with the kids, observe their interactions with their families, and …

Flag as irrelevant

Dining For A Cause – CASA Of Ocean County
Micromedia Publications
casa1 OCEAN COUNTY – CASA of Ocean County will celebrate their 10 year anniversary advocating for Ocean County children in foster care on …

Flag as irrelevant

CASA of Terrebonne: More than 100 kids need a volunteer
Daily Comet
One-hundred and eleven foster care children are currently in need of a volunteer to advocate for them in the local courts system, according to CASA of …

Flag as irrelevant

Members learn about CASA
The Hillsdale Daily News
HILLSDALE — The Hillsdale Intermediate School District administration building, located on West Bacon Street, was the scene for the most recent …

Flag as irrelevant

County court adds six advocates for kids
Daily Astorian
The Clatsop Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program recently announced six new volunteers have joined in serving abused and neglected …

Flag as irrelevant

WEB
Become an Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocate
Idealist.org
Are you interested in being a powerful voice in a child’s life? Come to an Informational Session to learn if being a CASA Volunteer is right for you.

Flag as irrelevant

Interviewing Abused Children in Front of Their Alleged Perpetrators Is Wrong (thank you Rich Gehrman & Safe Passage for Children)

Rich Gehrman told the Hennepin County Child Protection Oversight Committee that most of its time has been talking about change but not making changes happen. He also understands the impossible situation an abused child is in when asked questions about acts committed upon them by the person in the chair next to them. For anyone not as strong as the person who committed the act, it is almost impossible to tell the truth or even any part of the truth.

The good news from this Committee today is that finally, after all these years, abused children will receive services on weekends. God knows, abuse never takes a break on weekends.

The Teachers Dilemna (and what is not talked about in education)

Assaults on teachers, starting with first graders hitting teachers with chairs & stabbing with pencils & knives. In some of the bigger inner city schools, teachers are afraid to walk to their cars after the school day ends and guns are now appearing in classrooms with growing frequency. Too many districts are suggesting that teachers be armed.

*The lack of books & basic resources for educators to complete their tasks is unacceptable. Detroit teachers were threatened this spring with working without pay this coming summer. If they had not reacted as they did, that might have actually happened.

To not support the people engaged in the important work of building our next generation of service providers, business people and lawmakers is an atrocious mistake. We will benefit by or suffer from the things that are happening in our schools today. We build and support those schools (or we don’t).

Another Guardian ad-Litem Speaks (thank you David Strand)

Here is how civilized, non-superstitious nations fight problems afflicting their children. The citizens of these enlightened societies use government resources. Their governments are actually controlled by them. Doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and counselors are employees of the public, via government. They don’t have for-profit hospitals, for-profit schools or for-profit prisons.

They also emphasize prevention instead of cure. Consequently, they spend far less than we do for health care, education, and corrective justice. That’s why their health care and education systems are far less expensive while producing better outcomes. It’s more bang for the buck, what Americans are supposed to prefer.

Mental Health, Prozac, Holding Pens, Children & Sheriffs – (why nurses, teachers, social workers & foster / adoptive parents need to speak out)

mn fall panorama leaves turnedToday’s Star Tribune article about hospitals without the capacity to deal with the surge in emergency psych visits relates directly to the sheriff’s (Washington, Ramsey and Hennepin Counties) threat to sue because their departments had become mental health service providers as a result of the state’s failing to honor the 48 hour rule.

It would be useful if more educators, social workers, police officers & public health nurses would speak up on this topic also.  The levels of suffering, violence and disruption caused by not addressing mental health in our community has lead to unmanageable public institutions and prisons larger (almost ten times larger per capita) than in other industrialized nations).

CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Through March 2016

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation for the month of March.

If you are an aspiring journalist and would like to help Kids At Risk Action increase the quality and quantity of CASA guardian ad-Litem news, send us a request for more info (info@invisiblechildren.org)

All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children

Guardian ad Litem Presentation for Prospect Volunteers

If You Don’t Do This, Who Will? (children can’t stop child abuse)

Tuesday was Day At the Hill for advocates supporting policies to improve the lives of Minnesota’s abused and neglected children.

Thank you Safe Passage for Children for organizing an effective effort to bring awareness to the people (lawmakers) that can make positive change for at risk children happen.

Without your efforts and the efforts of your volunteers, It is unlikely that lawmakers will come to understand that;

Many of the Governor’s Task Force recommendations may not be implemented or those recommendations will later be abandoned without continued oversite,

Tracking program outcomes is the only way we can know the difference between ineffective and effective and terrific programs,

The level of trauma foster children live with has created a terrible problem in our foster care system as there are fewer and fewer families able to manage the behavioral problems exhibited by this growing population of abused children,

The recent media coverage and added attention to child protection has increased reporting and is overwhelming already overburdened County systems leading to unmanageable caseloads and higher burnout rates among social workers,

A waiting list of 7000 names for subsidized daycare leaves vulnerable children in the care of drunk and drugged uncles,

It is a rewarding experience to advocate for children, I recommend it (at least once a year – it’s only for a few hours – and it can make a real difference in the policies that govern the lives of the most vulnerable among us.

Join Safe Passage For Children Volunteer army and dedicate a few hours a year telling your State Representatives how important children’s issues are to you.

CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around The Nation 1.1.16-2.13.16

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of 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.

See what other CASA volunteers are doing – share your stories and blogs; info@invisiblechildren.org

– See more at: CASA News

An advocate for adolescents
Sierra Vista Herald
For the last 20 years, Hager has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate — who call themselves CASAs — for Cochise County. A CASA is …
Chamber Spotlight: CASA volunteers work to help abused, neglected children – gulflive.com (blog)
CASA volunteer training set for February – Tahlequah Daily Press
Determined, and a bit overwhelmed, I work through rigorous CASA training – Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Full Coverage

Flag as irrelevant

DCS workers deny allegations they failed to protect abused child
nwitimes.com
Elizabeth Lozano took the 4-year-old boy to a hearing in Lake County on Oct. 23, 2013, and a court-appointed special advocate noticed he had a …

Flag as irrelevant

Public invited to CASA of McKean County annual meeting
Bradford Era
Bob Esch, board president, will talk about what is special about being a Court-Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteer Gary DeVore of Port …

Flag as irrelevant

Letter: Remembering Chief Judge Kaye
Albany Times Union
The Court Appointed Special Advocates Programs of New York state and the New York State CASA Association are deeply saddened by the recent …

Flag as irrelevant

CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around The Nation 10.1.15 Through 12.31.15

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of 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.

See what other CASA volunteers are doing – share your stories and blogs; info@invisiblechildren.org

Mental Health Shortages, Sheriffs & Children

I attended Syl Jone’s play BECAUSE at the Mixed Blood Theatre last week. It’s a moving piece that explores living with mental health issues from multiple perspectives leaving the audience with a personal sense of what it’s like to be this person, live with this person and understand this person. Syl is now the Resident Fellow for Narrative Health at HCMC (I think every hospital should have such a position – how else can these stories be told?)

I asked Syl at the play if he would consider writing about the mental health issues of children in child protective services, he seemed interested. If you know Syl Jones, please let him know how important this topic is.

Back to Sheriffs and Children (the title).

At the end of the play, Syl Jones & a panel (moderated by Eduardo Colon, the new Psychiatry Chief at HCMC) of professionals & one very articulate person living with serious mental health issues further explored the realities of mental health and mental health services in our community.

Today’s Star Tribune continues Dr Colon’s discussion about the shortage of beds for psychiatric emergencies and draws attention to how the problem is being compounded by the law that inmates take priority over everyone else for emergency psych beds (the 48 hour rule).

This newly enforced rule is a result of the sheriff’s (Washington, Ramsey and Hennepin Counties) threat to sue because their departments had become mental health service providers as a result of the state’s failing to honor the 48 hour rule.

While I’m all for providing services to inmates in need of psychiatric beds, I am appalled that the children in need of protection are suffering because of the shortage of beds and the use of psychotropic medications in place of therapy. I have attended multiple children on hours long trips outside of the metro because services were not available for them here.

The depth and scope of children’s mental health in this community is profound. As a long time CASA guardian ad-Litem I have accompanied many children on long trips for mental health services because there were no services here & I know that much of what is provided here is inadequate (this was referred to by Dee Wilson from the Casey Foundation).

Thank You Dr Colon, HCMC and Syl Jones for starting this conversation – it may be the only way our community can begin to understand the profound depth and scope of mental health issues and their impact on our quality of life.

Please share this post with policy makers and contacts in foster/adoption, education, health, policing and social workers.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

CASA MN News (help KARA find volunteer guardian ad-Litems for MN’s abused children – share this)

CASA Minnesota is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and promote volunteer advocates to ensure that every abused and neglected child in Minnesota has a safe, stable and permanent family. Our advocates are everyday citizens who become extraordinary volunteers. Judges appoint volunteer advocates to speak for the safety and well-being of a child in the court system. CASA Minnesota volunteers stand up for these children and help change their lives.

San Francisco Chronicle Article Rob Waters (it’s been 10 years and not much has changed)

reprinted from Sunday, February 12, 2006 (SF Chronicle)

One Child, One Therapist/An innovative program partners foster children with therapists for as long as they’re needed, providing a stability otherwise missing
Rob Waters

When child psychologist Norman Zukowsky first met him, 6 1/2-year-old “William” had already lived through more hardship and trauma than many people experience in a lifetime.

He was born exposed to drugs and alcohol,one of three children of a drug-addicted mother who lived in an unheated garage with no cooking or bathroom facilities.

Child welfare reports suggest that the children were physically abused, exposed to sexual behavior and often went without food or clothing. Eventually, William was
removed from his mother’s care only to be placed with a relative who scarred his chest beating him with a belt.

Laurie Kusek Awarded Rotary’s Highest Honor Given To A Non Rotarian (for her volunteer work with CASA MN)

It’s always fun to see good people recognized for their efforts. 2 weeks ago Laurie Kusek was honored by the Minneapolis Rotarians for her persistence and energy in helping CASA MN (nonprofit) continue to recruit and retain volunteer guardian ad-Litems and promote the CASA guardian ad Litem program’s efforts to advocate for children in child protection.

Accepting the award Laurie spoke clearly about how critical the role of a guardian ad-Litem is as the voice for an abused child removed from home living under court jurisdiction. Hopefully our new Rotarian friends will know some future volunteers for the guardian ad-Litem program. All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children

Adoption, Kinship and Grandparents (a tribute)

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Almost 8 million children in America live with grandparents and other relatives. Most of them receive little or not help from governmental agencies.

Not all counties and states appreciate that it is easier for a child to restart a painfully disrupted life with someone they are connected to and have memories of than waking up in a home they have never seen before with people they don’t know.

Grandparents often don’t know about the court proceedings that are about to forever alter their relationship with grandchildren as they may live in another city or have become estranged from their badly behaving children.

Even if grandparents know of court proceedings, it can be very hard for them to have standing in the court or navigate the system once they are in it.

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Everyone needs a lawyer and lawyers are expensive. I know grandparents that have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying desperately to provide a safe and familiar home for their grandchild.

It doesn’t seem right that money should be a biggest part of an adoption equation for grandma and grandpa (or other relatives) to make their argument for custody.

Safe Passage For Children Forum; Early Childhood Development & the Child Welfare System (11/23 6pm)

Safe Passage Forum: Early Childhood Development & the Child Welfare System
Gather in Person 6pm; Via Phone/Webinar: 6:15pm
Program Beings 6:30pm
Webinar/Phone login Details Below.
Join Safe Passage for Children for a presentation and discussion on the relationships between early childhood development and child protection. Option to participate in person or via webinar.
Bob-e Simpson Epps, Master Trainer / Facilitator for Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and 2012 Bush Fellow will lead this forum designed for Volunteers of Safe Passage and friends.
Together we will explore the connections between child abuse / neglect and early childhood development; including the impact of trauma on brain development and what has been learned more broadly from ACES research.
Please invite friends and colleagues.

Login Details:
By Phone: +1 (571) 317-3112; Access Code: 298-987-637
By Video Webinar: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/298987637; For Audio: Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone: +1 (571) 317-3112, Access Code: 298-987-637

ALERT For MN Child Protection – Rolling Back Child Protection Reforms (from Safe Passage for Children MN)

This week county social services directors and the Department of Human Services (DHS) presented a plan to legislators that would significantly weaken reforms approved by the Governor’s Child Protection Task Force. Items they recommended dropping include:http://safepassagemn.com/counties-propose-rolling-back-child-protection-reforms/

Brandon Stahl’s investigating and Safe Passage’s volunteers are changing lives

 

children down hill having funBrandon Stahl’s reporting (September 2014) on the tortured death of 4 year old Eric Dean and his  powerful Star Tribune articles about tortured children & the “catastrophic failure” of child protection in Minnesota (Governor Dayton’s words), shine light into the invisible world of child abuse that is so hard to talk about and so easy to avoid.

Rich Gehrman & Safe Passage For Children of MN worked with and reported on Governor Dayton’s Task Force On Child Protection, organized 100 volunteers to speak out and call on legislators to raise awareness and bring positive change to the 60,000 Minnesota children reported to Child Protection services each year.

The Power of Coping Skills & Life Without Them

A sad personal email this morning from a grieving mother has caused me to reflect on friends who ended their own lives and the four, five and six year old children I have known, or known about, who tried or succeeded at suicide.

My cousin Ron Mahla (Actor and brilliant person) and my dear friend Tommy Garretson (Vietnam War Vet with a winning smile and great sense of humor) were both gentle and bright souls that were squeezed to death by sadness and a growing inability to cope with their lives.

In both deaths, I’m almost certain that neither told anyone or thought to get help to cope with the events in their lives (there were no signs of impending suicide).

Coping skills are everything. Have them and we can make it – without them, we are at risk.

CASA guardian ad-Litem News (find your state here) August 2015

A baby is born addicted to opiates, a young child wakes up to find their parent unresponsive with a needle in their arm, siblings sit in the back seat of a car parked on a country road as their parents are shooting up heroin. LaPorte County and Indiana are experiencing an epidemic. It is drug abuse. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, epidemic is listed as affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community or region at the same time. Certainly we can describe the current rapid spread of opiate use an epidemic.
Last year, there were 17 deaths from heroin overdoses in LaPorte County and Indiana is increasing its needle-exchange program beyond Scott County. The Indiana Department of Child Services is reporting a record-breaking year for child abuse cases. It’s only June and in LaPorte County alone, 50 children have been placed out of their homes due to abuse or neglect.