SPEAK FOR A CHILD (be a voice for a child)

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

Lawsuits and the Death of Two 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 …

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.

KARA Is Unable To Provide Direct Services

Dear Readers,

KARA regularly receives requests for help from families and children about child abuse issues.

We do not have staff and ask you to use our Links Button to find the services you need.

Contact your State Representatives and let them know your story and engage them in this conversation. Give them ideas for what needs to change.

Use articles from KARA to educate them and support your argument – you will find over 1200 articles at this site (they are searchable by category)

Judge Kavanaugh, The Catholic Church, Statistics & Child Sex Abuse

The miserable politics of rape at the highest level in our government are playing out today. Once more, sexual violence is in the spotlight as America’s second recent Supreme Court nominee (Kavanaugh) is being questioned about horrid behaviors of a sexual nature.

This topic has few friends. It remains under the surface until someone makes a painful accusation and the community accepts or rejects the accuser.

Our attention lately has been on the tens of million and hundreds of million dollar verdicts awarded to victims of church sanctioned child abuse (3 billion to date).

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

Sad Stories October 2017 Part II

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect. Today, many state ward children are the 4th and 5th generation of 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)

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

October Sad Stories 2017 Part I

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

The Best Article On Child Protective Services Ever (this is worth the read)

the impossible dilemma faced by child protection workers, judges and parents when a child abuse claim is made. What shouldn’t happen and what should happen for the safety of a child and the integrity of the institution of child protection.

Repercussions of a child abuse report last forever (what’s it like for the child to hear the specific abuse charges brought against you), parents sometimes not allowed to say goodbye, what is imminent danger and how long before you get a hearing (in some communities a year is common).

July Sad Stories Part I

This is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of the traumatic impact of child abuse and neglect. Today, many state ward children are the 4th and 5th generation of 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)

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

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

Black Children Matter (and child protection systems)

Yesterday at the State Capital in St Paul, Black Lives matter rallied outside for fair treatment by the police and inside (where I was) at the rotunda for fair treatment in child protection for black families and children.

Child protection is viewed by many in the community as a finance driven machine making life miserable for families and ruining the lives of their children.

Far too many group homes and foster care givers fall far short of providing a safe haven for traumatized children and state ward children are often;

* forced to take psychotropic medications without adequate mental health services

* abused while in child protective services

From reporting to discharge, the over representation of Black children in the child protection system cannot be overstated.

Nationally,

37% of children are reported to child protection by the time they are 18 unless they are black, when the number jumps to 54%.

Black families are 4 times more likely to be subjects of a child protection investigation & 5 time more likely to experience a child protection report than white families.

Black children are 5.3 times more likely to be placed in foster homes than white children.

After 20+ years as a white volunteer CASA guardian ad litem, I know that the system leaves few people involved with it satisfied and I very much see why black families think the system is a money driven machine.

Not having a child protection system would be unethical and deadly for children. Our best hope is to make the changes that are critical to building a fair and effective system that breaks the cycle of generational child abuse.

Communities that fail to support young mothers and their children will not have schools performing at acceptable reading, math or graduation rates and they will continue to suffer high crime and incarceration rates. The U.S. criminal justice system has approached a near 80% recidivism rate within the prison system.

To this end, Kids At Risk Action strongly supports the efforts of Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota

www.safepassagemn.com and the CASA guardian ad litem volunteer program www.casamn.org

Why We Hate Lawsuits (Eric Dean’s grandmother sues county & social workers for his death)

The most painful thing about the Eric Dean lawsuit (aside from the sadness of a four-year old boy tortured to death over years by his step mother Amanda Peltier) is reliving the abuse that led to his death when this new lawsuit hits the papers. Brandon Stahl’s Star Tribune article today is an in your…

CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation October/November 2016

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.

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

January Sad Stories Part I (thru 1.13.17)

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.  Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never…

December Sad Stories Part II

CA: Culp: Looking at 2016 in the Rear-View Mirror (Opinion)

TechWire – December 28, 2016

One of the biggest sessions at the American Public Human Services Association’s Information Systems Management Conference this year was California’s showcase of its move to agile development and modular procurement approaches to its new Child Welfare System. The feds are getting impatient with states’ efforts at connecting systems and providing a more holistic view of a person and/or a family – and the federal government is backing up its guidance with technology funding parameters. Although the federal wave seems to be confined to one department at the moment (in terms of strongly worded advice), there are plenty of signals that suggest more is to come.

http://www.techwire.net/commentary/culp-looking-at-2016-in-the-rear-view-mirror.html

CA: San Gabriel Valley Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio appointed first Latina chair of human services committee

San Gabriel Valley Tribune – December 28, 2016

State Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, has been appointed as the first Latina chair of the Assembly’s human services committee, her office announced Tuesday. The committee oversees child welfare services, foster care, CalWORKs, developmental disabilities services, adult protective services and other human services programs.

http://www.sgvtribune.com/government-and-politics/20161228/san-gabriel-valley-assemblywoman-blanca-rubio-appointed-first-latina-chair-of-human-services-committee

IA: ‘Numerous’ abuse reports made in starved child case, lawmaker says (Includes video)

Des Moines Register – December 29, 2016

Natalie Finn and her siblings were the subjects of “numerous” reports of alleged child abuse and neglect before the 16-year-old died in October of starvation, a state lawmaker said after a confidential briefing Thursday with top officials in Iowa’s Department of Human Services.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2016/12/28/numerous-abuse-reports-made-starved-child-case-lawmaker-says/95935520/

IN: Need for Indiana foster homes surges as opioid addicts leave children behind (Includes video)

Fox59 – December 27, 2016

Adoption advocates are calling on Hoosiers to foster children as Indiana battles yet another symptom of the opioid epidemic. The Villages of Indiana reports a surge in children being pulled from homes where parents are addicted to drugs. As a result, they are running out of good foster homes.

http://fox59.com/2016/12/27/need-for-indiana-foster-homes-surges-as-opioid-addicts-leave-children-behind/

MS: State reminds people of safe haven law

WDAM – December 28, 2016

The state of Mississippi is stepping up its effort to remind people of a very important law. The safe haven law allows mothers to “leave their baby, up to 3 days old, with an employee at any emergency medical provider, hospital emergency room or a licensed adoption agency”.

http://www.live5news.com/story/34143285/state-reminds-people-of-safe-haven-law

NE: Editorial, 12/28: Child abuse investigation is justified

Lincoln Journal Star – December 28, 2016

In the last three years, there have been 36 reports of sexual abuse in state licensed facilities and the child welfare system, a chilling accumulation that has rightfully prompted an investigation by the state inspector general for child welfare.

http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-child-abuse-investigation-is-justified/article_2430d303-c118-54cb-a509-2c6fdbd2af0f.html

OR: NBC5 News Investigation: Inside OnTrack Part 3 (Includes video)

KOBi5 – December 28, 2016

Transforming the System: A Call For Action

Grounded in compassion and learning, we must act forcefully to promote transparency, understanding and change to reform how abused and neglected children find safe permanent homes and deal with the traumas that brought them into child protection. Beginnng this year, the ACA makes advanced mental health services available to traumatized children giving them a chance to heal and thrive.

This effort requires focused support for achievable objectives.

When we’ve done that, we will have transformed the System.

Possible actions include:

Activist organizations uniting in every community to push for awareness of and changes in policies that are failing or demonstrably superior.

Action teams in each Congressional district communicating regularly with their Congressperson (support these teams where they are and create them where they don’t exist).

Child-affirming activist communities whose members build awareness and understanding of programs and policies impacting at risk children can improve those laws and policies.

With this approach, we can address the child, the family and the system.

KARA Is Unable To Provide Services

Dear Readers,

Every so often we receive requests for hands on help and it it is necessary to remind you that KARA is a small group of people working to improve our child child well-being and child protection by raising awareness and promoting better programs, people, and policies that make life better for abused and neglected children.

We are unable to provide direct help except for on the Links page (button at the top of the home page) where we list the Child Advocacy and Resource organizations we know of. Most national organizations will have a chapter in your state. Always ask if they know of other service providers that might be of assistance in your circumstances. Every state has its own array of nonprofits and service providers. The trick is to ask the right questions of the people you connect with to find them.

Please share with KARA those service providers that you find that are helpful (info@invisiblechildren.org)

October Sad Stories Part II

WA: Can this tool fix our troubled foster care system?
Crosscut Seattle – October 28, 2015
Anyone who has filed a tax return by hand knows that filling out bureaucratic forms can be a dreary, time-consuming enterprise. For child welfare and youth homeless social service providers, it can be a hindrance to the very outcomes those forms are trying to achieve: providing quality care for the state’s most vulnerable kids. Partners for our Children, a group out of University of Washington’s School of Social Work, is trying to solve that problem.
http://crosscut.com/2016/10/can-this-tool-fix-our-troubled-foster-care-system/

US: Modernizing Foster Care (Opinion)
Chronicle of Social Change – October 28, 2016
The shortage of foster families will continue to increase. Previous blogs have discussed ways to lessen the need for temporary homes by preventing unnecessary removals and by hastening the time to a permanent home through reunification or adoption. In addition, foster parents should be more adequately compensated.
https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/blogger-co-op/modernizing-foster-care/21957

Child Abuse A National Overview (Sarah Westall Radio Show – Share This Widely)

arah Westall’s serious research gives her chops to ask the hardest and most in depth questions diving deep into the heart of the matter she is investigating.

This interview is the best I have had in the almost two decades of speaking and writing for Kids At Risk Action. Don’t miss it.

Share this interview with your connections – it will open their eyes to the depth and scope of child abuse and child protection in our communities (& make life better for at risk children).

Sarah Westall Interview

All Adults are the protectors of All Children

Minnesota’s Back Story; Treating Children’s Mental Health

Today’s Star Tribune article (thank you Chris Serres) exposing the violence done to Minnesota’s youngest citizens while in state care reminded me of my own experiences growing up.

In my middle class 1977 neighborhood, the family next door’s 15 year old grandson became psychotic and behaved dangerously.

Mom and dad tried to find him mental health help to no avail.

The only option that provided treatment for their son was the Juvenile Justice system. The boy’s entrance into the system required he be charged with a crime. Their son killed himself a few years later.

Minnesota’s Mental Health Crisis (spot on reporting by our Star Tribune – Many Thanks)

Today’s service providers are rarely capable of adequately dealing with the level of dysfunction encountered by a large and growing number of people.

They will fail to achieve the results they strive for until we the voters demand the core changes that will reverse these painful trends. These failures drive up burnout and good workers leaving the field for lack of success and very high stress (and lack of understanding appreciation from the rest of us).

Reflect on this;

The “colossal failure” of Child Protective Services” Governor Dayton’s words upon the death of 4 year old Eric Dean after 15 largely ignored reports of child abuse

MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz’ statement s that “90% of the youth in Juvenile Justice have come through Child Protection” and“ the difference between that poor child and a felon is about 8 years” are as true today as they were a few years ago when she said them. My spin on the Chief Justice’ words are that, the difference between that poor child and a preteen mother with no parenting skills, a drug problem and a violent boyfriend, is about 8 years.

2/3 of the youth in the Juvenile Justice System have diagnosable mental health issues & half of them have multiple, chronic and serious problems.

1/3 of the children in Child Protective Services are proscribed Prozac or other psychotropic medications.

20,000 one and two year olds were proscribed psychotropic medications in this nation in 2014 (Johnson & Johnson paid 4 billion dollars in fines for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on children and there are 5000 cases awaiting trial).

MN Sheriff’s had to threaten a law suit to get the state to move on providing timely mental health services for the people in their jail cells.

April 2016 Sad Stories

CA: Vacaville commissioner advocates for preventing child abuse
The Reporter – March 31, 2016
She’s a mom, an advocate, a businesswoman and a Vacaville Community Services commissioner, and in honor of April being a double whammy–it’s both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month–Christina Baird is offering her expertise to help keep kids safe.
http://www.thereporter.com/general-news/20160330/vacaville-commissioner-advocates-for-preventing-child-abuse

FL: 2 sheriff’s office employees disciplined for mishandling allegations in Bradenton child abuse case
Bradenton Herald – March 31, 2016
Two Manatee County Sheriff’s Office employees were disciplined for their mishandling of allegations that 15-month-old Knowellan Kelly and his three siblings were being abused, by failing to complete or signing off on an incomplete investigation, according to internal affairs reports.
http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/crime/article69299067.html

FL: State leads nation with more than 10,000 Guardian ad Litem Volunteers
Chipley Bugle – March 31, 2016
The Guardian ad Litem Program has exceeded its goal of more than 10,000 volunteers. In Holmes and Washington Counties, 37 trained and dedicated volunteers spoke on behalf of 127 abused and neglected children from our community who are currently or previously going through court proceedings within the last year.
http://chipleybugle.com/2016/03/31/florida-leads-nation-with-more-than-10000-guardian-ad-litem-volunteers/

FL: Trauma can produce PTSD in our own neighborhoods (Opinion)
Times-Union – March 31, 2016
For too long, post-traumatic stress disorder was a mental illness associated solely with the stress of battle. Today physicians and researchers realize that this debilitating illness strikes in our own neighborhoods.
http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2016-03-31/story/trauma-can-produce-ptsd-our-own-neighborhoods

IN: April is Prevent Child Abuse Awareness Month
Brazil Times – March 31, 2016
“Each day our agency must respond to reports of tragic abuse and neglect,” said Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) Director Mary Beth Bonaventura. “This month gives us an opportunity to highlight community resources to help at-risk parents and ultimately keep children safe.”
http://www.thebraziltimes.com/story/2291363.html

IN: Officials aim to educate about child abuse
Lafayette Journal & Courier – March 31, 2016
Connor, also executive director of Tippecanoe County Court Appointed Special Advocates, said a heroin epidemic nationwide and locally is driving mental health and domestic violence problems in the community. As a result, Tippecanoe County CASA currently has more than 80 children on its waiting list. “Children become victims because of those issues,” Connor said.
http://www.jconline.com/story/news/crime/2016/03/31/officials-aim-educate-child-abuse/82212520/

KY: Home of the Innocents to open E-town foster site
Courier-Journal – March 31, 2016
The Home of the Innocents is opening a new foster care office in Elizabethtown. The Louisville-based charity, that tends to abused and abandoned children, is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new Hardin County outlet on Friday at noon. The open house is at 11 a.m. The office is at 2608 Ring Road in the Hardin County seat.
http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2016/03/31/home-innocents-open-e-town-foster-site/82463696/

KY: Republican Senate continues bipartisan accomplishments for Kentuckians (Opinion: Senator Mitch McConnell)
Franklin Favorite – March 31, 2016
The recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) would help address the opioid epidemic by providing additional tools for enhanced prevention, education, treatment and recovery programs that are already underway across Kentucky. The bill calls for the expansion of naloxone, a drug which can counter the effects of an opioid overdose. The bill would strengthen and enhance prescription drug monitoring programs, to crack down on “doctor shopping,” a practice used to obtain multiple prescriptions for drugs that can be abused.
http://www.franklinfavorite.com/opinion/editorials/article_f7b586f3-17bf-5814-88d5-bac07f8dd10e.html

MO: Audit questions Missouri’s eligibility checks for subsidized child care
Associated Press – March 31, 2016
A state audit of how Missouri spends federal funding has raised concerns about how the Department of Social Services verifies people’s eligibility to receive subsidized child care.
http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/missouri/2016/03/31/audit-questions-missouris-eligibility-checks-subsidized-child-care/82496958/

MS: & US: Judge Strikes Down Mississippi Ban on Same-Sex Adoptions (Includes video)
NBC News – March 31, 2016
A federal judge struck down Mississippi’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples Thursday–making the practice legal nationwide. Also: Federal Judge Halts Enforcement of Mississippi Ban on Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples: http://www.hrc.org/blog/federal-judge-halts-enforcement-of-mississippi-ban-on-adoptions-by-same-sex?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss-feed
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/judge-strikes-down-mississippi-s-ban-same-sex-adoptions-n548856

NY: Attorneys for foster kids claiming abuse fighting to obtain ACS case files needed for lawsuit
New York Daily News – March 31, 2016
Lawyers for 10 children alleging abuse while in foster care are fighting for access to the kids’ ACS case files, part of an ongoing federal lawsuit seeking reforms to the child welfare system.
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/lawyers-foster-kids-fighting-obtain-acs-case-files-article-1.2584724

PA: Pennsylvania one of lowest reported child abuse rates in country (Includes video)
WHAG – March 31, 2016
Advocacy groups allege Pennsylvania has developed a culture of cover-ups. High-profiles cases like in Altoona-Johnstown, where a grand jury found Diocese members abused hundreds of children, and a similar scenario involving Penn State’s football coach Jerry Sandusky highlight the issue.
http://www.your4state.com/news/4state-in-focus/4sif-child-abuse/pennsylvania-one-of-lowest-reported-child-abuse-rates-in-country

PA: York County CASA: Child Abuse/Neglect Advocacy (Includes video)
ABC27 – March 31, 2016
In recognition of the collaboration needed to help prevent child abuse and neglect, the York County CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, program will be holding a public film screening of the documentaries Removed parts I and II on Friday April 1, 2016. These films were created with the intent of bringing to light the often unknown subjects of foster care and child abuse/neglect.
http://abc27.com/2016/03/31/york-county-casa-child-abuseneglect-advocacy/

TN: Training to help adults notice, prevent child abuse
Knoxville News Sentinel – March 31, 2016
The National Children’s Alliance has called it “the most effective tool to stop child abuse.” So the Community Coalition to Protect Children is hoping as many people as possible–parents, church leaders, teachers, foster parents, child-care workers and community members–can take advantage of the chance to get the training for free.
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local/training-to-help-adults-notice-prevent-child-abuse-2f4ad4d6-8d56-479c-e053-0100007f8f8c-374179661.html

TX: No excuse: ChildSafe sets lofty goal to combat child abuse, neglect (Includes video)
KSAT – March 31, 2016
ChildSafe served more than 4,300 children last year, and CEO Kim Abernethy said at the end of February this year, the organization has already seen a 32 percent increase in the number of children that depend on ChildSafe for counseling.
http://www.ksat.com/features/childsafe-chooses-lofty-april-goal-1-million

UT: Sponsor of vetoed grandparents rights bill to work with Gov. Herbert to refine legislation
Deseret News – March 31, 2016
The sponsor of a grandparents’ rights bill vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert over concerns it could jeopardize adoptive parents’ rights said Thursday he is willing to work with the governor to refine the legislation.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865651296/Sponsor-of-vetoed-grandparents-rights-bill-to-work-with-Gov-Herbert-to-refine-legislation.html?pg=all

VA: Majority of local Social Service calls deal with child neglect
The News Virginian – March 31, 2016
Nearly two thirds of the calls received last year by the local Social Services office dealt with the physical neglect of a child. That was the report delivered by the staff of the Shenandoah Valley Social Services office Wednesday, sharing information on child abuse and neglect, legal definitions and caseloads in the service area of Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County.
http://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/news/majority-of-local-social-service-calls-deal-with-child-neglect/article_2f1e459c-f6e3-11e5-88e5-3789aa9e8e8e.html

VA: Navigating identities
Fairfax County Times – March 31, 2016
Rosen didn’t have a project in mind when she first learned about ConnectGens. This idea of conflicting identities for adoptive children had always been in the back of her mind, but it was not something she ever put into words. She also noted that when she was going through the adoptions process and when her son was younger there wasn’t a ton of information available on adoption.
http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/articles/navigating-identities/article_117846b6-f777-11e5-99c3-7bc51331246e.html

WV: Official: Child abuse cases on the rise in West Virginia (Includes video)
WHAG – March 31, 2016
Most parents would never intentionally hurt their children, but some do and others could use some help defining what abuse is to make sure they do not cross a line harming their child.
http://www.your4state.com/news/4state-in-focus/4sif-child-abuse/official-child-abuse-cases-on-the-rise-in-west-virginia

US: A crisis with little data: States begin to count drug-dependent babies
Kaiser Health News – March 31, 2016
Many states — including some that have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis — don’t know how many of their youngest residents each year are born physically dependent on those drugs.
http://khn.org/news/a-crisis-with-little-data-states-begin-to-count-drug-dependent-babies/

US: Foster Caretaker Must Be Ready to Be Thoroughly Supportive of LGBT Youth (Opinion)
Youth Today – March 31, 2016
For many youth, foster care can be a safe place for care and support when the biological family does not provide appropriate care. However, foster care experiences can be impacted by many factors, such as sexual and identity orientation.
http://youthtoday.org/2016/03/foster-caretaker-must-be-ready-to-be-thoroughly-supportive-of-lgbt-youth/

US: Know Someone Who Grew up in Foster Care? Three Things They Need From Us (Opinion)
The Huffington Post – March 31, 2016
As National Social Work Month winds down, I’ve been thinking about what older foster youth and those aging out of state care need from their social worker, counselor or other supportive people in their lives. What do they want and need to help them make the leap from dependence on the system to successful independent adulthood? The best way, the only way, to find out what these young people need is to listen.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-lee/know-someone-who-grew-up_b_9584598.html

US: My adopted daughter is part Native American — and I was terrified she’d be taken away (Opinion)
She Knows – March 31, 2016
“She’s legally free,” I said. “Her birth father has relinquished his rights”. “It doesn’t matter” he said, his voice tense. “Being legally free is a state law. The Indian Child Welfare Act is federal law; it supersedes everything else.”
http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1117475/adopted-daughter-is-part-native-american

US: National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Honoring Our Most Innocent Victims (Opinion)
The Huffington Post – March 31, 2016
This April marks the 33rd anniversary of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time dedicated to child abuse education, awareness and prevention. The issue, which is in the media every day causes one to shiver at the thought of what happens to our children, yet it is the most ignored issue because it’s so ugly. Also: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-heroux/april-is-child-abuse-prev_b_9586460.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ross-ellis/national-child-abuse-prev_1_b_9577188.html?utm_hp_ref=impact&ir=Impact

US: Presidential Proclamation–National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2016 (Press release)
The White House – March 31, 2016
During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect. Information Gateway resource: National Child Abuse Prevention Month 2016 Community Involvement Resource Guide: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/03/31/presidential-proclamation-national-child-abuse-prevention-month-2016

US: Relapse rates fall with use of long-acting medication to treat opioid addiction among criminal justice-involved adults
Medical News Today – March 31, 2016
Opioid addiction is a rapidly escalating public health crisis in the United States. Now, new research findings could shed important light in addressing this epidemic. “We believe our study is the first of its kind to look at the real-world effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone in community settings,” says lead author Joshua D. Lee, MD, MSc, associate professor in the Departments of Population Health and Medicine at NYU Langone. “It may be particularly effective with populations, such as recently released prisoners, who typically don’t have access to other evidence-based daily medications for opiate disorders, like methadone or buprenorphine.” Study: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1505409
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/308523.php

US: Same-Sex Couples Can Now Adopt Children In All 50 States
The Huffington Post – March 31, 2016
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Mississippi?s ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional, making gay adoption legal in all 50 states.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mississippi-same-sex-adoption_us_56fdb1a3e4b083f5c607567f

US: Why the Lexi Page case may go to the US Supreme Court
The Christian Science Monitor – March 31, 2016
The case echoes several other cases pitting the foster care system against the ICWA. In 2013, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a case involving Veronica, a young Cherokee girl, reached the US Supreme Court.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0331/Why-the-Lexi-Page-case-may-go-to-the-US-Supreme-Court

INTERNATIONAL

Canada: Child welfare in Manitoba election spotlight
The Canadian Press – March 31, 2016
Manitoba’s beleaguered child-welfare system came under the provincial election spotlight Wednesday with promises from all parties to cut a record number of kids in care.
http://globalnews.ca/news/2608630/child-welfare-in-manitoba-election-spotlight/

International: Longer maternity leave linked to better infant health (Press release)
Medical News Today – March 31, 2016
For each additional month of paid maternity leave offered in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), infant mortality is reduced by 13%, according to a new study by researchers from McGill University and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The finding, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, marks the first time that research has examined the impact of paid maternity leave on infant mortality in LMICs. Previous work has shown that paid time off is consistently associated with lower mortality of babies under one year old in high-income countries. Report: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001985
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/308504.php

Mali: & Senegal: Transforming the lives of child beggars (Press release)
SOS Childrens’ Villages – March 31, 2016
A new programme is transforming the lives of 1,500 street children in Mali and Senegal by restoring their basic human rights. In collaboration with SOS Children and the European Union, child beggars are being reunited with their families and given access to quality education.
http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/news/transforming-the-lives-of-child-beggars

Child Sex, Child Mortality, Education, Prozac & Guns (how we value children)

America’s long running fight against sex education has brought our nation the low honors of having the highest STD rate in the world and the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world. We have lots of 13 year old moms with violent boyfriends, drug habits and no parenting skills in our nation (it’s really hard on the children).

North Carolina doesn’t screen teachers = 3 years of abuse for a child & a 30 year prison sentence for the offender.

America’s sex industry thrives of foster children and many states still blame the 13 year old sex slave for a crime.

Our infant mortality rate has been off the scale below other industrialized nations for many years and violence against children fills our newspapers and media airwaves. Add to that the under-reporting of child abuse – the three million reports represent 12 million abused children every year not the six million calculated by including the 150 million families with 0 to 2 children.

U.S. children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from a gun than their peers in 28 other industrialized nations and 32 times more likely to die from a gun homicide

American newborns are also dying because they are sent home with drug addicted mothers. 20,000 two year olds were proscribed psychotropic medications in 2014. Both Johnson and Johnson and Glaxo Welcome paid billions in fines for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on children (and there are thousands of cases pending. 1/3 of America’s foster children are medicated by Prozac and other powerful antipsychotic drugs.

We also expel more children from daycare and early childhood programs (for violence and behavior problems) than any other nation.

Child protective services are under appreciated, under trained, and under resourced in almost every state with little understanding by state legislators about the core issues. These problems will not improve until we have begun a more open and honest conversation about them.

Euphemizing and obfuscating keeps people from getting too upset (or involved).

I challenge you to read just halfway down on last month’s sad stories page and share it with at least one other person.

After all, things could change if somebody starts talking about these critical children’s issues(why not you?)

All adults are the protectors of all children.

How We Punish – And What It Does To Children & Our Community

For many years, we have fed younger and younger people into our Criminal Justice System and gotten the same results over and over again as children graduate into the Criminal Justice System with a recidivism rate that may soon exceed 70% (Juvenile Justice recidivism is not tracked in 11 states and narrowly tracked elsewhere).

Evidence overwhelmingly indicates that abused and neglected children, mostly from families suffering from generation after generation of child abuse, fuel the furnace of the Juvenile Justice System. It has become common to charge 12 and 13 year old children as adults in the Criminal Justice System, some as young as 8 years old. Pennsylvania recently charged a 10 year old as an adult.

3000 children have been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, some as young as 13 (sentenced to die in prison).

Yesterday’s article on tasing 3rd graders & expelling preschoolers at many times the rate of other industrialized nations is snapshot into the dysfunctional elements of our institutional approach to dealing with the mental health issues of children, primarily abused and neglected children, that enter our Juvenile Justice System.

Today, I draw your attention to some of the worst practices within Child Protection Services and the Juvenile Justice System and ask you to reflect on how these practices might re related to the frightening violence and dismal news that pervades our media and daily lives. Social death…

The Unspoken Truth (from Kristin Rode)

My name is Robert Hamelin and when I was 4 years old I entered the Foster Care System. My stepmother began to physically and mentally abuse me. I was taken out of the home I lived in, with her and my father and moved into the first foster home. When I was 9 years old my father was killed. He was the only good memory I had left. His loss had such a deep impact on me. I knew now that I was completely alone. By the time I reached the 6th grade I began acting out for attention. My behaviors became worse. The abuse had continued worse than ever, as now, I was being sexually abused. By the time I was 18 years old I joined the Marine Corps. I needed stability but even more important, I needed to find out if I could overcome my past and succeed, despite 14 years of violent child abuse.

The system failed me but it did not beat me!

Today I am a successful Regional Vice President for Transamerica. I have raised 5 beautiful daughters, 4 of which have already graduated from college. What is disheartening is 32 years after I got out of the Child Protection System, it continues to fail children and the abuse, still all too common. We need to come together to fix a broken system.

Each year, about six hundred thousand abused and neglected American children are removed from their homes, placed into group homes, foster homes, and adoptive homes with minimal mental health counseling and often not much history or training provided to the new care giver. These children are expected to adjust well into society, succeed in school and with their peers

Children in child protective services are only removed from their homes if their lives are in imminent harm. These children are often returned to their homes by Child Protective Services if changes are made. Many children are returned to abusive homes, with little to no follow-up.

Abused and Neglected Children’s News (thank you Child Welfare In The News)

MA: Patrick To Address Controversy Surrounding Child Welfare Agency
Associated Press – January 27, 2014
The failure of the Department of Children and Families to keep track of a missing 5-year-old boy whose family had been under its supervision is inexcusable but has given the state an opportunity to re-examine the agency and make changes, Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday. Also: Gov. Patrick: DCF review to be completed by the spring: http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/24554144/2014/01/27/gov-patrick-to-discuss-dcf-probe#ixzz2rh7CVuAs
http://www.wbur.org/2014/01/27/patrick-speak-dcf-controversy

Inside AZ Child Protection Politics

Does Legislature have the will to fix CPS this time?

At long last – or again, that is — we have an answer to why Ariana and Tyler Payne had to die, and Jacob Gibson and Schala Vera and 20-month-old Liana Sandoval, whose battered body was found wired to a rock at the bottom of a canal in 2001, one day after Child Protective Services found no evidence of abuse.

At long last – or again, that is – we know why Annie Carimbocas had to die, and Haley Gray and Vanessa Martinez and 3-year-old Angelene Plummer, who was beaten, burned, raped and murdered in 2005 after CPS declared eight times that she was safe.

At long last – or again that is – we know why Janie Buelna left us in 2011, her body scarred, her teeth broken, her leg ravaged by an untreated burn when a simple phone call by CPS might have saved her.

And 22-month-old Za’Naya Flores, who starved to death in 2012 while a CPS caseworker wrote monthly reports on her progress.

At long last – or again that is – we know what the heck is going on in Child Protective Services. And we know how to fix it.

The question is: will we?

On Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer’s Independent Child Advocate Response Examination team – a task force of troubleshooters tapped in December after the agency’s latest epic fail — released its report on what is wrong with Arizona’s most beleaguered agency.

6000 Child Abuse Cases Not Examined In Arizona (putting AZ in 48th place for child well being)

Clarence Carter the Director of AZ Department of Economic Security told the oversight committee that child protection was suffering from lack of funding and resources and has been only investigating the worst of the worst cases.

Skyrocketing case loads and very late (too late in many cases) review of unexamined reports of child abuse make it extremely hard to keep children safe in Arizona, a state that ranks 48th in child well being.

Reporting Maltreatment Of Children; How Minnesota Does It (State Statute – 626.556)

The difference between mandated reporters and the rest of the world is this; my friend who knew the 7 year old girl across the hall was being sexually abused was not a mandated reporter, and he did not report it. He feared for his life, as these were gang type neighbors, and while he was miserable about it, he never did speak out. Instead he knew for a long time what was happening next door and did nothing to stop it. It was a confession he made to me long after the events had occurred.

The only real hope this little girl (or any other children) being prostituted, pounded on, or otherwise horrifically treated, are mandated reporters. Hopefully, a teacher, hospital worker, or some other service provider will discover the horrors this little girl’s lived through and make help available so she might be healed and lead a better life. This is the statute that all mandated reporters should understand if they are to execute their jobs according to MN law.

If the resources were made available to enforce this statute, and make available the resources suggested within it, the prisons would empty, schools would perform at a much higher standard, and our communities would become the warm and friendly places we all want them to be. Take a moment and review the statute. It is valuable information for any citizen;

626.556 REPORTING OF MALTREATMENT OF MINORS.

Subdivision 1.Public policy.

CASA Clarification – Mike’s Mistake

It has been pointed out to me that in some instances my writing leads readers to think that CASA guardian ad-Litems are part of child protective service when in fact (and I know this inside and out) CASA is child advocacy within the institution of child protection. Forgive me for this error and please appreciate that CASA/GAL is all about child advocacy.

For more information about:

CASAMN

CASA National
CASA your state

Thank You Houston Texan Receiver Andre Johnson

Wow, what a swell guy and great example for the rest of us; Andre bought $19,521 worth of Toys R Us gifts for children in Child Protective Services today. Here’s the link (you can see the very long receipt).

I like his message too;

“A lot of these kids get discouraged because of where they grew up and things like that. I grew up in a single-parent home and I was fortunate to achieve my goals. So, whatever goals you have, just keep them out in front of you, don’t let anybody distract you away from them, because there will be distractions that try to detour you away from your goals. That’s the biggest thing.”

Pass it on to your friends (it may give them ideas)