children down hill having funFree Updates From KARA (Friday morning email with the week’s news)

Can you help KARA: Research and write about child protection issues? (include “volunteer” in the subject line

Support CASA & Safe Passage For Children Minnesota

CASA and the Guardian ad-Litem program give voice to the children in child protection – spread the word and tell your friends about volunteering with CASA (CASAMN CASA national or start a a CASA program in your community,

Contact your Elected Officials

Abused and neglected children cannot contact their senators to have laws changed that affect them. We all need to do our part to help win the war that is being waged against the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

This sample letter reflects on Minnesota at the time of its composition. When you write your elected officials or others, make your advocacy letter reflect your voice and your story about the needs of neglected children. If you have a connection (as a teacher, a social worker, an adoptive/foster parent or another connection) to an abandoned or abused child, include that connection, or a story about that connection in your letter. Make your letter personal. Those are the letters that are remembered and are effective.

Sample Letter

Dear Representative,

I’m writing you because abused and neglected children cannot afford high powered lobbyists to plead their case.

It is up to the people in power to know what the right thing to do is. You are that person.

It is a tragic fact that Minnesota (my state) has a significant population of abused and neglected children and the system in place to protect them is already stressed and failing in most federal measurements. There are many indicators that point to how failure to thrive as a child leads to failure and dysfunctional adulthood.  Former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice has stated that 90% of the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection.

In these difficult economic times, it is understood that many areas of state and local government services need to be evaluated and reduced where possible. Unlike services provided for public entertainment or convenience, underfunding child protection can have long lasting negative financial and social repercussions.

It is likely that the stressful times to come will only increase the number of children in need of our protection. Knowing this, how can cuts be justified?

Children who experience abuse or neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30 percent more likely to commit violent crime.

One-third of abused and neglected children will eventually victimize their own children.  Your safety and the well-being of your family and friends are being impacted also.  In addition to growing crime and public safety concerns, the long term costs of incarceration and social dysfunction have become a huge problem both locally and nationally.

The statistics quoted above are only part of the unfortunate future of the abused child. The incidence of mental illness, chemical dependency and teenage pregnancy are much higher in abused children. The costs to handle these problems are far greater than the cost to help families and children before the problems become severe. The extended cost to schools and other people who become victimized by these troubled children as they become adults is immeasurable. As a volunteer Hennepin County guardian ad-Litem, I have seen these things come true with many of the children that I have worked with in troubled families (where just a little bit of help would have allowed a child to lead a normal life).

Isn’t it worth looking at cutting more expendable budget items a little deeper than decreasing an already compromised system that could have life threatening consequences? Can’t we remember that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure? Our schools would benefit, our streets would be safer, and not so many people would fill our jails and prisons.

Please support early childhood programs like mental health services for children, daycare, healthcare, crisis nurseries, and early learning.





  1. I have worked for several decades to convince people that children in the juvenile justice system need family services among other things. Prevention involves building strong, healthy families. I have a following and would like to support your org. I was also just asked to become a member of the Sandy Hook promise Advisory Board. Are there things we can do to help promote your ideas?
    Dr. Kathy

  2. KARA,

    I am a writer and former educator looking to volunteer my services as a researcher, writer, and social media content creator. I have had the pleasure of educating at risk youth and would love to offer any of my skills to improve the lives of abused and neglected children.

    Please contact me if you need any of these services.

    Thank you,
    Sean Hedden

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