When I met her, I saw a beautiful, quiet and curious little girl. I was Isabella’s (not her real name) first teacher and wish to remain anonymous.

After 7 full years of abuse and neglect she entered my special ed classroom in Arizona.

My supervisor shared details of her life and why she was recently placed in foster care.

Isabella was taken into foster care when her birth home was raided by authorities for possession of drugs. She was found locked in a room by herself. She was silent – never spoke.

Isabella had never been outside until she was placed into foster care at 7. She had just spent days in a hospital detoxing drugs from her system. Drugs that were present both at birth and at the time of her intake.

Isabella was denied basic medical care from her biological family and denied medical consent from her biological grandparent when she entered State Care. Children die because of this*

Her teeth had rotted, and she required emergency dental procedures to repair the damage. She underwent psychological assessments but was not “fit” to accurately assess her results.

Isabella was completely non-verbal, zero eye contact and diagnosed with severe autism. She and engaged in behaviors common to children sexually and physically abused. She would disturbingly insert her fingers deeply inside of her diaper at times and was suffering from ongoing urinary infections and yeast infections.

When Isabella became part of my classroom, she wanted immediate access to food for the duration of the school day. She acted out aggressively towards staff around her and herself if food wasn’t present.

Male figures triggered crying and she became severely aggressive with herself and the adults around her. She slammed her head against the concrete wall, ripped her hair out, and bit her skin off with her teeth. Isabella refused to walk near or into a bathroom.

This child was not able to verbally communicate her needs or her concerns with those around her.

Only after several months was, she able to tolerate a consistent female helping her with changing her diaper and wiping her face. Where she goes after leaving my classroom scares me. How will others that don’t know her story treat her? Will she ever have the care and love she needs and deserves? Isabella has many problems. None of them does she deserve. Without help, she will not heal or live a life with less fear and pain.

Childhood trauma does not disappear when the child is removed from the trauma. Isabella was invisible to the community around her. Children like Isabella live without voice, without care and with unspeakable violence – sometimes never to find the help of a mandated reporter (teacher/daycare worker/law enforcement).

Isabella and others like her are suffering not only the traumas visited upon them in their birth homes, but without our help, they face a lifetime of mental health and behavior problems that keep them from the healing and skills they need to lead a productive life.

  Share this story with your State Representative and let them know that you vote for people that support the policies and programs helping at-risk youth.


*Noted by KARA GAL Mike T. This part of the law has taken the right to stay alive from children in my experience.

These are not uncommon stories for America’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN – please share them widely so they will not be forgotten;

Sally’s Story

Ethan’s Story

Portia’s Story

KARA reports on the issues of child abuse.

This article submitted by CASA volunteer Mike Tikkanen

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