We know how traumatized children respond to more punishment. We know how valuable the ACES, Adverse Childhood Experience healing methods are in mending children and ending the growing public health problem generational child abuse has become.

We are familiar with, 3 strikes you’re out, Lock’em up, and throw away the key –

The litany of punishment practices our nation is built on – and the damage more punishment does to millions of damaged children already living in abusive homes. Punishment is an American cultural practice reaching deep into our collective psyches and down into our public institutions – By expelling 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, Tasering & incarcerating 12 year old’s, schools and courts are Punishing millions of already damaged children. 

We know that the punishment model does not facilitate healing or learning –  It is responsible for most failed grade level reading, math and history scores. It is the primary reason for underperforming schools. It’s not bad teachers, its child unfriendly policies and the politics of punishment that puts the final brick in the wall of learning and social skill development almost guaranteeing this child a life of mental health and behavior problems that make them dysfunctional adults.

This is the punishment model that Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz was referring to when she stated that, “90% of the youth in the Juvenile Justice system have passed through the Child Protection system” and her more painful statement that; “The difference between that poor child and a felon, is about 8 years”.

We live in a nation where 30% of youth are arrested by their 28th birthday – and there are not enough prisons to house two million Americans as 9 year prison recidivism rates approach 90% and our prisons have been at or over 100% capacity for decades. We know that the punishment model cannot mend lives or make our communities safer, happier or more productive.

California’s Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris has declared Adverse Childhood Experiences a public health epidemic and public school’s crisis.

We know that the ACES model interrupts generational child abuse, heals children and provides at risk youth the skills to become productive members of our communities. Join Kids At Risk Action in making your community a trauma informed care community by providing ACEs awareness to daycare providers, elementary school principals, superintendents, law enforcement and teachers”.

Let’s all work to improve the lives of at risk children and make our community safer, happier and more productive. By giving all children a chance to heal and become functioning members of the community.

KARA reports on the issues of child abuse.

This article submitted by CASA volunteer Mike Tikkanen

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