What’s it like to be a CASA guardian ad Litem (child protection worker) unable to find safe housing and mental health services for the 14-year-old struggling foster boy in your caseload?

His self-harming and violent behaviors could change if he had help to manage childhood traumas. He could go on to lead a productive life.

Without safe housing and mental health services it’s not happening – no matter how hard the child advocate works to find these things for him. The resources are often not available.

The next crime he commits will likely bring charges in adult court. Minnesota is taking a hard turn towards punishing youth in adult court today. This is not something to celebrate.

Boys his age are raped and ruined in many ways by broken men in our punishment-oriented institutions.

What’s it like to be the traumatized boy removed from his home by a judge because his life was endangered by his caregivers?

Imagine a juvenile you know living with uncontrollable childhood traumas and violent behaviors and the punishment in store for you by the community.

What’s it like to know at 14 that this could have been your life if you had been born into generational child abuse?

It’s demoralizing to know that our community lets it happen. The pipeline to prison system in America is operating at full speed and at capacity. Policing at risk youth is extremely fraught with danger for all involved. Prison recidivism at nine years has been over 80% for over ten years and it’s not getting better.

While courts have become more lenient towards traumatized veterans returning from war with violent behavior, Minnesota and other states are moving towards more punishment and bigger prisons for kids.

This is all about mental health and community support for children in need. It’s time we recognized trauma in children is at least as terrible for the child as it is for veterans.

This story told to me by a CASA guardian ad litem working with a boy on a bad path.

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