If I had committed the crimes parents perpetrated upon their own children in my CASA guardian ad Litem cases, I would be writing this from jail.

Because caregivers delivered the beatings, rapes and other traumas, the abuse was not a criminal matter and children were often returned to their parents for more of the same.

Over my CASA volunteer Guardian ad Litem years, no adult was ever charged for terrible violence against children as young as three years old. One of the perpetrators remained in the home and continued to abuse very young children over the 12 years I was on the case (with 7 children).

100 years ago, beatings, rape and violence against a wife (or children) were private and not addressed or penalized by the courts. Authorities did not intervene in family matters. That only changed when women attained the right to vote and had standing in court. This is the same problem American children are facing today. Because children have no standing in court, their lives are at the mercy of Child Protective Services (CPS) and mandated reporters that are failing them in large numbers.

Today, intensely secretive CPS is not transparent and  neither tracks or shares meaningful information about children (data/not names) in the system. We only read and know about the children that die (and not all of them or any of the near death child suffering).

No one outside of the court and family know anything about the near death experiences of the children in my caseload (or the self-harm, suicide attempts or other important metrics).

Because we the people know so little we do not see the need for solutions to terrible and growing problems facing abused and neglected children in our community.

This Investigative Report of children murdered at the hands of their parents while in Child Protective Services (today) could be confused with something written 100 years ago.

None of the awful things done to the children in this report were surprising. Each family had long histories of violence and neglect to their children.

Child Protective Services could have (should have) done more to keep these children alive.

The thin veil of Child Protection made clear by this report needs help to put the “Protective” back into Child Protective Services.

None of this is to diminish the efforts of social/health workers, educators or others working hard to make life better for at risk children. They are doing what they can with the training and resources available. It’s grinding work with too few of the right resources and too many bad outcomes.


Much of our problem stems from the lack of tracking and reporting important child safety metrics. Without that kind of reporting, there is little awareness of the depth and scope of the problem and therefore no need for solutions.

There are things we can do and things we must stop to interrupt this cascade of failures that are impacting growing numbers of generationally abusive families.

There are many forces at play on Child Protective Services today

Parental rights, Racial disparities,

better tracking and reporting

of outcomes based metrics in CPS

and the over-institutionalizing

of children in the system

(dehumanizing trends)

First, we need to save more children from crimes

being committed upon them in the homes they are raised in.

KARA reports on the issues of invisible children

This article submitted by Former CASA Guardian Ad Litem Mike Tikkanen

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All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children


“What we do to our children, they will do to our society”

(Pliny the Elder, 2000 years ago)