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?

This child’s self-harming and violent behaviors could change if there was help to manage behaviors triggered by childhood traumas. These children can go on to lead productive lives.

Without safe housing and mental health services it’s not happening – no matter how hard child advocate works to find help. It’s too often just not there.

The next crime 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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Is CPS creating what it was designed to stop?

There are many forces at play on Child Protective Services today

The punishment model still rules in courts, schools and public policy

better tracking and reporting

of outcomes-based metrics in CPS and Jails

and the over-institutionalizing

of children in our institutions

(dehumanizing trends)

First, we need to save abused children from

more trauma, more punishment and a lifetime of crime

that comes from early incarceration.

KARA reports on the issues of invisible children

This article submitted by Former CASA Guardian Ad Litem Mike Tikkanen

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

(Pliny the Elder, 2000 years ago)#cps