Minnesota Child Protection News March 2017

MN Child Protection News March 2017
KARA gathers news about abused Minnesota’s abused children every month and provides a snapshot of Child Protection and how our state values its children.
If you are an aspiring writer/reporter, KARA needs you to help gather and report on these stories.
Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with REPORTING in the subject line.
All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children
Follow;
Safe Passage For Children MN (Join them and make child friendly legislation a reality)

CASAMN (become a guardian ad Litem and speak for abused children)
KARA Star Tribune Articles; Child Protection Who Will Speak For Children?

KARA Star Tribune Articles; Child Protection Who Will Speak For Children?

Wanting To Know (caring enough to know)

Does Minnesota (your state here) want to know how its thousands of foster children are doing in school? Is there information available for people that care and want to see abused and neglected children at least get a chance to graduate from high school and lead a normal life?

The lack of transparency surrounding child abuse, child protection, foster care, drugging of very young children (Prozac, Ritalin, Zoloft…) indicates that while we talk big about valuing children in our community, we don’t care enough to want to know what their needs are.

If we knew that 80% of youth aging out of foster care were leading dysfunctional lives (last study of ten years ago), that 48% of state ward children are being forced to take psychotropic medications (true in Florida today) or that 4 MN counties screened out 90% of child abuse calls (true at the time of 4 year old Eric Dean’s murder by his step mother), then some concerned citizen, politician or administrator somewhere might be outraged enough to lobby for change.

Until information by our institutions becomes public, the problem simply does not exist and no one appears to care enough to see these awful things change.

Cudos to Minnesota for turning the child endangerment model into a genuine child protection model. It’s a great first step.

Parental Leave In Canada & the Rest of the Industrialized World (be nice to your baby – 18 months)

In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paidparental leave when a child is born or adopted. … The remaining 90 days are paid at a flat rate. Those who are not in employment are also entitled to paidparental leave. Parental leave can be taken up until a child turns eight.
10 things that make Sweden family-friendly – Sweden.se

Sad Stories March 2017 Part II

OR: Report: Child welfare review teams under microscope
Merced Sun-Star – March 06, 2017
Barely three days after 12-year-old Caden Berry of Keizer died, the head of Oregon’s child welfare agency ordered a full review of the agency’s interactions with his family.
Also: Report: Child welfare agency struggled to fix problems: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/5126903-151/report-child-welfare-agency-struggled-to-fix-problems?referrer=fpblob
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/business/article136731693.html
OR: 44 children left in harm’s way: Oregon’s child welfare agency struggled to fix problems
Statesman Journal – March 04, 2017
Clyde Saiki, director of the state Department of Human Services, wanted to know if “system issues” may have prevented the state from saving the boy’s life. DHS has publicly published reviews for at least 44 children since 2004, involving children the agency knew of who died or were severely injured.
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/03/04/inside-state-child-welfare-investigative-team/96928358/
TX: Democratic lawmaker says Texas CPS workloads make ‘a travesty’ of child protection
Dallas Morning News – March 06, 2017
The bill would encourage CPS to hire 893 more employees over the next two years and create an additional 825 slots at sister agencies such as Adult Protective Services, Child Care Licensing and the unit that operates the protective services department’s hotline for reporting abuse, the Legislative Budget Board has estimated.
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/child-protective-services/2017/03/06/democratic-lawmaker-says-texas-cps-workloads-make-travesty-child-protection

It Cant Happen Here

A very smart person that I consider a friend suggested that the sad story of Florida’s foster care system (in the blog article just prior to this one) is not comparable to the state of foster care in my state of MN. Suggesting that things are fine in MN’s foster care system. Nothing to see here, let’s talk about something else.

Dee Wilson delivered the Casey Foundations report on child protection in MN and softly stated that our group home facilities were grossly unable to deal with the level of trauma and behavioral problems that these overwhelmed homes were experiencing.

Just a week ago MN closed the group home in St Cloud MN because of many violations over many years.

That home allowed kids to bang their heads against walls to the point of concussions, facial injuries and head trauma along with forced sex in the presence of staff.

Don’t blame the staff*. It’s the management and the people making the rules. It is always the management that determines the wage, the training and the supervision that will be in place in every business endeavor. It’s always the policy makers that determine the oversight and resources available to the homes providing the service. These things are made extremely clear in the Florida video.

To expect low waged and undertrained people to manage children traumatized by years of abuse now being managed by a cold and distant state is just unworkable.

Friends of KARA – A Favor (watch this video)

Mari Frankel’s video documentary “Foster” below is stunning. Although it is about Florida’s foster system (by a CASA GAL just like me) it demonstrates the problems within the child protection system and the traumas & medications foster children live.with.

Mari Frankel’s video is aligned with KARA’s book and documentary projects that address child protection stories that are happening in MN.

Share this with people you know and/or,

Contact me to talk about ideas for making this video in MN (we have begun the process and have been partnered with TPT) but need help to complete the project.

Let’s be a voice for children

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

https://vimeo.com/139417634

The password is foster

March 2017 Sad Stories Part I

Baby Justice Rees’ father responds to charges in infant’s death
KCRA Sacramento
The father of Baby Justice Rees, who found dead two years ago in a Yolo County slough, faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection to …
Dead baby’s father lashes out from jail – Davis Enterprise
Father charged after baby found dead near Sacramento River – Santa Rosa Press Democrat
DA Announces New Charges for Frank Rees in Death of Baby – The People’s Vanguard of Davis (subscription)
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

Questions remain in baby’s death
WPRI 12 Eyewitness News
WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Investigators said Thursday they were still trying to determine how a seven-month old Warwick baby died. Willow Ramos …
DCYF previously investigated family of infant who died in Warwick – WPRI 12 Eyewitness News
Ex-Hanson resident charged with neglect after infant daughter dies – Wicked Local
Father charged after unresponsive baby daughter dies in RI – WHDH-TV
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

Child Death and County Transparency (not) From Safe Passage For Children MN

This year local media have covered five child murders and one near-fatality at various stages of resolution. Links to the stories are here.

In only one case is there public information about whether county child protection was involved.

State law requires each county to review its child abuse related fatalities and near-fatalities, and to submit their findings to the Department of Human Services (DHS) in a report that is publicly available. Counties have either ignored our requests for these reports or sent cautiously worded summaries in their place.

More accountability and transparency are needed.

DHS is currently deciding whether to immediately release these reports to the public when they receive them from counties. We encourage them to do so. If not we will propose legislation to make this a requirement.

Join the Discussion on Facebook

International At Risk Children’s News February 2017

Australia: Royal Commission releases damning statistics of child abuse in Australian Catholic Church
New Kerala – February 06, 2017
Seven percent of Australia’s Catholic priests were accused of abusing children in the six decades since 1950, according to new data from the Royal Commission.
http://www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-225753.html
Canada: Ministry Says Supports ‘Available’ to Youth Exiting Province’s Care. How Available?
TYEE – February 05, 2017
A guide to options for at-risk young adults, and why advocates say they aren’t enough.
https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/02/06/Foster-Youth-Exiting-Care/
Greece: Unaccompanied Minors in Greece: Who Can ‘Save’ Them?
University of Oxford, Faculty of Law – February 06, 2017
It is estimated that unaccompanied minors accounted for approximately 35 per cent of the total population that crossed from Turkey to Greece in 2015.
https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2017/02/unaccompanied
India: New online adoption system fails orphans
Mid-Day.com – February 05, 2017
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) from The Adoption Federation of Maharashtra (AFM) – an association of the state’s 65 adoption agencies – that helps facilitate the adoption process in the state.
http://www.mid-day.com/articles/new-online-adoption-system-fails-orphans-mumbai-news/17966196
International: Deadliest winter for refugee and migrant children crossing the Central Mediterranean, says UNICEF (Press release)
Press Release Point – February 03, 2017
A record number of refugee and migrant deaths in the Mediterranean over the past three months, including an estimated 190 children*, has prompted an urgent appeal from UNICEF to leaders of European Union member states meeting in Malta.
http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/deadliest-winter-refugee-and-migrant-children-crossing-central-mediterranean-says-unicef
Switzerland: Portraits help ‘stolen children’ reclaim their lives
swissinfo – February 04, 2017
A series of photographs showing in the Swiss capital Bern tell the story of Switzerland’s ‘discarded children’.
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/multimedia/foster-care_portraits-help–stolen-children–reclaim-their-lives/42925666

Minnesota Child Protection News January & February 2017

Man In Custody Following Death Of Eagan Woman, Unborn Child
CBS Local
“We are devastated at the tragic death of my daughter Senicha and her unborn son. She was a loving, kind, smart and beautiful young woman who …
Woman killed in Eagan home ID’d; her 32-week fetus also died – Minneapolis Star Tribune
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

Pregnant woman found dead in Eagan townhome was ‘excited to be a mother’
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
Pregnant woman found dead in Eagan townhome was ‘excited to be a mother’ … Lane, a neighborhood east of Minnesota 13 and south of Lone Oak Road. … “We are devastated at the tragic death of my daughter Senicha and her …
Flag as irrelevant

February 2017 Sad Stories Part IV

AKARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

This is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma, abuse & tragedy are never reported.

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect.

The U.S. is experiencing the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and with serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues.

37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health January 2017)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines Florida reports 48% of its foster children are forced to take Prozac like drugs.

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

February 2017 Sad Stories (part III)

Dyers sentenced to 15 years for felony child abuse
The Coloradoan
Two Fort Collins parents convicted of neglecting their daughter’s seizure condition and allowing her to all but waste away were sentenced Thursday to …
Fort Collins couple Doug and Leah Dyer sentenced to 15 years in child abuse case – Loveland Reporter-Herald
Full Coverage
Flag as irrelevant

BLOGS
MILO: ‘I Was A Victim Of Child Abuse’
Conservative Read
“I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.” wrote MILO in a Facebook post shortly after his press conference, “Between the ages of 13 and 16, two …
Flag as irrelevant

Social Work (from the smartest person in the room – Dee Wilson from the Casey Foundation)

I had the honor of sitting next to Dee Wilson when he delivered the Casey Family Assessment of Hennepin County’s Child welfare system to the Hennepin County Commissioners (Minnesota’s Child Endangerment Model). Dee drew attention to damage being done by the toxic atmosphere in the Child & Family Services system, the inability of St Joseph’s home for children to manage the level of trauma their young clients were living with and pointed out the red herring that HIPPA laws have created by forbidding almost any public discussion of the conditions within the homes of abused children and the institutions of child protection. I resonated with how social workers are traumatized by their work and how community based solutions involving stakeholders and redefining what we want for outcomes.

All a part of why turnover is high in social work and terrible policies doom children and families to more cyclical trauma and failure.state child welfare systems

ssss

When reading Dee’s recapping of County screened out rates remember that when 4 year old Eric Dean died after 15 reports of child abuse by mandated reporters, there were 4 MN counties that screened out 90% of all child abuse calls.

Dee keeps a blog and wrote something recently that every social worker needs to read. He is the smartest person in the room on the topic.

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

Protecting Children From Bad Politics (a note from the Child Welfare League of America)

Protecting Children in Changing Times   Our Children at Risk Never before in the Child Welfare League of America’s (CWLA) 100-year history has there been a higher level of anxiety and uncertainty about the fate and well-being of our children. The plans and policies of the new leadership in Washington, DC, will do egregious damage to social…

What’s Wrong With School Choice? (from GADFLYONTHEWALLBLOG)

The proponents of school choice will tell you that they are only doing the will of the people. This is what parents want, they say. Baloney. While there are individuals who support school choice, the overwhelming majority of money behind this movement comes from conservative billionaires actively trying to dismantle the public education system. They want to steal the public system and replace it with a private one. They don’t care about your child. They just want to steal the hundreds of billions of tax dollars we pay to educate our children. This is not philanthropy. It is a business transaction meant to screw you and your child out of your rights.

February Sad Stories 2017 Part I

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Bill-would-let-nonrelatives-care-for-foster-10920621.php
KY: Westerfield introduces bill to set age of criminal responsibility for youth
Kentucky New Era – February 08, 2017
Criminal complaints filed have been filed against children as young as 4.
Information Gateway resource: Youth Involved With Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/youth/collaboration/dualsystem/
http://www.kentuckynewera.com/web/article_7232ebe2-ee8d-11e6-9100-cb7fb0fa0fdd.html
MA: Report: Despite efforts, 35 kids died in state care
Boston Herald – February 10, 2017

Black Children Matter (and child protection systems)

Yesterday at the State Capital in St Paul, Black Lives matter rallied outside for fair treatment by the police and inside (where I was) at the rotunda for fair treatment in child protection for black families and children.

Child protection is viewed by many in the community as a finance driven machine making life miserable for families and ruining the lives of their children.

Far too many group homes and foster care givers fall far short of providing a safe haven for traumatized children and state ward children are often;

* forced to take psychotropic medications without adequate mental health services

* abused while in child protective services

From reporting to discharge, the over representation of Black children in the child protection system cannot be overstated.

Nationally,

37% of children are reported to child protection by the time they are 18 unless they are black, when the number jumps to 54%.

Black families are 4 times more likely to be subjects of a child protection investigation & 5 time more likely to experience a child protection report than white families.

Black children are 5.3 times more likely to be placed in foster homes than white children.

After 20+ years as a white volunteer CASA guardian ad litem, I know that the system leaves few people involved with it satisfied and I very much see why black families think the system is a money driven machine.

Not having a child protection system would be unethical and deadly for children. Our best hope is to make the changes that are critical to building a fair and effective system that breaks the cycle of generational child abuse.

Communities that fail to support young mothers and their children will not have schools performing at acceptable reading, math or graduation rates and they will continue to suffer high crime and incarceration rates. The U.S. criminal justice system has approached a near 80% recidivism rate within the prison system.

To this end, Kids At Risk Action strongly supports the efforts of Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota

www.safepassagemn.com and the CASA guardian ad litem volunteer program www.casamn.org

Punishing Traumatized Children (the beatings will continue until the morale improves)

Thank you Chris Serres & Star Tribune for identifying how severely the St Cloud Children’s home for children fails abused and neglected kids.

Children live here because a judge found their birth homes so dangerous that the child needed to be removed from the home and placed at the St Cloud Children’s Home.

Instead of providing a safe haven, this facility has been tagged repeatedly with multiple violations over many years. Children having sex in the presence of a staff member, head banging to the point of black eyes, swollen faces and abrasions.

To put a human face on what these violations look like;
As a volunteer CASA guardian ad litem, one of my 11 year old child protection boys (call him John) was misbehaving at a Cambridge Children’s Home.

John was forced outside by a low paid, undertrained staff member, on a ten degree MN night and told that he would be allowed back inside in an hour.

Instead, John walked home, in a T shirt, on the highway from Cambridge (35 miles). 11 year-old traumatized youth don’t often make good decisions (especially children on multiple psychtropic medications).

John was in child protective services (and this group home) because his father tied him to a bed and left him alone for days without food or water from the ages of four to seven.

John was regularly sexually abused, beaten & starved over 4 years living with his dad. When I met him, this 7 year-old boy was covered in bruises from head to foot and on both sides of his body.

International Child Protection News January 2017

Uganda: This former Ugandan child soldier is accused of war crimes. But is he also a victim? (Opinion)
Washington Post – December 06, 2016
More than two decades ago, Dominic Ongwen was a boy on his way to school in northern Uganda when he was abducted by the brutal rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army and turned into a child soldier. On Tuesday, he took a seat before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for the first day of a trial in which he is charged with 70 war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, torture and sexual slavery, mostly committed in attacks on camps for internally displaced people.

Serving Children (“What we do to our children, they will do to society”) Pliny 2400 years ago

A recent conversation with a metro police chief opened my eyes to how failing to provide resources to officers dealing with troubled youth makes policing much harder— the results much less positive.

The chief was clear about his commitment to (and understanding of) best practices in dealing with at-risk youth. He has participated in multiple community programs that work for seriously troubled kids. He radiates his genuine desire to make policing a solution for kids and not another link in the path to prison. He has helped launch youth skill-building options and other positive approaches law enforcement can employ to meet the ever-growing need of solutions for at-risk kids.

Without these tools, many of these children become longtime state wards while making our city streets uncomfortable and unsafe, filling jails and prisons instead of classrooms and jobs.

Here’s the reality: politics and a public’s desire to punish can exceed its desire to understand and to heal.

This is a bitter pill for a concerned police chief always hoping for better outcomes. Without quality alternatives available, officers are forced to be just one more link in the chain, dragging juveniles into the criminal justice system and a dysfunctional life.

CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation December 2016 -January 2017

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation October/November 2016

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

Volunteer to help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

January 2017 Sad Stories Part II

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.

American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect. Today, many state ward children are the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues

37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines

ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN

Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of David Vang, Mike Toronto, Jamar Weston, Adolf Nchanj and Blaz Zlate, Callie Benscoter, (student volunteers at Century College) Katie Frake, Boston College, Julie O, and KARA.

Donate Books For African Children (no better way to part with old friends)

The perfect way to part with treasures that can keep on giving (and to children). St Paul and Georgia locations provided below & please read the book donation rules.

KARA supports this effort and asks you to share this link on Facebook and other social media.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Donate Books

Books For Africa appreciates all book donations. It costs 50 cents to ship each book to Africa. Consider making a financial donation to cover the costs of shipping the books you donate. Please send financial donations separately in an envelope to the BFA office: Books For Africa, 26 East Exchange Street, Suite 411, St. Paul, MN 55101, USA. Or make a donation online.

The Child Neglect Dilemma (from Safe Passage For Children)

Contrary to a common assumption, neglect is not less damaging than abuse. Research shows neglect victims have lifelong problems because they miss developmental milestones around language, self-control, and bonding with others.

A constant dilemma in neglect cases is whether to traumatize children by removing them from their families, or leave them in situations where their brains aren’t developing normally.

Quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs can make it possible to leave children at home while helping their parents improve parenting skills.

This study documents that neglect victims who got ECE moved quickly from having a language deficit to the normal range. Language development is critical to academic success and positive interpersonal relationships.
ECE can help many children avoid foster care and still obtain the baseline skills they need to thrive.

Join the Discussion on Facebook

Make a difference for the children of Minnesota today,
Donate Here!

Teaching In a Strange Land (mental health workers without training)

What struck me hardest in today’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN presentation at a suburban elementary school was the dedication and desire my audience of 60 educators have for the children in their classrooms. Even the most difficult kids.

Martin Luther King Day was a train the trainer day for these teachers. Our discussion on trauma and dealing with traumatized children sparked keen conversation and shined a light on the depth and scope of the mental health issues students bring to school.

Did you know that 37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health 1.17)

This a particularly American problem and it is growing. Educators, like social workers, law enforcement, adoptive and foster parents, must grasp the new mental health reality if they are to succeed in their work with this population.

Most of my audience today “got it” when I talked about child abuse, foster homes, and what it takes to get into Child Protective Services and why abused and neglected children exhibit irrational and sometimes dangerous behaviors and need to be understood if learning is to occur.

Better Futures for Minnesota Children (from Safe Passage For Children MN)

Mission:

To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.

Vision:
There will always be a group of Minnesota citizens who advocate on behalf of victims of child maltreatment, and who will hold counties and the state accountable for continuously improving outcomes for these children and their families.

Goal:
Our goal is to build a child protection and foster care system in Minnesota that

continuously improves the lives of children, as demonstrated by objective, measurable outcomes. If the system is working well children’s outcomes will improve over time.

The following are major milestones for achieving this goal:

Read More
Read More
By 2017 all children will be periodically assessed for their level of trauma starting when they first enter child protection.
By 2019 all children in the system will be periodically assessed for improvements in their cognitive and physical development, as well as in measures of behavioral and mental health.
Workers and supervisors will be accountable for improving these outcomes for individual children as monitored through quality reviews and updates to the courts.
Counties will be accountable for improving outcomes for children in their caseloads overall as shown by summary reports.
In subsequent years our goal is to continue to monitor outcomes at the county and state levels, and advocate for necessary budget allocations, practice improvements, and related resources to ensure that the child protection system is continually improving its response to children.

Dear Elementary School Teacher (I’m sorry for being such a problem)

I may look like the other 4th graders in your classroom, but I am not. I’m very different. My birth family’s repeated traumatic sex assaults and beatings have had a powerful and lasting impact on my body and mind. I don’t love or trust anyone and don’t feel loved or trusted at all.

The reptilian, fear activated part of my brain, the amygdala, is much larger than other children’s. This interferes with my ability to sit still in a classroom and I’m unable to concentrate on the things you are talking about. My mind is always filled with fearful thoughts and anxiety about the next bad thing that’s about to happen. It couldn’t be otherwise. The Prozac I’m forced to take (about a third of all foster children are medicated by psychotropics) makes me stupid and slow and I hate that. Some seven year olds know what the suicidal ideation on the side of the Prozac box actually means (fully formed thoughts of self harm and suicide delivered in waking moments).

I don’t have the coping skills to handle small personal things in the classroom like other children. Certain words and behaviors by others trigger a violent learned fear response in me that other kids don’t seem to have. I can be violent and did not learn social interaction at home, My reactions to minor things do not come from the executive function of my brain. I can’t control myself, things just happen.

Please understand that foster children are not foster children because a parent tired of caring for them or someone hit a child once or twice. At least I’ve not seen that among the foster kids I know. I’ve come to know many foster children through the County system as I’ve moved from foster home to foster home. It is the “Imminent Harm Doctrine”, that let’s a judge remove a child from a birth home. Literally, a child’s life must be in danger before the court will take a child away from birth parents. It really is almost as traumatic to be removed from the home as it is to stay and suffer the abuse. No matter how bad the abuse is, the fear of waking up in a strange place, with no one you have ever seen before is extremely frightening to a seven year old.

I became a state ward because my mother, who had been horribly abused as a child herself, had very violent boyfriends who thought sex with children was acceptable behavior. One of the boyfriends kicked me so hard I went into convulsions & needed an ambulance ride to the hospital (I was seven). The medical staff saw the awful bruises and placed me in child protection.

Body Memories – Why Child Sex Abuse Never Ends (letters from survivors and non survivors)

Dear Doctor,

As a medical professional you have taken an oath to do no harm, but there are ways in which you can hurt your patients without even recognizing you are doing so. What seems to you as a simple exam may cause injury to those who have been victimized by someone’s touch. This is a subject that we, survivors of sexual violence, have been meaning to discuss with you for some time now, but your authority can be more intimidating than you may know. I am also unsure if you are aware just how much power you, as a physician, hold and to the extent that you affect the lives of all of your patients. Your interactions with us travel much deeper than the physical core.

The relationship between patient and doctor is also mental, built on trust, understanding, and the security of knowing that your doctor has your well-being at heart. We, as your patients, entrust in you the most intimate parts of our bodies and our lives. But this trust has to be earned, and it is much harder for us patients who have been so severely violated. The intent of this letter is not to in any way criticize your work as a

Minnesota 7 Year Old Dies as a Martyr to a Parents Religion

Adopted seven-year old Seth Johnson has suffered terribly for years and it appears has died a painful (avoidable) death at the hands of Tim and Sarah Johnson. Thank you Paul Walsh, Brandon Stahl & Star Tribune.

The parents have moved to New Zealand and will most likely use a religious exemption defense that is very often successful as this case proceeds.

December Sad Stories Part II

CA: Culp: Looking at 2016 in the Rear-View Mirror (Opinion)

TechWire – December 28, 2016

One of the biggest sessions at the American Public Human Services Association’s Information Systems Management Conference this year was California’s showcase of its move to agile development and modular procurement approaches to its new Child Welfare System. The feds are getting impatient with states’ efforts at connecting systems and providing a more holistic view of a person and/or a family – and the federal government is backing up its guidance with technology funding parameters. Although the federal wave seems to be confined to one department at the moment (in terms of strongly worded advice), there are plenty of signals that suggest more is to come.

http://www.techwire.net/commentary/culp-looking-at-2016-in-the-rear-view-mirror.html

CA: San Gabriel Valley Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio appointed first Latina chair of human services committee

San Gabriel Valley Tribune – December 28, 2016

State Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, has been appointed as the first Latina chair of the Assembly’s human services committee, her office announced Tuesday. The committee oversees child welfare services, foster care, CalWORKs, developmental disabilities services, adult protective services and other human services programs.

http://www.sgvtribune.com/government-and-politics/20161228/san-gabriel-valley-assemblywoman-blanca-rubio-appointed-first-latina-chair-of-human-services-committee

IA: ‘Numerous’ abuse reports made in starved child case, lawmaker says (Includes video)

Des Moines Register – December 29, 2016

Natalie Finn and her siblings were the subjects of “numerous” reports of alleged child abuse and neglect before the 16-year-old died in October of starvation, a state lawmaker said after a confidential briefing Thursday with top officials in Iowa’s Department of Human Services.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2016/12/28/numerous-abuse-reports-made-starved-child-case-lawmaker-says/95935520/

IN: Need for Indiana foster homes surges as opioid addicts leave children behind (Includes video)

Fox59 – December 27, 2016

Adoption advocates are calling on Hoosiers to foster children as Indiana battles yet another symptom of the opioid epidemic. The Villages of Indiana reports a surge in children being pulled from homes where parents are addicted to drugs. As a result, they are running out of good foster homes.

http://fox59.com/2016/12/27/need-for-indiana-foster-homes-surges-as-opioid-addicts-leave-children-behind/

MS: State reminds people of safe haven law

WDAM – December 28, 2016

The state of Mississippi is stepping up its effort to remind people of a very important law. The safe haven law allows mothers to “leave their baby, up to 3 days old, with an employee at any emergency medical provider, hospital emergency room or a licensed adoption agency”.

http://www.live5news.com/story/34143285/state-reminds-people-of-safe-haven-law

NE: Editorial, 12/28: Child abuse investigation is justified

Lincoln Journal Star – December 28, 2016

In the last three years, there have been 36 reports of sexual abuse in state licensed facilities and the child welfare system, a chilling accumulation that has rightfully prompted an investigation by the state inspector general for child welfare.

http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-child-abuse-investigation-is-justified/article_2430d303-c118-54cb-a509-2c6fdbd2af0f.html

OR: NBC5 News Investigation: Inside OnTrack Part 3 (Includes video)

KOBi5 – December 28, 2016

Minnesota At Risk Children’s News December 2016

Brandon Stahl Reporting KARA gathers news about abused Minnesota’s abused children every month and works to provide a snapshot of Child Protection and how our state values its children. If you are an aspiring writer/reporter, KARA needs you to help gather and report on these stories.  Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with REPORTING in the subject line. All…

International Child Protection News December 2016

KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.  This is only a sampling of what should be known –  the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported. Are you an aspiring researcher / writers? KARA needs you. Contact mike@invisiblechildren.org with Research/Writing in the…

Dear At Risk Kids Army (part of the plan for 2017)

Kids At Risk Action is pleased to report over 185,665 reader minutes spent learning about child protection issues on KARA’s website this past year. This represents 50,907 of you (way more than last year).

Many thousands of you are also sharing KARA information on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Our goal for next year is to double these numbers and turn learning into action.

For the New Year KARA is requesting your participation in creating a positive vision & plan for system reform that is effective and easy to begin using in your community.

The latest draft will always be here (share your ideas as comments on this page).

Transforming the System: A Call For Action

Grounded in compassion and learning, we must act forcefully to promote transparency, understanding and change to reform how abused and neglected children find safe permanent homes and deal with the traumas that brought them into child protection. Beginnng this year, the ACA makes advanced mental health services available to traumatized children giving them a chance to heal and thrive.

This effort requires focused support for achievable objectives.

When we’ve done that, we will have transformed the System.

Possible actions include:

Activist organizations uniting in every community to push for awareness of and changes in policies that are failing or demonstrably superior.

Action teams in each Congressional district communicating regularly with their Congressperson (support these teams where they are and create them where they don’t exist).

Child-affirming activist communities whose members build awareness and understanding of programs and policies impacting at risk children can improve those laws and policies.

With this approach, we can address the child, the family and the system.

KARA Is Unable To Provide Services

Dear Readers,

Every so often we receive requests for hands on help and it it is necessary to remind you that KARA is a small group of people working to improve our child child well-being and child protection by raising awareness and promoting better programs, people, and policies that make life better for abused and neglected children.

We are unable to provide direct help except for on the Links page (button at the top of the home page) where we list the Child Advocacy and Resource organizations we know of. Most national organizations will have a chapter in your state. Always ask if they know of other service providers that might be of assistance in your circumstances. Every state has its own array of nonprofits and service providers. The trick is to ask the right questions of the people you connect with to find them.

Please share with KARA those service providers that you find that are helpful (info@invisiblechildren.org)

December 2016 Sad Stories Part 1

MD: Youth homelessness in Baltimore higher than previously thought
The Baltimore Sun – November 30, 2016
More than 1,400 young people under the age of 25 were unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, without a safe, stable, affordable place to live, according to data collected by homeless advocates, service providers, the University of Maryland, the city and other stakeholders.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-homeless-youth-20161130-story.html
NY: ‘What Did They Do?’ Officials Question ACS Response in Jaden Jordan Case
DNAinfo – December 01, 2016
Law enforcement officials probing the nearly fatal beating of a 3-year-old boy are questioning why a city child welfare caseworker – and not a trained investigator or the NYPD – was called days before the tragedy to check out a tip that the toddler was being kept in a dog cage by a Brooklyn man, DNAinfo New York has learned.
https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161201/gravesend/jaden-jordan-administration-for-childrens-services-salvatore-lucchesse
NY: A Better, But Still Broken, NYC Child Welfare System Means Another Child Murdered (Opinion)
The Huffington Post – November 30, 2016
As CEO’s of three of the oldest and largest charities serving New York City’s children, we are determined to learn any lesson we can to protect children from harm. We stand with all New Yorkers in demanding accountability, and we want to see pragmatic and meaningful reform that truly protects children.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-christopher-kohomban-phd/a-better-but-still-broken_b_12501974.html