Why Community Volunteers Are Needed in CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES

Eliminating the volunteer nature also changes the role of Guardian ad litem. Being an “outsider” provides a perspective others don’t have. It allows one to challenge the status quo and identify new opportunities. We can speak out. Eliminating volunteers, to my mind, will mean that everyone in the courtroom has a vested interest in a system that pays them to be there.”

Child Endangerment (IN HARM’S WAY)

It hurts me to hear KARA writings referred to as hyperbolic. Decades of Child Protection work and KARA research consistently prove to me that Minnesota children are dying in big numbers and thousands are suffering repeated unspeakable harms while in the system.

This one year investigative
Star Tribune report (new series)
IN HARM’S WAY

(please read the first 200 words)

makes the case that parental rights
to harm, torture, kill their children
outway the child’s rights to safety.

MN Children, Institutional Regression and Brain Surgery

When we say it’s not brain surgery it’s because a task is easy – it doesn’t demand much training or experience. There are times the phrase is meaningful and times it is painfully inappropriate. This article in the Star Tribune explains that corrections officers, human services technicians and staff in state veterans homes will not…

Rich Gehrman Rebuttal of MAD Volunteer Guardian ad Litem Report

The analysis by MAD is not, in my view, sufficiently compelling in some important respects to support the board in managing this risk.  While I understand from a previous board meeting I attended as well as a legislative hearing on the topic that the board has been guided in this deliberation by staff, this decision is yours alone, and you alone will be accountable for what happens in the future as a result. 

Saving the MN CASA Volunteer Guardian ad Litem Program (1 easy important thing)

To save the CASA volunteer program in MN your comments need to be heard by program management. Please review the report and the rebuttal and share your views in the link above. CASAMINNESOTA’s rebuttal to the MMB report appears below.

Closing Group Homes, Child Sex Abuse, Suicide & Costs (where you live)

KARA reports on the issues of child abuse and child protection This article submitted by Baypath University Student Lauren Begin KARA Public Service Announcement (30 seconds) KARA Signature Video (4 minute) INVISIBLE CHILDREN campus programs here Mount Pleasant officials want state regulators to close Westchester County child treatment center Officials in Mount Pleasant, New York…

Saying Goodbye to the CASA Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Program

SAYING GOODBYE TO 1000’S OF VOLUNTEER CHILD ADVOCATES & Community Involvement & Trust In One More Community Institution. Since 1981, thousands of community volunteers have spent thousands of hours working to better the lives of Minnesota’s at-risk children.  End this program, they will disappear and no more will follow.

This will result in weakened community awareness, less community involvement and an incalculable loss of…

We’re Doing It Again – Doubling Childhood Poverty

Child poverty more than doubled between 2021 and 2022. Child poverty and near poverty in America was around 60% when I grow up in 1960’s. Compared to other industrialized nations we have never been a leader – always between 25th and 40th in child poverty rankings among our peers. From the 1960’s through the 1990’s, our childhood poverty rates hovered around 30% (significant multiple of the other advanced nations). 

Child Abuse & Trauma Post COVID Statistics (guest post Lauren Begin Baypath U)

The COVID lockdown has kept at risk children in toxic homes for long periods without access to mandated reporters or the safety they provide. The traumas suffered and behavior issues that follow severe abuse need to be addressed for these young citizens to lead normal lives.

Child Protection Stories Wanted

KARA is working to make lawmakers and policy makers see the value of community volunteer CASA guardian ad litems in Child Protective Services.

To do this, we are seeking stories from 18 & up folks that have come through child protection with the help of a volunteer CASA guardian ad litem.

You may remain anonymous.

Please contact me directly – mike@invisiblechildren.org with STORY in the subject line.

Children Are Dying On Your Watch (said the judge to CPS)

children are dying on your watch” and calling them “callous”, saying “they do more to protect their bureaucracy than the children in their care”.  Safe Passage for MN’s Children recent investigative reporting on Minnesota children murdered by their caregivers while in Child Protective Services might prompt a similar judicial response…

Why CASA Guardian Ad Litems (in their words)

The following are recent survey responses by CASAs answering the question “What community CASA volunteers bring to abused children and the Child Protection System they serve. Several spelling and grammatical changes have been made for clarity. We advocate for these children without paycheck and without allegiance to anyone or anything other than the child. We…

Hennepin County Child Well-being Advisory Committee Meeting Summary (with KARA notations)

The complete report can be read HERE. This post emphasises the GAL program’s effort to eliminate the CASA community volunteer Guardian ad Litems. The author made notes and corrected several minor spelling errors (notes are in parenthesis and in bold).

Hennepin County participants: Jodi Wentland; Dan Rogan; Lori Whittier; Evangeline Filosi; Patricia Zagaros; Sherry Smith; Lisa Bayley; Kwesi Booker; Michelle Lefebvre; Lori Munsterman; Fintan Moore; Lauren Kewley; Madeline Johnson; Shanese Reed; Rachelle Loewenson Stratton; Meredith Martinez: Lolita Ulloa 

Child Murder by Caregiver While In CPS

The American Medical community has joined forces to declare a national emergency in children’s mental health, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Today’s declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is,” said AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, …

Remembering Young LGBTQ Lives & Moving Interview (guest post)

How did you come to terms with your identity?

Being queer and the sexuality part wasn’t as hard for me. I always knew I liked women. The journey was then finding out who else I liked and what I didn’t like. I feel like when you first join the community, you’re not always presented with how many identities there are. I feel like a lot of people tend to come in uneducated, and I think that’s definitively how I came in. I come from a very homophobic town, so we didn’t have that many people that were out. I didn’t know much. I started identifying as queer because I’m still not sure. My gender identity took a lot longer…

AMERICA’S CHILDREN IN 100 CHARTS (book draft)

This is a book about childhood trauma, its impact on children and the impact traumatized youth are having on our communities and society. It is a guide to seeing and dealing with the most critical issues and causes of abuse, and solutions.

What Child Protection Means In Minnesota

From Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota today; This Peabody Award Winning video documents the critical issues that lead to the gruesome murder of 6 year old Eli Hart and dangers facing all of Minnesota’s abused and neglected children. 

Hundreds of children have died while known to Child Protective Services. Some have been tortured over time. Many more children have suffered years of  trauma as the institution standards and practices of CPS have deteriorated.

There are no metrics or reporting made available about children’s suffering at the hands of their caregivers or the self-harm or suicide attempts of traumatized kids in the system.

LGBTQ Foster Care, Suicide & Ground Truths

About a third of kids in NY’s foster care identify as LGBTQ and nationally, about 24% do.  40% of homeless kids in NY City identify as LGBTQ and 42% of them had been in foster care.

This NY Times article focuses on how hard life is for them.  Many of these youth and children are in foster care because their parents rejected them.

Many are homeless, depressed and leading dysfunctional lives.

Every year about 12,000 children aged 5-14 years old are admitted to psychiatric hospital units for suicidal behavior. This and all the information following are PRE COVID.

Young children who have attempted suicide are up to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide again in adolescence

Minnesota Children Killed By Caregivers While Known to CPS (& how to stop it)

 There is a real lack of data and transparency in CPS which makes it hard to know outcomes short of child death.
72% of of the 88 child maltreatment deaths studied (complete study below) were known to CPS. We do know that there were many reports of life changing violence, neglect and abuse but few follow ups. 

What’s It Like For Troubled Teens in Minnesota?

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.…

Child Suicides, Self Harm & Statistics

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association have joined forces to declare a national emergency in children’s mental health, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Today’s declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is,” said AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, in a statement.

A Modest Proposal (satire & similarities)

300 years ago, an Irish Minister wrote an explosive satire that was misinterpreted by many readers of his day (printed in its entirety below). In a gruesome and widely read logical argument, Swift offered a plan that would relieve the suffering of Irish families and their youngest children…

Back in the day, these writings were the modern equivalent of you tube or a precursor to Twitter and consumed voraciously by all who could read (or read them to others).

Public policy treated poor Irish more like animals than people and Irish children were doomed to lives of crime, prostitution, and abject poverty.

Was Swift’s underlying argument that death might be preferable to children doomed to disease, crime, prostitution, & the cruelties suffered by abandoned children of his time?

Expecting Different Results From Prison for Kids

MN A.G. Keith Ellison’s response to the public outcry for punishment is normal (And that’s a shame).  Our need for punishment over restorative justice is the American way. We don’t care if charging children and youth as adults brings more crime and recidivism.

Suicidal Children & Hospital Beds

For every six-year old foster child’s successful suicide (Kendrea Johnson), there are hundreds of attempts and many hundreds of self-harming incidents in hospitals and Child Protective Services (CPS) – many if not most of these incidents are never reported.

For every child killed while in child protection (recent Safe Passage investigative study of child maltreatment deaths) there are hundreds of children starved, beaten, raped and otherwise abused that  are never known outside the home

5 Month Old Aaliya Goodwin Death & Why From Safe Passage For Children Investigation

Aaliya Goodwin. This is one of the 88 stories of children dying at the hands of their caregivers reported in the recent Safe Passage For Children investigation of child death in Minnesota. The report suggests why this tragedy is happening in our state and how we can make life safer for at risk children (in…

Eli Hentges – 1 of 88 Stories of Child Death at the Hands of Caregivers

Eli Hentges. This is one of the 88 stories of children dying at the hands of their caregivers reported in the recent Safe Passage For Children investigation of child death in Minnesota. The report suggests why this tragedy is happening in our state and how we can make life safer for at risk children (in the read more at the end of the article). Please share this with your contacts and State Representative.

8 Year-Old Tayvion Davis Death & Why (from the Safe Passage Investigative Report)

This is one of the 88 stories of children dying at the hands of their caregivers reported in the recent Safe Passage For Children investigation of child death in Minnesota. The report suggests why this tragedy is happening in our state and how we can make life safer for at risk children (in the read more at the end of the article). Please share this with your contacts and State Representative.
Tayvion Davis, Hennepin County

Child & Youth Suicides Feb 2023 (find your state here)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association have joined forces to declare a national emergency in children’s mental health, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Today’s declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is,

If You Live In MN You Should Do This

The Safe Passage Report on Child Maltreatment Deaths is a remarkable report – not in a good way. It demonstrates how common it is for Minnesota children to die from abuse in the home even after they have become known to CPS. This report is still only the the tip of the horrors facing abused children as;

DHS did not cooperate with the investigator,
Four counties did not respond,
Child deaths reported were only those that had court filings or had been reported in the media

2 Year-Old Sophia O’Neill Death & Why (from the Safe Passage Investigative Report)

This is one of the 88 stories of children dying at the hands of their caregivers reported in the recent Safe Passage For Children investigation of child death in Minnesota. The report suggests why this tragedy is happening in our state and how we can make life safer for at risk children (in the read more at the end of the article). Please share this with your contacts and State Representative. Sophia O’Neill, Hennepin County

If You Live In MN This Simple Act Can Help At Risk Children

If you read this blog, you know how hard it is for Minnesota’s abused and neglected children to find the help they need to thrive. If you have not read the investigative report of child fatalities known to CPS by Safe Passages for Children of MN, please read it here. Pages 22+ tells the sad…