What’s Wrong With New Jersey’s Half Way Houses Is What’s Wrong With America; The Illusion That Privatizing Social Services Saves Money Or Provides Social Services.

First, it is the same government money being spent, just that it goes to an entrepreneurial lowest bidder.

Second, New Jersey’s half way houses are managed the same way privatized day care, juvenile justice, prison systems, & schools are run (to make money for Chris Christy’s friends).

What else explains the lawsuits for understaffing, undertraining, dead children in daycare, and that U.S. daycare workers make less than food service workers (the lowest paid work in America).

This is what we think of children in our nation. Indiana is trying to pay less than $18/daily for foster care & the state redirected funds promised to parents that adopted abandoned special needs children (five hundred children) – after the adoptions took place). Thank you Mitch Daniels. What cruelty.

Making Big Money With Abused & Neglected Children; Mississippi Has The Plan

Just like Arizona & Pennsylvania, Mississippi has found big money in abusing youth & privatizing juvenile detention centers. A federal judge calls what goes on in Mississippi’s youth prisons, a “cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts”.

U.S. Justice Department investigators found Mississippi’s privatized centers denying basic health care, employing gang members as guards, and sexual misconduct between staff and inmates worse than anywhere else in the nation.

The GEO group knows how to squeeze the biggest return on investment and keep the staff happy – don’t spend money on healthcare and let your employees sexually abuse the inmates (Mississippi Youth).

Pennsylvania private companies found it so lucrative that they could pay commissions to judges for every youth sentenced – thereby guaranteeing capacity crowds and big money to the investors.

Child Well Being Minnesota

Last week KARA board members Sam Ashkar, Bob Olson, & I attended the Child Well-Being meeting to learn current information on the status of abused and neglected children in MN. The data came from the Citizens review panel, Office of the Legislative Auditor, and a powerful report from Safe Passage For Children.

Information is important in how one frames and speaks of a problem. Being grounded in facts is always superior to what one hears from the talking heads (and blogs).

Statistics are evidence of the success or failure of important process and programs.

Last Year there were 58,163 reports of child abuse 2/3’s of them were screened out (were not investigated).

Goodbye Ron Mahla

Not talking to others about our personal lives and problems can make a person feel alone and helpless. As a society, we don’t like mental health conversations, as individuals we often avoid “too personal” comments. This is a stain on our community. We are complex beings that need others to help us cope during the hard times.

I have written about the suicidal behavior of the children in my child protection cases over the years & just when I think I understand this thing, it becomes evident that I don’t.

Ron is my fourth suicide this year, of which two of them were much loved friends. I will miss you Ron.

Be kind to the people around you. It is impossible to know what they are living through.

Not Enough

The state has agreed to pay $2.85 million to a 21-year-old woman who allegedly endured physical and sexual abuse after a child abuse investigation conducted by the state Department of Social and Health Services.

I accept that the dollar amount sounds impressive, but I challenge the DSHS assertion that this young woman’s life will ever be made whole by the financial settlement. I’ve spent years in child protection and never met a fully recovered victim. Abuse lasts forever and it takes great strength and help to make a happy life. Help is not easy to find, and very expensive. Allot of people just suffer.

ACE Study Highlights

The ACE study over 8 years & 440,000 people proves beyond doubt, that social workers, teachers, psychologists, judges, & pediatricians can not fix the millions and millions of American children suffering from adverse childhood experience.
These youngsters will continue to fail in school & life until we as a society agree to provide resources that will end the inter-generational transmission of child abuse.

Failure to care for children has cost America its leading nation status in most quality of life indices and certainly, safety and trust within our communities has made living in many American cities painful and dangerous for adults as well as children.

For a real learning experience, visit the people who created the ACE study, www.avahealth.org but by all means,

Watch the short version (at the end you can view other segments).

This Doesn’t Change What’s Wrong In Kentucky (and elsewhere) For Abused & Neglected Children

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is hiding the records of dozens of dead children (from child abuse) because life for abused children is so awful in his state he wants it hidden from the rest of the nation.

The core issue in this nightmare of crazy people killing and abusing their children is the hiding or destruction of court records.

If you think your state doesn’t live by the same standards as Kentucky, look again.

Many states delete records of horrible abuse after three or four years.

My own state, Minnesota has the problem, Indiana, has the problem (the state known for cancelling funding promised to parents that adopt special needs children).

Children Murdered In Kentucky, Governor Beshear Hides The Evidence

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is hiding the records of dozens of dead children (from child abuse) because life for abused children is so awful in his state he wants it hidden from the rest of the nation.

The core issue in this nightmare of crazy people killing and abusing their children is the hiding or destruction of court records.

If you think your state doesn’t live by the same standards as Kentucky, look again.

Many states delete records of horrible abuse after three or four years.

My own state, Minnesota has the problem, Indiana, has the problem (the state known for cancelling funding promised to parents that adopt special needs children).

2 Videos That You Can Use To Support Abused & Neglected Children

This first 3 minute video is the medical communities powerful study of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s study) and establishes how child abuse lasts forever and how it shortens and diminishes human life.

The second short video, introduces the powerful Brutal Truths & Best Practices public forum Kids At Risk Action held at Century college, drawing attention to the problems our institutions are having in dealing with the overwhelming issues being faced within our communities.

These two videos provide a world of information that will open the door to the larger conversation that must be held before significant change can occur for abused and neglected children. Please Pass Them On;

KARA public forum

ACE’s Study

A MN guardian ad-Litem speaks to Montana about child abuse.

Law enforcement officials said statistics show survivors of child abuse or neglect are likely to commit a violent crime later in life. A new strategy is being developed to stop both.

In 2010, Montana received nearly $3 million in grants to battle child abuse and neglect. “I’ve been around this business for over twenty years, and I’ve seen some pretty sad cases, and it’s just not good. If we can prevent even one case, then we’re doing our job. I think with a program like this we’re going to see more prevention,” Sheriff Mike Linder said.

Good-By CASA?

Society has an obligation to abused and neglected children. Caring for them is our collective responsibility.
So why does the Administration’s current budget proposal end federal funding of the Victims of Child Abuse Act?
The ratio of expenses to overhead for CASA is among the best in the nonprofit world. A single dollar invested in CASA programs yields $23.40 in savings in the foster care and child welfare system.
So why would anyone allow the $12 million in funding CASA receives through the Victims of Child Abuse Act to just disappear?

New ACE Study DVD 3 Minute Preview:

Last night KARA boardmember Bob Olson & I attended the Academy on Violence and Abuse in Bloomington & viewed the powerful information the medical community has assembled on the consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Their information is a stunning revelation of how critical and long-lasting abuse is over a persons lifetime.

The Academy on Violence & Abuse’s demonstrates the importance of preventing child abuse and the direct cost of failure in disease, dysfunction, & shortened life expectancy.

Watch this video & visit www.avahealth.org for their comprehensive and stunning research on child abuse.

From Child Welfare In The News

AZ: Money for foster care in Arizona could be cut by more than half

ABC15.com April 18, 2012

The Chandler couple doesn’t understand why state lawmakers would even consider a 60 percent cut to Child Protective Services.

Under one of the two proposed budgets, $49 million used for monthly expenses would be slashed.

The Bartos said their monthly allowance was already cut by 20 percent a year and half ago.

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_southeast_valley/chandler/money-for-foster-care-in-arizona-could-be-cut-by-more-than-half

AZ: Arizona CPS seeing increase in child-abuse reports

Associated Press April 18, 2012

A record-high number of child abuse reports in Arizona has led the state’s child welfare agency to turn to a special investigative team to help with case management, officials said Wednesday.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/04/18/20120418arizona-cps-seeing-increase-child-abuse-reports.html

Child Trauma Academy Newsletter

Symposium on Child Trauma in the Public Sector: May 31 – June 1, 2012

“Many children experience stressful events that challenge their coping resources. Some children experience a single harrowing event or multiple adverse events which impact their development and their behavior. Everyone whose work brings them into the lives of children needs to understand the latest research and policies regarding child trauma.”

Institutional Bullying & Suicide; Bishop Gene Robinson

An increasingly popular bumper sticker reads, “Guns Don’t Kill People — RELIGION Kills People!” In light of recent events I would add religion kills young people: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people.

Perhaps not directly, though.

And religion is certainly not the only source of anti-gay sentiment in the culture. But it’s hard to deny that religious voices denouncing LGBT people contribute to the atmosphere in which violence against LGBT people and bullying of LGBT youth can flourish.

Guardian ad-Litem Training

My second guardian ad-Litem case was a 7 year old boy (Andy) taken from his crack using mom at birth (she had spent 90% of her life institutionalized). He was raised by a loving foster family to the age of four & then the judge returned him to his father – even though the father had a court order to stay away from young boys because of what he did to them.

Andy was covered in bruises when he became my guardian ad-Litem case in 1996. He had been tied to a bed, sexually abused, beaten, and starved for four years.

What’s it like to be four years old, beat up, left alone in an apartment for days at a time, no food, & no place to turn for help . My young friend developed many troublesome behaviors, received no consistent mental health therapy and way too many psychotropic meds.

He once asked me as we play miniature golf, “when will I be normal”?

A few years later he asked me to support him in his request of the County for a sex change operation. Guardian ad-Litem training did not prepare me for these questions. We still talk, 16 years later; he has AIDS now & has not lived a happy life.

The Commonality Of Child Sex Abuse

Like many small towns and families, people do not like to deal with child sexual assault and child abuse, in their communities and/or in their homes.

Despite the fact, that 1 in 3 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will be abused before their eighteenth birthday; despite the fact that only 10% tell and the other 90% are still living in a cloak of denial and secracy; despite the fact that 5 children die a day, due to child abuse and child sexual assualt!

The State Of American Schools (& Stop Blaming Teachers)

Average reading level of America’s Senior High Students; 5th grade proficiency

Math questions for Georgia grade school children;

“Each tree had 56 oranges,” the first question starts. “If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”

The next question went a step further, referencing violence. “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?”

Hiding the truth about Georgia’s terrible test results (teaching teachers to lie)

Science in Tennessee public schools (soon Indiana, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, & Missouri) GOD Made It All

Not one third of Kansas City’s elementary students read at grade level.

The Laws We Live By

George Zimmerman, If not prosecuted in Florida for killing 14 year old Trayvon Martin, opens a whole new world of hate, violence, & death for America’s children.

Similar to Brazilian police hatefully murdering street children last year, American vigilantes can now murder at will the children they deem not fit to live. The harm will fall mostly on poor Blacks & Hispanics if history is an indicator.

Now that virtually anyone can conceal and carry a gun on the street in America, the fact that a self-defense claim works in all instances means that murder is a much easier crime to commit.

Stop The Rape & Abuse of America’s Children – Get Involved In Invisible Children’s Mission

WOW & amazement for Jason Russell’s Invisible Children Campaign to stop Joseph Kony’s rape & militarization of voiceless Ugandan children.

What a terrific example of what one person (Jason) can do.

It is stunning that in just a few short years www.InvisibleChildren.com (not Invisiblechildren.org )has raised the awareness of millions of Americans to the tragedy taking place in Africa destroying the lives of thousands of Northern Ugandan children.

Jason’s efforts are absolute proof that individuals can create powerful change. KARA would like to accomplish a similar change for America’s abused & neglected children.

Child Abuse & The Most Powerful Suicide Note Ever

Of the children I’ve worked with as a guardian ad-Litem, a high percentage of them have been sexually abused. I have seen the horror of child sex abuse and how 10 or 25 years later, a troubled being still fighting the darkness every day.

Child sex abuse may be the most under-reported crime in America. It could also be the most under-treated horror in America. As a guardian ad-Litem, my first visit to a hospital suicide ward to visit a four year old girl that had been horribly abused was never made public, or when I worked with the seven year old that had been prostituted, or any of the family members that practiced child sex abuse.

Bad Teacher, It’s All Your Fault

As a longtime volunteer (CASA) guardian ad-Litem, I observed how really troubled children behave in school & understand just how impossible they can be in a classroom. Suicidal behavior, sex in school, stabbing, biting, & other violence were common among them.

The blaming of teachers for poor student performance or failing schools is working directly against the possible fixing of the problem. Just like social workers, they are attacked from all sides, provided inadequate resources to do the job & expected to manage the unmanageable.

Thank You Judge Kevin Burke

Judge Keven Burke shares a letter from an 8 year old outlining his plans to escape with his toddler brother should the parents reunite (the swearing & fighting are violent & unbearable).

I’ve written about the 7 year old that hung himself and left a note & the 4 year old I visited at the suicide ward in Fairview hospital (as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem).

Judge Burke quotes children that are not in the child protection system & draws our attention to the needs (and I would offer “civil rights”) of the large numbers of children that suffer because their communities don’t offer effective child protection services.

Shout Out To Mitch Daniels & the YMCA Volunteers With Special Needs Kids I saw this morning.

A different kind of shout out to Mitch Daniels (Indiana’s Governor) for Terminating the state adoption subsidies to 500 families that adopted special needs children based on the state’s promise of transportation & other specialized needs help these children lead more normal lives.

What a cruel & possibly illegal act.

I met with adoptive families in Indiana a few months ago & don’t understand why a class action lawsuit has not graced this state’s heartless & hypocritical legislature. Could they even be sued personally by the children & families that executed adoptions based on existing legal documents?

This was a direct promise from the state to lower & middle income families that have put their future on the line because they saw a great need abandoned children (wards of the state) were facing because of mental or physical health issues and parental neglect & abuse .

What a cruel & illegal act to break that promise.

Call Mitch Daniels 317-232-4567 & James Payne 317.234.139 & ask them if they can imagine what it’s like to be a 12 year old adopted child with disabilities knowing that you are a burden to your adopted family because the state redirected funds promised your new family for your education, transportation, & well being.

National Center For Youth Law

It hurts me to think that babies and very young children need to have lawyers to enforce their rights in my community, but it has been my experience.

One of my first CASA cases was a badly burned little girl whose cousin placed her into a tub of 161 degree (scalding) water when she was a little baby (because her mom was all cracked out and her diapers were 3 days old and very poopy & her 7 year old cousin could not know that the landlord had let the cold water pipes freeze & compensated by turning up the hot water heater to “scalding” to compensate).

Sports, & Entertainment Vs Children, Education, & Public Safety

The largest public subsidy in Minnesota history was the Northwest Airlines subsidy in the mid 1990s. The NWA subsidy amounted to around $600 million. In 1992, NWA employed around 11,000 people in the state; average salary of $40,000 a year.

The Vikings directly employ fewer than 130 people, only a handful of which work year-round, and 53 of whom are athletes.

The Metrodome employs 19 full-time workers.

Save Enormous Downstream Costs (Listen Carefully To David Strand’s Advice)

Compared to woeful neglect of the needs of young families in the US and Minnesota, this study revealed the success of preventative public policies that provide universal health care, universal maternity leave, and universal access to professionally staffed nursery school. This is developmental child care, not custodial care so often chosen here because it costs less. Taxpayers would be saved enormous downstream costs by the judicious use of preventative and developmental care for young, struggling families.

An example documented in Minnesota is the research done by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank under the direction of economist Art Rolnick. His team found that there is no better return to the taxpayer than the investment in high quality early childhood education. When our lawmakers intentionally ignore this highly relevant research, they do a disservice to their constituents. This is an example benchmarking, the difference between operating expenses and investments and also the value of resisting the temptation of ruinous short term gain.

Lying To Ourselves About Caring, Children, & Religion

Jeremy Olson’s hard hitting piece in today’s Star Tribune about this communities not caring enough for children to provide them with essential services to lead a normal life starts a badly needed conversation.

The child protection program he writes about came into play a few years ago when the County budget got tight & workers were given no other option but to not answer the phone & offer services instead of removing children from toxic environments (far fewer calls are investigated than were a few years ago – see Indiana – Wisconsin – almost any other Southern State).

Toxic environment means something different to a child protection worker than it does to someone unfamiliar with child abuse. My first visit to a 4 year old as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem was the suicide ward at Fairview hospital.

Thank You Colorado Springs Gazette For Your Excellent Child Protection Reporting

A three-part series where The Gazette explores how the child protection system works, how El Paso County ranks in terms of child abuse and how child neglect differs from child abuse in the eyes of prosecutors who handle the cases.

• Chidl protection system isn’t flawless

• Not all child abuse referrals become cases

• Child abuse cases likely to land in family court

It Can’t Happen Here (it Does happen here)

State probation agents made three visits since mid-December to the Madison, Wis., house where prosecutors say a 15-year-old girl was tortured, starved and abused by her parents and stepbrother, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The girl was found barefoot in pajamas Feb. 6 by a neighbor outside the Southeast Side house. Her stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton; father, Chad Chritton; and stepbrother, Joshua Drabek, were charged Thursday with various counts related to child abuse.

According to a criminal complaint, the girl was forced to live in an unfinished basement, scavenge food from the garbage and eat her own feces.

Adoptees Have Answers – Best Org Ever

HA recently launched an online support group open to Minnesota adoptees and fosterees over age 18. Registered members are able to interact with one another 24/7 using the discussion board. Adoptees Julie Hart and Amy Fjellman facilitate the group, ‘live’, the first Tuesday of every month from 6 to 7 p.m. CST and check in with the discussion postings periodically. This is a secure environment that generates anonymous usernames to protect the privacy of its members. If you would like the join the conversation, visit this link to fill out four simple questions: We look forward to meeting you!

Race To The Bottom, Untrained Social Workers, Over Work & More Dead & Suffering Children In Indiana

“We have children dying in our region and we are awarded with recognition of system improvement. Really?” he wrote. “The timing of this award is hard to accept given the recent tragic death of 10-year-old Tramelle Sturgis.

“How many more kids will die before we all take a deep look at what is going on with child welfare services in Indiana and reverse the draconian cuts in funding and see how those cuts are negatively affecting the safety net of child welfare?”

America; The Worst Child Abuse Record In The Industrialized World

This BBC report (video link) articulates the sorrowful truths that this guardian ad-Litem has reported on over the years.

It’s frightening and moving proof of the epidemic that is preventable child death in America and the fast growing army of future child abusers.

Why is it that important reporting like this are created by other nations (and not right here in America)?

43 Child Deaths Due Policy Violations In Colorado Social Services

To appreciate the meanness of some states I point to (Mitch Daniels) Indiana’s stealing (redirecting) the funding promised to parents that adopted abandoned special needs children (after they had been adopted) & the fiscally irresponsible de-funding of subsidized daycare which forced the county to place children in foster homes because their father’s job did not pay enough to afford daycare.

It costs way more to place children in foster care than it would have to subsidize his daycare payments. Thank you Tim Pawlenty.

It cost Hennepin County millions of dollars to pay for the care of the four year old boy the court thought would be better off with his father even though dad had a court order to stay away from young boys because of what he did to them. My client is now is now 23, has AIDS, and has been in over 30 foster homes and he will be a ward of the state until he dies. He was been tied to a bed, starved, beaten, sexually abused and left alone for days at a time from 4 to 7 years of age. That never made the paper. Nor did the four year old girl who I visited in the suicide ward of Fairview hospital (her sister’s story was much worse).

Project Unbreakable

Grace Brown created “Project Unbreakable” in October, 2011, and the tumblog appears to really be gathering momentum. The idea: “Use photography to help heal those who were sexually abused by asking them to write a quote from their attacker on a poster and photographing them holding the poster.”

So many stories from so many different people. Men, too, not only women. I was so moved by this post, which includes both a photograph and an audio narrative by an elderly woman who was sexually abused as a 12-year-old girl during World War II in Germany. Do listen to her story.

Growing Up Inner City

It is up to communities to understand the nature and scope of these issues and treat children with sufficient care and resources to end the madness as stated by MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz; “The difference between that poor child and a felon is about eight years”.

Let’s all get behind child friendly programs and politics and end the pipeline to prison & preteen pregnancies that America now promotes.

Note To Invisible Children Followers

I am unable to respond quickly as my normal work can keep me away for days at a time. This site and my efforts are designed to provide information and resources on and about child abuse and at risk children.

The Blogroll, Links, & Resources links on the right side of the page (located below the comments section) provide telephone numbers and contact information for organizations that have staff and can be of help (KARA has no staff).

How Politics Impact America’s Children

KARA board member David Strand has written a powerful article in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune pointing out how America’s politics continue to bring communities generational poverty that has resulted in the problems this CASA volunteer has worked with over many years.

“Their methods for leveling the economic playing field start with providing all young children with healthy conditions for physical and mental development. Surprisingly, much of the research they rely on comes from America’s best universities.

The proof is that it works — these countries have broken the link of intergenerational poverty that afflicts our country.”

It Costs Way Less To Hire & Train Social Workers;$68 Million Settlement Proposed for 10 Children Fraudulently Adopted and Abused

It would be far less expensive (see the studies & long term costs) and the right thing to do to see that foster & adoptive parents were well funded, well regulated, and early childhood programs set up to insure that every child had a chance to have a meaningful life in America.

Until then, let’s sue the pants off of states and counties that refuse to care for children.

Fewer Families Adopting In Denver (Agency Closing After 22 Years)

I expect that the same is true all across America; families are finding it harder to support at risk children on lower incomes; http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19628951

It just seems to me that America’s children should all have a chance to have a childhood.

I find it hard to accept that on top of being abused, having special needs, or neglected, these children are punished again by a society too cheap to make a place for them at the table.