International Rights of the Child Treaty (& why jails are full)

Over 25 years ago the rest of the world (194 nations) decided that children have basic human rights and begin signing the International Rights of the Child Treaty. Under this document, children are to have the rights to education, safety and well being including not to be made soldiers, not to be enslaved).

America is the only nation that has not signed that agreement, largely because we still demand that southern states continue to militarize youth as young as eleven, through military schools.

Saving Minnesota’s Vulnerable Children

Understanding why children die violent death a the hands of their parents while in Child Protective Services (CPS) can save them (share this): Lawmakers address issues that people demand action on. Actions that will get them re-elected. This is all about invisible children (kids at risk that don’t have a voice at the State House).…

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.

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.

MN Child Fatalities From Safe Passages Reporting

CONTACT:  Rich Gehrman, Executive Director, Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota (651) 303-3209; gehrm001@umn.edu  Report documents multiple systemic failures in cases Of Minnesota children killed due to maltreatment  8 YEAR OLD AUTUMN HALLOW’S MURDER (KSTP video)   Minnesota Child Fatalities from Maltreatment 2014 – 2022 Executive Summary From the report; This study of children who died in…

Grace’s Story (Thank you ChildrensRights.org)

Grace, a Black 15-year old who was sent to a juvenile detention center for failure to submit schoolwork.

In an email to Grace’s caseworker, her teacher stated that Grace was “not out of alignment with most of my other students.”

Tens of thousands of children have struggled to adjust to the online learning environment the coronavirus created. ProPublica cites 15,000 high schoolers in Los Angeles alone failing to log in or complete schoolwork. Yet, a judge presiding for Oakland County Family Court Division, ruled in May that not completing schoolwork violated Grace’s probation.

It’s impossible to determine the frequency of cases like Grace’s, but one thing is clear. Children’s health and safety must be prioritized. We will continue urging states to stop admissions and to release kids from juvenile facilities. No child should be in juvenile detention for missing homework.

Investing In Children Not Jails

We the people are serious about continued investment in our punishment model.

Expelling kids from daycare and elementary school is common. Charging youth in adult courts is too. The nation’s Supreme Court recently reinstated lifelong (no chance for release) sentencing for crimes committed by juveniles.

Instead of investing in healing broken children we invest our tax dollars into courts that punish kids from traumatizing violent and toxic homes. Are we bad at math or pro growing crime, criminals and broken communities.

Let’s Stop Counties Stealing Money From Foster Children

Repurposing Federal Foster Care dollars have become a “revenue stream” for counties because taking foster child money goes “unnoticed” (from the article). In a perfect world, a County person would raise hell about repurposing foster child dollars to adults (but they don’t because they could lose their job). There is little reporting of and no transparency in the Child Protection System.

Tennessee’s Child Marriage Bill & Taliban Doctrine

Massachusetts has the lowest minimum marriage age with parental consent of 14 years old for boys and 12 years old for girls. Afghan parents sell their 7 year-old daughters into arranged marriages & the Taliban has for years practiced child sex abuse.

Tennessee may soon have child brides in common with the Taliban and Afghan parents.

Grace’s Story (Thank you ChildrensRights.org)

Grace, a Black 15-year old who was sent to a juvenile detention center for failure to submit schoolwork.

In an email to Grace’s caseworker, her teacher stated that Grace was “not out of alignment with most of my other students.”

Tens of thousands of children have struggled to adjust to the online learning environment the coronavirus created. ProPublica cites 15,000 high schoolers in Los Angeles alone failing to log in or complete schoolwork. Yet, a judge presiding for Oakland County Family Court Division, ruled in May that not completing schoolwork violated Grace’s probation.

It’s impossible to determine the frequency of cases like Grace’s, but one thing is clear. Children’s health and safety must be prioritized. We will continue urging states to stop admissions and to release kids from juvenile facilities. No child should be in juvenile detention for missing homework.

USA, Give Children the Rights EVERY Other Nation Has

America is the only nation on earth that is not a party to the international rights of the child treaty of 1989.

Children have no voice in the media, courts, homes and they can’t vote for legislation to keep them safe from harm.

Child rights in America today are the rights of women in 1917 (a personal possession – a slave or pet).

Only a fraction of parental violence and abuse against children is ever reported, a tiny percentage of that number is ever prosecuted and parents can legally withhold life saving medical care from their children in 27 states with some states putting only token resources into child protective systems leaving children trapped in a lifetime of violence, trauma and abuse.

Most child abuse cases in state courts meet the World Health Organization’s definition of torture “Extended exposure to violence and deprivation”.

You’re Six and On Your Own in the Court System (not having an advocate leaves abused children even more vulnerable)

The fear and aloneness in the eyes of the child sitting next to me in court as the judge decides where she will live after being taken away from the only home she has ever known is palpable.

Here, in a roomful of adults she has never seen before about to determine what will become of her family, where she will live and what school she will go to are too monstrous for words.

How would you as a six year old respond? Remember, coping skills for these events don’t exist is six year olds.

It’s always been terror and trauma for these kids. Torture, trauma and abuse in the home. Terror and trauma of the unknown as the institution takes over every aspect of her life.

House of Horrors (not investigating child abuse = not caring for abused kids)

Twin girls beaten with bats, starved, raped, chained & abused over 12-15 years on the 4200 block of 17th Av South in Minneapolis. Over 50 police calls to the home, developmentally disabled and pregnant in high school.

“The neighbors knew. The police knew. The county knew. We all knew…But nothing was done.”

“How many times the county received reports of abuse and neglect remains unclear” (from the star tribune article).

This is not uncommon. It’s how 4 year old Eric Dean was tortured to death after 15 ignored reports of abuse by mandated reporters and how 6 year old foster child Kendrea Johnson died by suicide and how my 7 year old CASA guardian ad litem case child was prostituted over 2 years and 49 police calls to her home where gun fire and prostitution were the reason for the police calls.

I’m just one of hundreds of volunteer MN CASA guardians and I know dozens of these stories. It’s awful.

Expression (the suffering is immense – anonymous)

Every day, Every thought, Every act

Tainted by prior trauma

That part of the mind effortlessly calculating numbers, finding words and laughing at funny things

Is absent in a tortured child*

Instead

The darkness from before

Spits out bad words, regrettable behaviors and violent reactions to unexplainable triggers

And small brain space left for math, trust or coping

For other children

Sitting in the chair at the desk in the classroom

Is a peaceable journey of learning and friend-making

Not so for me

PTSD is a foul meaningless nonword

Raped and traumatized by a monster many times my size deserves a more meaningful definition

And maybe

A bit more understanding from the rest of you

*The World Health Organizations definition of torture is “extended exposure to violence & deprivation”

The Problem With Accommodating Hate (& hateful people)

Wanting to get along is a blessing and a curse.

Most of us lean towards accommodation and away from conflict.

We avoid conflict and accept behaviors & beliefs in others that stretch us to our limits. Caring friends may argue or give guidance to hateful people but once the poison of hatred and bigotry has been ingested, tepid arguments and kind suggestions just don’t work.

The failure of a “reasoning” strategy becomes evident when hundreds or thousands of hateful mean spirited racist people gather to spread their vile and pernicious message in the public square. Poisoning the people that talk to and the people they hate, great fear is spread and great harm is done.

Can you imagine what it was like for the five year-olds on the buses carrying only women and children from Central America when they were attacked by hate groups in Arizona and California screaming obscenities and “send them back”?

What will the six year-olds of Charlottesville learn in their first year of schooling about the screaming haters that filled their streets and televisions with maniacal hate mongering?

Cruel & False Savings Are Cheating America’s Abused & Neglected Children (again)

Because the State refused to spend the $500 to do a basic background check on his father before assigning dad custody, even though dad had a court order in an adjacent state forbidding him from being around young boys because of what he did to them and even though dad had spent 2/3’s of his adult life in prison, Andy (the child) was taken from a loving foster home to spend 4 years (from 4 to 7 years of age) sexually abused, beaten and starved by his biological father. From 4 to 7 years old, Andy was left alone in an apartment for days at a time without food or drink, tied to a bed.

Bruised from head to toe when dad finally brought him to school (at 7 years old), placed into child protection services and not treated for mental health issues, Andy became a very disturbed young man.

Prozac, Ritalin, & other psychotropic medications, multiple suicide attempts and intermittent months of sporadic & very expensive “suicide watch” therapy (including airplane trips to emergency facilities) & group homes were the State’s underfunded, misguided attempts to manage a terrifically damaged beautiful young boy were too little and too late.

Andy has been a ward of the state now for 16 years & will most likely remain a ward of the state for the rest of his life.

If he lives to 60, he could be a 10 to 20 million dollar burden to the state, without calculating any amount for his violence, the people he hurts, & the damage he does.

Attitude Adjustment; Children Count

The good news is we have created workable models to heal terribly abused children. The bad news is our communities are shutting down services that would heal terribly abused children. This will cost us for generations to come.

We will only recover our place in the world as a productive first place nation, if we recapture our sense of humanity and concentrate on making children healthy enough to become productive citizens.

It is economically sound policy and caring about children is the right thing to do.