“Authority” & Child Abuse (why teachers quit & children go to jail)

Growing up in a home beaten, raped or starved by the most important authority in your life, means that for you, authority is not to be respected – it is to be hated and feared. Real life stories about this  here.

Uncooperative often violent response to authority figures is normal for traumatized children. It’s driven by repeated pain and terror visited upon a child that has been unable to escape repeated trauma and abuse.

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.

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

Police vs Social Worker (when the wrong one shows up)

People suffering from untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed in interactions with law enforcement. Recently in Utah, a 13-year-old boy with autism was shot several times by police after his mother dialed 911 to request help as her son was experiencing a mental breakdown.

Florida’s Child Protection System Today (it can’t happen here?)

“I’m not for killing kids and stuff” (officer Omar Bellow). For eight seconds officers fired 66 rounds from Glock service weapons towards the children. You can read the NY Times article details here. There is nothing easy about being in law enforcement in America today (or teaching, or social work, health services or child care). The numbers of seriously troubled youth are off the charts and so many children have serious often violent behavior problems. 

Childhood Trauma + Historical Trauma = Generational Trauma

Terrible trauma (like generations of slavery) and the behaviors and conflicts it creates need to be identified and discussed if they are to be fixed. Do we want higher graduation rates and lower crime and recidivism rates for our at risk youth and families? 

Charlamagne Tha God has Launched a Mental Wealth Alliance Foundation to establish fundamental and far-reaching generational support for Black Mental Health. 

Share this widely.

Trauma, Children & Overwhelmed ER’s in Minneapolis

Fairview Masonic Children’s hospital has been overwhelmed with 145 emergency pediatric psych cases since September. A makeshift shelter in an ambulance garage is all that’s available at Fairview Masonic to protect children suffering from the traumas of child abuse and homelessness.

Kendrea Johnson, Gabriel Fernandez & Child Suicide

Not far from my home, six year old Kendrea Johnson suicided by hanging while in foster care.   Gabriel Fernandez & Seven year old Gabriel Myer suicides drew national media attention about the same time.

My first visit to a four year old State Ward as a CASA volunteer guardian ad Litem was at the suicide ward of a local Hospital.  That visit to a tiny little girl who failed to kill herself has caused me to rethink child protection.

When Hope Dies (child suicide & self harm – part 1)

Kendrea (6) and Gabriel (7) successfully hung themselves a few years ago.  They came from different states but suffered the same afflictions.  Kendrea lived not far from me.

As a CASA guardian ad Litem, the commonality of self hate by the children I worked with in child protection – being so different, so unlovable that even your mother abandoned you, is devastating.

Child Suicide Reporting (3 weeks ending 10.17.20)

These articles reflect current trends in child suicide & self-harm in America today. Only a fraction of child/youth suicides are successful. The vast majority of self-inflicted harm remains invisible. Mental health services are badly needed by young people today as the COVID pandemic is locking children into toxic homes with little or no access to the adults that could help them.

Fetal Alcohol Babies (FASD) & the Harm in Minimizing Realities

This JAMA article indicates that we continue to underestimate the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders by a factor as high as 10. If this is true, 5% of American children are born with a wide range of permanent and lifelong physical & mental health deficits that will result in school & life failure and premature death.

Most people in the fields of education, law enforcement or social work know the explosive growth of mental health issues of children in their in schools, homes and squad cars. We are all becoming mental health workers.

The greater and sadder truth reflected in these studies is the continued minimizing, euphemizing and obfuscation of how America treats its children and troubled young families.

The ground truth is that children can’t speak for themselves, the media sees this as a negative story and the institutions involved benefit through non-transparency and under-reporting.

These sad truths insure generation after generation of child abuse and children born of drug and fetal alcohol abuse. The cost to society and taxpayers is horrendous. We would all benefit by understanding these grim truths.

What We Should Know About Child Suicide & Self-Harm

Only one out a hundred very young children are successful in their suicide attempts.  Most child suicides are not by guns (the primary means of adult suicides), but by hanging and poison.  Kendrea (6) and Gabriel (7) successfully hung themselves a few years ago.  They came from different states but suffered the same afflictions. 

Many child suicides are by children that have

Child & LGBTQ Suicide & Self-Harm (stories, statistics & trauma informed resources)

What would you say to the 12 year old boy who told you how he plans to suicide by cop? Or to the mother of the young girl you speak for in court that told her child “I wish you’d never been born”?

Words don’t come easy.

This survey of 12,000 LGBTQ youth identifies the extreme stress, anxiety, rejection and overwhelming feeling of danger these children grow up with.

Sad Stories June 2019 (III – child suicide)

The National Poison Data System, researchers found more than 1.6 million cases of 10- to 24-year-olds attempting to kill themselves by poisoning from 2000 to 2018. More than 70% of the suicide attempts by poisoning were in young women.

U.S. youth emergency psychiatric hospitalizations and suicide attempts are escalating at alarming rates.

Among children between the ages of 5 and 17, annual emergency department encounters for suicidal ideations and attempts have more than doubled from 2008 (0.66%) to 2015 (1.82%)7. That equates to an increase of 35,266 encounters for SI or SA during the period of 2008-11 to 80,590 encounters from 2012-2015.

National Suicide Prevention Month and Children

*Kendrea Johnson was 6 when she suicided by hanging, Gabriel Myer was 7 (both were foster children).

*Only 1 out of 150 suicide attempts by very young children are successful (suicide is hard for a 6 year old to understand and execute).

*99% of those children only succeed in hurting themselves and cementing the feelings of failure and self-hate – none of these children make it into the newspaper or onto nightly news.

No one knows about the 149 children who tried to kill themselves or the hundreds/thousands of foster children that deliberately hurt themselves and others

Child Abuse & the Developing Brain (thank you Sonya Sasser)

If you knew that being raped at five years old destroys normal brain development and not just a child’s brain & life but the adult he or she becomes, would you make a greater effort to end child rape in your community?

If you knew that half of the children in your community’s child protection system had been raped would you be more likely to support affordable daycare, crisis nurseries and other child safety net programs?

Successful suicides by very young children are rare, but what is not rare is their self loathing, self harm and attempts at suicide. When seven year old Gabriel Myer hung himself in Florida he left a note that could have been written by an adult about how he hated being forced to take Prozac.

Child Suicides – what’s left unsaid

After all these years of Prozac and drugging of children with mental health issues and so little access to mental health services, it’s refreshing to see students and their petition for improving these services in the schools.

Thank you students at Mounds View and Hopkins high schools for speaking out and your effort to create a more compassionate and safe atmosphere for troubled youth.

When child suicides make the news (today’s Star Tribune article), there is a gaping hole where failed suicide attempts and other self harming behaviors of children should be accounted for and reckoned with.

State Ward children so often have dangerous lifestyles – self harming and even life threatening behaviors that we don’t speak of and no one knows but a few people involved in these tragedies.

When foster child Kendrea Johnson hung herself the County Corornor stated that six year old children just did not have the mental capacity to execute a suicide successfully (he called her death an accident – she left a note).

The Star Tribune’s chart showing 5-14 year old children as a tiny part of child suicides would be dwarfed by including their attempted suicides, cutting and other self harming behaviors.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

Sad Stories Feb 2018 Part V (child abuse and mental health)

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

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

KARA’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN Campus Exhibit

All Adults Are The Protectors of All 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.