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People Over Politics – Private Corporations Profit While Exploiting Minnesota’s Foster Children
Private Corporations Profit While Exploiting Minnesota’s Foster Children

Private Corporations Profit While Exploiting Minnesota’s Foster Children

The Minnesota Foster Care System Neglects & Robs Children of their Future

The following is an expose’ of the state of Minnesota’s foster care system. This article will explain some of the statistics and facts regarding the families that have been affected by the system along with a history of the writer’s personal experiences from within the Minnesota Foster Care System – both as a client and as a worker.  The following article will not only explore things that are already known of the system, but it will also divulge new information about some of the corruption that continues today. Some information may have been left out intentionally within this article in respect for personal privacy.

The article is made up of the following sections:

  • The Problems Within Foster Care Are Interrelated With Larger Societal Issues
  • Minnesota Counties Have A History of Failing Children – Personal Experiences
  • Minnesota Counties Work to Hide & Cover Up Their Failures to Follow State Law
  • Delayed Treatment and a Lack of Resources Result In Lives Lost
  • The Privatization of Care Services Places Profits Above Children – Personal Experiences
  • What Actions Must We Take To Create An Effective Foster Care System?

 

The Problems Within Foster Care Are Interrelated With Larger Societal Issues

Our foster care system is broken – and it cannot be fixed even with the recent passing of reform laws in Minnesota seeking to ensure better care for the children placed into the state care system. While state and city leaders will applaud themselves for throwing more money toward a recurring problem they do nothing more than traumatize and abuse our future generations. While funding may help expand services within the system it will do nothing to change the fact that maltreatment and abuse are often symptoms of larger societal and economic issues.

 

Patterns have been found that abuse most commonly occurs within families that are experiencing social and economic hardships. While the number of children within the state foster care system grows to over 11,000 – city and state representatives ignore where change is truly needed. Our politicians intentionally fall short on developing effective programming and passing the proper legislation to build a system that will help mediate the issues that occur within the families that become involved with foster and child protective services. Even with the development of flawless programming within the care system our society will not help mediate the issues of families involved with this system until both racial inequality and poverty are effectively remedied.

 

The roots of poverty lay within colonialism and slavery and it continues today through the inaction of corrupted representatives. Most problems that arise in impoverished communities are often interrelated. If our representatives truly reflected the will of the people, poverty would have been eliminated years ago – but through their corrupted, corporate agenda, the elite will only continue to gain while Minnesotan families struggle to live within in a state of vast economic injustice.

 

There is definitely a correlation between families facing poverty and the risk of neglect or abuse. Reports in Minnesota show that the most prevalent conditions leading towards children being placed into state care are both parenting issues and mental health issues.

 

Hennepin County is Minnesota’s not only Minnesota’s county with the highest population of children, but it is also the county that services and assesses the most children within the state. Minneapolis, the county seat, is stated to be continuing trend setter for gentrification, creating a constant struggle for those within the city to find stability. It has been concluded that state-wide Minnesota has the worst financial racial inequality in the United States – and with this knowledge one can draw the conclusion as to why the system services a wider percentage of individuals from more ethnic backgrounds.

 

Minnesota’s 2013 Child Welfare Report shows that while American Indian children make up 1.9% of the state’s child population, these children made up for over 17.2%  of children within state care. The report also shows that while African-American/Black children make up 8.3% of the state’s child population these children made up 19.9% of the children within state care. When these rates are compared to that of White children it’s found that while 78.7% of the state’s total child population is white, astoundingly only 46.7% of these children were placed into state care. While White children make up the largest group of children in state care it is clear that both American Indian and African-American/Black children are overrepresented as compared to their proportion of the total child population.

 

Minnesota is now seeing people realize the failures of the state care system and how that impacts the lives of those that placed into both temporary and permanent state care. Individuals are also starting to wake up to the fact that when children are left under-served and are not given the therapy and the support needed for success – but rather, that our children are left placed into the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline – a continuance of acts of desperation for survival.

 

Today, Minneapolis is home to collectives such as Black Lives Matter, Native Lives Matter/Idle No More, Twin Cities Save the Kids, and even the Occupy movement. These groups have been working to overthrow the current power structures in order to create a society and system that will better serve all people while restoring humanity to those that have otherwise had humanity denied.

 

People-powered movements provide some of the only energy that is dedicated towards creating swift change – and this energy threatens our governmental power structures. While people continue to rise up and speak out for the changes that have long been needed within the state to correct the racial divide, Minneapolis is now expecting to become the location of uprisings, such as those in Baltimore, MD and Ferguson, MO.

 

The fact of the matter is that while people are taking a stand to create more equality our system takes a defensive approach and will work to prevent the actualization of change. This is why we now need individuals to not only become agents of change, but we also need workers and survivors to speak out about the many abuses that occur within our society – especially when it comes to both adults and children within state care.

 

Minnesota Counties Have A History of Failing Children – Personal Experiences

Rice County Social Services. Photo: Cristeta BoariIni.

Throughout my childhood I was not only placed within Minnesota foster care multiple times, but my family was obligated to work with Rice County Social Services and Child Protective Services in order to attempt to remedy my family and housing situation.

 

For the first few years of my life I lived with my Mother and Father in a lower-class neighborhood in Faribault, MN. Around age 4 my parents began to fight regularly in front of my sister and I, and they eventually separated and divorced. Around the age of 6 my mother remarried to my step-father, a man named Todd, who struggled with alcoholism. After marrying my mother Todd began to exhibit violent behaviors in the household – at first towards my mother and sister – and then, after my sister left home, I personally became a target for his abuse. My arrival at the law enforcement center in Faribault, MN shoe-less, bloody, bruised, and with torn clothing was a common occurrence. Despite over 25 investigations into abuse and neglect – the state failed to find or verify any instance of neglect or maltreatment concerning my personal case and would continuously return me to my home. A majority of the reports initiated on my behalf were reported by the public school system along with other family members and friends.

 

My case involved instances of verbal and emotional abuse along with physical assaults such as being forced to kneel upon uncooked rice for long periods of time, being forced to ingest large amounts of vinegar and other cooking products, being handcuffed to a bed or confined into an unlit/unfinished basement coal room for over a day’s time – along with many other acts of physical aggression. Being hit, punched, thrown into objects, walls, and even down stairs were things that happened on an almost daily basis. These instances of abuse took place throughout 1997-2005. Eventually – after I ran away from home around the age of 16 – similar instances of abuse occurred towards my younger brother – who is currently one of Minnesota’s many unlisted missing children.

 

Child protective services failed to find neglect or abuse in my family although it occurred to multiple targets within the home. While those that were the aggressors of the situation went without reprimand, the system did force me into the mental health system. During childhood I was required to continue to seek mental health services without a goal of consistent family mediation throughout my repeated experiences of childhood trauma. While I am grateful for the chance to have had taxpayer-funded therapy sessions [which verified that I had a high amount of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder despite the outcome of each abuse investigation] I cannot help but have disdain for the individuals that handled my cases and continued to approve my placement back into an abusive household when there were other options – including the most obvious one of sending me to my other, non-abusive – yet financially unstable – parent. The system not only had options but they intentionally failed to identify abuse and prevent abuse from re-occurring within my household.

 

While I was able to survive being tossed around to stay with family, friends, foster homes, foster facilities, and juvenile detention centers, myself – that is not true of all those that have faced such trauma – nor is it true of those the 150 children that will enter the system tomorrow. I was not only mild-mannered and grateful for the moments that I was placed into state care, but I was fortunate enough to occasionally be placed with some of great foster families.   Since 2005 at least 58 children have died as the result of maltreatment or abuse within the state despite the fact that state agencies were aware prior to the death of these individuals that they were in danger. The Star Tribune reported earlier this year that Minnesota has fallen short in multiple ways when it comes to children within the foster care system. Reporter Brandon Stahl points out that too many children placed within protective care are returned to their families too quickly and often end up suffering through more maltreatment only to return into child protective custody.

 

The lack of care given to my many investigations not only forced me to continue enduring traumatic and abusive situations throughout my childhood – but the damage accrued to my body during that time has created the likelihood that I will experience lifelong physical health problems. It is stated in the Star Tribune report that federal standards require that less than 10% of children removed from foster-care should re-enter after discharge. Minnesota currently sits at the top of the country with 25% of discharged children re-entering the system within a year. It is clear we haven’t learned from yesterday as our mistakes continue into our next generation of foster children.

 

Minnesota Counties Work to Hide & Cover Up Their Failures to Follow State Law

 

Reporter Brandon Stahl explains in his article that children within the foster care system are often shuffled around from one facility to the next as they wait to be reunited with family or placed into a more permanent home. Minnesota state law currently states that children living within the foster care system are only to be placed within a facility for only 90-days prior to being relocated into a more stable setting.

 

Children have been known to go through dozens of placements while they wait to be adopted out or reunited with their families – while others receive ‘variances’ to keep them hidden within the system as they ‘age-out’ of the system and are released from state care only to struggle to piece their lives together without having any support systems in place to help ensure a successful and independent adult life. In Minnesota, approximately 2,000 children ‘’age-out’ of the foster care system every year, of which 38% do not have a plan to get health insurance, a job, housing or a driver’s license.

 

Variances should be uncommon within the foster care system, but through this writer’s recent experiences working as a child care worker in Hennepin County, they are more common than they should be. I have personally been witness to children who have not only had recurring stays within a shelter that they once left prior to the 90-day limit – but I have also been witness to a child that was ripped apart from his siblings and remain in a shelter for several approved variances. It was clear that the separation of the child from his siblings was traumatic on this young boy – during his continued stay he was given very little therapy and support to help him through his trauma – instead, his therapy was placed into the hands of overwhelmed care workers.

 

This particular child was eventually removed from the facility, a common practice, after a day of having maladaptive behaviors. He was placed into a Minneapolis hospital alone, as many local facilities denied his referral into their facilities due to his short – but detailed – history of having behaviors. At the time one of my superiors stated that this individual’s case worker was not only ignoring the needs of this child but that the county case worker was also working to cover-up the fact that this child had not yet been placed into a more stable setting within an earlier time-frame.

 

While the shelter that I was working at did contact the county ombudsman in regards to how Hennepin County was intentionally re-entering the child into the system and was intentionally keeping him without placement – little to nothing was done at the time to help give the child the services that he needed nor did the company that I worked for do anything to expose that this child was simply to become another statistic. The truth of the matter is that most foster care providers within the state work hand-in-hand to not only cover-up the ‘aging-out’ of children.

 

Foster care providers within the state also often have time to doctor their paperwork and programming prior to any visits from the State of Minnesota – whether it is to certify a facility or to inspect one – the state will typically notify providers weeks ahead of visits giving care providers enough time to make their facility and documents look in line with what is dictated by state law. Even in instances where it is clear that a care provider or the county has failed to provide proper supervision, programming, or even facility maintenance – these issues are often overlooked and go without being remedied. When issues go without any attempt for correction they can lead to dangerous situations for the individuals and workers within the foster care system.

 

Delayed Treatment and a Lack of Resources Result In Lives Lost

 

While case workers in the state may be overwhelmed by their caseload, their dismissal of proper protocol and failure to follow-up and provide resources to children puts those children at risk of exacerbating or developing mental illnesses while stunting proper emotional and sociological growth. Since 2009 over 4,000 abused Minnesotan children were not placed into a permanent home setting within a year of their intake.

 

The intake process does little to accurately depict the mental and physical health history of each child brought into the foster care system – oftentimes case workers and foster care providers, along with the children themselves, will provide false information, misinformation, or fail to disclose the fact that individuals are displaying signs of distress. The intake process also fails to orient children being placed into care as to what they will have to expect or endure throughout their placement within the system. This can lead a child into constant trauma by creating false hopes and expectations.

 

In my experience within the system I have seen children that are clearly in need of emotional support enter and remain within the foster care system without being given the guidance or assistance that they need, such as mental health assessments to help diagnose trauma. When children react to their environment through maladaptive behaviors care providers subsequently push children out the door and into the hospital – casting away masked calls for help as being nothing more than disruptive and unsafe behavior. This practice only furthers the amount of stress and trauma children within the system have to experience while creating both a workplace culture of casting away problematic children and a deep mistrust within children towards any potential caregiver.

 

An image of the now deceased Kendrea Johnson. Photo: Family.

The recent death of Kendrea Johnson, a 6-year old girl who had been within the Minnesota foster care system for about a year – highlights the exact continued process that the Minnesota foster care system provides to children that act out. When a child within foster care acts out in a way that increases liability upon the facility’s behalf the standard protocol is to take the child to a local hospital for than observation. It should be noted that when children are admitted to the hospital for having behaviors the hospitalization will overall do nothing to help escalate or provide the resources that the hospitalized child so desperately needs.

 

In the case of  Kendrea, for instance, she had exhibited clear maladaptive behaviors while in foster care – and yet it took over a half-year to schedule her for her first mental health assessment – the outcomes of which could have given her the resources needed to help her cope with her traumatic situation… instead, this young girl was found dead in her foster home after a 10-minute lapse in supervision. When Kendrea was found she was hanging off of a bunk-bed with a jump-rope tied around her throat. While the death of Kendrea has yet to be officially declared as an intentional act it is not uncommon for even the youngest of children within foster care to make suicidal ideations or to have issues with depression and not be offered support.

 

I can not only verify that children make suicidal ideations within the foster care system on an almost daily basis – but I can also verify that these instances often go under-reported or are not taken seriously. While child care workers may lack the resources to effectively remedy depression through the utilization of therapeutic techniques – they do hold the power to be able to help identify the signs of a child slipping into a depression. While child care workers may report the behaviors – facilities fail to prioritize getting children care and cast of suicidal ideations aside as mere calls for attention. This practice can be deadly and must be stopped today.

 

The Privatization of Child Protective Services Places Profits Before Children

 

Minnesota has been working to move away from state operated facilities and institutions since the progressive era of the 1940’s. While the state still works on becoming fully independent of the operation of such facilities due to their history of human rights abuses, the state now works to license and pay third-parties to provide the care that the state admittedly cannot provide. While the concept of having third-parties contract with the state in order to expand care sounds feasible in theory the reality is that we now see non-profit organizations and for-profit institutions abuse and exploit children for the sake of profit and corporate stability.

 

For nearly a decade I have been working within the direct care field in Minnesota and have had the opportunity to work at both for-profit corporations and nonprofit corporations, providing care for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities along with children that have been placed into state protective care. As a worker it has always been my goal to provide quality care while advocating for the needs of my clientele but from my experience in this field I have found – especially in the instances of state child care that has been privatized to for-profit companies – that the resources and budgeting to create quality care does not exist.

 

The Mentor Network – REM Minnesota

 

TMN_Logo_color_websized

The Mentor Network / REM Minnesota Logo

In autumn of 2011 I briefly worked to serve clients at The Mentor Network, a for-profit company that operates in over 35 states – making it one of the nation’s largest care providers. This company is present throughout the state of Minnesota, typically masked with the name of REM Minnesota. Some of the things that I will continue to remember about my time at this company were the conditions of the facility in which I worked. During my first walk through the facilities I could not help but notice the barren walls that were caked with old food, human waste, and randomly scattered holes.

 

The disrepair of the facility was only a hint into the concerns that I would later develop during my time with the company. After working within that facility for about a month it was clear to me that not only were the clients continuously having escalated behaviors but those who were my superiors and co-workers had little confidence in developing plans to better assist with de-escalation using methods that catered to the clients.

 

The clients I served were not set up to receive regular therapy and were often chemically restrained when their behaviors escalated to a point of uncertainty. If situations continued to escalate even after chemical restraint was utilized they would often lead toward workers being injured. Local law enforcement were often called to the home to transport these clients to the hospital – which was another cause for concern given that law enforcement officers are rarely trained to serve youth and those that have disabilities. While hospitalized these clients were usually confined to constant chemical restraint and manipulation as a means towards acting more appropriately as compared to being provided the therapy and mechanisms needed for their own personal growth.

 

After discovering that the facility was also infested with insects and after realizing that my concerns were not going to be addressed by the company on any level, I ended up leaving my position with the company in order to find a position that did not present itself with the risks of working for The Mentor Network. While I was lucky enough to move away from this company the clients that I served had no choice of finding a place that would provide for them the care that they both need and deserve – the services that the state of Minnesota pays the company to provide.

 

Shelter Care for Kids

 

Exterior of St. Joseph’s Home for Children. Photo: CC Twin Cites.

While I continued working in the field of care giving, I did not return to work with children within state care until December of 2014, when I was offered a position as a care worker at Shelter Care for Kids, another for-profit company located in South Minneapolis. Unlike The Mentor Network, this shelter is the only remaining facility in what was once a cluster of homes for children in protective custody which has serviced Hennepin County since 1972. It is here at this shelter where I gained even greater insight into how the state operates in regards to the intake and referrals of children within the care system.

 

Shelter Care for Kids operates by taking in referrals that are typically sent out by St. Joseph’s Home for Children – a nonprofit run by Catholic Charities of Minneapolis. St. Joseph’s is operates the central intake for Hennepin County’s child protective and foster care services and serves children in state care. Whenever St. Joseph’s would receive a child that they could not serve, they then refer these to other facilities – such as Shelter Care for Kids.

 

Exterior of Shelter Care for Kids, Inc. Photo: SCK Facebook

Shelter Care for Kids is known to serve ‘children with emotional or behavioral difficulties’ and can hold up to ten children at a time. The shelter receives around $1 million in annual revenue and the facility receives payment for servicing 9 clients from the state of Minnesota regardless of whether the shelter is actively caring for 9 or fewer children each day. There is no prerequisite of behaviors that children must exhibit to be placed within the facility nor do most children come with clearly defined or diagnosed emotional or behavioral disorders. Oftentimes children that have not acted out behaviorally or emotionally will end up within this facility and will have to live alongside children that have defined disorders – which can lead to personal trauma for the displaced child as they have to then live within a community of individuals that have tendencies to be violent and vulgar.

 

The workers at this facility are hired making a less than livable wage and are often expected to fulfill a 1:5 ratio whereas one staff is responsible for five children throughout their shift. While the ratio of staff-to-children at this shelter may not seem to be daunting or anything to worry about – the truth is that each worker is liable for the care of those individuals and it only takes one child to overwhelm the ability of the worker to provide quality care and support to their group. Workers in this facility are trained in ‘trauma informed care’ but regardless of the tactics utilized to maintain safety during an outburst within a group these situations are often unpredictable and a facility that serves individuals with behavioral  or emotional disorders should be staffed at a smaller ratio than this.

 

During my employment I was both a witness to and the occasional victim of children that acted out through the use of violent and destructive behavior. While the care workers at this facility were some of the most patient and well-intentioned workers, in instances where children began to act out most workers were limited in their abilities to help de-escalate the situation and maintain the rest of their group at the same time. Experiences like these often left me feeling exploited by my employer and both at risk and vulnerable. I witnessed children injure other children and workers, and often received injury myself. While I have had a history of working with violent clients, I have never had to intervene in so many escalated situations and receive injury myself to prevent injury toward another until I worked within this organization.

 

The job of a care worker is unnatural as workers have to abide by both state laws along with the rules and programming set by the corporation – at times some of which contradict one another or are not in line with respecting the rights of the children. There were moments consistently, everyday, when I had to stop in my tracks and question the ethics of what I was doing and whether or not I was doing more harm to children than good whilst working at the shelter. There were also moments when I realized that my own actions were border-lining between maintaining safety for the children and violating their rights. I witnessed multiple staff members walk out of the shelter, not to return, because dealing with the liability and stress within the shelter became too great of a weight for these individuals.

 

Some of the stress workers experience comes from working with the children, but much of it came from the struggle of balancing rules with the rights of each individual – along with attempting to justify both the rules of the state and corporation to the children. For instance; if siblings are lucky enough to be placed together – they are then denied the ability to seek out comfort in ways such as sharing a bed at night. While the state has reasoning for rules like this, such as to prevent sexual abuse within the system, children that are placed into a shelter with their siblings instinctively seek the comfort of one another. I have witnessed the fear and trauma caused by having to split apart siblings during the night because of bed sharing… and it is there that an inner struggle began within me as I felt as if I were depriving my clients of humanity for the sake of lowering liability.

 

While some rules have purpose behind them, others I would constantly find myself having internal debates about which rules to enforce and how they could be broken for the sake of preserving the humanity of those that I served. Children are not entirely complicated and something that amazed me was their ability to be completely open and honest – and when it came to the rules, children had no problem voicing their discontent with the enforcement of company protocol that went against their rights to comfort.

 

Davies Family with Children. Photo: The Arc of MN.

One of these instances involved a couple of the recently reported on Davies children in what I will always remember as the behaviors that made up the great ‘Comforter Riots of 2015′. After being processed into the Shelter Care for Kids the Davies children were given beds complete with comforters. It was reported that these children came from a home where they slept upon dirty mattresses without blankets, so when they were given their own spaces these children not only owned their space but they appreciated having it. After a few weeks of being present within the shelter the CEO of Shelter Care for Kids requested that staff remove the comforters from the children’s beds due to the fact that some of the children were wetting their bunks at night. If this rule had been consistent within the facility prior to the Davies’ arrival it may have not seemed to be a big deal, however – upon the news of having to enforce this rule the children immediately voiced their discontent. One of the children broke down as they felt as if they were being targeted for the actions of the younger children – and it was right upon when they voiced those feelings that I refused to take their comforter – or any other kid’s, for that matter. I addressed this issue with the CEO who took note for a few weeks, but once the Davies children had left the shelter requested the taking of comforters from beds once again.

 

A filthy mattress on the floor of the Davies home after children were removed. Photo: Gary Knox, KARE 11.

I never realized just how far facilities would go to deny comfort in an effort to prevent wear-and-tear on items that should be utilized by the children that are placed within. When I first started in the shelter co-workers had informed me that comforter removals were a common occurrence, however I refused to believe that such a bizarre thing could occur. The reasoning I was given for the removal of the covers when I started was that the facility owner would switch out older, tattered comforters and replace them with new ones during times when the state was expected to visit. After being told things such as this it was clear to me that the facility actively engages in deceptive behavior in order to continue gaining their licenses.

 

Care workers at Shelter Care for Kids have not only had to deal with awkward rule making and limited resources, but they also have to work within a facility where their job rests upon their compliance with an organization that has seemingly been struggling to maintain it’s existence. Former coworkers of mine have stated to me that county social workers have expressed the need for care workers within this facility to ‘blow the whistle’ on the organization’s lack of focus and maintenance. While the individual that told me about this conversation has chosen to remain silent and continued working within the facility – it must be noted that not only did this care worker agree with the social worker, but that this care worker, and many others shared those exact concerns.

 

Images Of Facility Decay & Neglect From Within A Licensed Minnesota Shelter:

 

I too share those same concerns – which are what has led me toward constructing this article. While Shelter Care for Kids remains in operation I could not, in good mind, continue working within this facility. My experiences here were the catalyst behind the writing of this article. While this is one of the first times sharing my own personal experiences within the system – both as a client and as a worker – it is now clear to me that the standard of foster care has not increased since my own presence within state care. I have no idea how this shelter has continuously received the licensing to continue operating within the state when their facilities state of disrepair is apparent upon entry.

 

It is clear to me that even though social and care workers alike can realize that the privatization of shelter facilities does little to benefit those that are placed within the care of such facilities, however these individuals fail to voice their discontent because they appear to be afraid of losing their jobs or being reprimanded by the company – or because they have the hope that the facility will change its ways. Nonetheless without action private corporations and corrupted non-profits will continue to exploit children for the sake of profit while each child admitted into the system has to suffer through more abuse while waiting to have their lives rehabilitated, be it through placement into a new home or placement back into  the homes of which they belong.

 

How Do We Create An Effective Foster Care System?

 

While there have been recent changes within the Minnesota foster care system the state is still facing fines for their failure to uphold care standards within the state and continues to face a shortage of foster care providers. One of the first actions that we can take as a group of concerned citizens is to consider opening up our homes to children within the foster care system in order to alleviate the need or shorten the amount of time that children spend in larger facilities. Families that are looking to have children should first consider adopting older children so as to get them out of the system, and work to provide the resources that these children are denied while they are within the continuous cycling of foster facilities.

 

Some for-profit and nonprofit care agencies do provide adequate care and attention to their clientèle; this system is built upon the foundations of exploiting and undeserving those that matter most. We need to see citizens and good-hearted workers build community oriented cooperative efforts to serve children in place of for-profit corporations. We need to build systems that rely on the insight of both current and former foster children. We need to build organizations that embrace the fact that abuse and neglect are part of larger social problems – and have those organizations work to provide care, counseling, and even mutual aid to help remedy the inequality and other social factors that contribute to traumatic incidents within a household.

 

Currently some things that the state can do to better the care system range from: properly inspecting and certifying facilities, providing counseling and therapy services immediately to children that enter the system, provide understandable orientation materials to children entering the system, work to attain services immediately upon request for children in need, properly identify abuse and neglect cases and adequately facilitate therapy, counseling, and aid to families in order to resolve factors leading up to abusive behaviors.

 

Unfortunately – without the broad action of our representatives and leaders – we are only destined to continue operating systems which further traumatize individuals and put both our children and communities at risk. While our leaders continue making small changes to the system and tout that it is ‘getting better’ we need to come together to realize that there no small change will fix the system.

 

It is our duty as the ancestors of the next generation to stand up and voice our discontent with this failing system. We must not only speak out against the way that the system is operating, but we must realize that the social factors that contribute to abuse cases are real – and we must stand up for both financial and racial equality. We must demand for a society that truly provides care to those in need as compared to a society that identifies where care is needed but does nothing to ensure that care is provided.

 

Like any corrupted system – both the adult and child care system will never be able to successfully reform itself. Many of the factors that create the need for the system are larger matters that pertain to both society and public health. We will not be able to reform our child care system – but rather, we must work to completely dismantle the system’s structure and build a new one in its place. While this may seem like a large task, it is something that the state has been doing for the previous hundred years with elderly care along with adult and child foster care. As history repeats itself our children continue to suffer and experience trauma. As history repeats itself our children die. As history repeats itself silence will continue to be recorded as consent – unless we take action today.

 

Adoption Links:

If you or a friend is interested in becoming a foster care provider or an adoptive parent in the state of Minnesota please use the following links to find out how to start the process today:

 


About The Author:

Osha Karow is a former Minnesota Child Care worker. He now works as a Resident Counselor for adults with developmental disabilities in Southern Minnesota. Osha is also an independent journalist, community organizer and  activist working to fight against systemic corruption and greed and working to restore humanity and human dignity.

You can stay connected with Osha on Twitter.

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