Thursday, October 23, 2008

Child Abuse Undetected...

It is no Wonder
That Happiness is the exception...
Can't help wondering...
what you're wondering about?
You know what I'm wondering about...
why child abuse...ever?
And you can probably guess what I'm not wondering about...
I'm not wondering why happiness is the exception for all ages.
How can there be any happiness in a world where the most fragile, the most vulnerable, the least able to defend and protect life are so often left with nothing and no one but themselves to survive and sustain life in the presence of danger?
The answer is obvious to any willing to look...willing to see.
Each moment of every day we make choices. These choices put in motion the patterns for the future. We all become victims of unwise choices. But, unlike the vulnerable among us, who can only listen, we are not LIMITED to choices dictated by others, or by our past choices.
Our choices are ours.
Our choices are many.
We can choose to make changes.
We can decide to do differently.
We can do better today than we did in all our yesterdays.
So...choose creative actions...
Do anything positive in the presence of creative actions...
And you choose for life, love and happiness.
Choose destructive actions...
Do nothing in the presence of destructive actions...
And you choose for death, hate and destruction.
Simple? Yes. It is that simple.
Easy? No. Not always.
. is your choice every time.
So...what will you choose today?
or theft?
or death?
or hate?
or destruction?
Thank you for choosing wisely... your life is not the only one that depends on it.
A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee
For an article on Tween sexuality and interesting discussions in the comments:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Perfect by Design...

“Listen to the Musn't's child, Listen to the Don't's. Listen to the Shouldn't's, the Impossibles, the Won't's. Listen to the Never Haves, then Listen close to me. ANYthing can happen, child, ANYthing can Be.”

—Shel Silverstein (1930-1999), poet, songwriter, musician

Can't help wondering...
What you're wondering about?
I'm wondering where the time goes...
For one thing...
Wondering why we don't seem to know earlier...
Let every moment in a child's life...
Be our priority...
They are so few and so soon gone...
Wondering when we will understand...
Each and every child...
A perfect child...
Perfect by design...
Miraculous, able...
Deserving of all we can do and give...
Ensure their survival, their preparedness...
To take their places in the Continuing Cycle of Life.
Each and every child "Beyond Beliefs,"
When we take the time to really see them...
As they are ...
Perfect by design...
Not ever something less than we are trying to make them be...

And now, here is a favorite poem for your pleasure and enlightenment:

Perfect by Design


The Ability to use the best of the past to create a better future.

... Consider the Butterfly

She doesn't know how rare it is,

That she flies through the air,

Nor knows that she pollinates

And gives life to so many.

Neither she knows what joy she brings

To the hearts of those who can see.

How lovingly the onlookers stare.

What protection from harm she has earned,

For her beauty that she can not see,

For her caring that comes so naturally.

How those who can see her wish,

Their lives could be so Happy,

So loved, so blind, so truly free.

~Thomas T. Panto ~ 1983~
( )

Hope you enjoyed...
'til next time...remember...

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Proclamation by the President...a sad commentary

The strength of America
Lies in the ability of our citizens
To make a positive difference
In the lives of our young people.
George W. Bush

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?
I'm wondering where this month is going!
Seems like I've been everywhere, doing everything to promote Child Abuse Awareness month.

Here's a site to show you what others are doing this month...

Child Abuse Awareness Month
CAAM Events Around the Nation
So, what's your community doing to increase awareness of child abuse prevention? Go see what many around the USA and elsewhere have done. Is your community included on that list? What did you or your community do to increase awareness? Tell me about it! Nothing? It's not too late! Go for it.
President George W. Bush did something. The following is provided free of commentary:

National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2008

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Children are the hope and promise of our Nation, and our society has a special duty to ensure young Americans get the care and attention they need to succeed in life. During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we underscore our commitment to preventing child abuse and neglect so that all children can live in safety and security.
Parents have a responsibility to safeguard their children from danger and to provide the love, protection, and guidance youngsters need to grow into confident and caring adults. In every community across the Nation, good and courageous citizens are improving the lives of our most vulnerable children with acts of compassion. The strength of America lies in the ability of our citizens to make a positive difference in the lives of our young people.
My Administration is committed to the safety of our Nation's youth. In 2006, I signed into law the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was designed to protect children from sexual and other violent crimes, help prevent child pornography, and make the Internet safer for our children. This law expands sex offender registration and notification on a nationwide basis, provides a statutory basis for the Project Safe Childhood program, and gives communities and law enforcement the tools necessary to keep children out of harm's way. Additionally, with strengthened Federal penalties, we will ensure that those who prey on our children will be caught, prosecuted, and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
As we observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we reaffirm our loving commitment to America's youth and our dedication to building a society in which all children can realize their full potential.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2008 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I encourage all citizens to help protect our children from abuse and neglect and to take an active role in creating safe communities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tossing and turning…unsuspected child maltreatment?

Try to be absolutely honest
In your thinking for one minute.
Judson Smith
to Marcia Brown in Lotus Seeds

Can't help wondering...
what you're wondering about?

I'm wondering about honesty within ourselves... that unknown to others honesty we sometimes call personal integrity...that honest that burdens us for many years, for lack of telling to a trusted friend.

After tossing and turning for too many sleepless hours I decided I might as well just get up and write this down. Yesterday a friend shared a deep dark secret that went off in my head like a roadside bomb, with a blinding light that cast shadows of naked truth every where behind my suddenly closed eyes.

From out of nowhere she blurted, "I hope its okay but I have to tell you something I never told anyone. I hope you won't hate me for it." Open eyes, open heart, I think, but still I am not prepared to hear something so simple that it makes clear something so obvious I wonder how it has never crossed my mind.
"I was only eleven," she said. "Old enough to know better, I guess, but I didn't think I was doing anything wrong." I'd watched Dad do it, and even though Mom always said, "don't do that, you might hurt her," he only laughed and threw my baby sister higher. "Don't be silly, she's liking it," he'd say, and wink at me like he always did when he wanted me to agree Mom was just being a spoil sport.

So when we were alone I decided to throw the baby up and catch her. I thought it would be fun to throw her high. I must have thrown her crooked or something because she didn't come straight down. Before I could catch her she hit the edge of the sofa. As she slid toward the floor I caught her. The baby was screaming and I was scared to death. I bounced her around and laughed like we were playing until she stopped crying." My friend looked at me, eyes wide and sad. "I guess it didn't hurt her?"

I smiled. "Well we sure can hope not, can't we?" She smiled back, do doubt as relieved as she looked. But inside my head memories where flashing like emergency lights. My young brother throwing a kitten high up to see if it would land on all fours, and crying about nine lives as Dad smashed its head to put it out of its pain. Me giving a baby left-over sour milk and being screamed at for "trying to kill him," and ten or twelve years of hell, believing somehow I must have been responsible when he died several months later. A toddler once throwing a can of tuna in a bassinet on an infant's head…his favorite food, maybe the crying baby might like it, too? Who knows what goes on in the minds of kids?

Recently a neighbors' children put a puppy on the trampoline and then all jumped as hard as they could so the poor puppy would bounce higher and higher. Then a few days later, an infant got the same "fun" until I screamed out the window for them to stop. Other people shared similar stories over the years, many of them. Children don't know as much as they often think they do. And ten to twelve year olds with more strength than safety demands for brains not yet developed, and minds that think they know everything, do a lot of things that somehow go wrong.

As my mind was putting two and two together, the answer wasn't one I wanted to see at all. How many adults swearing they don't know how an infants' bones were broken might be telling the truth? Maybe they didn't when so often the newspaper accounts explain that CPS placed the other children in foster homes? How many unexplained SIDs? How many shaken babies? Dropped babies? Suffocated babies? Babies wacked on heads with any number of lethal objects? Heaven only knows what happens to babies when children aren't supervised adequately… and that is a thought that now will never leave me.

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Friday, April 4, 2008

No Dreams, No Civil Rights: Not for Abused and Neglected Children

Before such things can come,
You idiotic child,
You must alter Human Nature!
And they all sat back and smiled.
Charlotte Prekins Stetson Gilman
from: Similar Cases

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?

Today the emphasis of many is on forty years ago.

We celebrate Martin Luther King for what he did for the civil rights of all. Well, almost all... children then had no civil rights. Not much has changed for them since then.

Although the UN initiated the Convention for Children's Rights in 1989, the United States remains the only country that hasn't ratified it.

Corporal punishment remains legal in all states for parents and legal in many schools. You can't hit an adult with the intention of inflicting pain, but it's still legal to hit a child with the intention of inflicting pain. Some things are very slow to change.

Forty years ago, as now, abused and neglected children dared not dream of a brighter day, a better world, a change that would someday set them free. The most they dared hope for was survival, escape, and a future not so altered by their experiences that life remained livable. Abused and neglected children lived in a world of the unseen, and the unacknowledged. Child abuse wasn't even considered a problem until after Dr. C. Henry Kempe and his colleagues published the work, "The Battered Child Syndrome," in 1962.

Even today, the majority of people still admit behind their own closed doors, they prefer those children remain that way. Hidden away and easy to ignore... not heard, and not seen either. Oh, they feel sorry for them... only children after all. Not their faults for having parents that don't teach them right from wrong. Those people are more than willing to attend balls, rally's ball games, walk-a-thons, donate money, do anything as long as they aren't expected to actually go anywhere near the children themselves.

Honest people admit abused and neglected children aren't always the easiest children to care about, let alone be around. Once out of the shadows, sometime after they become ambulatory, too many abused and neglected children are seen as dirty, smelly, and ragged. They lack vocabulary, manners and other socially admired characteristics. Instead, out of the mouths of these babes, filth and violence spew along with spittle directed at the least suspecting. Their escalating levels of rage and increasingly uncontrolled behaviors give fair warning... don't mess with me.

Abused and neglected children may lie, steal, cheat, bully and cause unimaginable trouble for friend and foe alike. Do something nice to one such child and he will take that as a sign of weakness asking to be taken advantage of. Reach out with love to another such child and she will accuse you of evil intentions, or worse. Why not? For many of these children everyone represents a threat, the new is always dangerous, the unknown something to be avoided at all costs.

While children died in the name of the civil rights movement so that others would be free, few remembered the children screaming and dying behind closed doors. Forty years later people exclaim about the numbers of people in prison... more in the US than any other country. How many people know that 100% of the most violent of prisoners have records as abused and neglected children? How many know that California looks at the failing 4th graders to estimate the number of new prison cells that will be needed in twenty years?

How many are willing to look at the connection between the abused and neglected children of 40 years ago, who became the parents, increasingly unmarried, of the young unmarried adults twenty years ago, now giving birth at higher rates than ever to more children being abused and neglected? How many think nineteen year olds with three illegitimate children, with different fathers are likely to break the cycle from which they come. How many think the missing fathers will? So who will help the children?

Some people step up, eager to be the ones to make the changes. When others say it can't be done, the children once innocent are lost and gone, still others can be heard to say...not true! Our children are worth whatever it takes...

Said I, in scorn all burning hot,
In rage and anger high,
"You ignominious idiot!
Those wings are made to fly!"
Charlotte Perkins Stetson-Gilman
From: A Conservative

While, in the back ground a chorus of voices rise, from those lost children who do not understand, those for whom hope and dreams are long since gone...those who have never known anything but abuse and neglect:

"I do not want to be a fly!

I want to be a worm!"

Charlotte Perkins Stetson-Gilman

From: A Conservative

Change will be slow, with so many who do not yet know which way to go. All the more reason to begin with even just a small step today. Got your Blue Ribbon, yet?

Some Information:

The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect

Get Your Blue On for Kempe Kids

Kempe Center: History of the Child Abuse Blue Ribbon Campaign
Kempe Center: Education and Awareness Help Us All

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tell Congress Children Die When Child Protective Services Fail Them

We can do no great things -

Only small things with great love.

Mother Theresa

Can't help wondering...

what you're wondering about?

Yesterday I asked what you what you would be willing to do to spare her or any other child from suffering from abuse.

Well here is one small thing you can do for children today:

Just click on this link and go sign a Petition to Congress:

Here is the body of the petition you can sign in less than one minute:

April is Child Abuse Protection Month. Children that could be alive, die every day in the United States, because people do not report and Child Protective Services across this country too often do not follow their own simple procedures. Agencies and individual employees alike need to be held accountable when they make choices that result in children's deaths that otherwise might have been avoided.

The middle class baby shown here did not die from the abuse inflicted on her. She survived to adulthood, alive, but certainly not unscarred. During her early years she suffered much that would be called torture and prosecuted as a crime if inflicted by an adult on another adult. As a child she was subject to physical, emotional and psychological abuse, and possibly sexual abuse. The newborn was three weeks old, when her mother first slapped her so hard on her bare bottom that the red hand mark remained for hours. By age one, mother and father escalated their corporal punishment in the name of training and discipline.

Over the next years she was bitten, slapped, pushed, punched, beat with belts, metal edged rulers, wooden spoons, shoes, and other things. She was dragged around by her hair, forced to eat soap, locked in rooms, deprived of meals, forced to spend hours in stress positions, made to scrub floors with amonia, and endured other punishments to teach her lessons. An older sibling and a stepfather contributed more abuses. Although people knew, no one stood up or spoke out for her.

We, the petitioners, are standing up and speaking out for the children still suffering as much and more, every minute of every day. We ask you, as a member of a Congress that continues to fund these agencies, and through them passes a lot of money to private companies providing services to children, without holding them all accountable for little more than where the money is spent, to reconsider your priorities for allocating taxpayers' money. Our children are important to us. We want to see that they are equally as important to you.

Before the next election, we want to know by your efforts just how important children are to you. The easiest way you can show us how much you do care is to take immediate action. Words simply aren't good enough anymore, especially when it comes to our children's lives. Promises, no matter how well intentioned, do not save children from the torture and death they experience while you delay.As taxpayers we request the appropriate committees conduct extensive hearings on this issue sometime during this year.

At least another 1,500 children will die at the hands of their primary caregivers during the year, and the majority of those children will be known to the Child Welfare System that is partly funded by your choices.

You have the power to make changes. You can write laws that eliminate the loopholes that enable the system to do as they did and get what they got... You can provide the financial incentives to create change among those who resist it. You can insure that people who put off until tomorrow what should be done today do so with as much risk to themselves as they cause to innocent children whose lives are at risk.

Congress held hearings on product safety because of dangers to children. You held hearings on Steroids because of dangers to children. You held hearings on Youth detention facilites because of dangers to children. You held hearings on human trafficking that involves dangers to children. You held hearings on internet safety and child pornography because of the dangers to children. These and other child-related hearings are important. We watched. We listened. We are glad that you did them. We thank everyone who participated.

However, as important as those issues are to children, not one of those issues involved the deaths of at least 4 or 5 children every day here in the United States. Not one involved hundreds of thousands of debilitating injuries to children each year in the United States. Not one involved 3 million reports of child abuse each year in the United States.

Those agencies and individuals that can make those numbers improve must be held accountable. Those who are accountable must be properly educated, trained, and supervised. Those who are accountable for children's safety and welfare must no longer be over loaded with more cases than can be effectively handled. Those who are accountable to investigate must no longer be tied to a desk doing paper work instead, because support staff has been eliminated due to funding cuts. Those who do the work that saves children must also be paid proportionately to the importance of that work. None of that is true now.

You can make the changes that ensure the inadequacy of the Child Welfare System is no longer an excuse for continued child abuse. We will thank you when you do.

Thank you now for your sincere consideration of this petition. We appreciate that. We look forward to the April when your changes mean stories like these are not in the news every day:

Father of two drowned in tub files claim against Nassau Agencies, charging neglect.
Orlando-Area Father Arrested on 350 Counts of Sexual Abuse.,0,4405775.story
Privatization and the Juvenile Justice System: A Tale of Abuse.;jsessionid=4339920861BA7904049E8969D581AEE3?diaryId=1308
Lessons from child deaths.,0,3662909.story
Lawsuit: Doctors failed to ID, report abuse before boy died.
Mother arrested in abuse of 7 year old who was burned.
Son's death leads to charge of homicide.
Child Deaths: Higher in Georgia Than in Other Parts of the Country.
Best Memorial for Dead Toddler: Report Suspected Child Abuse.
Let Kids ' Deaths Haunt Debate for CPS Reform.
Foster Parents say DHS doesn't follow own rules.
Running to Keep in Place: The Continuing Evolution of Our Nation's Child Welfare System.
Child Maltreatment 2005.

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No Fooling Around About Child Abuse Today or Any Day

Wear a blue shirt, dress, tie, or ribbon...
As an expression of unity...
Promote the prevention of child abuse and neglect...
Make the world a safer place for our children...

Can't help wondering...
what you're wondering about?

I'm wondering about how to tell you to be very careful about whar color blue you wear. Most people don't know it's against the law to wear any shade of blue close to that used for U S Air Force uniforms?

April Fool!

Today is April I. We all know what that means...especially those of us with any children in the house. They love a day when playing practical jokes is generally accepted and brings gales of laughter for a while. How many times will it take for you to catch on and say...That's Enough! No More! ...I really mean it this time!

April I is also a day that is important to some children, but for these children there may be little laughter today or any day. April is Child Abuse Prevention month. Today people and organizations everywhere are finding ways to bring attention to child abuse in the hopes of making a difference. Blue ribbons, blue banners, blue pinwheels, blue candles, blue lights, blue clothes, blue, blue, blue will sprout like early croci any where there are people who want to say about child abuse... That's Enough! No More! I really mean it this time!

Blue represents the thousands of children who are bruised and battered every day. It has been the color symbol of child abuse since 1990, when one person, Bonnie Finney, a heart broken grandmother, "tied a blue ribbon to her car antenna after her grandson was fatally physically abused and his battered body left in the Dismal Swamp.” Thanks to her action, there is now a national campaign based on blue.

What will you do in April? Will you wear blue to increase awareness of child abuse? Will you use blue ribbons to send the message that you protect children? Will you do something creative with blue to demonstrate your commitment to child abuse prevention?

Here are links to some information and ideas:

Child Welfare Information Gateway: History of National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child Welfare Information Gateway: 2008 Resource Packet and Related Materials

The 5 R's: What you and your community can do to prevent child abuse and neglect

Unto the Third Generation: A Call to End Child Abuse in the United States within 120 Years

Ribbons Part of Local Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse

Civic Involvement Can Help Prevent Child Abuse

Raising Hope

Go Blue for a Child

Child Welfare Information Gateway: Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Reframing Child Abuse and Neglect

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Monday, March 31, 2008

Truth is Stranger than Fiction in Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
Blue is the color of child abuse...
Black is for mourning...

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?

Today seems to be one of those kind of days when I just know I'm going to wake up any minute, shake my head and laugh with relief that I've just had the weirdest dream ever... or maybe it should be considered the most frightening nightmare?

Or somebody forgot its leap year so April Fools Day isn't until tomorrow? No such luck...

First there is this story about the man who several times a day goes outside on his deck naked, turns a round picnic table on its side and has sex with the umbrella full view of a nearby school.

Then there's this story about a training seminar on child abuse, where the Keynote speaker was Dr. Walter Lambert, medical director of the University of Miami's Child Protective Team. According to the the article the doctor's comment that "some cultural concepts change over time," refers "to how parents and schools used to hit children as a disciplinary measure."

Used to hit?
What world is he living on...not here on Earth for sure, where in the US every state still allows Corporal punishment by primary caregivers and most states still allow it in schools, and the US remains the only country that hasn't ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that calls for no spanking.

Another article in my e-mail points out that these were reported in the last few weeks, in just one county: " 3- and 7-year-old children suffered severe ongoing beatings with a belt…a 3-month-old boy who suffered numerous earlier injuries died of blunt-force trauma to the head….a 2-year-old girl was punished by her mother with blasts from a pressure washer…a 2-year-old boy was beaten with a T-ball bat…an 8-year-old boy was tied to a coffee table and beaten for three hours by a relative who was babysitting him….a 13-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy endured horrible physical and sexual abuse for more than six years."

In another state, an article mentions, "...babies suffocated in their sleep, on plastic bags, balloons or laundry carelessly left too close. Seven died after being hit, thrown, dropped or kicked. Two infants were shot; two others, starved..." but "no agency is responsible for a comprehensive assessment of child abuse and neglect here...the state Office of Children's Services, for instance, is responsible for situations within a family, but OCS usually has no authority if a baby sitter hits a toddler, or a health aide fails to recognize a critically ill infant, or a teacher has sex with a student."

And in yet another state in 2006, "15,798 confirmed cases of denial of critical care [neglect]....2,037 cases of physical injury were reported...839 cases of sexual abuse were founded in the state — the lowest number founded in more than 20 years."

And in another, it's reported that "over 60,000 children are confirmed child abuse victims each year in Texas."

Unfortunately I could go on...and on...and on.... but I won't. Not today, anyway. Statistics simply don't say all that much to most people.
But that precious baby at the top of this page? Remember her? She was a victim of child abuse.
On a stormy spring night she entered the world six weeks early as an innocent, 5 lb. 1 oz, and barely 17 inches long. She couldn't go home until she was ten days old.

When she was three weeks old, her mother hit her so hard on her bare bottom that the red mark lasted for hours. No doubt the psychic pain lasted far longer.
At three months her twenty month old sister dumped Ivory snow over her head. She turned blue, but was revived and survived after a few days in the hospital.

For the next ten years of her young life she was slapped, kicked, pushed, pulled, jerked around, bit, her hair pulled, hit with a belt, wooden spoon, metal edged ruler, sticks, locked in her room as punishment, and that's only part of the abuses she experienced from her mother, father, older sibling, and stepfather.
She survived all that, too.

What would you do to have spared her that beginning to her life?

What will you do to spare another child who suffers now as she suffered then?

Millions of children are reported abused each year in the US. Child abuse occurs at all socio-economic levels. Today a neighbor can be so overwhelmed by stress that she does the unthinkable. Tonight a friend can be so overwhelmed that he does the unimaginable. Research indicates tomorrow the same thing can happen to you. Don't be careless...anyone can become a child abuser given a terrible set of circumstances. Learn more about child abuse so you can make a positive difference for all children. The child you save could be one you know and love.

Here are links to just a few of the articles in my e-mail box today. Tomorrow there will be many more. And every day after... for how long????
A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Friday, March 28, 2008

Newt on Child Abuse, War, Immigration? Not?

There is a good deal else
That would not exist
Without "poisonous pedagogy."
It would be inconceivable, for example,
For politicians mouthing empty cliches
To attain the highest positions of
Power by democratic means.
Alice Miller

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?

Did John hear the bells toll yesterday? Barack and Hillary grab their helmets and flack jackets, begin to run faster and harder? If not, then they missed Newt's speech at AEI.

Whatever one thinks of Newt, and this isn't the place for that, the man is brilliant…almost beyond belief. Some months ago in an interview when asked if he'd run, he said no reason to do that as Republican's had a full field of good men running.

The speech he gave yesterday is either being thrown into the ring…or about to become the ring around all future Republican talking points. Newt managed to wrap himself in everything Barack, added a few touches of Hillary, coated himself with pure Repubican brass and came out looking like a gold ring looking for a finger…or a nose.

But this isn't about Newt, John, Hillary or Barack…what their positions on issues look like, how they compare or contrast. This is about something they all have in common with each other and the vast majority of politicians.

They talk about the 3 million in prisons, not about the 3 million reports of child abuse each year. They talk about the 4,000 soldiers killed in this 5 year war, but not about the
7,000 children killed by child abuse during that same time. They talk about the thousands of wounded soldiers who will suffer and struggle the rest of their lives, but not the hundreds of thousands of child equally as wounded each year by child abuse. They talk about people losing homes, but not about children who are homeless. They talk about poverty but don't mention the 12 million children who go to bed hungry every night. They talk about the sad state of illegal immigrants hiding in the shadows, but not about the child abuse of having children grow up without education, medical care, or much else besides a venomous rage that encircle their young hearts, then wells and swells until it can no longer be contained and brings them finally to uncoil and strike at anyone for any reason. They talk about human rights for all but the United States hasn't ratified the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Children. (Somalia is the only other one!)

In this speech, Newt in his cleverness managed to avoid alienating the black voters by throwing a few glittering pieces of mica in their direction as he shifted the focus of compassion away from other minorities to the Native Americans. He managed to make everything Barack and Hillary offer to champion education, poverty, race relations, look like paupers offering to share crumbs. When he offered free college to students who finish high school in two years rather than four, while coating them in tax cuts and the talking points always popular with the Republicans, I almost had to stand and applaud the man for his creativity.

Say what you will about Newt. He knows his stuff, and how to use it for best advantage. He proved that 30 years ago. In this one speech he gives the deserting Republicans a path on which to run back to the fold, the wavering independents a means to get out from the stress of indecision, and the disgruntled Democrats not happy with the idea of voting for a black or a woman, a time-tested old white guy saying what they want to hear.

But what about John, the war, immigration, and child abuse? Dogs that don't bark?

HMMMM...I had a dog once... a German Shepherd... she didn't bark, but she was the best watch dog in the world...anyone coming over the fence never knew she was there before she pounced.

Here are some links:

AEI Address by Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

Obama Campaign Speech on Race

An Open Letter to all Responsible Politicians from Alice Miller

Spanking is Counterproductive and Dangerous

Alice Miller: The Childhood Trauma

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Child Friendly Language

Convention on the Rights of the Child

UN Convention on the Rights of Children

What Are You Going to Do About Child Abuse?

The Limits of Politics I: The Roots of the Politics of Power

The Politics of Lies: Suffer the Child

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Scribbling Siblings? Well...

Did you know that
Sibling abuse is
One of the most common forms
Of family violence?

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?
I wonder if the net isn't providing a great way for some to talk about abuse and gain some healing in the process.

As with so many other things related to child abuse, the veil of secrecy enshrouds that of sibling abuse. It simply isn't a subject that comes up easily, even or especially within families.

My children were all grown before they began to tell me horrible stories of their experiences with each other when young. They told finally with the sense of safety that comes with time and distance… and the support of one another… and with a deliberate use of humor to lessen re-experiencing the degree of pain and actual cruelty of the experiences.

Had my mother lived past 42, would my brothers and I have eventually regaled her with similarly humorous stories about the ways we abused one another as children? We certainly never brought the subject up with Dad who lived ten years longr than Mom… but then it seems with Dad we never acknowledged the elephant of violence and abuse in any of its many guises.

From discussions with others my guess is that even as adults the subject of sibling abuse may not surface in many families…ever. I suspect the openness that developed in our family came as a result of me owning my part in it all with them, keeping the subject of abuse open, and subsequent discussions both personal and abstract as I strived to learn and share more about child abuse in general.

Not surprisingly, given that she received the most of the worst from me, the oldest was more often named as offender for perpetrating violence against her brother and sister during their childhoods. After listening to how she deliberately slammed doors on hands, held knives to their throats, and other clearly abusive actions, I asked, "But where was I?"

As a stay at home mom, aware that she was acting out her own pain and anger, and openly mean to her sibs in so many ways, I thought I did everything possible to protect them from her angry outbursts. "Oh, you were always there, Mom, but we didn't dare make a sound or tell. We knew she would make us very sorry if we did."

Sibling abuse is not often recognized as resulting in serious trauma yet. Too many well-educated people, immersed in the field of child maltreatment in one discipline or another, persist in minimizing the degree of frequency and further minimize any as "just kids stuff"… nothing more than sibling rivalry.

Recently, there is more interest in sibling abuse as a valid subject for solid research. But for now, those who endured it need to speak out in order to heal themselves…and to open the conversation so others may feel safe in doing so, too. There are places on line where people are sharing their stories on this abuse as they share about other abuses. Comments on a recent post on "Well," a health-related blog, show the depth of pain about sibling abuse and how some are dealing with it.

In it's simplest terms sibling abuse includes all the types of abuse...physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect. And it traumatizes children deeply in ways similar to that of other domestic violences. Trust is destroyed both by the perpetrator and by those who fail to protect the children…and this may be worse in many ways… by those who deny the sibling abuse when told of it.

I also think that eventually research will determine that sibling abuse has two victims…the obvious child-victim of the abuse, and the child abusing his or her siblings who is sustaining developmental damage that changes him or her, too. Abused children need our protection and help. Abusive children also need help and protection, not condemnation, and extra effort to stop them...for the sake of all.

Looking for more information:

Siblings Behaving Badly

Brothers and Sisters of Abuse Victims Often Help Cover Up or Even Commit Abuse
Beyond rivalry, a Hidden World of Sibling Violence

Sibling Abuse

Sibling Conflicts: Roughhousing vs. Abuse

Sibling Rivalry? Think Again...

What makes kids care? Teaching gentleness in a violent world

Selected Resources on Sibling Abuse: An Annotated Bibliography for Researchers, Educators and Consumers

Sibling Abuse Forums

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pre-emptive Strike Against Our Children

The American people live in a country

Where they can have

Almost anything they want.

And my regret is that it seems that

They don’t want much of anything at all.

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?

I'm wondering just what do Americans want?

Apparently Walmart knows better than anyone else exactly what Americans want...

Americans it seems want junk they can buy in place of wanting those things in life that truly have meaning and lasting value. Instead of parenting with love

Supreme Court, inc.

Supreme Court of the United States (Official Page)

U. S. Supreme Court Information: Basic Facts and History

Supreme Court Decisions Relating to Children

The Broken Branch: How Congress is America and How to Get it Back on Track (The Book)

The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get it Back on Track (Article)

Is the Broken Branch on the Mend? An Early Report on the 110th Congress

Radio Interview: Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein: "The Broken Branch" (Oxford)

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Filling Squares, Training [NOT] and Child Abuse

You can swim all day
In the Sea of Knowledge
And still come out completely dry.
Most people do.

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?

I wonder what happends to the ones supposed to benefit, when people drinking from the Sea of Knowledge, seeming afraid to even wet their lips, take no more than a quick sip, then claim that as the source for anything they spout forever afterwards.

That leads me to discuss an issue of great importance to me in any discussion of child abuse. Today I'm wondering about, education at all levels, in all fields, among all people…in relation to child abuse, of course.

I come here to post after first responding to a comment left by Geoff Brown on Scare Crow Child, "Child Abuse and Neglect: A Weak Spot in Teacher Ed..." about a "new online role-playing course titled, "How [Not] to Talk To a Possible Child Abuse Victim," that lets teachers rehearse an interactive conversation with a possible child abuse victim, getting feedback after each choice...if request is clicked on...and, for a price, recieve certification for the training.

I believe when Bryan Short said "Evil is the incapacity that is forced on one by his lack of training," that he was speaking a truth with a capital T. No doubt others may have said as much, or even used the same words, but I heard them from him in a lecture/class at NAU in 1997. I was so struck by the words, and the discussion that followed, that I kept them as something of a basic philosophy.

Those words clarify for me much that seems senseless on the surface. Most of us agree, (even if we disagree about whom to attribute the words in a quote) that there is a truth in saying those who do nothing in the presence of evil, are in themselves contributing to evil. And yet, while claiming something must be done, too often we do nothing. Then like the early Christian, Paul, while we berate ourselves for failing to do what we would, or not do what we would not, we seek an excuse for our behavior.

The Devil, Twinkies, Mom, Dad, Child Abuse, (or you fill in the blank)… made me do it, defense continues to thrive.
So one might expect me to think education about child abuse provided anywhere, in any way, for any reason must be a good thing. Not so. Avoiding any discussion of pros and cons on online education, I have trouble recommending this, or any other course like it, based on the following three reasons.

First, I agree with Plato via Socrates on writing and believe it is as true for on-line courses:

"this will provide forgetfulness in the souls of those who have learned it ... . You have found a drug not for memory but for reminding. You are supplying the opinion of wisdom to students, not truth. For you'll see that, having become hearers of much without teaching, they will seem to be sensible judges in much, while being for the most part senseless, and hard to be with, since they've become wise in their own opinions instead of wise"
Plato as Distance Educator Pioneer

Second, again per Plato:

"For writing certainly has this terrible power, Phaedrus, as if truly like the painting of living animals. For the offspring of that stand forth like living animals, but if someone were to question them, they maintain a solemn silence.
(Plato, 275d) Plato. Phaedrus.

And third, in my experience, almost all forms of "training" taken to fill a square, to satisfy some requirement to indicate training happened, rather than with the intended purpose of learning, accomplish nothing positive. Examples include:

1. Real Estate Ethics Training I attended in CA where instructor arrived one hour late, asked if we wanted to get out early, quickly went over answers to test, then left us alone in room to pracitce our own ethics...or get back to making money in a hurry.

2. Military on-line training where cheat sheets circulate for those who don't know how to take the test without actually doing the "training."

3. On C-SPAN Congressional Hearing last week, an owner of meat packing plant waved signed sheets as "proof" that employees had received training, so employees who said otherwise must be lying...

4. Beginning employment at a Day Care Center, I was pointed towards three manuals on child safety, welfare, etc. that had to be read...asked to sign a paper that I had done so and rushed into work.

5. Going to the drugstore for meds now, asked to sign a statement that declares I have been counseled by the druggist...

You get the picture from just a few pieces? And I have no doubt that you can add more of your own! Anectdotal "evidence" doesn't count? Depends on the circumstances, doesn't it?

However, as you know, "Child Person From the South" is filled with links, quotes, stuff involving the written word on-line and off, so am I saying don't use any of them? No. Not at all! In fact I hope you use any sources of information on child abuse that you find here or elsewhere, that seem so "good" to you that you will put forth the effort to learn, process, make the knowledge behind them yours, and use the wisdom gained in some attempt to protect a child from abuse.

Should the day arrive when there are Answers with a capital A, as in Truth with a Capital T, that is the day when I will erase all other attempts at finding answers and provide that Answer to you. Until then, I continue to provide a variety of sources such that you may find something that you may find useful in your search for Wisdom. But while you do, please remember as Heather L. Reid says:

"It is the admission of ignorance in ourselves, and the recognition of ignorance in others that gives us the courage, freedom, and duty to inquire after truth."

And, I hope, in doing so bring us closer to that day when Bryan Short's words, "Evil is the incapacity that is forced on one by his lack of training," become a Truth that means Evil no longer finds an opening through the abuse of children.

So, in the meantime, a few more links for you:

How [Not] To Talk To A Possible Child Abuse Victim (On-line Course)

Unto the Third Generation: A Call to End Child Abuse in the United States within 120 Years (More in depth perspective and reasons for real training)

Interviewing Child Witnesses: Questioning Techniques and the Role of Training

ICAN Child Abuse and Neglect Protocol (Includes Video)

Inter -agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

Putting Kid First: Court Approved Online Parenting Course ($60)

Family Matters: Court Approved Online Parenting Classes (Various Fees)

Free Online Parenting Class ($20 Optional Certification)

The Educational Value of Plato's Early Socratic Dialogues

Teaching and Learning: Making the Written Word "Speak": Reflections on the Teaching of Correspondence Courses

Links to Plato's Works on the Web

Plato and His Dialogues

Plato as Distance Educator Pioneer

Rom. 7:15-16: "...for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I...." Rom. 7:19-20, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spitzer Prostitution Story Not Only About Men and Sex: Working Mothers, Children, Drugs and Other Baggage in the Complaint

...the girls who have children
tend to have
a little more baggage going on...

Can't help wondering...
what you're wondering about?

I haven't a clue about Spitzer's part in this story. Time will tell all, I'm sure.

My concern is, as always, about children and child abuse. No, as far as we know, this story doesn't include anything about child prostitutes, but there is plenty of other harm being done to innocent children who will struggle to carry the baggage from this one.

This is about the more subtle abuses of the children related to the women mentioned in this complaint, the ones whose mothers have to leave "work" early to pick them up from school, the ones whose mothers turn to drugs in order to continue with their "work," the ones whose mothers are creating the risk of endangering their children's health, well-being and even safety by their choice of employment and the performances it entails.

Regardless of Spitzer's role in the story, how difficult is this for his teenage daughters to endure? What suffering will they experience now and after effects in the future? How much damage to their trust, their beliefs, their values because this story suggests their father participated in this so much more than may ever even turn out even to be true. How much are they suffering because of whatever their mother may be suffering?

How many of the three named as defendants in this case, or mentioned as "models" are mothers? For that matter are sisters, aunts, even grandmothers of children who stand to fall under the burden of dealing with the baggage coming with extended aspects of the story. What about those whose fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers may yet be pulled into the story? How many of the people involved...the clients, the employees, the business managers...are themselves child abuse survivors?

When does a parent's personal choices become child maltreatment by virtue (OMG - no pun intended) of them being a form of neglect, a failure to protect their children from harm.

In spite of my concern for the children, I find the details in the complaint the funniest reading I've done in a long time. I admit I can imagine the humour in a movie playing it all out on a big screen. Imagine the guy waiting who gets the call that she is running late because it's pouring rain and she can't find her "little pocketbook with all my slips." The one who hears, "UH, excuse me a minute while I take this call about my next assignment." Or finds his business intentionally cut short , like maybe with a hasty, "Oops...sorry...I know it's a 40 minute hour... but I gotta pick the kids up from school, now!"

Viagra could make quite a commercial about the men exercising their "buy-out clauses"... I that called E-Z Access? And excuse me... who decided to use QAT Consulting as a name for the money-laundering business expense set up? Can you keep a straight face imagining the guy worrying about "getting busted,"...although maybe that was an intended pun?

Or doesn't your heart break for the pitiful guy who complained that " it was getting harder and harder to do business with 'them,'" because the company instituted a new demand of a 55% deposit, so he had to ask "whether direct deposit meant going to the bank himself" to take care of it. How does the guy feel who finds out his credit is so poor he has to pay full cash up front, and the company recommends he put up an extra $2000 to make it easier to access services the next time?

Or how about the client who "has enough credit that they can take their time this evening and tomorrow morning. She . . . doesn't necessarily have to raceout @ 9am." Must be a real ego booster, huh? What about the poor slob who jumps through all the hoops only to be told the person of his choice "would not be available for the appointment." Must be ego-crushing, huh?

What about the potential hire who talked to a friend who "done [sic] her first job for you" and was confused and shocked...shocked, I tell you!...that the friend had to do it "twice in one hour" for only $500 and didn't even get dinner out of the deal. And pity the poor business managers... so much trouble doing business with a girl doing drugs, and that not even a sometimes thing because, "a lot of these girls deteriorate to this point."

And no farce worth the watching would be complete without the multiple phone and e-mail exchanges needed just to make an appointment...or keep it, negotiations over price, complaints over quality...or lack of..., late mail deliveries, phones not working, missed transportation connections...unavailable flights, clandestine arrangements for room access, hidden keys, doors ajar, on an on, ad nauseum.

With all this easy material who needs comedy writers for SNL, sitcoms, or any of the other late-nite shows?

But this isn't far as we know at this time...and I suspect for those involved none of this is humorous. What's worst as far as I'm concerned is knowing there are too many real children hurting over this. And probably very few if any adults being aware, or taking care of them. For me that's not funny at all.

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Constitutional Rights: Home Schooling? Abuse? Neglect? None of the Above?

..."allowing every person to make his own
standards on matters of conduct
in which society as a whole
has important interests”
is precluded by
“the very concept of ordered liberty ...

Can't help wondering...

what you're wondering about today?

I'm wondering about parents, children and constitutional rights a lot lately... usually with an emphasis on child abuse of course. But today the news from California focuses on another aspect of that concept... home schooling. will I. parents have a constitutional right to homeschool their children?

So...did they ever?

Nowhere in the Croskey Court document is the proposition presented as anything new, let alone supported by cherry-picked words quoted by this blogger called KipEsquire, that "California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,"...

But by cleverly taking a few words out of context, KipEsquire, and others doing the same thing today, create a firestorm that sucks even the CA Governor into the smoky maelstrom. The choice of words easily leads the careless reader to believe this ruling drastically changes something…forcibly rips away someone's inalienable and constitutional rights...deprives parents of some previously assumed authority over their children's education. No doubt it threw welcome fuel on the fire that smolders among the more radical home schoolers.

KipEsquire is clever. He throws out the lit match with this:

"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28.

No doubt knowing full well the sparks will fly on that one, KipEsquire then fans the flames with this:

"Parents have a legal duty to see to their children's schooling under the provisions of these laws."

And knowing, no doubt, that with eyes burning no one will notice, KipEsquire splashes more fuel on their blazing emotions with this:

"Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said."

Sound like if you home school, you have no right to do so and face prosecution if you do?

However, that isn't what The Croskey Court finds at all. Here are the words KipEsquire chooses to use placed back in their original context:

The trial court’s reason for declining to order public or private schooling for the children was its belief that parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home. However, California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children.

That doesn't say you can't home school your children, or are in danger of prosecution if you do. The Croskey Court opinion does say the trial court declined "to order public or private schooling" because of a belief the parents have a constitutional right to home school their children.

However, the issue of a parent's constitutional right to home school was settled prior to this case in the California Courts:

Thus, while the petition for extraordinary writ asserts that the trial court’s refusal to order attendance in a public or private school was an abuse of discretion, we find the refusal was actually an error of law.

Abuse of discretion or error of law? The Croskey Court confirms that parents do have a right to home school in CA, when they do so in accordance with existing law:

It is clear to us that enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor children unless (1) the child is enrolled in a private full-time day school and actually attends that private school, (2) the child is tutored by a person holding a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught, or (3) one of the other few statutory exemptions to compulsory public school attendance (Ed. Code, § 48220 et seq.) applies to the child.

Finally, the Croskey Court notes:

Because the parents in this case have not demonstrated that any of these exemptions apply to their children, we will grant the petition for extraordinary writ.

Amazing to me that KipEsquire, who claims to be a lawyer, albeit a NY not CA lawyer, also says:

"…It is a fine line (or a massive chasm, depending on your point of view) between insisting, as I do, that there is no right to badly homeschool your child and this court's ruling that there is no right to homeschool whatsoever…" (KipEsquire's emphasis; my hi-lite).

And, KipEsquire continues:

"…To adopt a bright-line rule that any homeschooling is "bad" homeschooling is arbitrary, irrational -- and likely an unconstitutional violation of due process. Even in the knowledge that some homeschooling will be bad homeschooling, the state should be required to demonstrate that a particular parent is failing to properly homeschool a particular child, just as it should be required to demonstrate that a particular parent is neglecting or abusing a particular child." (KipEsquire's emphases; my hi-lite)

KipEsquire's rant becomes of particular interest to me with those last words! But this post is so long that I will continue my thoughts next time….so long, so long!

For you:
California Court: No Right to Homeschool In re RACHEL L. et al., Persons Coming,8599,1720697,00.html?imw=YCriminalizing Home Schoolers Schooling

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ripping the Nest Apart for Abused Children

Children and their parents
are nested in a broader family group:
those people to whom they are connected
through kinship and other relationships
American Humane: FGDM

Can't help wondering...
what you're wondering about today?

I'm thinking about families, remembering aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, siblings. Most are gone now, but the sense of belonging, of being a part of something remains as comforting as ever.

Imagine ripping these children from their great-grandmother in order to protect them from an abusive or neglectful parent. Her loss would be devestating. Their loss incalculable. With her would go extended family members, family history, culture, mentors of skills and talents, safe harbors for all kinds of life storms.

I wonder what I would be without the grandmother who adored me and made no secret of it, the extended family members who gave me the joys and experiences of books and learning, scouting, who introduced me to the comfort of religion, the pride in "our" pew in the church, taught me of the local landmarks that created connections of my family to place through generations that came before me, gave me a sense of a history that included me and would pass on through me to next generations.

What of those who taught me manners not learned at home, values and pride in craftsmanship, who provided regular escapes from a horrific home life? What if my brothers, my reasons for hanging on were ripped from my life? What of the pets, friends, neighborhood places, schools and teachers that served as lifelines during rough times? Sure, I might have suffered less neglect and abuse by being removed from my mom and dad...maybe...but there is no doubt that I would have suffered greatly from the loss of all the other positives that come from having a connection to time and place and people.

For some reason when good people set out to do good things and don't consider all the consequences that may occur as a result of their decisions, they can cause more damage than had they done nothing. The road to hell... and we all know the rest of that! The decision to hasten the time from removing children from their homes until parental rights are terminated in order to stop the horrors of children lost in systems and place the children in permanent situations sooner sounds like one of those good intentions!

My grandson was "lucky" when the state took him from my daughter, for she was a Heroin addict, with all that includes for a young female, and his life was in jeopardy. But was he so lucky when the foster parents, eager to adopt him, and case-worker believing it best, pushed hard for that closure as soon as they could legally do so? I have no answer of course. Once the adoption took place, my daughter wasn't the only one locked out of his life when the records were "closed."

So when as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for Abused and Neglected Children) I participated in a Family Group Decision Making program I was thrilled to see the children included, along with extended family members and even close friends, in an attempt to create the best possible solutions for the children and their single Mom. How different from other meetings of professionals making decisions based on their biases, values, mood of the moment, mixed with incomplete information about the people whose lives they would change forever! The stake holders at Family Group Decision Making meetings have a lot more at stake, to say the least.

If you are interested in knowing more here is a bit....

Family Group Decision Making in Child Welfare: Purpose, Values and Processes
The values associated with FGDM include:
• Children have a right to maintain their kinship and cultural connections throughout their lives;
• Children and their parents belong to a wider family system that both nurtures them and is responsible for them;
• The family group, rather than the agency, is the context for child welfare and child protection resolutions;
• All families are entitled to the respect of the state, and the state needs to make an extra effort to convey respect
to those who are poor, socially excluded, marginalized, or lacking power or access to resources and services;
• The state has a responsibility to recognize, support and build the family group’s capacity to protect and care for
their young relatives;
• Family groups know their own histories, and they use that information to construct thorough plans;
• Active family group participation and leadership is essential for good outcomes for children, but power
imbalances between family groups and child protection agency personnel must first be addressed; and
• The state has a responsibility to defend family groups from unnecessary intrusion and to promote their growth
and strength.

And here are some related links:

How To Solve A Family Problem the Democratic Way

Family Group Decision Making

Families Gaining Their Seat at the Table

Engaging Families in Child Welfare Practice

Family Group Decision Making in Child Welfare Purpose, Values and Processes

Seen but Not Heard? Children and Young People’s Participation
in Family Group Decision Making:Concepts and Practice Issues

Tools for Permanency: Tool #2: Family Group Decision Making

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee