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