This series is not a professional assessment of the issue of child abuse. This writer is a retired professional social worker in mental health and addictions family.
This series is a collection of thoughts and resources that look at the issues that block improvements in individuals and families that if perhaps were understood by more people, different requests would be made of lawmakers and systems, law enforcement and courts. Maybe, preventing CPS chaos, maybe preventing child deaths.
As with the prior article, these articles are information dense, and each sentence or paragraph is illustrative of working the issue to a point. This writer has written about 600 articles over the last 3 years, many having to do with similar issues.
Many people dislike articles like this, they find the information to be "promoting sex", "disgusting", "trashy" or "that just CANNOT happen in America".
a.) This information is not for the weak of heart, and for many the collection of information may not be available anywhere else.
b.) That isn't so much because it is bizarrely unique as it is that people don't want to see it, have trouble getting it in a continuous thought and get grossly overwhelmed by reading it, and then don't know what to do.
c.) This is much like taking a class. After reading materials, share it with someone else and send it to your state elected officials with one of those little social media buttons. Or "Like it" on FB.
d.) Because if you don't, it takes the average person about 3 months to digest a topic so churning, and then 3 more months of whatever will have happened without anyone acting. Capiche? People "freeze up" and have trouble putting a thought to a plan, and acting. This is normal, and is actually a version of trauma..... talking about it, sharing it helps break the power of that block.
e.) Think about that when you consider why someone did or did not file a child abuse report... and mix that with what happens when systems mis-respond, or never respond.
f.) Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. For the undefended child.
Where do child abuse/child death problems begin? How early should anyone act?
The recent article by the Miami Herald indicates that the state of Florida waited too long to act, and in about a 5 year period 400+ children were maimed, tortured and then killed without any or without sufficient Child Protective Services responses. The article here: http://www.examiner.com/article/systems-induced-trauma-lynchpins-just-wh... identifies that the State of Florida rolled it's response system to supporting families, while dropping system dollars, which ultimately resulted in the deaths of the children there. Every state, for the most part seems to be having some version of these issues. HHS/CPS that just plain doesn't respond and somebody under the age of 21 dies, typically someone under the age of 6 dies.
So what is that made of in terms of what is offered in the world about issues.
1.) Addictions and mental health issues are untended, misunderstood and poorly responded to.
The whopper issue in Oklahoma is the substance abuse problem, where per local news sources and some elected officials, adults are trashed on prescription medicines, alcohol and street drugs at rates that top the nation.
These impaired adults are struggling to care for themselves, keep a job and care for children. Methamphetamine, synthetic prescription opiates and heroin make for new problems that either haven't been seen at this rate or haven't been treated successfully here in part because of the high availability of the substances, the intensity of these addictions and the low availability of care for mental health or addictions issues, combined with pre-existing mental health issues in the person and the high levels of PTSD in Oklahoma.
Addictions and mental health issues roll for the individual, the family of the addicted, the employer of the addicted and the community of the addicted. It isn't a one man show and cannot be successfully treated unless this system is considered and given aid.
2.) Issues of child abuse in prevention for today's children and in consideration of adults at risk is not well understood. Now. Roll the clock back to when these parent/adults were kids.
Erin Merryn is a professional social worker who is traveling the United States attempting to get every state to pass "Erin's Law". Erin's law provided basic information and education to children, youth and parents about sex abuse prevention. Erin's point has many parts, but one thing she said was she was unable to exactly articulate what was happening to her because she did not have language for her body, or the abuse. She was sexually assaulted with full penetration under the age of 10. Repeatedly.
Oklahoma doesn't have this Erin's law. It seems hasn't invited this Mrs. and Mother to be, to come speak to the Oklahoma Legislature to invite them to consider it. http://www.erinmerryn.net/erins-law.html
Has she come to speak to your legislature in your state? Do you already have an Erin's Law? The frequency of child sex assault, child sex trafficking, child porn or even child sexualization is under reported, and under documented. Ratios range from 1 in 3 to 1 in 7 for both boys and girls.
See this link for more information on why this is a problem for many reasons. http://www.examiner.com/article/potus-reveals-sex-assault-report-here-ar...
3.) Pregnancy is an optional state of health for some. Oklahoma schools do not teach sex education, do not teach critical thinking. By law. http://www.examiner.com/article/teen-dating-vpm-part-7-what-s-that-got-t...
It isn't chosen directly by others who do not have access to safe and effective, affordable methods of birth control.That is probably the first systems induced trauma.
4.) Oklahoma has a safe haven law. http://www.examiner.com/article/baby-safety-month-part-8-safe-haven-law This allows a newly delivered baby to be given up to authorities without questions or consequences to the departing Mother. ( there are 7 other articles on baby safety, fyi)
5.) Oklahoma has a law that basically holds the door open for a child to be placed with a parent who is a perpetrator. http://www.examiner.com/article/little-oklahoma-sarah-gone-to-california This problem has many parts to it, so here, will just leave that as a freestanding statement. Lawmakers, Judges and the Oklahoma Governor know about this case, but not one law has come forward to aid this girl, who as a minor is unrepresented in any forum. The problems of http://www.examiner.com/article/policy-custom-or-law-oklahoma-courtrooms are tended by any advocacy group really.
6.) The issue of Child Human Rights in CPS systems and in courts is untended nationwide. Children's needs are undocumented, they are unrepresented by genuine advocacy in most places and are the most vulnerable among us. The right to live a life free of interference of systems induced traumas, free of abuse.
7.) Children have the right to be cared for, loved and nurtured without being a dollar sign to their parents, or any system.
8.) Civil Rights Lawyer and champion to child rights, Marion Wright Edelman's Cradle to Prison Pipeline is a huge issue in the processes of understanding over-involvement from systems and improper application of involvement from systems. Some of her material is explained here. http://www.examiner.com/article/counteracting-convenient-ignorance
9.) This double bind Bush era law keeps anyone from really understanding systemic gaffs and acting effectively. http://www.examiner.com/article/understand-which-federal-law-must-change...
10.) Most people believe that federal oversights, are both in place, effective and here to help. And that American government has a systems of checks and balances that allow higher ups to find a problem perhaps the State cannot find, and then fix it. Not so. It is not so much that the problem isn't seen or understood, but that State's don't seem to have the best plans, and feds can't apply plans based upon limited laws that allow for limited audits, limited findings... but also there isn't a path to act. Currently.
So here is a similar somewhat non-human gig from the American regulatory past.
Here's the turn of the last century food manufacturing issue from the Teddy Roosevelt era (think the book The JUNGLE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle )
The short version is that food manufacturing and preparation was unmonitored and making people sick, while serving substandard food to the public, which created other problems.
Note in that link about a reporter/author Upton Sinclair, that President Theodore Roosevelt made random complaints about this (The Jungle) book topic, until he read the actual book material, and looked at the facts...by visiting the situation and talking to experts...
THEN Roosevelt decided that pieces and parts of what was written in this (predecessor to Reality TV) did construct a viable problem. Upton Sinclair had a point, based in fact and there were some things missing that could be applied.
With that information Roosevelt implemented food preparation safety and health/cleanliness standards. Roosevelt found a lynchpin he wasn't looking for, on a problem he personally wasn't effected by or aware of, he got with experts and they developed many standards to improve this problem. Improving the core problems changed other problems and things got better across the board for working class and impoverished people.
Roosevelt who was pretty great at presevation and systems and details worked to understand a problem he didn't believe existed until facts came before him in an organized fashion, and in the end Roosevelt pulled the lynchpin himself.
11.) The general public typically mostly wants to never, ever have to deal with CPS agencies, never ever hear of dastardly deeds done to children and never have to report. See item a-f above.
Now tell another human being and ask them to read this, act and pass it on.