Before I start I urge all PARENTS visit parentalrightsus.org. , parentalrights.org I also urge all Parents to Visit Johnbradshaw.com for resources and tips on parenting because let’s face it, at times we could all use a little help when it comes to childrearing…the toughest, yet most rewarding thing in the world. Also if you know of parenting resources please share.
Let’s Dive in:
I read an interesting article today, and really it kind of typifies what is going on in America. I hate to say that the state is bullying but sometimes I really think they are. My feelings and opinion about Debra Harell leaving her 9-year-old unsupervised in a park this summer might come as strange to some, because I believe children, even over the age of nine, should NOT be exposed to some of the New texts and lessons being given in Health classes and because I am emphatically against the sexually explicate book “It’s Perfectly Normal” (which includes information about abortion) being in an elementary school … But…to that end: After reviewing the information in Ms. Harell’s case, I don’t think she did anything wrong. Well..not enough to have her child taken and to be arrested.
Let me give you the run down, and then I hope we can dialogue on this to help come up with some solutions that don’t involve yet another running to the “government” for help.
According to The Associated Press: Debra Harrell left her nine-year child to play at Summerfield Park. The park has a splash pad, a playground, and basketball courts. The park also has volunteers who come by with free breakfast and lunch. And while her child is not the only one at the park without a parent, because the park holds the feed-a-child program, the single mother was arrested, spent the night in jail, and lost custody of her child for 17 days. Presently she is facing up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted.
So let’s talk about that. Would you not agree that each child reaches a maturity level at different times? Any parent with at least 2 children can attest to this, and I would bet, more often than not, these same parents will attest that one child was ready to be “on their own” at different ages.
What has our society come to? Many claim the world is a much more dangerous place then when we were children Remember that so many Gen X (My generation) had divorced parents who worked we had keys hung around our necks, thus we were labeled the latch key kid generation. I remember when I was a child we would be left home alone all the time…as many people who have comment about this case have also said…
So what has changed? Well first I looked at Kidnapping by age in America, and it would seem that you are most vulnerable if you are a female aged 21. And as a matter of fact, the highest risk group is between 15-27. So we ask…would a parent lose their child at age 15 if that 15 year old went to the park alone…because statistically speaking…that child is at greater risk of harm than the 9 year old.
So let’s dive in deeper. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited children a comprehensive national study back in 1999 showed: 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing. 200,000 children were abducted by family members. 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members. And an estimated 115 children were victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping, which involves someone the child did not know or was an acquaintance of.
In 2013 there were 462,567 entries for missing children under the age of 18 in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
And it gets a little darker. Also according to the Nation Center for Missing and Exploited children: U.S. law enforcement agencies have seen a dramatic increase in cases of sexual exploitation of children since the 1990s this is according to a report to Congress in 2010.
In 2006 U.S. attorneys handled 82.8 percent more child pornography cases than they had in 1994.
State and local law enforcement agencies involved in Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces reported a 230 percent increase in the number of documented complaints of online enticement of children from 2004 to 2008.
ICAC Task Forces noted a more than 1,000 percent increase in complaints of child sex trafficking from 2004 to 2008.
As of March 2014, the CyberTipline has received more than 2.3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation since it was launched in 1998.
As of March 2014, NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 108 million child pornography images since it was created in 2002.
Yikes…so it would seem…our children really are in more danger…so it leads to more questions…doesn’t it:
After reviewing this information and popping many questions into google…I have found two things: Yes children are being more exploited than ever (that is exactly why I don’t like the Its Perfectly Normal book…if you haven’t read it…you should…I am most disturbed by the Big bird talking to the Little bird…and as we know Predators “groom” children they molest now…and part of “grooming” is making the child more at ease with sexual acts) Sorry…went off course there. Anyway…yes children are being more exploited…But they are more at risk from the internet than traditional “stranger danger” …The NSPCC reports that children are safer playing outside than inside their bedrooms (if they have a computer)
So now think about this. Two children age 9. One goes to the park alone, plays in the water, swings, and gets food from the local organization. Gets sunshine. One child is stuck at home, in a room with the internet…all alone…
Seriously. Which one is in more danger? According to the stark facts: The child in his bedroom is at greater risk. Scary…Right…
So I ask….Was it safer for the child to be removed from her home? Was she safer when the State came and placed her in Foster Care? And more importantly what happens to the child if the mother goes to jail… Hmmm…Foster Care?
Let’s go even darker for a minute. There really is a crisis of child trafficking and exploitation in the U.S. But there is a crucial piece of the story many people are unaware of. Most children who are being bought and sold for sex in America are from foster care. Yikes right.
According to a report conducted by The Human Rights Project for Girls (not to be sexist, but unfortunately girls being exploited and kidnapped is considerably higher) and the Child Welfare and Domestic Child Sex trafficking…The following has been shown:
In 2013, 60 percent of the child sex trafficking victims recovered as part of a FBI nationwide raid from over 70 cities were children from foster care or group homes.
• In 2012, Connecticut reported 88 child victims of sex trafficking. Eighty-six were child welfare involved, and most reported abuse while in foster care or residential placement.
• In 2012, Los Angeles County, California reported that of the 72 commercially sexually exploited girls in their Succeed Through Achievement and Resilience (STAR) Court Program, 56 were child-welfare involved.
• In 2007, New York City identified 2,250 child victims of trafficking. Seventy-five percent of those experienced some contact with the child welfare system, mostly in the context of abuse and neglect proceedings.
Now I don’t want to put all the blame on the Foster Care system as I believe it should be the backstop to help protect children, but as the National Coalition for Child Protection reform attests: The more that the child welfare system has to take in children who don’t really need to be in the foster care system…the less time and resources they have to protect those children who are in need of help. (No one would argue if there was only one bed left and they had to choose between the nine-year old girl who was left unsupervised at a park and a 9 year old boy who was being raped by his mother…that the little boy being raped…most certainly needs help and should get the bed. )
Okay, so now we are aware that children are in danger because we have some sick people in this world.
One step might be to look at the factors that are making our youth vulnerable?
Being a female between the ages of 12 and 14
• A history of sexual and physical abuse
• Child welfare involvement, especially out-of-home foster care placement
• Being a runaway or homeless youth
• Living in an impoverished community
• Substance dependency
Now I want you to take pause, because if what I just said are indeed factors that make youth vulnerable to the depraved sick child traffickers…we can only assume it will get worse…WHY? Take a look at 2 of them: Foster care placement and substance dependency. We know for a fact that many drugs for ADHD and other so-called behavioral problems have black box warnings about future drug dependency. We know that children in Foster Care are being Excessively medicated 4.5 times as likely…. And with 1 in 13 Children taking psychiatric medications…Well it doesn’t take genius to know that we are in for a Storm like no other when these children come of age.
Not to mention….Sexual abuse begets sexual abuse…It grows, and grows like the worst kind of plague.
So what can we do? I think the answer is clear. We need to start building strong community and family ties. While I don’t think it is right to stay together just for the children…divorced parents, in the very least, could live near each other and share in the responsibilities. I think that each person should build a network of friends. And I know this is hard…and takes a little work…but in the end. Man is not an island.
We need to give our children tools to keep them safe. What does that mean: We too have to learn about grooming. Which I promised I would talk about, but I am almost out of time, so I will put that together and post it later today.
All Right….Your Turn: How would you solve this crisis in America? Remember the more we talk about it…the safer our children will be because we can come up with solutions.
Again, my solution: Form strong family bonds. Teach your child to be responsible for themselves. If you can, give your child a cell phone. Though I don’t like “tracking” devices, in the case of a child walking to the park alone…maybe that is a good thing to strap around their ankle. What about creating something like a bracelet that has a panic button on it. What about forming children playgroups…you know…all the little kids on the block agree to go to the park together.
Best Solution: To anyone out there that has pedophilia tendencies…Do children a favor…GET HELP!!!! Do whatever you have to do to “cure” yourself. And families with a member that is a pedophile, watch that person…because even though I like to dream that they might be cured…I wouldn’t bet my child’s innocence on it.
Please leave comments and solutions. Together we can help give people ideas and help them protect their children. Because in the end…I truly believe that most parents love their child more than anyone else could ever love them. Let’s not add to the problem by continually destroying child-parent bonds. Yes, kids that are being sexually or physically abused should be removed…but maybe to a relative, a friend, and I think we need to start teaching parenting skills in school, not just feeding and waking up with a crying baby…but real skills.
Source one: http://www.project.org/info.php?recordID=158
Source two: http://media.wix.com/ugd/807686_65c36196779a225fe0da811224ef9e4d.pdf
Source Three: http://nccpr.info/the-nccpr-quick-read/
Source Four: http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=ssw_facpub
Source Five: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/25/1-in-13-children-taking-psychiatric-medication-in-us/
Info on Book: http://youtu.be/xDLQyVNZexY
(If you want a personal account of one child’s story. Please see the following Congressional Testimony that Withelma Ortiz Walker Pettigrew made before the House Way and Means Committee: Link: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/t_ortiz_walker_pettigrew_testimony_hr102313.pdf)