The US: Child Abuse Capital of the Industrialized World.

This is chilling stuff:

Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada's and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year. Why is that?

from the BBC

I'd be interested to see analysis that compares the rate of child and neglect to access to free and safe abortions, as well as analysis focussing on social security levels.

I know it always comes back to abortions, but I think seeing them legalised might help. It feels like these people are adamant in their refusal to respect the 'sanctity of life' regardless of law. I, for one, would like to see these kids never existing than living short, sad lives.

But other than that I don't know what to say. Sort your mess out, America.

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

I know it always comes back to abortions, but I think seeing them legalised might help. It feels like these people are adamant in their refusal to respect the 'sanctity of life' regardless of law. I, for one, would like to see these kids never existing than living short, sad lives.

But other than that I don't know what to say. Sort your mess out, America.

Don't forget the sex ed/family planning/birth control side of this. There's a concerted effort to keep people, especially young people, ignorant and fearful of their bodies. The natural result of this is ..well... natural.

When pregnancy is used as a societal punishment for pre marital sex, this seems to be the inevitable result.

edit: bad math.

What's making my head spin is this is a problem that needs nothing more than political will to fix. And who the hell is going to stand up and say "You know what? Here in TX we're just fine with our kids being neglected and beaten to death"

As a victim of child abuse I continually watched the system fail on every level. I grew up in poverty with parents who suffered from mental illness. In America, if you are poor you can expect to be forgotten about and marginalized. Poverty begets poverty and dysfunction begets dysfunction. Our social programs are a mess. We have closed down mental health facilities to the point where we just randomly bus mentally ill homeless people from city to city just to get them off the street.

Before we talk about abortions or sex-ed we need to talk about the failure of our government to represent the majority. We need to talk about the value we place on human life and liberty. We need to talk about taking that money we spend on wars and out of date policies on drugs. We need to talk about education and jobs. I could go on and on but this is a screed I've done before.

This is what happens when you put profit before people. This is what happes when Capitalism collapses in on itself and the world is owned by the few. This is what happens when you cut social programs and people cheer because we are taught that socialism is evil and everyone who is poor can only blame themselves for their plight.

Child abuse happens because we don't care about our children on a societal level. If we did we wouldn't be neglecting them. We would invest in their education. We would make sure they have a hot lunch and an up-to-date textbook. We would have community programs and outreach programs to occupy them and provide another set of eyes to catch abuse.

This isn't a puzzling conundrum, this is our policy. We don't give a sh*t about children. OUR children, sure, but the poor ones in the ghetto? That's their problem.

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

I know it always comes back to abortions, but I think seeing them legalised might help. It feels like these people are adamant in their refusal to respect the 'sanctity of life' regardless of law. I, for one, would like to see these kids never existing than living short, sad lives.

But other than that I don't know what to say. Sort your mess out, America.

Just a little thing I thought I'd throw in regarding this point. If you haven't, you should check out the documentary that was based on the book Freakonomics. One of the segments involves the skyrocketing crime rate in the 1980s and how there's a direct correlation between it's eventual decrease and the legalisation of abortion. Much of the discussion revolves around things like breaking the poverty cycle. It's a very interesting watch.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

I know it always comes back to abortions, but I think seeing them legalised might help. It feels like these people are adamant in their refusal to respect the 'sanctity of life' regardless of law. I, for one, would like to see these kids never existing than living short, sad lives.

But other than that I don't know what to say. Sort your mess out, America.

Just a little thing I thought I'd throw in regarding this point. If you haven't, you should check out the documentary that was based on the book Freakonomics. One of the segments involves the skyrocketing crime rate in the 1980s and how there's a direct correlation between it's eventual decrease and the legalisation of abortion. Much of the discussion revolves around things like breaking the poverty cycle. It's a very interesting watch.

I've also read an interesting article correlating the banning of lead in petrol with declining violent crime rates. It also cited soil lead levels as a strong predictor of violent crime rates in a given area.

Considering all our other crime rates, I don't consider that to be much of an outlier. This is a more violent country than most industrialized nations for a lot of reasons.

TheArtOfScience wrote:

This isn't a puzzling conundrum, this is our policy. We don't give a sh*t about children. OUR children, sure, but the poor ones in the ghetto? That's their problem.

Yeah, this.

The U.S. is always right, so therefore more children simply need to be abused worldwide. Get with the program, rest of the planet.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

The U.S. is always right, so therefore more children simply need to be abused worldwide. Get with the program, rest of the planet.

IMAGE(http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Number-One.jpg)

Wait, am I doing this right?

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

I know it always comes back to abortions, but I think seeing them legalised might help. It feels like these people are adamant in their refusal to respect the 'sanctity of life' regardless of law. I, for one, would like to see these kids never existing than living short, sad lives.

But other than that I don't know what to say. Sort your mess out, America.

Abortion is legal in the US already.

The United States spends more per student when it comes to education than anyone else. Inner city schools tend to get more dollars per student than the suburban schools. It isn't a lack of caring or money for children. That's garbage and everyone here knows it. The issue is very complex and we cannot just blame the man. I spend every Saturday from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM volunteering in the inner city of Milwaukee teaching financial literacy to the "ghetto" and there are deep systemic problems that the government can help improve on but a lot of it has to do with people wanting to better themselves. I've had people come to my class, many people who never have had a checking and savings account because they want to stay "under the radar" or they think if they don't have a bank account they'll not need to pay taxes, which most of the time, they'll get anything they paid in back. We have these evil shops like H&R Block that target the poor and uneducated to prepare their taxes when these filers could do their taxes for free, file for free, right online. The problem isn't a lack of caring it's a lack of wanting to have the tough conversations about the actual problems and not worrying about where to lay the blame. Blame is done. We need to actually just fix the problems.

At some point forced sterilization ought be imposed. It would never fly politically but there are people who simply should not be allowed to have any more tries at the whole parenting thing once they've been uncovered as the monsters they are.

krev82 wrote:

At some point forced sterilization ought be imposed. It would never fly politically but there are people who simply should not be allowed to have any more tries at the whole parenting thing once they've been uncovered as the monsters they are.

I completely disagree. Forced sterilization has a horrible, evil and racist past.

Ulairi wrote:
krev82 wrote:

At some point forced sterilization ought be imposed. It would never fly politically but there are people who simply should not be allowed to have any more tries at the whole parenting thing once they've been uncovered as the monsters they are.

I completely disagree. Forced sterilization has a horrible, evil and racist past.

Yes it absolutely has.

I'm just not convinced that that's a reason to discard it out of hand if it can be useful as a tool to protect kids from abuse, and could conceivably be used in a race-blind way.

Not that I'm convinced that it's an effective tool to do that either, just questioning your logic there.

Jonman wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
krev82 wrote:

At some point forced sterilization ought be imposed. It would never fly politically but there are people who simply should not be allowed to have any more tries at the whole parenting thing once they've been uncovered as the monsters they are.

I completely disagree. Forced sterilization has a horrible, evil and racist past.

Yes it absolutely has.

I'm just not convinced that that's a reason to discard it out of hand if it can be useful as a tool to protect kids from abuse, and could conceivably be used in a race-blind way.

Not that I'm convinced that it's an effective tool to do that either, just questioning your logic there.

Extreme solutions like that sound nice when our blood is up and we're angry, but would inevitably be horrifically mis-used in all sorts of terrible ways. Would you trust our justice system to hand out that form of punishment in a fair and equitable way?

Must . . . resist . . . long rant about capital punishment . . .

Ulairi wrote:

We need to actually just fix the problems.

Given that's your closing statement, the rest is shockingly free of solutions and shockingly unfree of shifting blame.

I don't know that better funding is useless. What I do know is complex. I know I worked for a goodly time at a treatment high school--not the sort of early intervention program TAOS describes, but I suspect he'd agree that it was the sort of thing that deserves funding. It was state-funded, serving kids with some sort of mental health diagnosis. While I was there, Day-treatment served about 100 to 150 students who were bussed in daily and remained on site from about 7 AM to 5 PM. Residential Programs--Boys Unit, Girls Unit, another Boys Unit for the very low-functioning, lock-down Addiction and Dependency for both genders, and Transition, for the A&D kids once they graduated from lock-down--had about 60 to 100 at any one time. Education staff alone consisted of 15 to 20 teachers, 6 to 8 paraeducators, and a few specialists and secretaries. Treatment-wise there were about 15 general therapists, 10 advocates, perhaps 20 residential staff, and a number of specialize therapists (recreational, sex abuse, addiction, and so on). Students included kids who liked pot too much and needed the chance to grow up, charming and less-than charming gang-involved lunkheads, profound autistics, the eating-disordered, the severely retarded, the sexually abused and abusive (this often went hand in hand), one girl of average IQ and disposition who needed boundaries her developmentally challenged parents couldn't provide, an heir-apparent to a polygamist cult, an addicted white-supremacist with a skin-pigment disorder, shattered wrecks of children unlikely to ever be whole, and once a suspected rapist with a genius level IQ who seemed tailor made for Dexter. By far the most effective were the Residential units--while many of the most troubled kids were there, they benefited greatly from being put in a stable environment, free from triggers, with solid boundaries and plenty of functioning adults to model behavior.

Just after I left, the education budgets got slashed as the state budget tightened. Residential programs were killed, straight up (including a lock-down sex abuse unit that had recently been opened). I can't say how many students there are, but staff stands at about 5 teachers, no paraeducators, 4 advocates, and 2 general therapists.

At the most cynical, I'd say schools like that keep these kids off the streets and out of the community, where at best they'd be shoplifting Doritos, at worst they'd be re-enacting horrors that derailed their souls. At the least cynical, we helped children overcome adversities that most of us are fortunate enough to never have in our path, breaking a cycle of evil with generations of inertia behind it. This last bit is something that often gets missed--abuse is usually a cycle, not a phenomenon that springs from nowhere. Chances are an abuser was once an abusee. Platitudes about personal responsibility and the like are as useful as a wet cardboard tube.

So yeah, my solution is better funding for schools and programs like that.

Those treatment facilities can be pretty horrific, though. I'm not sure how smart it is to socially mix sick kids with other sick kids. They need social contact, but those kinds of mental illnesses can reinforce one another and really screw kids up.

And, yes, given the horrible abuses of prior forced sterilization programs, revisiting that idea is not appealing.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Extreme solutions like that sound nice when our blood is up and we're angry, but would inevitably be horrifically mis-used in all sorts of terrible ways. Would you trust our justice system to hand out that form of punishment in a fair and equitable way?

Must . . . resist . . . long rant about capital punishment . . .

Heh - I had to resist the same rant, and I share your skepticism of the accuracy of the justice system. I don't trust it to hand out any form of punishment in a fair and equitable way.

But it's precisely because this is a country where capital punishment is lawful and practiced that crying foul over a less invasive punishment seems out of whack to me.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Malor wrote:

Those treatment facilities can be pretty horrific, though.

We've reached the point where "ethically managed" is no longer implied, it needs to be stated?

About 30 years ago, sadly.

Malor wrote:

Those treatment facilities can be pretty horrific, though.

We've reached the point where "ethically managed" is no longer implied, it needs to be stated?

Malor wrote:

I'm not sure how smart it is to socially mix sick kids with other sick kids. They need social contact, but those kinds of mental illnesses can reinforce one another and really screw kids up.

I should note this was one aspect of a district-wide program, which included all sorts of Transition stages, including mixed schedules at mainstream schools.

TheArtOfScience wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

We've reached the point where "ethically managed" is no longer implied, it needs to be stated?

About 30 years ago, sadly.

System wide, of course. But it's sad that a simple internet discussion can't just take it for granted.

And the foster care system desperately needs...something. Better oversight and more rigorous screening at the barest of minimums. There are not enough caseworkers or stable placements, and far too many cases where ugly situations get made worse there. Whatever can be done to motivate solid households to become foster families needs doing.

We've reached the point where "ethically managed" is no longer implied, it needs to be stated?

I guess there's some context here that I'm missing? It sounds like this is a settled issue that I blundered into from a different direction?

Don't think so. You said facilities can be horrible places, and they can. But when a facility is ethically managed, it's a less horrible place than, for example, a household where family time is sitting in a garage huffing paint while the patriarch discusses white supremacy. I kind of expected the benefit of the doubt that I wasn't advocating hellish, abusive asylums of the damned.

krev82 wrote:

At some point forced sterilization ought be imposed. It would never fly politically but there are people who simply should not be allowed to have any more tries at the whole parenting thing once they've been uncovered as the monsters they are.

Every other major industrial nation on Earth manages to do a better job preventing their children being beaten to death without punitive mutilation of their citizens. I think you're looking at this from the wrong angle.

It's not an ideal solution by any means, it will never prevent any 'first case' in a given family, at best it would prevent repeat offenses. However I'm of the opinion that if your neglect or abuse is such that your child(ren) die or must be permanently taken away then you've given up your right to make more children. I fully acknowledge that this is an extreme view which I am biased about for various reasons.

Stepping back from that - Others have already presented better ideas above. Certainly other industrialized countries are managing lower rates somehow, hopefully America can figure out what the differences are and begin to rectify the issue.

We can. But we won't.

/cynic

Maq wrote:

What's making my head spin is this is a problem that needs nothing more than political will to fix. And who the hell is going to stand up and say "You know what? Here in TX we're just fine with our kids being neglected and beaten to death"

Vote for me, and I'll say all kinds of crazy sh*t. I've been working on a scheme for awhile to get elected to some TX political office as an insane, far-right nutbag, then once in, vote completely the opposite, knowing I'd never get re-elected, and not caring.