September 1st, 2010

PinkButterfly

The REAL Young and The Restless . . .


Typically, I share what I learn at writing conferences, but never share what I learn at psychology oriented conferences. Well, today I’m sharing. Maybe the information will help you with a story line. Maybe it will cause you to respond with compassion when you meet someone who is struggling. Without further ado, highlights from the 18th Annual Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect…

 

Our keynote speaker, Deb Shropshire, MD, a pediatrician, delivered a real and sad and hopeful speech regarding children in foster care. Here are the highlights

 

Fifty percent of children in foster care are chronically sick versus sixteen percent of children in stable homes.

 

By the sixth grade, children in foster care are already one year behind their peers, due to numerous relocations, illnesses, and inability to concentrate.

 

Fifty percent of children in foster care will not complete high school. And only two percent of the fifty percent who do finish high school will complete vocational studies. (Anyone want to guess what kind of job this kid is going to get? I bet it won’t include health care, which is unfortunate because they have chronic illnesses.)

 

Persons who have experienced five or more negative childhood experiences will experience a life time of mental health and health problems unless they have the following: mental health treatment AND mature relationships AND a positive role model.

 

Every interaction I have with someone is an opportunity to influence (modify) their trajectory in the positive direction.  Don’t squander it.

 

In the afternoon I attended a workshop about the impact of Parent’s Substance Abuse on Children. Here are the highlights…

 

Whatever is damaged in utero due to the mother’s substance use is damaged for good.  The child can make gains, but they will likely always struggle.

 

Eleven-year old and ten-year-old sisters gave boys and men blow jobs in order to get money so they could feed their five-year-old sister. (Mom used all the food and rent money to buy meth.)

 

It takes six to seven generations for the impact of substance abuse to drop its hold on a family.

 

Parents will prostitute their children in order to score drugs.

 

Parents will cook meth in their children’s bedroom.

 

Children are FEARCELY loyal to their parents. When they are taken away from them (yes, even when they are sexually and physically abused) they try to reunite with their parents.

 

There are treatments designed to help kids overcome the neglect and abuse. But sometimes, their brains are so messed up from second-hand and third-hand toxin exposure, treatments won’t be as powerful.

 

If you’re still reading, good for you. Now, go out and influence someone. Be the change you want to see in the world!