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When the going gets tough -- the tough get to work making the world a better place...now!

Never, NEVER did I see ahead when I started my Stop the Storm blog seven years ago where the trajectory of my “stop trauma” efforts would take me. I was willing to take off on a journey back then. But there’s a spiral of concern going on here. Into my future. Into the future of all of us! I can’t say I like where “this” is taking me. THIS WHAT? Violence in America? (Let alone across the planet.) What IS violence? Is neglect violence? If not, where, exactly, is the line between these two?

Native American Children’s Safety Act (NACSA)

President Obama signed a new act to amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act by enacting certain requirements for foster care placements in Indian Country. Known as the Native American Children’s Safety Act , the new law places some stringent requirements that may actually harm tribal efforts to implement the Indian Child Welfare Act. It’s tough to argue against efforts to protect our children, and the imposition of tough requirements for that protection. So many...

How you can address the health effects of childhood poverty [Behavioral.net]

In my 27 years working in the behavioral health field, one thing has become abundantly clear: “good health” is dependent on so much more than one’s physical condition. Biological, behavioral, social, cultural, economic and environmental factors all impact the well-being of individuals and communities. This concept, known as “population health,” focuses on a systematic effort to improve health outcomes in subpopulations that share multiple clinical and social attributes—such as women,...

Affordable Care Act dramatically improved health insurance coverage for people living in rural areas [HHS.gov]

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an analysis of how the Affordable Care Act has benefited rural America. The findings, which examine independent studies and other data, show that health coverage in rural counties increased by 8.0 percentage points between late 2013 and early 2015, and the share of rural Americans unable to afford needed care dropped by almost six percentage points. “The Affordable Care Act has helped millions of people in rural areas access...

How child trauma can haunt us as adults [DesMoinesRegister.com]

Yolanda Harden grew up a ward of the state in Lawton, Okla. Chaos marked her childhood, the details of which she chooses to keep private, even at age 34. She drank alcohol and smoked marijuana before she was a teenager. She got pregnant when she was 14 and had a son at 15. For most of her life, Yolanda, who now lives in Rockford, Ia., felt like a clenched fist gripped her heart, she told me in a recent telephone conversation. She believed the root of her struggles was that she was simply...

Heroin's grip: Epidemic scars generation of kids [Courier-Journal.com]

Editor's Note: Today, The Courier-Journal begins a three-part series on the growing scourge of heroin in our community, with a look at its devastating effects on children. Next Sunday, we will examine the threat of infectious disease from rampant intravenous drug use; and the following Sunday, we will share the stories of families seeking solace and support as they struggle with the aftermath of addiction. Miguel Diego spent his first years in heroin’s hell. His mom shot up in front of him.

After years of having an eating disorder, a new mom learns to eat, to feed and to be okay [WashingtonPost.com]

Before my daughter was born, I pictured what it would be like to nurse her. Ever the optimist, I imagined her latching well and smiling up at me as we bonded over feedings. I had read about the benefits of breastfeeding — as well as the challenges. But c’mon, I thought, how difficult could it really be? Fast forward to Feb. 6, when Madelyn entered this world. The first thing I noticed about my daughter was her tongue. She kept sticking it out and staring up at me, imitating the goofy faces...

6 problems with the foster care system — and what you can do to help [Mashable.com]

When Tenaja Jordan came out to her parents at 17 years old, they kicked her out of their home. As a teenager, she was still considered a child in the eyes of the state, and was immediately placed into New York City's child welfare system. Following the trauma of the situation, one question remained on Jordan's mind: Where was she going to live? Jordan made her needs clear to child welfare workers: She didn't want to live on Staten Island or with a homophobic guardian. But that's exactly...

How an Innocent Teenager Confessed to Murder [TheAtlantic.com]

Davontae Sanford was released Wednesday from prison after serving nine years for a murder to which he confessed, but the state now doubts he committed. Sanford is 23, but was 14 when he said he’d killed four people inside a Detroit home. He is blind in one eye because someone had thrown an egg at him when he was nine. As a teenager, he was enrolled in special-education classes. He lived in a rough part of Detroit and tried to fit in by claiming to be part of a gang, or bragging about fights...

How to get more low-income moms screened for depression? CMS says, ‘Bill me!’ [CenterForHealthJournalism.com]

In recent years there’s been a surge in awareness of how common and debilitating maternal depression can be. As the research accumulates and media coverage keeps apace, the idea that depression and related disorders can wreak serious havoc on a mother and affect her baby’s development has given fresh urgency to efforts to get moms more help. Among policymakers, growing recognition of the problem has translated into new programs, with a number of states encouraging screenings and treatment.

Addiction: Balancing treatment, punishment [GreatFallsTribune.com]

David Belcher reported to the Cascade County Courthouse in November 2013 to be sentenced for drug possession and criminal endangerment. He thought he was going to prison for nine years. Instead, he was given a second chance, thanks to his military record, through a spot in the newly established Montana 8th Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court. “I could blame it on my head injury. I could blame it on my PTSD,” Belcher said of his criminal case. “I did have those things — I do have those...

Time and again: This time, Orlando

Photo credit: Sam Hodgson for The New York Times ____________________________ For those of us who know about ACEs science, the questions about Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in an Orlando night club early Sunday morning, aren’t answered yet. In fact, most of the questions haven’t even been asked. There are a couple of hints. According to this New York Times article , “ Mr. Mateen had a chilling history that included talking about killing people, beating his...

Sexual Assault at the University of Alaska

The Juneau Empire published a story [ LINK HERE ] about the rate of sexual assault at the University of Alaska system statewide. It does not paint a pretty picture, with 1 of every 9 students experiencing unwanted or uninvited sexual contact in the preceding year. But I thank the University for conducting the survey and releasing the results (Although they are required by federal law to do so). While this action followed last year’s revelation that the University [ LINK HERE ] was not...

Five things your congregation can do to support criminal justice reform [afsc.org]

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, with over 2.4 million people currently behind bars. Poor people and people of color are incarcerated at vastly disproportionate rates. Many prisoners are held in solitary confinement or denied adequate medical care and educational opportunities, and few resources are invested in reentry or community programs. AFSC works to end mass incarceration, improve conditions for people who are in prison, stop prison...

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