Invisible Children: Preteen Mothers, Adolescent Felons, and What We Can Do About It

Published By: Expert Publishing

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Social Science

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Reviewed by Barbara Broom

Invisible Children! What a revealing title. However, as the author tells us, the children he writes about are all too visible. As a Guardian ad Litem (people who look out for the best interest of children in the social system) in Minnesota's largest county, he sees the horrific and lasting damage done to children.

You have to love a guy with this much passion for children. Although a Minnesota-based story, the problem is nationwide, and we should all read, advocate and react. For example:

-- Every year over 2,000 babies are born to Minnesota mothers who are not high school graduates (1999 stat).

-- 84% of women in federal prison are there for non-violent offenses (implementation of the Kingpin Law for mandatory minimums) -- and women prison population grew by 80% in 20 years. (Where are their children?)

Tikkanen says we are all at risk! Why? His premise is if we don't try to help children when they are first removed from bad home environments -- and help them adequately and effectively -- they will likely suffer all their life. How can abused children learn to trust authority -- or anyone again? How can children with drug-abusing parents learn that someone will take care of their daily needs? Until these questions are answered, we as society will pay in the increased cost of crime, prisons, welfare and social service costs.

Whether physical or sexual abuse, drug-using adults, or the many ways adults hurt children, these children grow up without knowing love, or at least normal love. When they are moved from their home to foster care, they are placed in a new school system. Our education system is not set up to handle such "damaged" children, and often the children become labeled as troubled, and more often, truly are troubled.

According to the author, the education and social system doesn't have the resources, money, people or know-how to deal with so very many damaged children.

Armchair Interviews says: The author packed the book with his passion and purpose: society's involvement in children' in abusive and dysfunctional homes' foster care and the system in general. If you care about your community's welfare, it is a "must read."

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