“What’s wrong with you?”

That’s a common question we ask when children act in a self-destructive manner. Perhaps they’re being disruptive in class, misbehaving regularly, hurting themselves, or even having violent thoughts.

A growing body of research suggests “what’s wrong with you?” is actually the incorrect question. The better one is: “What happened to you?”

It has been widely known traumatic experiences suffered early in life — known as adverse childhood experiences — can leave deep emotional scars. But studies now show the effects of trauma can be even more profound than previously believed. These experiences can disrupt healthy development, and change a child’s brain architecture in ways that impact behavior and health throughout life.

Recognized adverse childhood experiences include child abuse and neglect, death of a parent, having a parent with a mental illness, an incarcerated parent or caregiver, substance use and family violence. Sadly, it’s estimated that 24 percent of Texas children have experienced multiple adverse experiences.

That’s a serious public health crisis that requires a cross-systems, comprehensive strategy to solve.

To that end, I’ve partnered with TexProtects (Prevent Child Abuse Texas) to make that vision a reality by authoring House Bill 4183 to address the challenges that adverse experiences pose to our children.

Adverse experiences are often cumulative — exposure to one increases the likelihood of exposure to others. Researchers have found compound exposure increases the likelihood of suicide, depression, substance use, obesity, smoking and leading causes of early death such as stroke, heart attack, cancer and diabetes.

Among Texas children with multiple adverse experiences, 17.2 percent have repeated a school grade (compared to 2.7 percent of children with none), 31 percent are more likely to have two or more chronic health conditions (compared to 10.5 percent with none), and 59 percent have no consistent, comprehensive medical care.

But childhood adversity doesn’t have to dictate a child’s future health and success. By appropriately addressing adverse experiences, as well as root causes, children and families can build resiliency.

Under HB 4183, Texas would deploy a strategy coordinated across state agencies, child well-being and faith-based organizations, neighborhood schools, local medical and mental health service providers, criminal and juvenile justice and the philanthropic community.

A blueprint for our communities may include strategies to train and educate professionals to prevent and assess for adverse experiences, then referring for effective services; providing trauma-informed behavioral counseling; providing high-quality early childhood education; making available voluntary programs that strengthen parenting skills; identifying best practices for Child Protective Services; and successfully treating mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Adverse childhood experiences have staggering economic impacts. Child maltreatment will cost Texas taxpayers an estimated $1.75 billion for CPS in fiscal year 2019, and lifetime costs of 2018 victims — across the education, health care, criminal justice and welfare systems, as well as lost future earnings in the workforce — will add up to more than $58 billion, based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.

Every year Texas waits, those billions accumulate, more lives are damaged, and we ultimately pay a higher price in terms of costs and precious lives.

State Rep. Tan Parker, of House District 63, has authored House Bill 4183 to address adverse childhood experiences in Texas.

(16) comments

Gary Scoggin

“Under HB 4183, Texas would deploy a strategy coordinated across state agencies, child well-being and faith-based organizations, neighborhood schools, local medical and mental health service providers, criminal and juvenile justice and the philanthropic community.

A blueprint for our communities may include strategies to train and educate professionals to prevent and assess for adverse experiences, then referring for effective services; providing trauma-informed behavioral counseling; providing high-quality early childhood education; making available voluntary programs that strengthen parenting skills; identifying best practices for Child Protective Services; and successfully treating mental illness and substance abuse disorders.”

That all sounds good, I suppose, but what does the bill actually do?

Miles Whittington

It's just more ways for the government (State) to take control of our children and remove parents from the process.

Gary Scoggin

The problem with most of these kids is that the parents are already not involved in the process. Or worse yet, the parents are involved and are the cause of the kids' problems.

George Croix

[thumbup]

Diane Turski

Does this acknowledgement of childhood trauma apply to the children being unnecessarily separated from their parents and kept in cages at the southern border by the Trump administration?

Gary Scoggin

Since those kids are not Americans they don't count. They are not worthy of our concern. (We need a sarcasm font on this thing.)

George Croix

Perhaps the Good and Kind folks could give those of us who are not playing in their league a couple of bits of info:
1) Why is this border separation thing terrible under Trump but wasn't under Obama? No orders back then from federal judge(s) to remove the kids from the wire mesh cages and return them to their 'parents'. Why not?

2) Where in the United States are children of citizen or legal resident lawbreakers allowed to stay with them while they are detained? Kindly provide a short list...

Anybody?
Anybody?

Gary Scoggin

1) Why is this border separation thing terrible under Trump but wasn't under Obama? No orders back then from federal judge(s) to remove the kids from the wire mesh cages and return them to their 'parents'. Why not?

Answer: It was bad then, too. But it was not as near as prevalent. As it happened more and more, the practice drew more attention. And thus, the outcry began. I believe that if President Obama had implemented the practice to the degree that President Trump had, there would have been a similar outcry. Remember him taking hits from the Left as "deporter-in-chief"?

2) Where in the United States are children of citizen or legal resident lawbreakers allowed to stay with them while they are detained? Kindly provide a short list...

Most people arrested for misdemeanors are quickly released so that there is not an issue of long-term arrangements for their children. (First offense of illegal entry to the US is a misdemeanor by the way.) When someone is incarcerated for a long time, there is an effort by Children's Protective Services (in Texas; similar agencies in other states) to find relatives to take custody of the children or, in the absence of such, place them in a suitable foster home. This practice would be far better than separating the children from their parents and incarcerating them alone and often incommunicado. And sometimes in a different state.

I trust this response answers your questions.

George Croix

Trust away.....but, nope...........
1) That's the 'a little bit pregnant' argument, by any other name......oft used...but as diversionary as ever....
2) A citizen or legal resident has a place to be released TO that they are SUPPOSED to be in.
Nice 'Misdemeanor' apple you have there, but it's not an exact match for the reality orange...we don't have to additionally provide food/shelter and medical care and schooling to the folks who are SUPPOSED to be here and have committed a misdemeanor, nor suffer any additional crimes that should never have happened here in the first place. It's also easier to find them than catching/releasing thousands to go out anywhere they can get to and disappear from the system they are SUPPOSED to report back to. All the more reason TO send them all to the 'sanctuary cities' that have suddenly decided they don't WANT to walk their talk....

At least you make an effort to backup what you say on the subject, weak...IMO....as it is.....
That beats the usual suspects just feeding the 'base'......
[beam][beam]

Gary Scoggin

Okay. When parents turn up at the border with children, what do you suggest be done with them? These children are here due to no fault of their own: they were drug here by someone else. Should we treat them like we would American children in similar circumstances or are they considered lesser human beings.

George Croix

OK.
I suggest the parents, if they ARE actually the parents, follow the immigration laws of this country, and APPLY for legal entry. I expect all the ones not actually the parents to do the same thing.
If they intend to claim asylum, then do so in the FIRST country they enter after exiting their own, as asylum seekers usually do, not trek across thousands of miles to get the USA Golden Ticket, and have people make excuses for them and demand they be cared for with funds meant for LEGAL citizens and residents of this country.
You are one of the ones who bemoan school funding issues, yet you set yourself up as an enabler of illegal alien kids, and supporter of others doing the same, and ignore that you and they are the exact primary reason FOR the school funding issues. Not even counting the HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of other bucks spent for people not even supposed to be here. Of course, no price is too great for someone else to pay, but it's a bit unseemly to aid in the cause of a problem then complain about it.
I and any others who might possibly agree are not the ones treating anybody as lesser human beings. That's on their own countrymen and the 'parents' who have sat by for generations as their own country became a hole and then dragged them to another one to start the process over again, assimilation being something rarely seen with the waves of 'immigrants'.
Life's a lifeboat, Gary. Not a cornucopia.
You can't save everybody, else in trying to do so all will perish. You can pretend otherwise, and try the silly shaming exercises, but that only works on anyone with something to be ashamed of.
I'd say you might try it on those so-called 'parents' who 'show up' and the first lesson they give their kids in their 'new country' is how to break our laws and then be REWARDED for it...usually for life. Or the same folks grousing about a funding problem that THEY are largely responsible for by supporting the main reason it exists.

Gary Scoggin

George... there's too much here to unpack and so little time, but a few thoughts....

You address the problem by assuming it away... if they weren't here in the first place we wouldn't be in this fix, but -- guess what -- THEY ARE HERE. And for the very, very large part the kids are here with their parents.

But i get your point, that these kids are not worthy of being treated like kids. Instead locking up and separating them from their families is the right thing to do.

Also, to your point that "assimilation being something rarely seen with the waves of 'immigrants'" is just flat wrong. In every immigrant group I can think of, including those from Mexico and Central America, the first American born generation is largely assimilated and the second American born generation is completely assimilated. We are a country of assimilated Americans. This is true of Mexicans, Viet Namese, Poles, Swiss, Italians, Irish, Chinese, you name it.

George Croix

I'm not assuming anything, Gary. You are, by assuming I am......
It's a fact that just because a problem exists it doesn't have to be enabled to get worse.....and can be made to get better by remediating existing problems. You just spent your career doing exactly that.....got a problem, help make it better, don't help it get worse.....perhaps you've forgotten already after retirement......
AND you do not HAVE to allow anyone to stay in your home who got in there illegally in the first place. They CAN be removed and sent back to their own home. You CERTAINLY don't have to care for and provide for them in perpetuity.
"But i get your point, that these kids are not worthy of being treated like kids. Instead locking up and separating them from their families is the right thing to do."
Still trying that shaming, huh? Must work sometimes. You should probably avoid anyone weak enough to fall for it.....they'll fall for anything....
Let's put a dozen or so of them in YOUR house and see how long your self-rightousness holds up....
The RIGHT THING TO DO is treat them exactly like we treat our own citizens who've broken the law and are being detained. Why do YOU think they should get treated better......??
You're part of this problem, Gary. Stop that.....it's bad for you own country

Flat out wrong about assimilation. Only where the exceptions prove the rule. I don't live there.
What, we now fly the Honduran, El Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Mexican flags over America when we march in parades now demanding that others pay our way.........?

Gary Scoggin

Speaking of weak arguments, there's nothing weaker that the "put 'em in your house and see how you like it" one, except maybe the "why do you lock your doors" one.

I am not trying to shame you here, I am simply restating an obvious fact. Your position dictates that the lives of these particular children are worth less than the lives of American children. I am just disappointed you don't have the courage of your convictions to say it flat out.

Regarding assimillation, you need to get out more. I've talked to far too many people and been to far too many communities in our country where immigrants have successfully assimilated. Who cares what flag they fly? Many different groups still take pride in their heritage. But if you're looking for a easy way to prove a false narrative, go for it.

Me, I try my best to live according to Christ's teachings, especially Matthew 25: 35-40.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Feel free to have the last word. I think we're done here.

George Croix

So, then, you disagree with those points? Or, just don't like to be faced with them?
Both?
Uh huh....don't like the message............
Good for you living however you want. I'm all for that.
If you want to talk about a problem then turn 180 and aid that very problem, that's your call, but it's not my way of doing things.....or be done to, willingly....
Christ' s teachings?
Even Christ didn't require Noah to take everybody on the ark who showed up wanting in.....including any children other than the family of Noah......
If He had, the Ark would have been overloaded and all....all..... perished in the flood.
You figure God 'hated' those children that drowned, to treat them differently from the few saved.....?

Think about that..........

Wayne Holt

"Under HB 4183, Texas would deploy a strategy coordinated across state agencies, child well-being and faith-based organizations, neighborhood schools, local medical and mental health service providers, criminal and juvenile justice and the philanthropic community.

A blueprint for our communities may include strategies to train and educate professionals to prevent and assess for adverse experiences, then referring for effective services; providing trauma-informed behavioral counseling; providing high-quality early childhood education; making available voluntary programs that strengthen parenting skills; identifying best practices for Child Protective Services; and successfully treating mental illness and substance abuse disorders."

Stop for just one moment and ask yourself if the summary headline rings true: Would this, or any law, counter adverse childhood experiences? What is left completely out of this fix-it is the moral obligation of adult parents to love, care for and nurture their children. While we marshal a host of bureaucracies to do what was considered the primary responsibility of parents not that long ago, our social fabric decays at a frightening pace. All at a time we have done nothing but increased institutional and government involvement in child rearing for decades, while eroding parental rights and prerogatives. Are we happy how that has turned out?

To me, this sounds like the error of mistaking a finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself. All these entities exist to care for children precisely because those who SHOULD be raised with this ethic as parents instilled from birth have been left to consume the cultural, educational and social effluent that we see evidence of everywhere. Why are we bailing out a boat with a thimble when we are allowing gallons to slosh in over the sides...and calling that progress?

No, we don't need more laws on the books to cure what is ailing this society. We need people to be willing to admit that, as corny, old-fashioned and regressive as it is to hear pop culture describe it, a human change of heart is the only cure for this and so many other problems facing us. As long as we think a state representative cobbling together a bill is going to move us in the right direction, we will continue to be New Rome, and unraveling just as Rome did.

" If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.." Mahatma Gandhi

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