or ‘background knowledge’ – i.e. the past, or the events that led me to think I should open a bookstore.
In 1994, recently divorced with a school-age son, I decided to go back to college and major in Psychology. After graduating in 1996, I took a job in the field as a counselor at an RTC (residential treatment center) for young children. What I learned on the job was nothing that I learned in the classroom. I had no idea these children existed, even having studied Child Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology and so much more.
What I discovered was the care and treatment these children needed was not what they were getting. Aside from incompetence, there was also corruption. I quit the work. My thinking was – graduate school. The system needs an overhaul and I needed more education and qualification to effect the necessary change.
I was accepted into Denver University’s Graduate School of Social Work. Oh my. They were happy to have me, and my money; but that turned out to be, well, not so good. I quit that, too.
I then took a job at another RTC as the nightshift worker. That position gave me plenty of time to think about all that I’d seen and learned. What could be done?
screamed the news’ headlines. Because the situation in Colorado regarding these children was that bad. The then Colorado governor, Bill Owens decided to use his power, and declared a Task Force on the Welfare of Children. I believed, with all my grit and aplomb, I could make a difference by testifying. Below is that testimony.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: APRIL 1999
I am a resident homeowner of Clear Creek County. I am a child advocate. Today I want to address some issues brought up last time by Ms. O’brien and Senator Arnold, concerning who’s responsibility it is to see through the task of protecting our children from abuse and neglect. These are not throwaway kids!
All of us in this room agree that child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, & psychological) is a bad thing. And that neglect of a child is also a bad thing. So as a society we are willing to give up some of our earnings to pay others to intervene, treat, care, and prevent the abuse and neglect of children. The question is, how much are we willing to spend? And to whom shall we give it?
It appears that we are willing to pay parents about $200 dollars per child per month, in lieu of taxing them (EIC), to help care for their children. If they fail, we are willing to give foster parents anywhere from about 400 to $1000 dollars per month to do that.
With the foster parents comes the added expense of managers, therapists, administrators, caseworkers, GALs, etc. We’ll pay them, too. If foster care fails, we’ll pay Residential Treatment Centers; with direct-care providers, cooks, housecleaners, therapists, managers, administrators, secretaries, bookkeepers, caseworkers, GALs, Judges, etc. A little more expensive, up to $4,200 per month.
If that fails, we are willing to pay prisons; TO KEEP US SAFE FROM THE CHILDREN WE FAILED TO CARE FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE! For our safety we will pay $4,500 a month. Isn’t that backwards? Shouldn’t we focus our resources towards a permanent solution at the first sign of trouble?
Child abuse and neglect occurs because of a conflict of interest between parent and child. The child wants the parent’s time and attention, RIGHT NOW! “I’m hungry, I’m scared, I’m uncomfortable.
I’m CUTE, LOOK AT ME!”
The parent (stepparent, boyfriend, girlfriend) says, “HOLD ON! – I’m smoking this cigarette, drinking this beer, watching this football game, fondling my honey, hunting this game, chopping this wood, baking this bread – WOULD YOU PLEASE SHUT UP! ERRRG! SLAM!”
When we effectively fail to treat a child in need, a child in trouble, it is not because we don’t know how. But because of a CONFLICT OF INTEREST BETWEEN THE WANTS OF THE DIFFERENT ADULTS!
The best prevention of child abuse and neglect, is the effective treatment of those abused and neglected children! The generational continuation of child abuse and neglect, is a direct consequence of the failure to effectively treat children who are victims of abuse and neglect. And that is a direct result of a conflict of interests between adults.
was nothing changed. Finally, in November of 2000, after Owens’ task force had issued their findings, and George W. Bush was elected the 44th president of the United States – watching the returns come in – I knew what I had to do. Open a Bookstore and educate the people.