‘Starve the beast,’ say these cities – but don’t cut people off; reduce need for services instead

Senior Hope in Albany, NY

In a plain brick building on a tree-lined street in Albany, NY, a 67-year-old man brought to his knees from a lifetime struggle with alcohol addiction fills out a survey. Across town, on the bucolic campus of a residential treatment center for troubled teenage boys, a counselor asks a 13-year-old the same questions.

  • Did a parent often swear at you, insult you, put you down or humiliate you?
  • Did you see your mother being hit, pushed, slapped or kicked?
  • Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?

What’s the point of dredging up bad memories with these and seven other questions? Believe it or not, there’s a long-term payoff for the man, the boy and the city and county of Albany.

Strangely enough, it has to do with the short-term, beneficial effects of the drugs they’re using. Nicotine reduces anger, increases focus and relieves depression. Alcohol relieves stress.

The 67-year-old learns that, all things considered, using alcohol was a reasonable coping strategy for

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Alaska teen loses boyfriend to suicide, founds Hope4Alaska for year-long mission to save 100 people from suicide

Teressa Baldwin on the day she graduated from high school, with her best friend.

[Ed. note: By the time Teressa Baldwin, a recent graduate of Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska, was 10 years old, she knew six people who had committed suicide. After her boyfriend committed suicide, she turned her grief into a campaign to prevent suicides among Native Alaskans, and founded Hope4Alaska. She gave permission to republish this amazing speech that she gave at a meeting to 350 members of the Alaska Association of Student Government last spring.]  

I was always told to say that I am honored to be here and also that if the words I speak offend you, I apologize.

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Aurora, CO, tragedy: If you’ve got kids at home, turn off the TV; stress and trauma normal reactions to tragedy; emotional reactions radiate out across Aurora and US

Children are traumatized more than adults when they’re inundated with scenes of tragedy, such as the shooting in Aurora, CO, according to a story by Shantal Parris Riley on PoughkeepsieJournal.com. It causes young children to lose perspective, said Dr. David Crenshaw, child trauma specialist and clinical director of the Children’s Home in Poughkeepsie.

“In cases like this, the most important thing a parent can do is turn off the TV,” said Julie Riess, developmental psychologist and director of Wimpfheimer Nursery School at Vassar College.

“These messages are not for children. They don’t have an accurate sense of time and place. For them, it might as well be happening in their own living room,” Riess said.

Other tips for helping children cope with the shootings were featured in this New York Daily News story.

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Village Voice response to child prostitution campaign heartless? SC legislature overrides Haley’s veto of DV/rape crisis centers; a new way to fight youth crime in Chicago

FairGirls.org has released a TV ad that targets child prostitution. It goes after Backpage.com, a Craig’s List look-alike that has  adult ads. The ad features a 13-year-old girl, who says:

“He raped me a bunch of times and eventually he sold me to four or five men a day for $100 an hour. My pimp advertised me online at Backpage.com. That’s how these guys would buy me. I’m 13.”

The girl is an actress, but her words are based on a true story, reports ABC15 in Phoenix. FAIR Girls executive director Andrea Powell told ABC15 that Backpage.com is “one of the biggest online marketplaces where underage girls are being advertised.”

“I can tell you, with the girls we have here, 80 percent of them have been advertised through Backpage,” said Lea Benson,

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Lately, a profusion of adverse childhood experiences research; SC governor’s veto of DV funds called short-sighted

The number of research projects looking at the relationship of adverse childhood experiences and long-term consequences spawned by the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and studies of children’s developing brains seems to be growing. Here are some from the last few weeks. I’ll be looking into the main threads, such as how toxic stress in childhood produces systemic inflammation that affect long-term health, in a later post:

Girls Who Experience Childhood Trauma More Likely To Smoke Later On. (This research was published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.)

Study: Children abused by parents face increased cancer risk. (This research was published in the Journal on Aging and Health.)

Lifestyle Factors Tied to Higher Blood Pressure in Teens. (This research was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.)

Obese Moms Deplete Fetal Iron. (This research on a small sample of people was published in the Journal of Perinatology.)

Chronic Anxiety Speeds Aging. (This research was

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Oakland CA finding ways to help kids whose parents are in prison; Every Fourth Woman looking for art to promote DV awareness; child abuse or entertainment?

Micky Duxbury did a fabulous story on OaklandLocal.com about how a parent’s incarceration affects children, and what the community of Oakland, CA, is doing to help.

Duxbury focuses on Community Works, an Oakland nonprofit that started Project WHAT! in 2006 “to create programs and advocate for teens impacted by parents in prison. The youth are trained in team building, leadership skills and criminal justice advocacy.” They can join the organization’s speaker’s bureau, which has “reached more than 5,500 people in 14 California counties and seven states.”

Teens face unique challenges, according to “Children on the Outside: Voicing the Pain and Costs of Parental Incarceration,” a Justice Strategies report published in 2011. Like other children of incarcerated parents, they often face

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Don’t forget calm, quiet students — they may be hurting as much as those who rage

[Editor’s note: In April, I posted a story about how Lincoln High School reduced its suspensions 85% by using a new method of school discipline. So many people were intrigued by how Lincoln High works that we thought you might be interested in a series of essays by Lincoln’s staff and students. This is the third in that series.]  

Dakota Johnson (l) with Lincoln High teacher Natalie Allen.

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By Natalie Allen
Teacher, Lincoln High School

Dakota Johnson started at Lincoln in March 2011 as a junior. He walked in displaying a very calm demeanor: He was polite, soft spoken — an extremely

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