Copyright © While They Sleep

Monday, February 20, 2012

If I could, I would...

A year ago, if you asked me my thoughts on being a stay-at-home mom, I would've cringed. The idea was not me. Not to belittle stay-at-home moms, one bit, but the idea seemed archaic to me. I felt, like many women with my views do, that I would lose my identity, my passions and become less an equal to the working "man." All that went out the door May 23, 2011, the day my son was born.

Holding him, loving him and watching him grow these almost 9 months has been the most amazing trip of my life. Every part of me belongs to him now. And nothing else matters.

I struggle daily trying to work. Even with a job that has so many benefits, as does working in children's services, I cringe every morning when I get up, get ready and leave my son to go to work.

My mission has become making becoming a stay-at-home mom a reality. It isn't going to happen today, or tomorrow. But I pray that within a year, I can officially make Elijah my full time commitment.

Until then, I won't be fully happy. :(

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"We Can Do Better" -- Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America

Working on the Blue Ribbon Commission, appointed by Board of Supervisors, Phil Serna, I began conducting data analysis on African American child death disproportionality in Sacramento County.

From 1990 through 2009, The Sacramento County Child Death Review Team (CDRT) has found that African American children die at a rate two times (or more) higher than that of Caucasian children.

Exploring this disparity, I began reading articles on child abuse and neglect deaths in America. Specifically, I paged through a second edition article titled "We Can Do Better - Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America" written by Every Child Matters, Education Fund from Washington D.C.

The article stopped me in my tracks. I dropped my highlighter, and sat there, stunned. As Project Manager of the CDRT, I analyze child deaths daily. But I don't very often have to see "their" faces. Seeing the pictures of the children that died due to abuse and neglect in the article made me stop dead in my tracks.
"Each year our country FAILS to protect thousands of children in desperate circumstances, circumstances which sadly end only with their deaths."
Here are 51 children, of all races, who met this fate.

Alabama - 6 month old Phoenix Jordan Cody-Parrish was beaten to death in December 2004
Alaska - 5 month old Kaydence Lewinski died in 2007 after being shaken and beaten
Arizona - 5 year old autistic Brandon Williams died in March 2007 from an inflicted fractured skull
Arkansas - 6 month old Rihanna Robinson was strangled in February of 2009
California - 12 year old Christopher Cejas died after being starved and beaten in August 2002
Colorado - 7 year old Chandler Grafner died of starvation and dehydration in may 2007
Connecticut - 2 year old Alex Nathan Murphy was shaken to death in November 2007
District of Columbia - 12 month old Selena McDonald was beaten to death in January 2004
Delaware - 14 month old Jaylah Salam died from blunt force trauma in February of 2009
Florida - 3 year old Zahid Jones was beaten to death in may 2007
Georgia - 11 year old Joella Reaves died of blunt force trauma in November 2003
Hawaii - 5 year old Talia Emoni died as a result of "battered child syndrome" in July 2005
Idaho - 6 year old autistic Elizabeth Goodwin drowned in October 2002
Illinois - 13 year old Shavon Miles was bludgeoned with a 2-by-4 in August 2004
Indiana - 7 year old Adrian Norris, was starved to death and set on fire in January 2003
Iowa - 8 month old Antwaun Williams died of head trauma in February 2008
Kansas - 9 year old Brian Edgar died of asphyxiation after being bound with tape in December 2002
Kentucky - 10 year old Michaela Watkins was beaten to death in March 2007
Louisiana - 6 year old twins Samuel and Solomon Simms were strangled to death in 2007
Maine - 5 year old Logan Marr died of asphyxiation after being bound with duct tape in January 2001
Maryland - 11 year old Irvin Harris was stabbed to death in July 2006
Massachusetts - 4 year old Rebecca Riley died from an overdose of three medications in December 2006
Michigan - 5 year old Rose Kelley died from liver disease likely brought on by malnutrition and overuse of medication in June 2006
Minnesota - 4 year old Demond Reed was beaten, resulting in a trauma induced seizure. He died in February 2008
Mississippi - 14 month old Tykiriah McClendon was killed by blunt force trauma in October 2008
Missouri - 2 year old Alyssa Eickmeier died from a skull fracture after being thrown in October 2006
Montana - 2 year old James Many White Horses was beaten to death and put in the trunk of a car in May 2008
Nebraska - 20 month old Nathaniel Saunsocie-Mitchell died of brain injuries and other abuse caused in September 2006
Nevada - 3 year old Crystal Figueroa was beaten to death and dumped in a trash bin in January 2006
New Hampshire - 21 month old Rylea Belonga died from brain injuries sustained from severe abuse in January 2006
New Jersey - 7 year old Faheem Williams died from starvation and blunt trauma in January 2003
New Mexico - 5 month old Brianna Lopez was raped and thrown. She died in July 2002.
New York - 7 year old Nixzmary Brown died from torture and starvation in January 2006
North Carolina - 13 year old Tyler McMillan died in June 2008 of dehydration and heat stroke after being tied to a tree overnight
North Dakota - 4 month old Reese Coleman died of brain damage after being severely shaken in February 2006
Ohio - 17 month old Jaydon Hoberg was raped and beaten to death in July 2006
Oklahoma - 4 year old Christopher Barnard was beaten to death in April 2008
Oregon - 4 year old Adrianna Romero Cram was beaten to death in June 2005
Pennsylvania - 3 year old Kavanna Salvador was beaten to death in February 2008
Rhode Island - 6 week old Naomi McCoy died in 2006 from blunt force trauma
South Carolina - 6 year old Chaquise Gregory was beaten to death in 2005
South Dakota - 21 month old Tanner Jurisch died of brain injuries after being thrown at his crib in January 2007
Tennessee - 13 month old Jordan Holland died after he was punched in October 2008
Texas - 7 year old William Weschke was killed by blunt force head trauma in February 2008
Utah - 2 year old Jayden Cangro died after he was thrown across a room in July 2006
Vermont - 1 month old Angelo MacEwan died from blunt impact to the head in December 2007
Virginia - 13 year old Agyepong-Glover was drowned in January 2009
Washington - 4 year old Summer PHelps was tortured and killed in March 2007
West Virginia - 2 year old Logan Goodall was sexually abused and killed in September 2005
Wisconsin - 19 month old Alicia Burgess was suffocated in May 2007
Wyoming - 13 month old Ariana Martin was beaten to death in April 2008

Are you disgusted? You should be. We all should be. Children are indispensable. We must protect them. We must take legislative action to protect them. Even if it's through education and awareness of the epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Ignorance is not bliss.

Rest in peace fallen children. I pray you are happy in a new life far away from all the pain and destruction of your past.

I am going home and holding my son extra close tonight.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Neglect in Accidents

I learned today of a 4 year old boy who was killed in an "accidental" rollover car accident over the weekend. Apparently, his father (the driver of the vehicle he was in) was involved in a road rage incident where the Honda he was driving, and another vehicle were speeding, cutting each other off and making very unsafe decisions while operating motor vehicles. A sudden, unsafe move caused the Honda to leave the roadway and rollover. An improperly restrained 4 year old boy suffered the fatal consequences as his body was ejected from the vehicle and he died on scene.

How does this happen? How do PARENTS risk their children's lives by being involved in such a neglectful act. The nerve of officials for calling this an "accident."

The very definition of an accident, according to an internet source, is an "unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury." But this was anything but unexpected and unintentional, in my opinion. Speeding, racing and making decisions based on rage can only mean one thing: expect the unexpected. How do you NOT expect a bad outcome in a situation like this? If the parents live, I am hopeful they will be charged with vehicular manslaughter for the death of their son, at least the driver/father should be. Actually, I'll soon find out as I will be reviewing the death of this child at my Child Death Review Team (CDRT) meeting next month and will be able to find out from the Coroner, Sheriff's Department/local Law Enforcement, and DA's office if the parent(s) will in fact be charged.

I think of Elijah, automatically and naturally, when ever I hear a story about a child, good or bad. And I immediately think, how could this happen? How could these parents be this stupid, to be candid? And of all people, it is the child who fatally suffered his parents carelessness, with his life.

When my husband and I drive with Elijah, I usually sit in the back with him. Elijah's car seat is strapped in the middle of our vehicle as a means to prevent any side-swiping. Meaning, if our car is hit from the side, we hope he will get the least amount of impact. I sit next to him with the intention that if we were hit, I would cover him, as quick as I could, to give an additional layer of protection, my body. I would sacrifice my life, in a heartbeat, for him. Although, I don't discredit anyone's parenting skills for not sitting in the back with their child(ren), I can't fathom the idea that parents would risk their children's lives in such a thoughtless, selfish, unnecessary way.


I pray for this child to rest in peace.


Read the story here:
Child dies in road rage incident (accident)

No one's gonna love you more than I do....

Granted, this song isn't about a mother's love for her child, but I can't help but instantly think of Elijah during the main chorus. I know in my heart that it just isn't physically possible for anyone to love Eju like I do...

"No One's Gonna Love You" -- Band of Horses
It's looking like a limb torn off
Or altogether just taken apart
We're reeling through an endless fall
We are the ever-living ghost of what once was

But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one's gonna love you more than I do

And anything to make you smile
It is my better side of you to admire
But they should never take so long
Just to be over then back to another one

But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one's gonna love you more than I do

But someone,
They could have warned you
When things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing's tumbling down
Things start splitting at the seams and now
If things start splitting at the seams and now,
It's tumbling down

Anything to make you smile
You are the ever-living ghost of what once was
I never want to hear you say
That you'd be better off
Or you liked it that way

But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one's gonna love you more than I do

But someone
They should have warned you
When things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing's tumbling down
Things start splitting at the seams and now
If things start splitting at the seams and now,
It's tumbling down

Such a good boy....

Have a mentioned that my baby is perfect? Yes, perfect. Even the lil' things that he does that aren't so perfect... they still contribute to his perfection. This weekend, we took him to the bay area and he was a gem. Easy to travel with. Easily acclimated to new surroundings, and sleeping in his pack n' play instead of his crib. He's just such an amazing lil' guy. I feel truly blessed and lucky!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Don't play with that pink rattle!

An article in a UK based online newspaper, The Mirror, recently got me thinking about gender-neutrality and how this affects my son, Elijah.

Read article here

Web editor Beck and partner Kieran Cooper, 44, from Sawston, Cambs, UK say they want to stop their five year old child's life from being determined by the sexual stereotypes which they say divide boys and girls. Sasha Laxton, who has been brought up as “gender neutral”, has now entered school, therefore his parents have decided (after five years) to reveal his gender. Sasha is a boy, anatomically. But his parents, for those five years, avoided referring to him as a boy or girl and his gender was kept secret from all but a few close friends and family. Kieran, a software designer, said: “We wanted to challenge gender ­stereotypes. “So if Sasha wants to dress up in girls’ clothes then so be it. He has cars and Legos and he also has dolls. The girls’ clothes are fancy dress and for fun at home. We don’t make Sasha go out in girls’ clothes. We are not forcing it.” Beck – who writes a blog on feminist issues – insisted her son was a happy boy who enjoyed his life.  She said: “I wouldn’t push him in any direction. “As long as he has good relationships and good friends, nothing else matters, does it?”

Hmmmm... IS that all that matters? Or are we missing a link?

Several months ago, when Elijah was a newborn, I bought him his first rattle. It was pink. I specifically chose it because it supported breast cancer awareness and a percent of the proceeds went to the cause. So I bought it. It didn't bother me that my son was going to be shaking a pink rattle. I didn't even think much about it. Until months later when he were out and he was in public shaking his pink rattle. I felt like he had a Scarlet "P" on his forehead and I was the crazy, hippie, liberal mom who let her SON have a pink anything. The world was going to end. <insert sarcasm here> I remember a few comments being made, jokingly, about how Elijah had a pink rattle. But I didn't care, mainly because the comments were being made by people I didn't care about. But one comment did matter and therefore stood out. It was by my eldest niece, a beautiful seven year old girl. She laughed and said "Fuka (that's what she calls me), why does Eju have a PINK rattle?!?!?!" -- "Because I liked it" I replied. "But Eju is a boy and the rattle is pink!" -- She seemed a little stunned when I replied with "So? He's still a boy even if he has a pink rattle." Then we had a in-depth conversation about it. I told her exactly why I picked the pink rattle (breast cancer awareness) but that even if it wasn't for that reason, it didn't matter. It was OK for him to have a pink anything or for her to have a blue anything. It didn't change anything about him or her. It was just a color on an object and didn't define him or her as a people. She still chuckled, and probably thought I was "silly," but I hope she really heard me that day.

While reading some of the comments in the article in The Mirror, I realized some of them made a lot of sense. Especially the ones that I felt closely represented my thoughts, that our children are not monkeys to be used for our own experimentation, whether that be a medical or social experiment. You can look it at both ways: a) by cutting out gender stereotypes and not referring to their son as a boy or a girl for so many years, they may have taught their son countless lessons on being a person, an individual, instead of focusing in on being a boy for girl OR b) these parents took five years of this boy's life away from him and didn't let him live as a stereotypical "boy" -- what will be the repercussions of these parents robbing their son of his gender for five years, if any? Have they harmed him in some way?

I'm not sure.

What I do feel strongly about is that their has to be a balance. And in my humble opinion, these parents are just as extreme as those parents that refuse to let their young son's play with dolls or touch anything pink. They are just extreme on the opposite spectrum of the gender neutrality argument.

While I consider myself a feminist and I plan on teaching my son feminist values (no, you do NOT have be a woman to be a feminist), I don't want him to miss out on being a "boy" because that is in fact what he is.

Growing up with two brothers, I still maintained a pretty girlie lifestyle. I played with dolls. I wore dresses. I loved Barbies, looked up to Disney princesses, picked flowers, adored anything pink, purple or sparkly. But, I knew that playing with GI-Joes or building forts with my brothers didn't make me a boy. Collecting frogs from our garden didn't make me a boy either. It was just fun. That's it. Granted, it's far more acceptable for a girl to play with "boy toys" or wear blue then a boy to play with "girl toys" or wear pink. However, I strongly feel that as parents, we need to create that balance for our children. And oddly enough, as girlie as I was growing up, I'm actually not that girlie as an adult. I don't like pink. I actually love blues and greens. I'd prefer not caking on makeup, wearing heels or being glamorous. So the excessive reminders as a young child that I am in fact a girl didn't push me into any specific direction. I am going to be who I am meant to be.

I'm no expert. Being a mother is still a new role for me, and I'm learning as I go. Although, I do feel like I have a pretty sturdy head on my shoulders, and hope to use my sociological lens and background to help guide my son to be a productive part of society. Someone who is kind, generous, a feminist, a strong leader... none of which will nullify just because he wears something pink, loves to read, is sensitive, kind, caring, loves to cook or plays with dolls OR if he is the stereotypical boy: loves sports, playing cowboys and Native Americans (yes, Native Americans, not Indians -- I have to teach him to be historically accurate too, don't I), is strong, a leader, etc. In fact, chances are, he'll be playing with a LOT of dolls since all of his cousins, that are near by and who he sees on a regular basis, are GIRLS. Very girlie girls by choice of their parents.

Bottom line, to attain gender equality, we must have balance, a happy medium. We need to let our boys be boys and our girls be girls and at the same time, we need to let them explore their individualism without attaching negative connotations to anything pink or blue or boyish/girlie. Playing with dolls and admiring Disney princesses is not going to make your young daughter submissive and out of touch with what real love is. Trust me. It is about much more then that.
"The seeming contradiction is just one of the many conundrums — and one of the most important lessons — of parenting. You can’t “make” your children anything. You can’t really “stop” them from being anything in particular, either. But you can help them explore the fullest definition of who they are. And you can try to work it so they feel good about whoever they discover themselves to be."
I want my son to be a good person, before he is a good boy or anything else. My number one motto has always been and will always be that I refuse to breed ignorance. It's my job, as his mother, to guide him to be a good, productive person. To be kind, caring and loving to all creatures. To be an individual. To stand up for what he believes in. To have a a voice. To teach him that it's okay if he has a pink rattle, a blue rattle or one with zebra stripes and polka dots. They are all one in the same. They all make noise. They all have the same function. They just look different. And that's okay.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another child lost to child abuse, by their biological parent

There isn't anything more tragic in this world then when a child is being abused and/or neglected.
But perhaps something that may shock you, is that often that abuse and/or neglect is being caused by a biological parent. Not a relative. Not a babysitter. Not a stranger. Not as often as by a biological parent. As Project Manager of Sacramento County's Child Death Review Team (CDRT), it's my job to analyse the deaths of children in this county and use that analysis to help implement, develop or restore prevention efforts, including evidence based programs, to help end child abuse and neglect. Hearing the tragedies of children dying can be daunting, but nothing compares to a Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) homicide. Hearing the details surrounding the tragic life and death of a child that was abused is to say the least, difficult. But what's most difficult is that the majority of perpetrators are the biological parents of the child -- either acting alone or acting together. In the twenty year time period from 1990 through 2009, there were 158 CAN homicides in Sacramento County, of which the majority (60%) of perpetrators were the biological parent(s).

What is wrong with our world? Our culture? Our society? What has happened to us as people that in order to attain a goal of selfishly transgressing some emotion, we KILL our children? It's beyond me.

The recent story of the Powell boys being murdered in a double murder-suicide by their father, hurts. The gruesome details of how he took a "hatchet" to their necks before setting ablaze their home, killing both his boys and himself, really upset me. I know I shouldn't be surprised, and I guess I'm not. I see this too often. But the idea, the very thought, of harm to these innocent boys, kills me. Powell Double Murder-Suicide

So what do we do about it? We DEMAND change! We demand that our government stands up for our voiceless population, our children! The Child Abuse Prevention Center of Sacramento County presented its Twenty Year Annual Report to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on January 24th and ended with this:

We know what works in our community to prevent many forms of child death.

We know who the most at-risk children are, who the most likely perpetrators are, the communities most at risk, and the programs and services that have demonstrated an impact on CAN homicides.

What will you do with this information?
We hope that Board of Supervisors heard us and makes children a priority during dire fiscal times.

Product Recalls

Parents, for a quick place to sign up for product recalls regarding childrens items, please visit Safe Kids Product Recalls Sign Up

Parents PLEASE check your car and booster seats!

I cannot stress how important it is for parents to make sure their children are properly restrained while in a moving vehicle, whether in a car seat or a booster seat. I also strongly believe that is pertinent that a trained car seat technician (yes -- a professional) checks your car seat(s) and/or booster seats(s) to make sure they are not only properly installed, but that you are using them correctly when your children are present. Thankfully, through the agency I work at, a friend/co-worker is a trained car seat technician and not only checked my car seat, but made sure I knew how to correctly restrain my infant son into it. It isn't as easy as it seems and I more often than not, see parents improperly restraining their children into their car seats.

That being said, here are some important guidelines about infant car seat safety:

·         For the best possible protection, keep your baby in a rear-facing child safety seat in a back seat for as long as possible - up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. The "12 months and 20 pounds" rule that many parents cite when turning their child forward-facing in the car is actually the minimum size and age requirement for that change.  New recommendations suggest that children remain rear-facing to age 2.

·         Keep a baby rear-facing in a convertible seat until he or she reaches the maximum height or weight allowed by the manufacturer. For many children that will be 30, 35 or even 40 pounds. Many kids will be over age 2 when they reach that weight. Rear-facing occupants are safest.

·         Use your baby’s car seat rear-facing and semi-reclined to no more than 45 degrees, so the baby’s head stays in contact with the seat and the baby’s airway stays open. Read the car seat instructions.

·         Make sure the buckled harness straps that keep your baby properly positioned and secured in the car seat fit snugly. Loose harness straps don’t provide maximum protection. Be sure the harness is tight enough that you cannot pinch webbing at the shoulder.

·         Position the shoulder straps through the slots at or below your baby’s shoulders.

·         Adjust the chest clip to armpit level.

·         Use either the car’s seat belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both systems at the same time.

·         Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt or LATCH path to test it.

·         Every car seat has an expiration date. Generally, it is six years from manufacture. Many have the expiration date stamped on the seat. Contact the manufacturer of your specific seat to find out what its expiration date is.

·         Never buy a used car seat if you do not know its full history. Never use a car seat that has been in a crash. Avoid seats sold at flea markets or yard sales or online.

·         Do not use any products that did not come from the manufacturer in or with the car seat. Car seat fabrics meet strict fire safety codes.

·         Add-on toys can injure your child in a crash.

·         Find the frontal airbags in your vehicle by checking the owner’s manual. Never put a rear-facing car seat in front of an active frontal airbag. Children are always safest in a back seat.

·         Have your car seat checked by a currently certified child passenger safety technician to make sure it is properly installed.

·         Never leave a child alone in a vehicle - not even for a minute.

To learn more helpful tips to keep your children safe, please visit:

 Safe Kids Greater Sacramento

The site has made it very simple to navigate through safety tips for children in various age categories and applicable to at home, at play or on the move.

Also, if your child is 8 years of age or younger, please read the important information below regarding the LAW in California around booster seats.

In passing the new booster seat law, which will extend the current law by requiring children to ride in booster seats in the back seat until their 8th birthday, California joins more than 37 other states with strong booster seat laws.  The law, which was co-sponsored by the California Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health, Safe Kids California, and California State Alliance of YMCA’s, mirrors the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  

Seat belts are designed for the average adult male, and do not properly fit a child who is not at least 4’9” tall.  Children in the 6-7 year old age group are particularly at risk because they may be too big for many child safety seats and yet too small to fully benefit from seat belts.  A booster seat raises the child to reposition the seat belt properly so that the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs rather than the stomach.  The shoulder harness should lie snug across the shoulder and chest – the strongest part of the child’s body – and not cross the neck or face.   

Auto collisions are the leading cause of death for children ages 4-12 and one of the leading causes of injury and disability.  Parents who want to keep their children safe will check the law to ensure they are doing what is required to help avoid injury in case of an accident.  We have long felt that it is a dangerous disservice to California parents to lead them to believe that by following the current law – which requires children up to six years old or sixty pounds to ride in a child restraint device in the back seat – they are doing what’s best to safeguard their children, when the data shows us otherwise.  The fact is that using a booster seat, instead of a seat belt, reduces a child’s risk of injury by 59%. 

The new law, which will extend protection to 6 and 7-year-olds, goes into effect January 1, 2012.  Acknowledging that seat belts fit a taller child appropriately, the new law includes a provision that a child under 8 years of age who is 4 feet 9 inches in height or taller may be properly restrained by a safety belt rather than a child safety seat or booster seat.  To maximize safety, parents should select a car seat based on their child’s age and size, choose a car seat or booster that fits in their vehicle, and use it every time.   Parents can check for car seat check-up events in their area to get help from trained safety technicians on proper installation and fit for their child. 

A Safe Kids Trauma Coordinator commented, the new law will “protect hundreds of children every year from intra-abdominal injury, lumbar chance fractures, or multi-system trauma from ejection due to inappropriate restraints.”   We know the new law will save lives and we are elated! 

Please share this information with your families and friends and help educate folks on car seat and booster seat safety! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Child Abuse = a MAJOR Public Health Problem!

Finally!  The CDC is recognizing child abuse as a major Public Health problem! Please share widely. 

HealthDay News - February 1, 2012
Child Abuse, Neglect a Major Public Health Problem: CDC Report found it costs U.S. $124 billion a year; overall price tag similar to diabetes, and stroke.

Child abuse and neglect cost the United States $124 billion a year, which is comparable to the costs of other major public health problems, a new government study shows.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 1,740 fatal and 579,000 nonfatal cases of child maltreatment over the course of one year.

The investigators found that the lifetime cost for each victim of nonfatal child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) was $210,012. That's higher than the per-person lifetime cost of stroke ($159,846) and similar to the per-person cost of type 2 diabetes (between $181,000 and $253,000).

The average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment
includes: $32,648 in childhood health care costs; $10,530 in adult medical costs; $144,360 in lost productivity; $7,728 in child welfare costs; $6,747 in criminal justice costs; and $7,999 in special education costs.

The total estimated lifetime cost for fatal child maltreatment includes $14,100 in medical costs and $1,258,800 in productivity losses, according to the study published online Jan. 31 in Child Abuse & Neglect, The International Journal.

"No child should ever be the victim of abuse or neglect -- nor do they have to be. The human and financial costs can be prevented through prevention of child maltreatment," Linda Degutis, director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in an agency news release.

Research has shown that child maltreatment has many harmful effects on survivors, including poorer health, social and emotional difficulties, and decreased economic productivity.

"Federal, state and local public health agencies, as well as policymakers, must advance the awareness of the lifetime economic impact of child maltreatment and take immediate action with the same momentum and intensity dedicated to other high profile public health problems -- in order to save lives, protect the public's health, and save money," Degutis said.

Friday, February 3, 2012


The last week or so has been intense, both professionally and personally, which is why I haven't blogged much. I felt I needed to though, to vent and share.

So many changes are happening -- they are both fun and challenging. We have a few exciting dates coming up, but to play it safe, we're gonna "mums the word" until it gets closer. EEEEEK, I'm sooo excited though! Other than that, Elijah has been having some major growth spurts. Poor lil' guy is teething, which sparked a fever, rash, little sleep for both baby and I and a very cranky lil' guy. However, minus the pain, it's kind of exciting that his lil' teeth are getting ready to break skin. I'm can't wait to see his cute smile become even cuter! Ironically, the last two nights are the first couple of nights that he has slept from 8pm to 6am. He has always been a great sleeper (Thank God!) but usually wakes up for a 2am feeding. Perhaps because he's getting older, that 2am feeding isn't as necessary to him. Not sure if this is an anomaly, but Avin and I have been LOVING the full night's sleep -- although I wake up at every lil' sound and movement he makes. I can't shut off the "mommy" sense, no matter how much sleep I may want or need. Elijah's personality is also evolving and I fall deeper in love with him daily. He just has a way about him. Something that I just can't get enough of. I truly don't remember my life before him.

Work has been kicking my ass. And although I love my job (most days) and absolutely applaud the mission of the agency and how it is in line with my own missions/goals and objectives as they apply to social change, social welfare and preventative services for families and children -- I have been working long days and getting more and more aggravated that it's keeping me away from Elijah. I had a few really bad days over the past few weeks that made me tempted to quit! If I only I could win the lottery... perhaps I should start playing? Sigh. It's a catch. Everyone has good and bad days at work, and I have to remind myself that I'm not alone in that realm. As for now, I'm here and working hard at preventing abuse, neglect and death in Sacramento County's most vulnerable group, children.

I hope you all have an amazing Friday!