The new police chief in Detroit had BIG plans for children in the area. He wanted to launch a boot camp style program for middle school age children. The point of the program was to educate children on the negatives of gang affiliation, crime, and drug usage before they are pulled toward these vices.  Police Chief James Craig stated he’d had great success in other cities running similar programs.

Because “boot camp” seemed scary and perhaps harsh for children, Police Chief Craig planned to call the program CITI Camp, which stands for Children in Trauma Intervention. He projected the program to last 10 weeks, and that it would be administered by police officers and other adult mentors. While there were some public concerns that CITI Camp would re-traumatize its participants, it was not meant to militarize children or cause added undue harm.

The positive implications of a proactive program such as CITI Camp are great. Many children are growing up in underprivileged, under-resourced areas. A program like CITI Camp helps to remedy some of the problems these children face as a result of where they live, a choice that is often not left to them to make. Additionally, many of these children lack parental support from either one or both parents. Sometimes these parents are not present at all.

So far, the program seems to have created optimism among the Detroit children involved. Jalen Pickett, a student who earned his spot in CITI Camp due to fighting at school, voiced his own praise of the program. Jalen stated, “If Detroit can change, it’s up to the youth to do it.  I feel Detroit can come back. And if I do go away to college, I plan on coming back here and giving back to Detroit.” He now plays a more active role in school and speaks out during a class that teaches anger management and conflict resolution skills. Jalen Pickett, a once troubled student, now has big aspirations of becoming a defense attorney. While programs like CITI Camp presumably are costly, in my opinion, seeing the positive effects on just one student make it a worthwhile investment.

Past use of CITI Camp in another city involved 23 students who engaged in a three week program. The students would attend CITI Camp classes three times a week. The program involved physical fitness activities and communication on topics such as drug intervention, problem-solving skills, and self-esteem. Constructive education as to these topics not only aids children in dealing with problems they face now within their community, but this education will help throughout their lives.

It is wonderful to see police officers and other adult mentors playing an active role in the lives of our nation’s children. It would be interesting to collect data on all of the programs throughout the nation working toward the same goals as CITI Camp. It might also be beneficial to research areas that lack effective programs such as CITI Camp in order to create initiative in those parts of the nation. If CITI Camp’s success continues to grow, we, as a nation, should want to expand so that more children reap the benefits of the program.

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Prenatal Acetaminophen Use to ADHD Diagnosis

Acetaminophen is a commonly used medicine, if not the most common, for women suffering from pain during pregnancy. Lead study author, Zeyan Liew, stated that the study involved roughly 64,000 children and mothers who gave birth in Denmark between 1996 and 2000. More than half of the mothers participating in the study admitted to using Acetaminophen while pregnant.

Prior studies on animals and people revealed a potential link between Acetaminophen and disrupted hormone levels. Disrupted hormone levels may affect brain development and cause behavioral problems. The study completed by Zeyan Liew and other researchers looked into the potential link between Acetaminophen and the behavioral issues of children.

To evaluate outcomes of the study, the researchers reviewed parental reports of behavioral problems in children seven years of age and identified Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder(ADHD) prescriptions for children from the Danish Prescription Registry. The study proved there is a connection between Acetaminophen use during pregnancy and the resulting ADHD diagnosis in children. Stronger associations were shown to have existed when a mother used Acetaminophen during more than one trimester of her pregnancy.

While the researchers admit that further investigation needs to occur, they believe the connection is relevant to the health of children given the high exposure of Acetaminophen and the high level of ADHD diagnoses.

If the connection between prenatal Acetaminophen use and ADHD diagnoses in children continues to be strong, alternative pain relievers should be provided for pregnant women. The number of children diagnosed with ADHD in 2011 through 2012 is allegedly 42% higher than the number of diagnoses from 2003 through 2004. Many people already share concern for diagnosing children with disorders like ADHD at such a young age. If altering pain relievers for pregnant women would lessen children’s risk for ADHD, I believe alternatives should be evaluated and provided.
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Five Years to Serve, Justice Hardly Served

A Wisconsin man and his wife were sentenced to five years each for imprisoning their teenage daughter in their basement for six years. Apparently the father testified during trial that he tried to get his daughter to become a ward of the state because he could not care for her. The couple’s justification for imprisoning their daughter was that the family needed to be protected since she suffered from mental health issues. It sounds like she was the one who needed protection.  It also is understandable that the teenage girl might have mental health issues from being imprisoned by her own parents for over half a decade.

Additionally, the girl’s older stepbrother faces charges of sexual assault against her. His trial will begin this month. The alleged acts initiated by the step brother occurred numerous times. It is unclear whether the parents were aware of their son’s actions.

While it is undoubtedly shocking to hear of the abuse and neglect this teenage girl went through, it seems even more appalling that it took so long for anyone to notice. While the girl was home-schooled and thus, probably did not get out as much, there must have been someone who knew of her existence and could inquire as to her whereabouts for the past six years. The 15 year old girl was seen by a passerby in her pajamas looking overly malnourished (68 pounds) leading to an investigation and the charges being brought in 2012. It is two years later and the parents are just now facing the consequences of their actions.

This young girl was imprisoned for five years and prevented from enjoying aspects of life that are inherent in our day to day routines. She was deprived food multiple times, but even when her parents provided food, she had to eat of the floor. She had to use the restroom in boxes and bathe in a utility sink. Not only did this experience toll on the teenage girl mentally, but she was also physically abused. The teenage girl also stated that she was forced to eat her own excrement multiple times.

The exchange of those six years of her life, and arguably more time considering she will most likely continue to struggle with the awful memories of her experience, with the five years both parents will serve does not seem just. This teenage girl needs to know that her parent’s actions were cruel and deserving of more than five years. It is clear that her parents have already set a horrid example of how to treat others and your children. Could this court not have provided a better example by sentencing these parents to at least six years, equaling the minimal amount of time they stole from their daughter? It seems the court could find plenty of justification for a sentence of way more than five years.

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