Social Trends

“According to recent data released by the FBI, at our present rate of incarceration, one in 20 babies born today will spend some of their lives in jail or prison. Children are now the fastest growing segment of the criminal population. During the last thirty years, violent crimes committed by youth have risen by 371 percent. Last year, nearly 1 million children under 15 were arrested for felonies in the US.

Though we have been greatly concerned about government spending on the U.S. health care system, which many deem to be in crisis, we have not noticed that the cost of the criminal justice system is three times the cost of the nation’s entire health care budget.”

Robin Karr-Morse
Co-author – Ghosts in the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence

“We are the least child-and family-oriented society in the civilized world. And, the price that we’re paying: angry, contained, unavailable children who can’t learn.”

T.Berry Brazelton, M.D.
Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School


  • In the WAR on DRUGS, DRUGS are winning
  • In the WAR on CRIME, CRIME is winning
  • In the WAR on RAPE, RAPE is winning
  • In the WAR on HATE Crimes, HATE is winning
  • In the WAR on VIOLENCE, VIOLENCE is winning
  • In the WAR on PREJUDICE, PREJUDICE is winning
  • In the WAR on CHILD ABUSE, CHILD ABUSE is winning
  • In the WAR on SCHOOL BULLIES, BULLIES are winning
  • In the WAR on GANGS, GANGS are winning
  • In the WAR on DATE RAPE, DATE RAPE is winning
  • In the WAR on VIOLENCE against WOMEN, VIOLENCE is winning
  • In the WAR on SCHOOL DROP OUTS, DROP OUTS are winning
  • In the WAR on ONLINE PREDATORS, PREDATORS are winning

“It may well be that the nation cannot survive – as a decent place to live, as a world-class power or even as a democracy – with such high rates of children growing into adulthood unprepared to parent, unprepared to be productively employed and unprepared to share in mainstream aspirations.”

Douglass W. Nelson
Executive Director, Annie E. Casey Foundation


“U.S. high school graduation rates peaked in the late 1960′s, at about 80%. Since then they have declined.

Early family environments are major predictors of cognitive and socio-emotional success. This point is of major concern because family environments have deteriorated in the last forty years.

Experiments support the large body of evidence that adverse family environments promote adult failure. By the age of 5, it is possible to predict, with depressing accuracy, who will complete high school and college and who won’t.

Early interventions demonstrate high benefit-cost ratios and rates of return.”

James Heckman, Ph.D.
Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics,
University of Chicago
2000 Nobel Memorial Prize Winner
Associate Editor, Journal of Labor Economics

Stress in Childhood

Cortisol is manufactured in the adrenal gland. Cortisol’s major functions involve dealing with stress reactions in the body.

The human brain is not equipped to handle cortisols before the age of 8. When prolonged stress occurs during infancy and childhood, cortisol aborts normal brain development, compromises the immature immune and nervous systems, leading to the rise in the following health problems that are exploding in the American culture.

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain(especially abdominal fat)
  • Exhaustion
  • Reduced Growth Hormone Levels
  • Compromised immune function
  • Bone loss

A decade of rigorous research demonstrates that sustained stress in CHILDHOOD results in overproduction of cortisol, with chilling, lifelong effects throughout the brain and body.

If we engage America in the protection and nurturing of its children, these serious and prevalent health problems can be significantly reduced.

“The promotion of healthy child development is both a moral responsibility and an essential social investment to secure sustainable economic productivity and a viable democratic society.”

Jack Shonkoff, M.D.
Brandeis Professor
Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy
Chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child

YOUR TAX $$$$$$$ at WORK

February 28, 2008
1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars

New York Times

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report. Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year.

Law Professor Paul Cassell: “It would be a mistake to think that we can release any significant number of prisoners without increasing crime rates. One out of every 100 adults is behind bars because one out of every 100 adults has committed a serious criminal offense.”

Being tough on crime is an easy position to take, particularly if you have the money. And we did have the money in the ’80s and ’90s. Now, with fewer resources available, “Prison costs are blowing a hole in state budgets.”

In 2007, according to the national Association of State Budgeting Officers, states spent $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections. That is up from $10.6 billion in 1987, a 127% increase once adjusted for inflation. With money from bonds and the federal government included, total state spending on corrections last year was $49 billion. By 2011, that cost soars to $74 billion.

It cost an average of $23,876 to imprison someone in 2005.
The cost of medical care is growing by 10percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.

“Childhood should be a time of fantasy and magic. But, today, my own grandchildren live in fear of violence in their streets and schools.”

Whoopi Goldberg

The way a society functions is a reflection of the childrearing practices of that society. Today, we reap what we have sown. Despite the well documented critical nature of early life experiences, we dedicate few resources to this time of life. We do not educate our children about development, parenting or about the impact of neglect and trauma on children. As a society we put more value on requiring hours of formal training to drive a car than we do on any formal training in childrearing.

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Professor of Child psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine
Chief of Psychiatry, Texas Children’s Hospital
John Marcellus, M.D.
The impact of Abuse and Neglect on the Developing Brain


SUICIDE is the THIRD leading cause of death between ages 15-24

SUICIDE is the FOURTH leading cause of death for children 10-14

2007: SUICIDE for 10-24 years olds increased 8%, the largest single-year rise in 15 years.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report>

More of our children, teens, and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, flu, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, AIDS and chronic lung disease, combined.

In the past ten years more of America’s youth have died from suicide (est. 55,000> than were lost in combat in the ten year Vietnam War (47,355). Incidence of successful attempts has tripled in the last twenty-five years.

Causes of teen suicide:

  • Parental criticism and shaming
  • Divorce of parents
  • Family violence
  • Lack of a trustworthy adult
  • Hopelessness and anxiety
  • Feeling trapped
  • School failure
  • Feeling worthless
  • Rejection by family, friends or peers
  • Substance abuse
  • Death of family member or friend

“We can only end the cycle of violence by ending the violation of our children.”

Morgan Rose, M.S.
Founder/Executive Director