Kicking off the second day of Cal State Chico's Children in Trauma conference, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey talked about the county's Drug Endangered Children Program.
Ramsey said that narcotics police would make drug busts, clear out the drugs, arrest the adults and push the crying kids into the arms of the first available adult -- who might themselves be drug addicts. There may be three generations of meth users in a family.
He said, "One issue is the disconnect of these children that have no parenting, children that are left alone and passed from caretaker to caretaker. Absolutely flat affect in children taken from these homes. Most of us coming from "normal" homes would expect that when heavily armed narcotics agents break down the door, the children would be very frightened about being taken from their parents. But all it takes is for a CPS worker to come in and say, "Hi kids, we're going to McDonalds," and those children leave the parents in a flat second because they haven't bonded with those parents."
In response, main presenter Allan Schore, author of "Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self," reminded the audience, "We now know that even in the earliest events, infants are extremely aware of events and of their strongest attachments."
He said that while a child might have flat affect on the surface, there are likely rage and fear beneath the surface.
His presentation today focuses on how and why therapy works. He said, "Therapy is not a talking cure, it's a communication cure." That is, the therapist and patient must connect in the right hemisphere, the source of feeling.