Child abuse and neglect is reaching epidemic proportions with disastrous consequences. Judges, lawyers, physicians and other community professionals agree that tax dollars would be best spent preventing abuse and preserving families. Unfortunately, adequate resources have not been invested by state and Federal government to make significant prevention possible. One problem is that on both these levels the political constituency necessary to meet the needs of children has not been organized.
It is clear that children and families need advocates. They need a concerned body of individuals who are willing to champion their rights and fight for advances in services that benefit children.
They need you.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2003, approximately 906,000 children were victims and an estimated 1,500 children died of abuse or neglect.
What To Do If You Suspect Child Abuse
Suggestions from the Child Welfare League of America:
If it is an emergency, call your local police department. They can ensure the immediate safety of a child and get medical attention if needed.
Call your state or local child abuse hotline.
If you are unsure how to report, contact Childhelp USA® National Child Abuse Hotline by telephone at
1-800-4-A-CHILD® or through their website at www.childhelpusa.org for information about how to report in your community.
Suspicion of abuse is all that is necessary to file a report
Your information can be given anonymously
You will be asked to describe your concerns about the child and it will be helpful if you can provide:
the child's name, age, address, gender, school attended (if possible), and names of parents.
Increase Federal Funding for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services (i.e., CAPTA, PSSF, and SSBG)
Fully Fund the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA): CAPTA embodies the federal commitment to preventing child maltreatment, but has not been funded adequately to meet the demand for community-based prevention programs. In FY 2009, Prevent Child Abuse America urges Congress to fund CAPTA programs at their fully authorized levels:
Fully funding CAPTA state grants, which provide funds for states to improve child protective services, will shorten the time that post-investigative services are delivered, and increase the number of children and families who receive these services.
Fully funding CAPTA community-based grants,which help states develop and implement effective approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect, will provide communities with additional support to implement effective prevention strategies such as parenting education, home visiting programs, mutual self-help support groups for parents, and crisis nurseries.
Fully funding CAPTA discretionary research and demonstration grants will help pay for valuable data collection, technical assistance, and grant-funded research and demonstration projects.
Fully Fund Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF): PSSF grants help states pay for family support, family preservation, family reunification, and adoption support. Unfortunately, Congress provided just $63.3 million for the PSSF discretionary grant in FY 2008, $25 million less than was provided the year before, and $136.7 million short of the authorized level. Prevent Child Abuse America urges Congress to fully fund the PSSF discretionary grant at the authorized level of $200 million in FY 2009. Funding the PSSF discretionary grant at $200 million will promote the expansion of family support services in communities across the nation and provide more intensive help for families in crisis. Research is clear that by investing in positive outcomes for children and families, family support and family strengthening programs can also lead to fewer incidences of child abuse and neglect.
Fully Fund the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG): HHS reports that SSBG funded preventive services for 29 percent of the total child recipients of preventive services in 2005. Despite the many critical services that SSBG makes possible, funding for the block grant has been chipped away over the past decade from a high of $2.8 billion a year to its current authorized level of $1.7 billion a year. The Administration's previous budget requests have proposed to further cut SSBG by $500 million. If enacted, this 30 percent cut will result in the reduction or elimination of critical services and programs. Prevent Child Abuse America urges Congress to fully fund SSBG at $1.7 billion in FY 2009.
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