Target: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Goal: Correct the lack of enforcement of child abuse and neglect laws.
Almost 680,000 children in the United States were victims of abuse and neglect in 2013, according to a recent article on NPR. More than 1,500 of them died. Tragically, these numbers represent an underestimate. Though reporting is required by law, many cases of child abuse and neglect go undisclosed. According to a three-year study by the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, not one state has met the minimum child welfare standards required by the federal government, standards which include timely investigation of reports of child abuse. Urge the federal government to address this failure to protect our nation’s children.
Reporting standards are only part of the issue. Many local and state officials complain about the emphasis on the time-consuming process of filling out federal forms, which is not necessarily helping the children directly. More broadly, states’ failure to meet the federal reporting standard does point to deeply rooted issues within the child welfare system. Many agencies struggle to continue assisting families when they are underfunded, for example, and caseworkers often find themselves overwhelmed. One solution agencies have pressed for is greater flexibility with the spending of federal funds, which would enable them to focus on keeping families together.
By signing the petition below, you can hold the federal government accountable for this lack of enforcement.
Dear Secretary Burwell,
I am writing in order to bring your attention to a three-year study by the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law. According to the study, not one state has met the minimum child welfare standards. The lack of enforcement of these standards on the part of the federal government is deeply unsettling. I ask you, one of our nation’s leaders, to register the gravity of this issue and take immediate action to correct it.
Almost 680,000 children in the United States were victims of abuse and neglect in 2013, according to a recent article on NPR. Of those children, more than 1,500 died. As you are most likely aware, due to gross underreporting, these numbers, while alarming, are still an underestimate. The federal government must intervene in order to ensure a better future for our nation’s children, one in which they do not have to live in constant fear. Please send the message to them that although they have endured great pain and suffering, they will not be abandoned, that they are not alone.
[Your Name Here]
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