Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Provide funding and support for Child Protective Services.
Recent studies have shown that the United States is the only industrialized country to have a near epidemic rate of child abuse, and a majority of children falling through the cracks. According to UNICEF, the US has 2.4 deaths per 100,000 children, compared to 1.4 for France, 1 for Japan and 0.9 for the United Kingdom.
While many point to poverty, lack of affordable child care and teen pregnancy for the high rate of child abuse and neglect, the main reason is that, in general, most people are unaware of what is going on. Child abuse is often at the hands of the parents or other family members, and it happens behind closed doors. What’s worse, it is still rather taboo to talk about child abuse and neglect. In this great country, no one wants to admit that it’s happening.
The United States also has one of the highest prison populations in the industrialized world, with 14% of male prisoners and 36% of female prisoners abused as children. Abused and neglected teens are more likely to be tried as juveniles or commit violent crimes as adults, and 25% of those teens will be less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at risk for STDs and teen pregnancy. About 80% of 21-year-old victims of child abuse were diagnosed or showed symptoms of a psychological disorder. It is important to note that this does not involve every single abused and neglected child, but these numbers show a frightening cycle.
It is everyone’s responsibility to protect children, but the department meant to help the children who need it most, Child Protective Services, constantly fails at identifying and investigating reports of abuse and neglect. Everything from budget cuts, to overworked officers with lack of training and a lack of overall education, prevents CPS from doing its job correctly. As cliche as it sounds, the children are our future, and while those who have been abused can grow up to break the cycle, sadly some will not.
Dear President Barack Obama,
Child abuse and neglect have reached near epidemic levels in the United States and every single year children slip through the cracks of the Child Protective Services. Over three and a half million cases of child abuse are reported every year involving six million children. Most are under the age of four, and many are victimized by their parents and other family members. These children might grow up to break the cycle, but many more will succumb to the anger they have been raised by.
What is most disturbing about this issue is that not many people are aware of how much it is happening. Child Protective Services, the department that is supposed to help America’s children in need, is severely overworked, and with dwindling funds, lack of training, and lack of overall education. When it comes to budget cuts, we ask that you do not forget about the littlest citizens, the ones who have no voice. I know both sides of the aisle want to protect children, and I ask that you provide funding and support for Child Protective Services.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt via Wikimedia Commons