This week an article by Rueben Rosario regarding a searing report by Every Child Matters caught my attention. The article covers the cost of child abuse and possible solutions. The report covers not only child abuse statistics, but the child abuse stories behind the statistics.
Another report put out by Every Child Matters, called GeoMatters, highlights how the geography of where one lives dramatically increases the results of everything from child abuse fatalities to percentage of juveniles incarcerated. Who knew children are 13 times more likely to die from abuse or neglect in Oklahoma compared to those in Maine OR a youth in Wyoming was 734% more likely to be incarcerate than Vermont?
As I read through the on-line comments on the Rosario article, I was shocked at the hard heartlessness of so many people who chose to comment (38 comments as some where removed). I chose to engage some who were particularly abrasive, such as “The anti-welfare guy,” “The Solution,” and “The Master.”
Afterwards, it was clear to me their type have no interest in promoting the conversation or discussing realistic solutions. They are there to promote their style of simpleminded, black and white thinking, that is often connected to a political ideology, and not subject centered. When pressed for ideas of solutions, they either dropped off or resorted to name calling. And when called out on the childish name calling, they dropped off.
To expect investigators and social workers to handle the number of caseloads our recent budget cuts have required and do so in a thorough manner is unfair and unrealistic. Some families do need support services AND some children need to be removed, with errors of judgment always being on the side of removing the child. We cannot severely underfund these professionals, and be righteously outraged when the cases come to light, then blame them for failing to do the job our underfunding made impossible to do.
We need the same definitions of child abuse applied nationwide so statistics can be accurately kept. While different definitions of what constitutes abuse state to state makes it more difficult to measure what works, this report gives us a good snapshot to learn what questions we should be asking to find a model that we can apply nationwide to make the most of our precious tax dollars. Every day, 5 more children are murdered as a result of child abuse. In the end, it is a case of putting our money where our mouth is. Period.