Lately child abuse is getting a lot of attention, and rightfully so. These tragic child abuse stories are always followed by hard-line, hard-nosed comments of what should be done to the abusers. Every one is quick to say "lock them up and throw away the key" HOWEVER if you ask those very people if they support a living wage and programs that help people cope with the harsh realities of parenting, poverty and/or mental illness, you'll often heard, "my parents raised (5, 8, 12, etc) kids without any kind of parenting classes or assistance and we all turned out just fine." (which is a matter of opinion)
Child abuse is a systemic problem of multiple societal issues: poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and the general acceptance of violence throughout our society. When these stressors are involved, you will often find abused and neglected children. And where you find abused and neglected children, you will find adults who were abused or neglected themselves as children. It is far more cost-effective to provide a living wage and social services to parents who are experiencing stress, than to pay for the crimes, prison cells, ruined lives and therapy for all who are victims. Mike Tikkanen, (author of Invisible Children and President of Kids At Risk) writes:<blockquote>Children who read by the third grade seldom are ever involved with the criminal justice system. Four of five incarcerated juvenile offenders read two years or more below grade, and a majority are functionally illiterate. Several states including California and Arizona, forecast needed prison growth based on third grade reading scores. (<a href="http://www.invisiblechildren.org/2010/03/13/education-is-the-engine-of-p...">Education Is The Engine of Progress & Prosperity)</a></blockquote>
Those statements are truly food for thought. Americans seem to be so short-sighted that we cannot envision future savings in an investment in preschool and social programs that have proven to give back generous savings. The key word there is INVESTMENT. And until we decide to invest in our children, we have less moral standing to judge others who are the product of such an upbringing. Five children die EVERY DAY because our lack of commitment to change it. Unless you are willing to fund the programs that can change that statistic, you are saying you accept the status quo and are therefore part of the problem.