Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jim Hmurovich President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America appears on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

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Chicago, IL, February 4, 2010 - Last night Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse
America appeared on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric to discuss the 4th National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect. The highlight of the study is the finding that there has been a 26% decrease in incidents of serious child abuse, especially sexual abuse, between 1993 and 2005. Prevent Child Abuse America celebrates this finding and applauds CBS and Katie Couric for covering the story. We also believe though that the release of the report should serve as an opportunity to discuss the state of prevention across the nation.

The decrease took place during a period when states and the federal government were making massive investments in evidence-based prevention strategies, such as home visitation, parent support and education and information on early childhood development. This finding supports our belief that investments in evidence based strategies are working and proving to be less costly to our children, communities and nation.

Given this, we must also recognize that this prevention infrastructure is at-risk of being un-raveled due to budget cuts at the very moment when greater investments are required.

As Mr. Hmurovich was quoted as saying on CBS, "It would be easy during these economic times to forget that (the investment in prevention) must be a continuing investment and that it's not over."

Congressman Danny Davis, a long-time champion for investing in home visitation services such as the Healthy Families America program highlighted in the segment, had the following to say, “Education plays a significant role in helping prevent child abuse and neglect. It is important that federal, state, and local governments invest in evidence-based activities, such as home visiting, to support children and families and to reduce child abuse and neglect. High quality prevention programs work and we can’t let up now.”

Some other thoughts to consider:

We must place the study in the context of the current economy and consider the outcomes if the study was performed today;

Children of unemployed parents had two times the rate of maltreatment overall, (2 times the rate of abuse and 3 times the rate of neglect than employed parents);

Children living in households below $15,000 were neglected seven times the rate of other children living in households above $15,000;

Over the past year, many states have cut funding to prevention, early childhood and home visitation programs such as Healthy Families America. More cuts are expected this year; and

The Senate, the House and the President all have endorsed a significant federal investment in home they need to finish the job by enacting the new funding.

The lesson to be learned according to Mr. Hmurovich, “Don’t cut the prevention budget in these challenging economic times.”

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