FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO, IL, March 4, 2013 – If there was ever a time to recognize that we all play a role in the lives of children and families, that time is now. Beginning March 1st, families across the nation began losing access to programs that allow them to build healthy, nurturing, and stable lives for their children and themselves. While many American’s find the current discussion of the federal budget as irresponsible, the real fact is that as of last Friday reductions in human services will now slowly take effect.
Given this, it may feel like what’s happening in the country is out of our control, but it’s not, and we should not feel powerless.
After 30 town hall meetings throughout the country, community members responded to the question, “What can our country do to equitably ensure the healthy development of every child,” in amazing and thoughtful ways.
We heard about how to structure our neighborhoods in a manner that increases physical activity for children and parent interaction, while reducing isolationism. We heard about developing curricula in our education system to promote empathy so as to reduce future school age bullying and future workplace and interpersonal violence. The cost to the taxpayers: zero.
We also heard that sometimes the caring offer of help makes a tremendous difference in a person’s life who may be under extreme economic and personal stress; stress that could result in a poor parenting choice while interacting with a child.
We already play an active role in the lives of children, all children, and their families, so let’s begin by recognizing this - we all play a role. We can all take a moment to do more though, because if there was ever a time to do so, that time is now.
It is time to knock on our neighbor’s doors and offer our help with babysitting, homework, or preparing a meal. It is time to volunteer at the food pantries, youth serving organizations, childcare cooperatives, and other organizations in our communities and neighborhoods that support children and families. And it is also time to advocate for action at the federal level.
Action that create legislation and policies that promote food and housing security, and an array of services that help children and families when hard times fall upon them.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a familiar phrase… maybe it’s time our policymakers focus on that rather than responding to situations that should have been prevented in the first place.
It’s easy to lose sight of our vision during these federal debates; but while we listen with eagerness on how our elected officials will solve this impasse, let’s keep our eye on the ball. This is a discussion about people and our children and it should focus on public policy that supports the development of our families and children to be the best they can be.
Our constitution requires it, our children need it and our future depends on it.
Margaret Mead said that “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
We challenge all citizens to be thoughtful and believe that they can change the world, because if there was ever a time to come together as citizens, that time is now.
Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 50 states and 581 Healthy Families America home visitation sites in 41 states, all the territories, Puerto Rico and Canada. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit our websites here and here.