Golden wants commission to study child abuse prevention
Families in which children are in grave danger of being abused have only a small number of programs that can help them avoid tragedy, according to state Sen. Marty Golden, who said New York state needs to do more to save children’s lives.
“There is no place in our homes, schools or society for child abuse, and the unfortunate reality is that it is happening all too often in New York,” Golden said.
In an effort to combat the problem of child abuse and neglect, the state Senate recently passed a bill sponsored by Golden to create a commission to study child abuse prevention and issue recommendations for the implementation of prevention programs.
“I introduced this legislation because it is time that we take a stand against child abuse and make the prevention of such a priority. We must figure out how to reverse this trend that is damaging many families,” Golden said. “Reports indicate that there are approximately 80,000 children found to be victims of child abuse and maltreated in New York state each year. These numbers require legislative action so that we can prevent the abuse of children and save families in our state.”
A study by the organization Prevent Child Abuse New York estimated the costs of treating the consequences of child abuse, including incarceration, court costs and foster care to be approximately $2.4 billion each year. The amount spent on prevention is more than $30 million.
Also troubling is the fact that many of these prevention programs are currently available to only a small number of families at risk of abuse and neglect, Golden said. For example, home visitations by prevention specialists are available to approximately 10 to 14 percent of eligible families.
One of the tasks of the commission would be to make recommendations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature on ways the state can increase the availability of these services, Golden said.
Child abuse prevention programs address not only the crime of child abuse prevention itself but other aspects of family dynamics that threaten children’s well-being. The threats include health conditions such as low birth weight, infant mortality, drug-addicted babies and more.
The prevention programs often provide referrals, education, expertise and stability for at-risk families. Some of the programs focus on training for new parents.
“There are parents who can’t handle children,” Golden told the Brooklyn Eagle.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration. Assemblymember Sandy Galef (D-Westchester-Putnam County), a former teacher, is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly.
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