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Letter: Invest in programs to stop child abuse

Invest in programs to stop child abuse

The plan to have Child Protective Services workers in the schools sounds like a good plan, at first. However, as a longtime social worker, I don’t see it as a win-win. I feel the workers’ time, as well as the money, could more effectively be spent.

First of all, being right in the schools provides easy access for people to misuse their power and cause trouble for those with whom they have an agenda. I have seen it way too many times, with devastating consequences. Anyone, once under scrutiny with a magnifying glass, can look suspicious, and even Mother Teresa could look selfish.

The workers are already, in my opinion, a fall guy, left responsible for mistakes that can easily be made by already way overburdened workers. Will they be held accountable for the many unfounded cases that will come through the door?

I feel the money can be better spent on further awareness programs for teachers (who already do wonderful screening and reporting) and, even more importantly, on programs to support children to feel able to report their or their siblings’ abuse. Family and neighbors who “mind their business” also need awareness programs to realize that all vulnerable people and animals are everyone’s business.

What if your child were suffering in some way? Would you want an adult to help? The silence of abuse is deafening. Most times in a tragic case, neighbors and family will say they knew something was wrong, but didn’t speak up. To a child or anyone suffering from abuse, this silence is also abusive. The victims know you know and assume you must feel they don’t matter.

Let’s spend the money to educate and raise awareness of those we can help stop abuse – the ones who quietly know.

Laura Wright

Amherst