I’ve always had a special interest in children, having been a school social worker for 27 years. I had previously worked for Child Protective Services. Many of those experiences have stuck with me to this day and have shaped my world view and my politics. No matter what, children must be protected and cared for regardless of the cost.
Three million reported cases of child abuse and neglect result in 2,000 deaths in the US annually. Since 2001, 30,000 American children have been killed in their own homes, taken their own lives or been murdered in their own neighbourhoods. This doesn’t even account for the fact that up to 60% of child abuse goes unreported. Why does the US lead the world’s richest democracies in child-abuse fatalities, with death rates that are three times higher than Canada’s and 11 times higher than Italy’s?
If the most prosperous country in the world can afford to fight two wars, battle terrorism in far-off lands and bail out Wall Street by the billions, why can’t it offer its most vulnerable and voiceless citizens anything but bureaucratic red tape?
Children are the only investment with guaranteed dividends. Our refusal to make our childrens’ wellbeing a priority foreshadows a terrifying future that perpetuates the miserable cycle of brutality.