"For the last three years every single U.S. state has failed to adequately protect children from abuse and neglect, federal investigators report.
The Department of Health and Human Services used 14 standards to measure states' performance and plans to levy penalties on many of the worst offenders, the New York Times reported Monday.
Some states face tens of millions of dollars in penalties, which some states say could make paying for improvements even more difficult.
The department estimates about 900,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2002, and 1,400 of them died."
I have been a Social Worker since 1968, and I have spent most of my career working in mental health and substance abuse agencies. I often have contact with child protective workers and the turnover in child protective departments is horrendus. I remember reading in the newspaper several years ago that the average length of stay for a child protective worker in the Monroe County Department of Social Services is 7 months. I have no idea if this is still true, but I do know that child protective work is extemely difficult, dangerous, for very low pay.
So, it comes as no surprise to me that all states in the Union fail to meet Federal standards for child protective services. It is very clear that we are not a nation that values our children. Children are seen as a burden, and an impediment to living the good life. Compared to other countries in the world, the United States does worse on indicators of child health than even third world countries when it even comes to things like infant mortality. We are the only first world country that does not offer some sort of financial assistance to parents for their children.
Americans don't seem to care that children are our future. Perhaps, having attained our material success there is little else that we can envision for the future for our kids.
It seems to me that the way a nation treats its young is a significant predictor of its future viability. If this is true, the United States of America is in serious trouble. We seem more interested in waging pre-emptive war based on false assumptions and information, and spending billions of dollars on military equipment and for corporations to rebuild what we destroyedin Iraq and Afghanistan than take care of our own kids. Something is seriously wrong. I don't think terrorism is our biggest threat, it is our own misguided values.
For example, while less than 3,000 people were killed in the Twin Towers attack, over 17,000 Americans are killed every year in drunk driving. The attack on the World Trade Center happened once in September of 2001, but the 17,000 Americans killed in drunk driving crashes happens year after year after year after year, and yet we do very little about it. Could you imagine if terrorists were killing 17,000 Americans year after year?
You don't need to be worried about terrorists, trust me. You need to be worried about drunk driving and people selling your kids cigarettes. Tobacco kills over 430,000 Americans per year. Let's start worrying about the things that really matter and quit playing politics and pissing off the world.
Are you registered to vote in 2004?
MedlinePlus: U.S.: States Fail Abused, Neglected Kids