Brooklyn- State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, 22nd District), the Chair of the Senate Committee on Critical Choices, announced outside of Brooklyn Criminal Court a New York State Senate initiative to prevent child abuse. The measure would increase funding by $7 million in the State Budget to expand home visiting programs across New York State. Golden also announced a plan to develop a system which would allow the State Office of Children and Family Services and the Department of Health to work together to identify all expectant and new mothers at risk of abuse and refer them to a home visiting program.
Senator Marty Golden stated, “This week, a verdict was reached in the trial of Nixzmary Brown’s stepfather -- a horrific reminder that child abuse is a very real problem in New York State and one that endangers far too many children. It's time that New York State redirect our efforts, focusing more on preventing child abuse, and less on responding to it. Let’s spend money on protecting our children first, while continuing to treat our victims and prosecute their abusers. Home visiting will make a difference in the lives of our children and families.”
Home visits can identify domestic violence and substance abuse in the residence and provide for a mechanism to contact child protective services, or the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), if necessary. Home visits can also detect early childhood delays and health problems, can increase school readiness and maternal employment, and can reduce the need for foster care, unintended pregnancies and emergency room visits. Regular voluntary home visits and instruction in parenting skills have proven effective in preventing child maltreatment.
There are more than 62,000 children in New York State, and 6000 in Brooklyn alone, who are found by child protective services to be abused and neglected each year. About 6,500 children each year are removed from their homes because of maltreatment and about 77 children die in New York State each year as a result of abuse or neglect.
Senator Golden continued, “Of the more than 62,000 reported cases of child abuse, funding only allows for home visits to approximately 10% of the children at risk of being abused. New York is failing 90% of the children and families we're responsible for protecting. We cannot allow that to continue. The additional $7 million dollars that's in the Senate approved budget can add home visiting programs in New York City and New York State. We can protect more children, more families and more futures. I urge Governor David Paterson and the State Assembly to follow the Senate’s lead and make this a budget priority.”
Marion White, Director of the Child Abuse Prevention Program stated, “I share Senator Golden’s determination to protect children and support the expansion of home visiting programs as well as abuse prevention-intervention initiatives such as we provide through the Child Abuse Prevention Program’s (CAPP) Child Safety Workshops.”