In response to a rash of brutal child abuse and murder cases in Queens, Senator Frank Padavan (Queens) today called for a state commission to study the feasibility of increasing the availability of child abuse prevention programs throughout New York State. Currently, these programs are only available to approximately 10 percent of families at risk of abuse across the state.
Senator Padavan said, “These horrific cases of abuse of young children in Queens clearly demonstrate that more must be done to educate caregivers and the entire community about the dangers of shaking an infant and other abuse. Education and training of future and new parents has proven to be the most practical and cost-effective way of preventing child abuse and neglect. Every effort must be made to ensure that New York’s child abuse prevention programs are available to all families at risk of abuse.”
Seven-month old Xiah Greene of Queens was the latest victim of abuse. He was recently beaten to death by his father, Larry Greene of Queens, who yelled “Toughen up!” to the crying child before punching him in the chest. The child stopped breathing shortly after and died.
According to media reports, the borough of Queens has experienced at least eight brutal cases of child assaults by caregivers since February 25th. Many of the abused children were victims of shaken-baby syndrome. A veteran Queens prosecutor has said that the recent spike in child abuse is the worst the borough has experienced in 25 years.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In New York State, approximately 80,000 children are found to be abused each year.
A study by Prevent Child Abuse New York estimated the cost of treating the consequences of child abuse in New York State is approximately $2.4 billion each year, while the amount spent on primary child abuse prevention is less than $30 million.
Many child abuse prevention programs address not only child abuse prevention but other aspects of family dynamics that threaten child and family well-being, including preventable health conditions such as low birth-weight, infant mortality, drug-addicted babies and more. While these programs have proven to be both beneficial and cost-effective, they are currently only offered to a small number of families at risk of abuse and neglect.
Senator Padavan is a sponsor of the legislation that will establish a state commission comprised of leaders in the field of child abuse prevention to study and analyze current child abuse prevention efforts in New York State and recommend ways to improve the system.
Senator Padavan said, “By studying the availability of successful prevention programs and the best way to expand their services to more families at risk, we can save numerous children from having to endure abuse and neglect while saving the state considerable fiscal resources.”