Senator Martin J. Golden (R, C, Brooklyn) today called on Governor David Paterson and legislative leaders to restore the Governor’s draconian cuts to child abuse prevention in the Executive Budget.
The number of reported child abuse cases in New York State has skyrocketed in the last several years, impacting more than 75,000 children across the State. While New York State spends more than $2.4 Billion each year to treat the consequences of child abuse very little money is invested to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place.
Senator Golden said, “More children in this State will be subject to undetected abuse and more children will die if the Governor’s budget cuts for child abuse prevention are enacted. In the interests of our children’s safety and smart fiscal policy, I am asking that the Governor reconsider this move and restore these cuts in his 30-day Budget amendments.”
A letter sent to the Governor on the issue is below.
January 25, 2009
The Honorable David A. Paterson
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Paterson:
We write to you today having serious concern about the drastic cuts the Executive Budget proposes for child abuse prevention programs. Home visiting programs cannot possibly continue to protect children from abuse and neglect while absorbing a 35% cut— a move that is sure to carry devastating consequences for thousands of children under the age of five.
Approximately 1,300 children die each year in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect and many others receive serious injuries. In New York State, approximately 75,000 children are found to be maltreated each year.
Child abuse and neglect has been rising at an alarming rate across the State. From 2000 – 2007, the percentage of abused children increased by 21% Statewide and 31% in New York City. Forty-four counties have also experienced increases during this period, some by more than 100%.
Few resources are invested to prevent the abuse from occurring in the first place, while a huge financial cost is placed upon taxpayers to treat the consequences of child abuse—more than $2.4 Billion according to one study.
The cost of home visiting is $3,900 per year, per family. The alternatives to prevention are foster care, $16,000 per year; incarceration, $30,000 per year; and the many other costs associated with child abuse imposed not only on the victims but all of society.
With high unemployment, thousands of families impacted by the war and an uncertain economy, household stress will give way to child abuse and neglect. This is not the time to target a program so vital to the future of our children for draconian cuts.
It was just last year that a similar attempt was made to cut this vital program for children at risk. Therefore, we implore you to restore this funding in the 30-day Budget amendments and establish a Statewide commission on child abuse prevention charged with setting forth a plan to ensure access to home visitation services for all at-risk families in this State and removing the availability of funding from annual Budget negotiations. Our children deserve better.
Senator Martin J. Golden
Senator Joseph Robach