America's Abused and Neglected Children Go Unprotected

When it comes to ensuring protection of abused and protected children, the federal government is very substantially responsible. At least that’s the conclusion of a report researched over three years and published by The Children’s Advocacy Institute and First Star.

Released yesterday, the report, “Shame on U.S.,” names all three branches of the federal government as “derelict in their duties to protect abused and neglected children,” pointing to a disinterested Congress, federal courts reluctant to allow private citizens the right to file suite, and the Department of Health and Human Services for failing to adequately monitor state compliance with federal mandates. According to a press statement issued by the two advocacy organizations, their review of federal documents “…found that not one state is in full ‘substantial conformity’ with minimum standards set in federal law designed to protect abused and neglected children.”

The report is 72 pages long plus appendices and includes recommendations for improved oversight and action on the part of each of the branches. In addition, the report discusses the impact on the victims of abuse and neglect and the costs to society.

While gravely concerned with these findings, ECM is not overly surprised by them. The organization has been unceasing in its advocacy for better oversight, stronger programs, and greater funding to combat child abuse and neglect. In fact, Every Child Matters is a founding member of the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, which worked with Congressional leaders to pass the Protect Our Kids Act. The Act created a bi-partisan, two year Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. ECM’s former President, Michael Petit is one of the 12 members to be appointed to the Commission.

Petit, speaking for ECM, is quoted in AP coverage of the report: “The report is saying what a lot of people have been experiencing. I share many of those sentiments that the federal government is not providing the kind of oversight needed.”