HARRISBURG, Pa., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing Pennsylvania as a "statistical outlier" with regard to when and how it investigates and substantiates child abuse, more than sixty physicians, faith leaders, and organizations urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and leaders of the General Assembly to prioritize child abuse prevention and treatment.
Pennsylvania's rate of substantiated child abuse consistently deviates from the national rate. In 2009, the substantiation rate was 1.4 per 1,000 children and nationally it was 9.3 per 1,000 children. The rate of investigation was 8.3 per 1,000 children, nationally it was 40.3. Also between 2002 and 2009 at least 344 Pennsylvania children have died as a result of child abuse.
The Protect our Children Committee released a letter today urging policy makers to direct a share of federal discretionary funds to create an inter-disciplinary Commission to Improve the Prevention, Identification and Treatment of Child Abuse assessing:
- The state's investment in and effectiveness of child abuse primary prevention strategies;
- Implications of the state's definition of child abuse and General Protective Services on child health and safety;
- Strategies to ensure mandated reporters of suspected child abuse are prepared to fulfill their responsibilities;
- Operations at ChildLine – the state's abuse hotline;
- Transparency and independent complaint resolution within the child welfare system
The letter concluded, "Whether calculating the life-long consequences for children or the tangible public and private costs to combat child abuse, the price is too steep to be ignored."
Among those calling for a Commission:
- A Child's Place at Mercy
- American Academy of Pediatrics - PA Chapter
- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Child Advocacy Center
- Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research
- The Rev. Dr. Ralph Jones, Bishop of the ECLA, Northwestern PA Synod
- PA Coalition Against Rape
- Dr. Charles Williams III
- Juvenile Law Center
- Mission Kids
- National Association of Social Workers
- Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office
- PA Chiefs of Police
- Pennsylvania Court Appointed Special Advocates
- PA Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention & Awareness Program
- PinnacleHealth Children's Resource Center
- Prevent Child Abuse PA
- SEIU Local 668
- Support Center for Child Advocates
- York County Cribs for Kids Program
The full letter, including those signing it, and a backgrounder on child abuse can be found at www.protectpachildren.org.
SOURCE Protect Our Children Committee