Prevention is a Call to Duty

Texprotects hosted its Child Abuse Prevention Rally today at the Texas Capitol. The leading advocate for prevention programs, Senator Uresti, was honored to speak on a subject close to his heart.

“For years, and session after session, we continue to hash out and review policy reforms on intervention services, yet only a fraction of our time and funding is given to the most significant and critical starting place . . . prevention. Texas will spend $3 billion on intervention services for children and families due to abuse and neglect, yet it will only spend $70 million on Prevention and Early Intervention programs in 2018.  That is a 2% investment.

It is time prevention takes priority in the fight against child abuse.

The financial costs of child abuse are one thing. However, the unimaginable pain and experience a child goes through from feeling unloved and neglected is something we cannot ignore. The cost of a child’s broken heart and spirit are too great.

In 2015, we lost 171 children due to abuse and neglect.  In 2016, child deaths INCREASED to 202.

One of our primary duties as lawmakers is to protect the most vulnerable children in our state. During the 84th legislative session, we added nearly $33 million dollars to Prevention and Early Intervention services.

PEI put forth a plan to better protect children and preserve families by utilizing data to target prevention resources in areas of the state with the greatest needs, and also to increase collaboration and sharing of resources with other entities.

Our ability to collect data, analyze it, and share it has become highly sophisticated compared to the methods used just ten years ago.

We are now able to identify geographic areas that indicate the highest needs and the most common risk factors related to high child abuse rates.  We have no more excuses for not being able to show we are making a difference!

We realize these initiatives take time; however, time is of the essence! We cannot continue to have our children and families succumb to something preventable.  We all know there are some things in life that are simply not preventable. But a child being starved to death, beaten, forgotten about is preventable.  It simply is.

Prevention goes beyond law makers and funding.  It requires the work and efforts of many.

It will take stakeholders such as yourselves, the community, and brave family members all working together to make a difference for a child.

Prevention is a call to duty and all of you here today are examples of that!  So let us continue our hard work, but be mindful that it is time we move the needle on prevention so that we can get it right to stop child abuse.”

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