Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Protect Our Kids Act of 2012

According to the polls, more Americans were outraged after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut (75%), than after the September 11th terrorist attacks (65%).   

The same week that he announced proposals to reduce gun violence in response to the Newtown tragedy, President Obama launched a less-publicized movement to protect children when he signed the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 which authorizes a Commission to study deaths caused by child abuse and neglect.  "The key to child abuse prevention in general  ... is awareness and then it's education.  And, people need to be aware that this is a problem," says Christal Wilcox Frost of Traverse Bay Area Child Advocacy.  

Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2008 and 2009 found that eight children and teens (ages 0-19) die every day from gun injuries. 

Available statistics tell us that five children die from abuse or neglect every day in the US, the worst record of any industrialized nation.   However, Teri Covington, director of the National Center for Child Death Review says, “It’s been well-documented that those numbers are underreported, perhaps as high as 50 percent. Child abuse cases often don’t show up on death certificates because a lot show up as injuries or accidents.” 

The goal of the Protect Our Kids Act is to make more people aware that child abuse and neglect is a preventable and under-reported epidemic. Let's hope that the Commission's findings inspire the same outrage and call to action as the Newtown tragedy.