Letters to the Editor week of 4-9-09

272

Prevent child abuse

To the Editor:

The majority of child abuse cases in Indiana stem from situations and conditions that are entirely preventable in an engaged and supportive community. A community that cares about early childhood development, parent support and maternal mental health, for instance, is more likely to see families nurturing children who are born healthy and enter school ready to learn. Cities and towns that work to create good school systems and who come together to ensure that affordable housing is available in good, safe neighborhoods are less likely to see stressed, isolated families who don’t know where to turn.

Approximately 80 percent of the substantiated acts of child abuse and neglect in Indiana are committed by parents or family members. Perpetrators constantly cite lack of parenting skills and support as the primary reason for their abusive behaviors. Yet, we continue to ignore the overwhelming need to prepare parents and caregivers better. We must make policy and systemic changes that value children and strengthen families – we cannot wait for someone else to do it.

If we work together to change the way society values and supports the well-being of children and families and if we can change the cultural attitude to ensure that healthy, safe and nurturing experiences are supported by the actions of every individual and every community, then “preventing child abuse” no longer describes simply the ’cause’ we each support; but rather, it begins to describe the ‘effect’ of all that we do together.

April’s observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month reminds us all of our collective responsibility to make positive choices that will impact the safety and well-being of our children. Beyond the choices we make every day to assure our own children and the children we know receive nurturing, loving experiences every day, we can make choices that will affect change at the governmental and community level on the systems that support healthy community and family development.

Child abuse and neglect robs so many of our society’s children of their childhood and their sense of security and well-being. And while no one can do everything, everyone can do something. And together, we can do anything. Together, we can advocate for policies and programs which support healthy families and children. Together, we can live in a prosperous society that understands and genuinely values the well-being of children. Together, we can prevent child abuse.

It is, however, up to each of us – not someone else – to make a difference in the life of a child. We must hold policy-makers, elected officials, and ourselves accountable for being informed, being involved, and being dedicated to preventing child abuse before any pain is inflicted on another child.

And while April is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month, every day should be about preventing child abuse. Preventing child abuse is possible if, collectively and individually, we make the right choices and changes for our children – Indiana’s future.

Barbara Fletcher

Switzerland County

Prevent Child Abuse Council

Healthcare for kids

Dear Editor:

As a nurse practitioner of 35 years, I have served many families who rely on government assistance as a means to afford medical care. My experience has shown me that our great country is in dire need of healthcare reform – which is why I would like to thank Senator Evan Bayh and Representative Baron Hill. Both of these Indiana officials have voted in support of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and have supported Medicare Part D.

SCHIP – known in Indiana as Hoosier Healthwise – allows parents to give their children the healthcare they need but cannot afford. So many children would go without preventive care if it weren’t for this program. Medicare Part D also works to protect the most vulnerable among us. The program is designed to help seniors afford the medications they so desperately need. Both of these programs aim to create a better standard of living for the two cohorts that need us the most.

It is my hope that Senator Bayh and Representative Hill will continue to support SCHIP and Medicare Part D.

Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.

Theresa Watson, RN, MS, CPHQ

Jeffersonville, Indiana