Long Island Law Enforcement Say Over 200 New York State Children Abused or Neglected Every Day
Citing enormous toll on children and child abuse-crime link, law enforcement leaders support efforts to break cycle of abuse through voluntary home visiting
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2012
Contact: Arielle Bernstein, email@example.com
cell: (631) 495-2939
MINEOLA, NY — The numbers are eye opening: the number of kids abused or neglected in one year could fill every seat in Madison Square Garden, more than three times over. Long Island law enforcement drew attention to the figures Wednesday, releasing a new report from law enforcement leaders and crime survivors across the state on the extent of child abuse and neglect across New York State. On behalf of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York, Long Island law enforcement released a report with data showing that at least 77,000 children in New York State suffered abuse or neglect in 2010—more than 200 every day. Among New York children who suffered abuse and neglect in 2010, the report says at least 114 children died. On Long Island alone, there were 7,013 (Suffolk: 4,555; Nassau: 2,458) children abused or neglected.
The law enforcement leaders voiced strong support for services proven to prevent child abuse by releasing an open letter to policy makers, signed by over 1,560 law enforcement leaders nationwide: one for every child who died from abuse or neglect in 2010. The report and open letter emphasized the benefits of voluntary home visiting services, which help new parents cope with the stresses of raising a young child. Research shows that quality home visiting programs can cut child abuse and neglect by as much as 50 percent, significantly reduce later crime and save taxpayers money.
Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario, Port Washington Police Chief Bill Kilfoil and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice raised concerns at a news conference at Yonkers City Hall. They called on Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to protect and increase the state’s investment in home visiting services to help reduce child abuse and neglect and later crime. They also urged members of the state’s Congressional Delegation to protect and expand federal funding for evidence-based home visiting services.
In addition to protecting vulnerable children, law enforcement leaders want to prevent abuse and neglect because such maltreatment contributes to future crime and, in some cases, actually constitutes a crime. While most survivors of childhood abuse and neglect never become violent criminals, research shows that nearly 30 percent more of these children will become violent criminals than a control group without a history of abuse. This equates to about 3,000 additional violent criminals in New York State who would not have become violent criminals if not for the abuse or neglect they endured. Survivors are also more likely to abuse their own children, creating a cycle of violence that can span generations.
“One of the most difficult parts of the job of any district attorney is to see the victims and families deal with the extraordinary trauma that someone’s criminal conduct has brought into their lives,” said Rice. “This is especially true for children. No prison sentence or punishment can undo an act of child abuse, neglect or endangerment. That’s why I strongly support efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect before anyone gets hurt.”
The report details research on programs proven to prevent early abuse and neglect. A study of one program model, the Nurse-Family Partnership program, compared at-risk children whose mothers received visits with similar children whose families were not served. Children who did not participate had twice as many incidents of abuse and neglect as children in participating families. By age 15, youth whose families did not participate in the program had more than twice as many arrests. One site of the quality nurse home visitation program found significantly fewer cases of childhood injury and child mortality among families who participated.
By reducing child abuse and neglect and later crime and other negative outcomes, evidence-based home visiting programs are highly cost-effective. Analysis from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy showed that the Nurse-Family Partnership program produced a net savings of almost $21,000 for each family served. New York State can only realize such returns through investing in proven, evidence-based programs; policymakers need to ensure public investments are directed to those services.
“I’ve been at this for a long time now, and I know that we need to get ahead of the curve by acting early to protect kids from abuse and neglect,” Kilfoil said. “Services like the Nurse-Family Partnership and Healthy Families New York can help give families the resources they need to avoid abuse. Supporting these early interventions is a lot cheaper than doing nothing, which has a much higher financial and human cost.”
“We spend billions of dollars on late-stage problems and crime like school failure, juvenile delinquency, gangs, robbery rape and murder,” Gennario said. “Wouldn’t it be smart for us to understand that child abuse and neglect, particularly when it begins early, are at the root of much of what we are dealing with here? We truly do know a lot about what works to reduce abuse and neglect. We just need to do it.”
In the 2011 fiscal year, New York spent less than $50 million from combined local, state and federal sources for two voluntary home-visiting programs that have strong evidence they reduce child abuse and neglect. The Nurse Family Partnership Program and Healthy Families combined currently serve less than 10 percent of families of newborns who would otherwise qualify and benefit from these services. Federal grants are now available to support these programs. Alagno, Brogan and Smith called on New York State to increase state funding and to also aggressively pursue federal funding to provide more eligible families with access.
Law enforcement leaders voiced strong support for services proven to prevent child abuse by releasing an open letter to policy makers, signed by over 1,560 law enforcement leaders nationwide, including nearly 200 from New York State: one for every child who died from abuse or neglect in 2010. In the letter members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, law enforcement leaders and crime survivors agreed: “America can and must do more to prevent child abuse and neglect. From a fiscal, moral and public safety perspective, we have an obligation to invest in home visiting and protect children from the harm caused by abuse and neglect.”
Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario, Port Washington Police Chief Bill Kilfoil and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national anti-crime organization of 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and violence survivors, including over 300 members in New York State.
Learn more and read the report at www.fightcrime.org/
View our info-graphic on child abuse and neglect in America.