Maternal Home Visiting programs give mothers who are at high risk for abusing their children the skills to fix their own lives, parent successfully and break the cycle of abuse. They decrease short-term costs associated with emergency room visits, preterm births, and CPS involvement. Long-term, they also decrease costs associated with special education and crime. Their first year, they save taxpayers $1.15 for every dollar invested in them, and the savings grow over time.
One Mother’s Story
I’ve been through a lot in my life. As a young teen, I was molested, raped by family members. There were six of us siblings. Before I had my son I was 14, taking care of three other kids.
Theresa [my home visitor] was this beautiful person. I’ve been in counseling. I’ve been in and out of the hospital, overdosing. I wouldn’t talk to nobody. I looked at Theresa as the mom I never had. I could tell her everything, and look at her face and tell she never judged me. If anything, she’d tell me “that’s what it was. Now, this is what we’re gonna do. This is what’s gonna happen. You went through all that. You did that. You’ve been through all this. You’re a strong woman. So now you’re gonna be a strong mother, an even stronger person.”
My son was born with gastroschisis, Theresa was there, right by my side. She helped me get through everything. Post-partum depression was the worst part. When my son was born, I was at the hospital. All the time.
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t touch him, I couldn’t hold him, because he had surgery. Theresa said “Read to him. He’ll hear your voice, he’ll feel you, he’ll know that you’re there”.
I did that, and the more I read to him, the faster he progressed, the quicker his health became better.
Now I mentor other young ladies. If I can fix somebody else, I feel better inside, and I owe that to New York State’s maternal home visiting program. Before I joined the program, I didn’t care about nobody. I didn’t know how to bring up my child. Because I’d never been brought up properly myself. Theresa showed me that it gets better. She gave my son a better life.
Please protect other children like you protected mine.
Abuse can never be undone. Abused children live shorter sicker lives and contribute less to society. Their minds souls and bodies forever scarred by betrayal and fear. Current systems keep most children alive, but kids deserve more. They deserve not to be abused at all.
After all an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Erie County, New York are working with NY State's legislators to provide Maternal Home Visiting to every mother who will struggle to bond with their baby. Erie County has an unprecedented opportunity to become a community where abuse is prevented, not tolerated. Currently the rate of abuse is twice the state average. More than 13 children have lost their lives to maltreatment in the last five years. Now we need to persuade Governor Cuomo to fund this program. Because prevention saves taxpayers money. And because one abused child is one too many.
New York state currently funds only one in ten mothers who need these programs.
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