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.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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.
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.
Currently, a child’s health and safety is only one of several factors judges consider when making custody decisions.
This puts children directly in jeopardy of suffering trauma which scientific research has shown to be linked to future substance abuse, mental health issues, and even life-threatening conditions.
People providing expert testimony in domestic violence cases should be qualified as domestic violence specialists.
The current standard of a general degree in psychology, psychiatry or any other mental health discipline doesn’t suffice, leading to poor judgments that cause children to suffer.