(New York, NY): The Stop Abuse Campaign, a national organization that prevents childhood abuse, maltreatment and trauma through public education and public policy, issued a statement about the recent report showing that CPS in much of New York is struggling with caseloads that are too high and with completing safety assessments in the timely fashion the law mandates.
“If a caseworker ever has too many cases, that’s wrong. If a safety assessment is ever late, that’s wrong. The fact that this is common throughout the state is horrifying. But it is a symptom of a larger problem, our failure to invest in abuse prevention” said Andrew Willis, founder of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
“New York needs to invest in the Maternal Home Visiting programs that prevent child maltreatment and trauma. Because right now only 5% of all eligible mothers have access to these programs that help mothers break the cycle of abuse, addiction and poverty and ensure a better life for their children. Until we choose to prevent abuse, rather than tolerate it, we will inevitably see Child Protective Services struggle under growing caseloads” said Melanie Blow, Chief Operations Officer of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
Maternal home visiting (MHV) programs strengthen parent-child bonding, prevent child abuse and reduce maternal poverty and drug use. The biggest such program in New York, Healthy Families NY, has been flat-funded for over a decade, and does not have the capacity to help most families.
“The Adverse Childhood Experiences study by the Centers for Disease Control proves that all child abuse is a matter of life and death, because even a single act of abuse causes permanent harm that predisposes children to a lifetime of physical, mental, social and financial impairments. Maternal Home Visiting programs prevent abuse from starting. Thus, they keep children from entering CPS. They also prevent the permanent harm associated with abuse, increase maternal self-sufficiency, and save taxpayer money.” says the statement issued by the Stop Abuse Campaign.
“CPS need the resources that it needs in order to investigate properly. But it’s worth noting that CPS’ in New York City, which scored very well on this report, had five high-profile child abuse deaths within six months. Even under the best of circumstances, it is difficult for good workers to figure out which abusive situations will escalate to fatalities and which ones will de-escalate. This was brought up again and again by the Federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. The best thing New York can do for its children is to invest in the programs that prevent abuse” said Ms Blow.