The article, "State tackling abuse deaths -- While ranking could be somewhat misleading, experts say numbers are still alarming", focuses primarily on West Virginia's high rate of child deaths as the result of abuse and neglect. Rather than taking the easy and sensational route to criticize the state for its high rate, Breen does a nice job of summarizing the challenges of comparing state-by-state statistics and focuses on efforts to address the problem.
I was quoted as State Coordinator for Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia and cited the conclusions of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), which stated that child maltreatment could be reduced by up to 40% if home visiting programs were widely available.
The benefits of home visiting programs were also featured in an article in the June 2007 issue of Pediatrics, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The article's authors conclude that "our study findings are consistent with the findings from randomized, controlled trials and suggest that home visiting reduces the risk of infant death."
PCA-WV's highest public policy priority is the expansion of these successful programs throughout West Virginia and passage of the Education Begins at Home Act in Congress, which would provide federal funding for these successful evidence-based programs.
All in all, West Virginia's rate is still far too high, and we need to do more to help children grow up in safe and nurturing families.
Hopefully, as we come together as communities, neighbors, friends and families, every child will have a safe and loving childhood, and before long, West Virginia will be a leader on the positive end of these rankings. That will be a story in which I will be thrilled to be quoted.