Our children are dying. Yours. Mine. Ours.
This week, a letter penned by child welfare expert Holly Schlaack is being mailed to 600+ elected officials, including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, all of Congress, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, all state governors, and all 2016 presidential candidates.
In addition, individuals across the country will be encouraged to “sign” the letter at InvisibleKids.org as a way to convince elected officials that we as a nation demand better protection for the 400,000 abused and neglected children in our child welfare system.
According to Holly Schlaack, Executive Director of the Cincinnati-based Invisible Kids Project, “The ‘Step Up and Fix This’ campaign is designed to grab the attention of elected officials, create awareness that our country’s foster care system is failing miserably, and connect people to form a united voice so powerful our government can no longer ignore the crises facing kids in the child welfare system.”
Just a few of the horrific facts:
- By the time you go to bed tonight, 1,837 new children will have entered our nation’s child protection system as confirmed victims of abuse or neglect.*
- 50 out of 50 states fail to comply with federal mandates outlining the basic requirements of care for nearly 400,000 foster kids in the US.
- Between 2008 and 2011, more than 70 children in the state of California died of abuse or neglect while in the system for protection. In 2011, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine held child safety summits in eight counties across Ohio in response to the brutal deaths of several infants and children in the child protection system. In Ohio between 2006 and 2010, 22% of children who died of maltreatment had an active case with child protective services; 38% had a prior history of involvement with child protection services.
- There are 400,000 invisible kids, in virtually every zip code across America, under the care of our nation’s child welfare system.
- All three branches of federal government, in addition to Health and Human Services, have abandoned their responsibilities to the nearly 2,000 American children killed each year by abuse or neglect.
“When these children enter foster care, they become our children,” said Schlaack. “We are all legally and ethically obligated to stand up for their safety and security.” In the letter, Schlaack makes specific recommendations, based on her 20+ years of child welfare experience, to better protect and serve abused and neglected kids. The letter calls on our country’s leaders to take immediate action to elevate the needs and rights of abused and neglected kids above all else.
“Our goal is to create awareness and a social media/community movement so powerful that our elected officials will agree to Step Up and Fix This,” said Schlaack.
The full letter can be found on our home page at www.invisiblekids.org, along with an easy way for supporters to sign and share. Names will be forwarded to our country’s leadership.
* Sources for all statistics and more information can be found at InvisibleKids.org.