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HOW CAN I HELP? SENATOR JABARI BRISPORT AND ASSEMBLY MEMBER ANDREW HEVESI ON CAP MONTH
A national effort, April’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month is designed to raise awareness of both the prevalence of child abuse and neglect and the opportunities we all have to prevent maltreatment. As the recently appointed chairs of the Senate and Assembly Children and Families Committees, we recognize CAP Month as the chance to begin a conversation about what we can all do to better protect children and strengthen families.
We are the immediate past Chair of the Assembly Social Services Committee and a former public school teacher. As such, we understand that children don’t grow up in bubbles. They are heavily impacted by their caregivers and the world around them. When their parents experience stress—whether it’s the usual day-to-day pressure of life or a negative event like job
loss—children are more likely to feel the brunt of that burden. The pandemic has exacerbated the exhaustion and isolation that many families felt previously, which is why we are seeing increased rates of domestic violence and other abuse. And when childhood trauma continues to manifest into adulthood, we see increased parental substance abuse and chronic disease that wears on the family unit.
Luckily, there are policy decisions that we—elected officials—can make, and practices that you—the public—can implement.
Our policy priorities include a number of initiatives that would support families, such as:
Training mandated reporters in trauma-informed practice;
Expanding access to affordable, high-quality child care;
Increasing the value of rent subsidies included as part of preventive services; and
Reforming public assistance eligibility requirements
Things that you can do to help prevent child abuse include:
Reaching out to neighbors and friends to offer concrete supports, like providing a meal
or mowing a lawn
Letting a child in your life know that you are there to listen;
Taking action--quickly and easily--when there are opportunities to weigh in on policy, whether it's signing a petition, calling your local legislator, or spreading the word about a community program.
Throughout April—and beyond—we urge you to work with us to prevent child abuse. We each have the power—and the responsibility—to make a difference in the life of a child.
Senator Jabari Brisport, Chair of Senate Children and Families Committee
Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi, Chair of Assembly Children and Families Committee