Local Law Enforcement Join Child Abuse Prevention Campaign

Law enforcement leaders in Mason County have joined the Join National Child Abuse Prevention Campaign. Mason County Sheriff’s Casey Salisbury and Squaxin Island Tribal Police Chief Mike Evans are among the 160 law enforcement leaders in Washington who signed a nation wide letter calling on congress to support proven child abuse prevention strategies. At least 6,500 Washington children suffered abuse or neglect in 2010. Child abuse and neglect also claimed the lives of at least 1,560 children nationwide in 2010, including 12 Washington children. More than 1,560 law enforcement leaders and survivors—one for every child who lost their life to abuse or neglect—have signed the letter urging Congress to protect and expand funding for evidence-based home visiting services. The letter emphasized the benefits of voluntary home visiting services, which help new parents cope with the stresses of raising a young child. Research shows quality, voluntary home visiting programs can cut child abuse and neglect by up to 50 percent, significantly reduce later crime and save taxpayers money. They say that evidence-based home visiting can save as much as $21,000 for each family served by reducing abuse, neglect, juvenile crime and other negative outcomes. Washington recently received a multi-year, $25 million dollar federal grant to expand home visiting services statewide. And the 2012 supplemental budget signed by Governor Gregoire includes nearly $1 million dollars per year in state general funds for home visiting. The signatories, members of the anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, pointed to hundreds of thousands of cases of abuse or neglect that occur every year and said that the scope of the problem should “shock the conscience of every American.” “From a fiscal, moral and public safety perspective, we have an obligation to invest in home visiting and protect children from the harm caused by abuse and neglect,” the leaders agreed. Others to sign include Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer, Bainbridge Island Police Chief Jon Fehlman, Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers, Port Orchard Police Chief Alan Townsend, Grays Harbor County Sheriff Mike Whelan and Grays Harbor County Prosecuting Attorney H. Steward Menefee.

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