Angela Liddle Praises CNHI Series ‘protecting Our Children’
(Harrisburg, PA) – “Protecting Our Children”DePasquale: Series ‘helped raise awareness’ of struggles
The year-long “Protecting Our Children” series published by The Daily Item and Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. newspapers in Pennsylvania and Ohio has helped bring awareness to the needs of children and child welfare workers tasked with ensuring their safety,
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said. “Any time a person or organization works hard to bring attention to a critical issue such as the protection of vulnerable children, it is a worthwhile endeavor. (The project) has certainly helped raise awareness of the struggles of Pennsylvania’s children and the state’s child-welfare system through its reporting this year,” DePasquale said.
Making more people aware that they can help a child at risk simply by speaking out can save a life, said Angela Liddle, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. “Most people are surprised to hear that 46 children were killed by abuse or neglect in Pennsylvania last year,” she said.
PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN:
Improvements made, but work remains to protect state’s children Getting the word out that child welfare systems rely on the community to report allegations of child abuse or neglect is key, she said.
While state law has expanded the number of people who are required to report instances where they see possible child abuse or neglect, Liddle said non-mandated reporters are as or even more important.
“Last year, 79 children in Pennsylvania were near fatalities and without intervention may have died,” she said. At the same time, more than 8,000 reports of suspected abuse were reported in the state by non-mandated reporters.
“That’s substantial. It’s higher than the mandated reports,” said Liddle. “We have to figure out what motivates the average person to report and have to call on their heartstrings.”
“Although the report from DePasquale states that the Child Protective Service system is ‘broken,’ I believe the report has some very valid points and I was pleased to see the Meadville Tribune running a series that brings some awareness to some of the struggles of the system,” said Gail J. Kelly, director of Crawford County Human Services.
PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN: Low pay, stress hamper child protection in Pa.
“I believe that bringing awareness to the struggles of this system is a positive first step in improving the system,” said Kelly. “Who doesn’t want children to live happy productive lives in a safe and nurturing environment? Children’s safety is a community issue and I believe
collaboration across systems is the answer. Liddle concurs. “I have to believe telling the stories
about people who are doing the right thing, not just the stories of children who have been killed or harmed, makes a difference,” she said.
John Finnerty and Rick Green contributed. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Marcia on Twitter @marciamoore4