Children born in the United States are entitled to protection under the same laws that safeguard all other citizens, as per the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Their citizenship does not come at the age of 18, but rather at birth. So why, when they are in their homes, and in some states while in school as well, do we deny them this basic American citizenship right to be safe from the fear of physical harm (otherwise known as assault) so long as a parent, guardian or teacher is the person committing the offense against them? This has to stop. Children are people. They deserve to live in freedom from the fear of personal injury too.
Children are people, and U.S. citizens, from birth. They deserve "equal protection" from personal injury just as much as American adults do.
That being the case, why is it that we drop these citizens from our protection as long as children are assaulted in their homes, at school or at the hands of a guardian or caretaker?
Why do we allow state child protection law language to exist 'on the books' that permits child assault, and with only vague, sometimes unenforceable language restricting its use?
Per Child Maltreatment, the U.S. annual report on statistical data about child abuse in our country:
- 5 kids die every day from abuse and neglect.
- 78 percent of these kids are under 3 years old.
- 44 percent of these kids (nearly half) are under 1 year old.
This is unacceptable. The social repercussions of allowing this to continue spread far beyond just the repeat of violent patterns in their own households later when these abused kids become parents themselves. The body heals after maltreatment, but sometimes the mind doesn't.
Please help to rewrite these laws. Start with The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA, 42 U.S.C.A. §5106g), which serves as a set of minimum requirements for state child protection laws. Fix CAPTA. Include all forms of 'common sense' abuse in the list of prohibited forms of maltreatment. Spread the safety outward to all of the other states, which must abide by CAPTA's terms.
Do this so that we may save more abused and at risk children from harm's way, and so that we may do more to encourage healthy, safe familial relationships.