On April 27, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) director Dr. Roque Gerald launched the District's first-ever citywide comprehensive child abuse and neglect prevention plan. From the press release, the plan is
a three-year initiative to coordinate public, private, and community efforts to strengthen families as a means of preventing child abuse and neglect throughout the city. A Call to Action: The District of Columbia's First Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Plan describes the District's strategy for raising awareness about child abuse and neglect, investing in approaches that support healthier children and stronger families, and measuring outcomes of investments.
"As a councilmember, I asked for a survey of existing child abuse and neglect prevention programs that would identify service gaps in the District," said DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. "The city's first child abuse and neglect prevention plan will serve as a vehicle for filling the gaps. It will also guide investments designed to reduce risk factors that can lead to child maltreatment."
This plan is a long time coming. I am proud to say that DC Action for Children, where I cut my teeth as a policy and budget analyst and advocate, raised the plan as an imperative for then-CM Adrian Fenty. One very public thing DC ACT did was to publish Issues in Brief: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect Before Another Child is Harmed.
Make no mistake about the plan -- it is an action plan, not a report or analysis or study. Everyone has a role to play in preventing abuse and neglect--in keeping kids safe. And as much as I appreciate Mayor Fenty's continued commitment to preventing child maltreatment, we've all got to do better than waiting years before we take action.
What are YOU going to do to prevent child abuse and neglect?