Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman joined area prosecutors, lawmakers, and medical professionals this week in asking for funding of proactive, preventative anti-child abuse programs, such as home visits.
Specifically, the group called on state legislators to include $9 million in new funding that would serve an estimated 1,700 in-need families.
At a Tuesday event at PinnacleHeath Children’s Resource Center in Harrisburg, presenters stressed that proactive programs, such as Nurse Family Partnership, reduces incidents of child abuse and neglect.
District Attorney Stedman said fewer instances of child abuse can reduce long-term crime rates. Abused and/or neglected children are more likely to commit crimes later in life, Stedman said.
The more immediate impact, Stedman said, is helping some of the most vulnerable members of society: children.
He pointed to an ongoing case out of Lancaster County where a young boy was allegedly beaten and neglected for months by his father and the father’s paramour. The parents kept the child from friends and relatives.
Home-visiting would likely have uncovered the abuse much sooner, Stedman said.
The proactive programs also have value in non-criminal situations, such as educating parents/guardians on the dangers of co-sleeping with a child.
Also at the Tuesday event were District Attorneys Dave Arnold (Lebanon County), Dave Freed (Cumberland County), Ed Marsico (Dauphin County), state Senators John Rafferty and Mike Regan, and officials with PinnacleHealth and its Nurse Family Partnership.
Stedman thanked lawmakers, such as Senators Rafferty and Regan, for taking interest in such important work that often goes unnoticed by the general public.
(Photo courtesy of the Office of Senator John Rafferty.)
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