For decades, advocates have focused on how often children are abused. Even major media trendsetters like Netflix, CW, and HBO have released shows depicting the experiences of children in foster care. The hard work of prevalence education has paid off, and many are aware that we have a big problem, but now we must address a bigger question.
“What are we going to do about it?”
We, in partnership with corporate, foundation, and individuals, including CEO Ted Davis of Airstream Adventures NW, have committed to getting serious about solutions to child abuse over the next ten years. Through concerted effort, measurable goals, and cross sector partnerships, Oregon can become the safest state for our children by 2030.
Tackling child abuse is the best way to make Oregon the safest state.
Child abuse is tied in data to nearly every societal challenge breaking our hearts today. Criminality, mental health symptoms, addictions, unintended pregnancies, chronic health conditions, houselessness, even school dropout and stymied educational or occupational achievement, are all intimately connected to child abuse. Simply put, children with abuse histories may grow into adults coping to survive their traumatic childhoods.
When adults are suffering from unhealed pain, we are all less safe.
If we prevent abuse, 120,000 Oregon children won’t have to suffer because of their childhood. They may instead grow into thriving, happy and accomplished adults.
If abuse happens, and we intervene early with a skilled workforce, we have a great opportunity to reduce the impacts of abuse, cutting down the likelihood that a child will experience the challenges listed above. Setting a vision for comprehensive support following abuse is actionable and a smart investment; after all, Oregon is incredibly philanthropic and the amount of kids that need intervention is a manageable number, unlike California or Texas. As community advocacy grows, our legislative partners are also prepared to act in big ways. Luckily, community safety and ending child abuse is a nonpartisan issue.
Solutions are possible.
In 2020, we will be setting goals for preventing child abuse and reducing its impacts – here’s what we know so far. Step two is engaging partners, ready to lead on this issue and help build a collective legacy of making Oregon the safest state for a child.