As I listened to the ecumenical service at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral on behalf of our children, I was impressed with the different expressions of concern throughout the service. But I believe that should be only a beginning, not an end in itself, to rescue our children from abuse in our society.
If we are really serious about protecting our children, of promoting the welfare of our children, we must as a community take a stand and work with our legislators, with our social workers, with the religious community and with the law-enforcement agencies.
We need to strengthen our laws on parental neglect, because that is where the abuse begins: with neglectful parents.
Parents who do not provide for the welfare of their offspring should be held accountable by law and the moral standard of our community. Parents who do not respond to the summons of teachers in the schools are neglectful and should be charged with parental neglect. Parents who do not take their children for their medical evaluations are neglectful and should be charged as such.
The law requires that all minors under 16 years of age attend school; parents who do not facilitate the attendance of their children at the schools should be charged with parental neglect.
We all know that people do not always do the right thing because they are so dutiful; they do it because of the consequences of failure to do what the law requires of them. Therefore, if we as a society are going to assume our God-given duty and protect our children, we must have laws that protect them from all abuse and neglect of the persons or institution responsible for their welfare.
We as adults should not abdicate our responsibilities, our duty to our children, and push the children to do for themselves what we as adults should be doing for them. We adults must assume our duties as parents, as concerned adults, aunts, uncles, grandparents; our entire adult community should protect our children and look out for their welfare.
Our government agencies need to improve their performance by enforcing all laws that are intended to protect our children and promote their welfare. We as adult citizens should be vigilant that our government agencies fulfill their duties to our children. That is the least we can do, would you agree?
The Citizens Coalition for Better Government joins in the campaign to protect our children from abuse and neglect by the adults of this community.
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