Where is the outrage?

June 9, 2011

By Angela Liddle

I don’t like bumper stickers. In fact, I verge on the extreme end of dislike. Think about it. As someone shopping for a new car, I spend a considerable amount of time deciding on “just the right color” and let’s not even mention the cost. So I just don’t understand when people plaster bumper stickers on their vehicle. Most recently I was driving in Harrisburg and the car in front of me had one single bumper sticker – and to my own great shock-I loved it! It simply said, “If you aren’t outraged, you are not paying attention.” Plastered sticker on a car or not, it rings of truth and got me to thinking a little about outrage. What should we as citizens of Pennsylvania be outraged about? I suppose today we could write a long list, but here’s where my thoughts went.

In 2010, 33 children died in Pennsylvania as a result of child abuse. A number like that should cause us to be outraged, don’t you think? Maybe we are more outraged when we look at the individual situations and not the numbers. In Allegheny County a father hit his two month old son several times on the head causing multiple contusions, fractures, hematoma and eventual death. Are you outraged? In Franklin county two sisters, ages five years and eight-months died due to asphyxiation. Their father killed them, and then himself. Are you outraged? There are 30 more stories that should elicit sadness, pain and outrage from each of us.

But I’ve come to believe, like the bumper sticker insinuates, we don’t pay attention, at least not to the things we should. Our outrage usually lasts for a limited time when we hear the specifics of a child death, especially if it’s in our own neighborhood. But it usually doesn’t last very long and rarely does it propel citizens to pay attention to things like our state budget and child abuse prevention funding or funding for the child welfare system.

Here are things related to our state budget that have me outraged and I’m suggesting you pay attention- you might also be outraged for the children and families of Pennsylvania. These issues will continue to be debated for the next few weeks by the House and Senate, and it’s time for all of us to use our outrage for something constructive- an email, letter or phone call to your Senator.

  • Family Center funding was totally wiped out in the Governor’s proposed budget. For many communities family centers offer the difference between parenting education, support, budget and transportation assistance and no help. Are we serious about reducing child abuse and neglect or not?
  • The House budget bill funds county child welfare at a level less than appropriated in 2008. Are we serious about protecting Pennsylvania’s children and offering parents with intervention that will help them improve and strengthen their family?
  • Community based agencies, often called private providers, work tirelessly to ensure child safety and community protection. With cuts at county child welfare and reductions in the state budget, many of theses private providers will not be able to continue serving those most in need. Who will take responsibility for funding that provides services to children and families? Do we really want to protect Pennsylvania’s children?

 

Harness your outrage and tell your Senator that you value our children and you want our state budget to reflect that we value Pennsylvania’s children and have their protection as a top priority. Go to www.legis.state.pa.us/ and click on “Who’s my legislator?” To learn other ways to protect PA’s kids through a Front Porch Project or Mandated Reporter Training, visit www.pa-fsa.org.

 

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