The beginning of a solution to a problem begins with building support by raising public awareness.

Raising awareness about issues such as child abuse and neglect is not an easy task. Child abuse is a difficult conversation to have and in the end I have no concrete answers for fixing such a large scale problem.

It is much easier to talk with my friends about the need for a new stadium. Professional sports is a much more enjoyable conversation to have than asking what to do with the thousands of children in Child Protection Systems.

While not necessarily true, it’s easier to convince people that millions spent on stadiums will have greater economic benefits than millions spent on early childhood programs.

The complexities of policies impacting the lives of at risk children are not well explained in a twenty minute conversation.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Art Rolnick through extensive research has proved that rates of return on money spent on early childhood programs are greater than tax money spent on malls and stadiums (FedGazzette, March 2003).

But who reads the FedGazzette?

As a community we will continue to turn our backs on the hard topic of child abuse because the answers are painful and we don’t see how the issues personally impact us.

Until we take the time to explore the core problems, the public (we the people) will be unwilling to pay for long term solutions.

It may be that we are doomed to third world status in education, health care, children living in poverty, crime, and huge prison populations until we reaffirm a committment to child friendly legislation and programs.

Child abuse affects each and every one of us every day. We pay for at risk children each year in taxes & insurance premiums, and the detriment they cause our schools, health provider systems, courts, and community.

Public policy that builds new stadiums might make us a little happier on the night of the game. But the walk home could be dangerous if you live in the city. Minneapolis public schools 53% graduation rates won’t be positively impacted by a new stadium. Health care costs will continue to rise (the expense of treating at risk kids is very high). The list of impacts at risk children have on our communities is long.

I know that by sheer public will a new stadium will be built.

I don’t see a sign of a public will to end child abuse anywhere in sight.

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Contributing editor,
Chad M. Ramaker, Intern
Grasstops

Support at risk children, start a KARA group in your community today

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