Petition to the Hennepin County Board December 9, 2008 (signed by 160 Guardian ad Litems)   

This petition is being presented to the Hennepin County Board by Guardians ad Litem, most of whom are volunteers on behalf of abused and neglected children.

The proposed budget cuts to child protection and many of its related service providers will have a negative and possibly dangerous impact on the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. These children cannot afford high powered lobbyists to plead their case, however our plea to you today is more sincere in that we have no financial stake; only a very strong emotional one.

It is a tragic fact that MN has a significant population of abused and neglected children and the system in place to protect them is already stressed and failing in 19 of 23 federal measurements. The significant cuts being proposed by the county can only erode this system even more and the consequences could be devastating.

In these difficult economic times, it is understood that many areas of state and local government services need to be evaluated and reduced where possible. Unlike services provided for public entertainment or convenience, underfunding child protection can have long lasting negative financial and social repercussions.

It is likely that the stressful times to come will only increase the number of children in need of our protection. Knowing this, how can cuts be justified?

Children who experience abuse or neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30 percent more likely to commit violent crime.

One-third of abused and neglected children will eventually victimize their own children.
The statistics quoted above are only part of the unfortunate future of the abused child. The incidence of mental illness, chemical dependency and teenage pregnancy are much higher in abused children. The costs to handle these problems are far greater than the cost to help families and children before the problems become severe. The extended cost to schools and other people who become victimized by these troubled children as they become adults is immeasurable.

Isn’t it worth looking at cutting more expendable budget items a little deeper than decreasing an already compromised system which could have life threatening consequences? Can’t we remember that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure?

PLEASE, reduce or eliminate the budget cuts to child protection. The undersigned GAL’s have given countless volunteer hours in advocating for these children. We ask now that you consider doing your part to help them as well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tell us your story, comment, or perspective.  If this is worth sharing with others, press the share this button below and send it to someone you know.