A new report shows a continuing upward spiral in reported cases of child abuse. That report shows there were more than 200 cases a day of child abuse and neglect in New York State. YNN's Bill Carey says the report was released in Syracuse as local leaders called for increased support for an intervention program that has shown real results.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – “77,000 confirmed cases of abuse or neglect in New York, just in 2010,” said Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.
A host of law enforcement and community leaders were on hand to talk about the statistics. Alyssa Richmond was there to talk about her life and the life of her young daughter, Sophia. Sophia was born less than a year ago and Alyssa reached out to the Nurse Family Partnership program.
“I was a first time single mom. And I needed help,” Richmond said.
It's a program that the experts say works.
“I constantly am solicited to be involved in programs that have absolutely no track record, no anecdotal evidence of success, no evidence to support them. They have great names. They sound great and everybody gets all excited about them. Home visitation is a program that statistically and provably, works,” Fitzpatrick said.
The argument is that early intervention programs will help offer the training and education that young mothers need to help avoid future abuse. There is no argument with that claim from Richmond.
“I would be struggling. I would not know half the stuff that I know to be able to take care of her properly. I've actually learned how to listen to her cries that she has. How to feed her properly. How to take her to the doctor's the proper way. I've just learned a lot,” Richmond said.
The authorities are hoping to see Washington and Albany increase financial support for these intervention efforts. Those involved in the work, day to day, are hoping more young women follow Richmond’s lead.
“She had the courage to ask for assistance when she needed support. And that is a real important aspect of being a mother, a good mother,” visiting nurse Ann Rogers said.
Richmond is hoping her story changes other young women's minds.
“They don't want help. They want to do it by themselves. And they think that they're strong enough and independent enough to do it on their own. And I tell them that it's okay to ask for help. I needed help and it's helped me out a lot. Me and Sophia have actually grown closer because of the things that I've learned,” Richmond said.
And they are lessons that will be passed on to the next generation, breaking the cycle.
The group Fight Crime: Invest In Kids claims that dealing with child abuse on the national level carries an annual price tag of $124 billion. The group is urging increased support for intervention programs, saying, in the long run, additional aid will save taxpayer dollars.