NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 18, 2012

Put emphasis on prevention, not intervention

To the editor:

There have been many stories in the news as of late that talk about abuse and/or neglect toward children, including the unimaginable event at Sandy Hook Elementary School. While we do not condone the behaviors and the trauma done toward children, we must look beyond the horrific reports. We must think — what could we have done to prevent this from ever happening in the first place.

Prevention is the key. We know that prevention takes a longer time to show impact than intervention or treatment, so there is a reluctance to fund it. However, if prevention were looked at more seriously 20 years ago, then maybe we could have prevented these tragedies from happening today.

We need to put an emphasis on prevention now in order to stop this from happening in the future. By providing education, support and funding to help our youngest population, they will be able to grow up strong. We need to strengthen both families and communities to help break the harmful cycles of the past.

Research shows that prevention programs such as the national Strengthening Families framework provide tools to help parents build on family strengths and create a family environment that promotes optimal child and youth development. By investing now, the children who grow up in strong and safe families will live in safe communities as adults and be better parents to their children, reducing the likelihood of more horrific reports.

Julie Day

Strengthening Families director

NH Children’s Trust

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