Support grows for ‘Protect our Kids’

Michael Petit and Kimberly Day,The Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths met recently at the NASW national offices in Washington, D.C. From left are NASW members Michael Petit, president of Every Child Matters, and Kimberly Day, coordinator of the Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths.

In recent Capitol Hill visits, NASW joined the Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths to continue advocacy for the Protect Our Kids Act (H.R. 3653/S.1984), and to discuss the importance of having social workers as child welfare workers.

Meetings in the House and Senate resulted in U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, and U.S. Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., Al Green, D-Texas, and John Tierney, D-Mass., signing on as co-sponsors of the bill.

The bipartisan bill was originally introduced by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, with companion legislation by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.

“Our Coalition was happy to make visits to the offices of both Democratic and Republican members of Congress in support of the ‘Protect Our Kids Act,’” said Kimberly Day, coordinator for the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths. “We believe that the commission created by the passage of this bill would make potentially groundbreaking recommendations on how to finally reduce the scourge of child abuse in the U.S.”

boy on stool, background drawing of glob and mutiple interests for the childJoan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute, said the Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths was formed more than two years ago. The coalition comprises five organizations: NASW; the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths; the National Children’s Alliance; the Every Child Matters Education Fund; and the National District Attorneys Association.

NASW supports Speak Up For Kids, a nationwide campaign that spreads the word about recognizing the signs and symptoms of learning and psychiatric disorders in children and teens. As part of Speak Up for Kids, mental health professionals across the country are offering free talks in their communities in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, May 6-12. Parents are encouraged to attend and learn about the resources in their area.

NASW is asking its members to sign a petition asking Congress to support the “Protect Our Kids Act.”

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