Dr. Collen Kraft, director of the American Academy of Pediatrics along with 150 employees of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center recently proclaimed that “Separating children from their parents is government-sanctioned child abuse.”
Baltimore Child Abuse Center, who for 30 years has provided trauma focused responses to crisis and abuse, strongly opposes the current Administration’s policy of separating children from families coming to America seeking asylum or citizenship. We stand against all forms of child trauma, regardless of intent or policy. The trauma children experience by being removed from a parent is considerable and there are reports of children who are being physically and sexually abused while in U.S. custody. Parentless, homeless children are particularly vulnerable to predators and to being victims of abuse
THIS MUST END. HERE ARE THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO:
1. Call Your Legislators
Thank your U.S. Senators (in Maryland, Senator Ben Cardin 202-224-4524 and Senator Chris Van Hollen 202-224-4654) for supporting efforts to stop separating children and reuniting families, including SB3036, Keep Families Together Act, which is supported by every Democratic Senator and two Independents
Tell your U.S. Representative that you want them to support legislation that keeps children from being separated and calls for immediate reunification. Enter your zip code here or call the U.S. House of Representative switchboard at 202-224-3121, give your zip code, and get the name of your Representatives.
Stay tuned: Democrats and Republicans are currently working on a compromise bill.
2. Join a Protest in D.C. or Baltimore
3. Support a charity working on reunification and action in Maryland, such as:
- CAIR (Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights) Coalition
- CASA of Maryland
- RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services)
For more information about the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, visit www.baltimorechildabusecenter.org or call 410-396-6147.
Give Children in Maryland a Voice
Here are upcoming bills and hearings:
Penalties for failure to report known child abuse – HB 500/SB 132
Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to come forward about Larry Nasser, wrote in the New York Times that, even more staggering than the 200 girls he abused, was the 14 coaches and officials who KNEW about his abuse and let it continue.
Maryland is no different.
Recent news reports show a principal in Prince George’s County ignored multiple reports by adults and children, plus photos, that school volunteer Deonte Carraway was abusing little boys at her school. During the trial of a sex predator in Montgomery County, it came out that the school system issued several reprimands, but let the charismatic teacher abuse little girls in his care FOR YEARS. Every year, more such reports become public. There is a gap in Maryland’s current mandatory reporting laws that allows the enablers to escape accountability.
Help us close the gap!
Call and ask your legislators to vote YES on Senate Bill 132 and House Bill 500- Penalties for failure to report child abuse. One call goes a long way.
Find your legislator here.
Mandatory Training for Child Abuse Reporters- SB 131/HB600
All front-line professionals such as educators, health and mental health practitioners, law enforcement personnel, and youth-serving workers in Maryland have a legal duty to report child abuse. Yet Maryland has no statewide requirement that mandated reporters be trained. The result is a patchwork of knowledge that varies drastically by profession and by employer. One result of these gaps in knowledge is that, year after year, many mandated reporters in Maryland simply fail to report child abuse.
SB 131 aims to change that- and makes sure that ALL mandatory reporters are trained. No more excuses!
Call and ask your legislators to vote YES on Senate Bill 131 – Mandatory Reporter Training.
One call goes a long way.
Find your legislator here.
Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act (HB 301/SB 270 and HB 353/SB 298)
As much as our skilled forensic interviewers and supportive family advocates help children describe, in credible narrative detail, what happened to them, a young child is often no match for a wily defense lawyer and a skeptical jury. “Kids lie!” says the lawyer. And even though studies show very few children lie about child abuse, juries often side with the adults. Because of Maryland’s tight evidence rules, juries rarely get to hear what the child and lawyers know: that the abuser did the same thing to other children. The Maryland legislature has refused to change this law since at least 2004, but the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act would give Maryland prosecutors the ability to introduce evidence of other sex crimes in sex offense cases involving serial offenders. With every year this legislation isn’t passed, more and more Maryland women, children, and men become victims of repeat sexual predators and child molesters. Delegates in the House and Senate and the Governor’s office are backing this year’s bills. #TimesUp!
Call and ask your legislators to vote YES on the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act
One call goes a long way.
Find your legislator.
In this #MeToo, moment, let’s not forget abused children. Read the BCAC Washington Post Op-Ed post.