The report notes that inadequate state resources leaves many states stretched too thin and unable to provide protection to all of the children in need. "When it comes to the investments we're talking about, against our great wealth, it's such [a] small, small sums of money. Three, 4 or 5 billion dollars. Compare that to the bailout of world's biggest banks. If the United States is able to bailout America's banks, it ought to be able to bailout America's children and families," said Every Child Matters President Michael Petit.
The report found a nearly 13-fold difference between the amounts that states spend per person to counter child abuse and neglect. Thirteen states spent less than $50 per person to address issues of abuse, while top states invested close to three times that amount. Rhode Island spends the most at $181 per person.
Poor funding adds additional stress to advocacy programs and increases the case loads of social workers tasked with helping children in high-risk situations.
"Too often, large case loads and unsupportive work environments lead to high employee turnover, hindering attainment of key safety and permanency outcomes for children," explained Rebecca Myers of the National Association of Social Workers. "We owe these workers the resources and the working conditions that create successful outcomes. We must do better."
Lawmakers and advocates were joined by celebrities from the cast of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit." "Through the drama and the acting, I have a real empathy for these real-life people that these characters are drawn from," said B.D. Wong, who plays forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Huang. "[The violence] goes much further than people think it does and it behooves us all as a community and a nation to investigate this important topic and to do something about it."