Thursday, April 4, 2019

Op-Ed: Paid leave prevents child maltreatment

Opinion: Paid leave prevents child maltreatment: It is time to strengthen all Colorado families
By Jade Woodard, Illuminate Colorado 
March 31st, 2019

Colorado prospers when our kids thrive. They are our future workforce, leaders and community members. No matter where they live in our state — the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers — children need high-quality support for development and every parent struggles.

It is the degree to which we struggle and who we rely on to help us that varies.

We can all agree that preventing a child fatality, particularly those attributed to abuse or neglect, is of paramount importance for our state to thrive.

Every year, the Colorado Fatality Prevention System (CFPS) reviews these tragedies and the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding the loss of a young life in great detail to arrive at a set of recommendations to prevent future loss of life — recommendations which the average citizen would likely think would immediately be acted upon.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. One way to prevent child maltreatment, and a recommendation of the CFPS backed by ample evidence, is by offering paid leave to ALL parents and caregivers in Colorado.
You see, there are three different types of child abuse prevention:
  1. Primary prevention that strengthens ALL families, directed at the general population and attempts to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs.
  2. Secondary prevention that focuses on high-risk populations that have one or more risk factors associated with child maltreatment, such as poverty, parental substance abuse, young parental age, parental mental health concerns and parental or child disabilities.
  3. And, tertiary prevention, activities focused on families where maltreatment has already occurred or likely occurred and seeks to reduce the negative consequences of the trauma and prevent it from happening again. To end child maltreatment in Colorado, we need all three.
Jade Woodard is the executive director of Illuminate Colorado, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect by building brighter childhoods. She writes about research-based approaches to preventing child abuse and policy, program and systemic improvements to strengthen Colorado families.

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