Advocacy simply means speaking on behalf of oneself or others to get something done.
Is it that important to advocate with elected officials, our legislators, to prevent child abuse and neglect? Yes, it is vitally important in child abuse prevention!
Our elected officials are the individuals that make decisions about legislation (laws), funding and policy. Additionally, people who are experts in their fields or have connections with elected decision makers can be important influencers on issues of importance to the children of Hampton Roads.
By speaking with and working with local, state and federal elected officials, and influencers, we ensure that laws to prevent abuse and programs that support abuse prevention are adopted, implemented and maintained
Our Prevent Child Abuse Virginia affiliation gives us direct access to the progress of our Virginia lawmakers and guidelines for legislative bills to support, monitor or oppose.
This year, Champions For Children: Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads visited legislators at the General Assembly in Richmond to support legislation to protect children from harm and abuse.
2017 General Assembly Highlights
Successful initiatives Champions For Children supported during the 2017 session of the General Assembly included initiatives that would enable the system to better count and deal with substance exposed infants and opioid addicted parents, and would make it easier to share information with the US Armed Services. A resolution commending trauma informed community networks and a number of measures aimed at improving child care safety were realized.
2016 General Assembly Session Highlights
HB 1189, also known as Joseph’s Law and patroned by Hampton Roads Del. Daun Hester, pertains to day care providers. It passed and will become law on July 1, 2016. The law imposes strict penalties on day care providers that do not obtain a license to operate a day care agency.
HB 1189 provides that operating or engaging in the conduct of a child welfare agency without first obtaining a license when it is known that such license is required or after such license has been revoked or has expired constitutes a willful act or willful omission for purpose of the crime of abuse and neglect of a child. Under current law, a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a child who by willful act or omission causes or permits serious injury to the life or health of such child is guilty of abuse and neglect of a child, which is punishable as a Class 4 felony.
In the Forefront…
Erin’s Law, named after childhood sexual assault survivor Erin Merryn, is working to require each state to a child-orientated sexual abuse program that teaches:
- Students in grades preK – 12th grade, age-appropriate techniques to recognize child sexual abuse and tell a trusted adult
- School personnel all about child sexual abuse
- Parents & guardians the warning signs of child sexual abuse, plus needed assistance, referral or resource information to support sexually abused children and their families
To learn more, check out the Erin’s Law website!
Erin’s Law will support the continued delivery of the Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention program – A Champions initiative!
Erin’s Law has been passed in 31 states but not in Virginia. Not yet.