Pro-Active Way To Prevent Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Washington Delegate Brett Wilson
Del. Brett Wilson, R-Washington

“They kill a child, they die,” Goss said.

Hagerstown, Maryland – Del. Brett Wilson told a new Hagerstown child-abuse prevention group Thursday night that he is looking at ways to help address the problem in a more pro-active way.

There have been a number of high-profile child-abuse cases resulting in death or serious injury in Washington County this year that have raised concerns among some area residents.

Brendie Goss of Hagerstown is the head of a new group called One Step at a Time Official, which she said is battling the problem of child abuse on several fronts.

The group is working to make the community aware of child abuse and talking to people like Wilson who are in a position to make changes, Goss said.

About a dozen people met with Wilson, R-Washington, when the organization held a meeting at a City Park pavilion Thursday night.
Wilson talked about two proposals to help reduce child abuse, including early intervention to determine if a family is at risk of falling victim to it.

Performed through the Maryland Department of Human Resources, officials would examine factors such as the skill sets of parents, support from extended family members and socioeconomic issues to determine if they could benefit from assistance, Wilson said.

The problem now with child abuse is that the government’s way of dealing with it is often reactionary, he said.

The second proposal Wilson said he is studying revolves around substance abuse, which is often connected to child abuse.

Under Wilson’s idea, once a parent is identified as a substance abuser, all state agencies would be available to help that person.

Currently, people are usually referred from agency to agency for substance-abuse problems, but his plan would be to put the assistance “under one roof” to make delivery of services more effective, he said.

Wilson said the proposals could be achieved legislatively or through state agency reform.

The meeting among One Step at a Time Official members covered various aspects of the child-abuse problem, with the discussion at times delving into other issues like school shootings.

Goss said she supports the death penalty for child abuse resulting in death.

“They kill a child, they die,” Goss said.