Yvonne Abraham suggests that a child impact statement be required for all public proposals that might increase risks to children (“Consider the children,” Metro, June 26). She focuses on the challenges that are faced by the Department of Children and Families and other state agencies that are charged with protecting children.
The impact statement is a great idea, and I have another one to add. Imagine if we considered the benefits to children — and thereby to the adults that they will become — if we created a system of care for our most vulnerable children and parents before they needed protection from state agencies.
We know how to do this. Rates of child abuse and other crime have been reduced — and children’s success at school and, later, in employment have been improved — with the help of paid maternity and paternity leave, education in parenting skills for young parents, job training, and high-quality early preschool.
The positive child impact statement that would result from putting into action these and other interventions would be enormous. One measure of success might even be a decrease in the DCF’s caseload.
The writer is a professor of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Floating Hospital for Children and Tufts University School of Medicine.