Every child deserves to live in a safe and loving home; Yet for hundreds of thousands of children across our country, abuse and neglect is a tragic reality. During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, our country unites to condemn and fight child abuse in all its forms – including physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as online sexual exploitation; we raise awareness of the risk factors that can lead to child abuse and neglect; and we emphasize the importance of supporting families to prevent child abuse. As a nation, we must work together to prevent and address child abuse and ensure that every child can grow up in a safe environment and live a happy and prosperous life.
Child abuse cuts across all socio-economic and educational levels, religions, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We know that abuse and neglect have a negative impact on all aspects and all stages of a child’s life. Child abuse impacts students’ ability to succeed in school and often hinders their ability to form healthy relationships with loved ones and peers. It is associated with involvement in the juvenile justice system, especially for girls who have experienced sexual abuse. One of the most important tools for breaking the cycle and eliminating the tragedy of child abuse and neglect is prevention. It requires that we support and nurture our communities, families and individuals so that our children can be raised in safe, loving and healthy environments. For children and adolescents who experience abuse, it is important to ensure access to trauma-informed services and healing.
To help prevent child abuse and neglect, my administration is committed to providing equitable, high-quality support to all families in need. The US bailout provided cash assistance to millions of working families and expanded the Child Tax Credit, which lifted millions of children and families out of poverty. It provided critical funding to support state and community child abuse prevention and response efforts and authorized an additional $250 million for community-based child abuse prevention programs. This additional funding has enabled communities to address the complex structural issues that drive families to become involved in the child welfare system. At a time when families are experiencing increased hardship, especially vulnerable families who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, this additional support is more important than ever. Additionally, I was proud to enact a bill to help support the Victims of Crime Fund, which provides assistance to child advocacy centers and other programs to address child abuse. children.
I was raised to believe that one of the greatest sins is abuse of power, and there is no greater abuse of power than child abuse. National Child Abuse Prevention Month is an opportunity to take bold steps to better support parents and caregivers by giving them access to resources to deal with difficult times. It is also a time to identify and take the necessary steps to address the inequalities experienced by those who have been historically underserved and affected by continued poverty and inequality. Reducing child poverty is key to reducing the disproportionate representation of low-income children and families – especially communities of color – in the child welfare system and in foster care.
Our nation is also witnessing a cynical and dangerous campaign by some elected leaders who attempt to weaponize the child welfare system against families simply because they love and affirm their transgender children. These leaders sought to direct child abuse investigations toward families simply because they provided access to affirmative care for their children. These discriminatory actions threaten to hurt the children of our Nation and must stop. Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to protect children. My administration will continue to take steps to keep transgender children and their families safe. That’s why the Department of Health and Human Services recently released new guidance for national child protection agencies on how they can support and affirm LGBTQI+ children in foster care. .
During National Child Abuse Prevention Month and throughout the year, I call on everyone to unite against child abuse and neglect and show our appreciation for the workforce. tireless work of child welfare and its allies who are unwavering in their commitment to strengthening families, protecting children and addressing systemic inequities. For more information on how professionals and communities support families and to learn strategies to advance equity in child maltreatment prevention programs, please see the Prevention Resource Guide 2021/2022 , available at childwelfare.gov.
NOW THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2022 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I call on all Americans to observe this month by coming together as a nation to promote the safety and well-being of all children and families and to recognize the personnel and allies of the protection of children who work tirelessly to protect our children. And we honor the strength and resilience of adult survivors of child abuse.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have affixed my signature this thirty-first of March of the year of grace two thousand twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-six.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.