We express our abhorrence and outrage at the child abuse and neglect experienced by America's children at the hands of parents, guardians, and others. Such abuse knows no economic, social, religious, or class limits, affecting millions of children in all areas and strata of our society, reaching almost epidemic proportions.
WE, THEREFORE, call for recognition of child abuse and neglect as a mental health problem of major and growing significance. We urge states and localities to offer adequate and prompt supportive and therapeutic services to abused children and their parents. Legislation is needed to require reporting to the proper authorities the serious abuse and neglect of children. There is also a need for the establishment of crisis drop-in-centers and temporary shelters where parents can leave their children during periods of extreme stress, thus preventing additional abuse and providing needed support for troubled families.
We urge our congregations to become actively involved in combating and recognizing the problem of child abuse in their own communities and to join with the interfaith community in establishing and supporting coalitions that seek the passage of effective legislation safeguarding the rights and welfare of children.