Child Abuse Council sounds call for prevention programs

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Sue Klingaman knows about family stress in the Quad Cities. That's because she helps caregivers face tough situations each day.

"If you don't have the ability to manage your emotions and worries, you can't pay attention in the classroom," she said.

The poverty rate is increasing in Rock Island County. Preschool enrollment is declining. Child abuse cases continue to visibly and silently torment families.

"We are most concerned about the potential for significant cuts," said Sue Swisher, Child Abuse Council.

That's why Illinois and Iowa lawmakers are speaking out on Friday. This legislative forum helps the Child Abuse Council in its role to protect kids in crisis.

"I certainly hope they make sense when they build that budget as to how that money is going to go," said longtime educator John Flaherty.

But that challenge reaches from all playgrounds these days. States will need to do more than just talk about funding programs. With budget cuts and deficits, it won't be easy.

The Birth to Five Initiative could provide solutions in Illinois. Gov. Pat Quinn is calling for better prenatal care, accessible preschool and improved support services for families.

Iowa providers hope their state will focus on the long term impact of child abuse. They also want support for prevention programs with ongoing funding and a tax check-off.

Advocates say these are programs that can save lives and taxpayer money down the road.

"The kids are better prepared for school," Flaherty said. "They'll do better in school. They're more likely to graduate from high school."

It's something to think about for communities and kids in the Quad Cities.