Lydia and Zariah Schatz and children like them need our help now. Their story underscores the critical urgency for evidence-based parenting support and information to counter physically and emotionally dangerous parenting tactics that proliferate.
Our hearts were ripped open to learned of the torment that Lydia Schatz,7, and her 11 year old sister Zariah suffered at the hands of those who were entrusted to love and nurture them safely into adulthood. For Lydia, we are too late and we wish for her and other children like her, sweet peace and love at last. For Zariah and other children, there is still life and hope here in our midst. **
Billions of dollars in public funding goes toward the physical health, crisis interventions, treatments and the related judicial processes for children and youth in our country. Comparable spending and intense focus indicates that education is considered a real solution to the problem of helping children. Meanwhile, it’s a well known secret that early experiences -especially parenting – are the most profound influences on learning capacity and social, emotional and psychological functioning.
Parents and caregivers are not passive guardians of children in the earliest years; we’re active participants in building their learning foundations and we need support, not blame, in this extraordinarily important role. In the most simplistic view, spending on education can only be as successful as its antecedent: early care. The void in parent education and support cannot be back-filled by more education and what’s more, the social pressure of school that many children face without a secure foundation can compound the challenges.
Neuroscientist Amy Bishop shot six faculty members at the University of Alabama, Huntsville earlier this month. We can only speculate about the origin and history of Dr. Bishop’s violent tendencies, but cases like this make it clear that even high levels of education attainment followed by professional success and social acceptance do not provide immunity from carrying out fatal, violent or criminal acts.
We rely on you, our grassroots supporters, for financial support as we work to urgently turn attention to the elephant in the room: lack of parenting support.
Please give now and help API support more families like Lydia and Zariah’s. No gift is too small to help keep children safe and secure, but time is of the essence. Your gift of $25* helps API work to prevent the horror that these and other children endure.
API is one of the only non-profit, parent-focused organizations providing free face-to-face support and evidence-based information to all parents. Our work is only possible with individual financial support. Horrific incidents are far too frequent, but the real tragedy is that they’re preventable. Give to API today and help us take action and make our message clear: Parenting is URGENT and critical.
Child welfare funding facts, priorities and perspective
Data sources unless otherwise noted: www.childrensbudget.org and www.firstfocus.org
- 99.9% = number of children and family oriented institutional, agency, organizational or program heads, researchers, thought leaders, policy makers, mental health professionals, teachers, caregivers etc… who agree, publically state and actively promote the fact that the earliest primary caregivers – typically parents – are the most profoundly influential relationships in an individual’s life.
- 1.9% = federal budget portion spent on child health and welfare ($64 billion. $52 billion is spent on education.)
- 1 = number of federally funded child welfare and health Programs of Special Note that appears to explicitly include a preventative parent education component for parents of children 0-3. (Promoting Safe and Stable Families)
- $8 million = average annual dollars each state receives under the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program to spend on multiple statewide programs that include parent education components (programs include adoption, reunification and preventive family disintegration services.)
- $310 million = amount grossed in 24 hours on sales of Modern Warfare 2 video game on its release. (Source: Digital Journal)
- $5.53 billion = video game sales in December 2009 (Source: TheStreet.com)
- $ 412 billion = estimated US advertising and marketing budgets (Source: Intense Influence)
- *$25 = API’s approximate annual cost to offer support for a family of four – dependent entirely on individual giving.
**Lydia and Zariah’s parents, along with many others, follow extraordinarily cruel parenting practices that encouraged “Switching” or giving “licks” with a plumbing supply line as a “real attention getter.” (Warning: article content is highly disturbing) The parents were probably considered “normal, loving” parents in their community. Indeed, they were given society’s implicit “seal of parenting approval” as a prerequisite to adopt the girls in the first place.