WASHINGTON, July 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Marianne Williamson announced her plan today for creating a United States Department of Children and Youth. The Williamson Administration cabinet-level agency will work interdepartmentally with all of the different government entities that affect children's lives.
As one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations that has ever existed, the United States should be at the top of all metrics for how we treat our children. Sadly, we are not. We have not invested in our children at the same levels other countries do.
"If one person neglects a child, we consider their behavior unethical at best and criminal at worst. Then what should we consider the behavior of an entire nation that simply normalizes the despair of millions of our children? In my administration, we will address needed healing for America's chronically traumatized children with a cabinet-level United States Department of Children and Youth," said Williamson.
Millions of American children attend schools with classrooms that don't even have adequate school supplies, and with children not learning to read at proficient levels. If a child cannot read by the age of eight, the chances of high school graduation are drastically decreased. Without a high school diploma, the chances of incarceration are drastically increased. Many of these children experience a form of PTSD from living in "domestic war zones," violent homes and communities which psychologists tell us is no less severe than the PTSD of a veteran returning from Afghanistan or Iraq.
"One of the pillars of my campaign for the presidency is a commitment to see every child in America -- regardless of their zip code -- attend schools that are, as I have called them, palaces of learning, culture and the arts. Such schools do exist in America. Our problem now is that there are not enough of them," said Williamson.
Even in the most advantaged schools, children's needs often go unmet. Most Americans probably don't appreciate the level of chronic trauma experienced by our children today - but the chronic trauma goes unaddressed for children of every kind of community. Violence, stress from family situations, academic and economic pressure all contribute to the daily issues children face. Millions of children lack consistent access to sufficient and nutritious food, millions lack health care, and millions go to schools lacking the school supplies needed to teach a child to read.
"The chronic trauma of millions of American children should be seen as a humanitarian crisis for them, and a moral crisis for our country. We should rescue them no differently than we would from any other disaster. That is why, as president, I will establish a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Children and Youth," said Williamson. "From wrap-around services to anti-trauma programs, restorative justice to conflict resolution, medical and nutritional needs to anti-bullying, social work and drug treatment programs, we need full coordination of all necessary efforts to address a huge swath of despair among our most vulnerable population."
Because these children are not old enough to vote, they do not represent a constituency. And because they're not old enough to work, they have no financial leverage and therefore cannot compete with the clout of corporate forces whose financial influence dominates the workings of our Congress.
"A small child can't feed, clothe, or educate herself. Children cannot vote against special interests that profit financially from activities that harm their health, deny them education, or profit off their problems," says Williamson. "Advocacy for our children isn't a charity issue; it's a justice issue."
This new department will implement integrated and systemic "wrap-around services" that focus on providing a whole-systems approach through intensive family and community-based programs focused on addressing and improving factors that impact ALL children living in the U.S.
Some of the roles tasked to the department include:
- Develop and implement a Public Education System that takes a whole-student strategy for students of every ability and situation, an approach focused on academic, social and emotional learning practices aimed at preparing students not only for the skills and jobs of the 21st century, but also to help them live vibrant and meaningful lives so each child can prosper and make a strong contribution to a thriving democracy
- Develop a trauma-informed and restorative juvenile justice system focused on counseling, rehabilitation and reducing recidivism rates
- Develop an Immigration System which does not punish children, but instead protects and supports them
These types of changes are necessary for the welfare of American children. It is not only a moral issue, but it is an economic issue as well. For example, the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs has found that high quality early childhood programs can yield a $4 – $9 dollar return per $1 invested. A 2009 study of Perry Preschool, a high-quality program for 3-5 year-olds developed in Michigan in the 1960s, estimated a return to society of between about $7 and $12 for each $1 invested. America, quite literally, cannot afford to provide anything but the best for its youngest citizens.
Read the entire plan here: U.S. Department of Children and Youth - The Whole Child Plan
Press release distributed by PRLog
SOURCE Marianne 2020