THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH, 1995
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Childhood should be a special time. Every child should grow up in an atmosphere of love and respect. Children should have a chance to learn, to explore and develop, to look forward to becoming successful, happy, and loving adults. Yet tragically, for a growing number of children in the United States, childhood is an ordeal of violence, pain, and broken promises -- a time to endure, not one to cherish.
Child abuse and neglect in America are on the rise. Nationwide, nearly 3 million children are reported abused and neglected each year, and more than 1,200 die from the effects. Although public concern about violence against our Nation's youth is extremely high, many Americans don't know what role they can play in protecting them. For that reason, each April, communities across the country join together to raise public awareness, to call for an end to child abuse, and to let everyone know what they can do to help.
This year, National Child Abuse Prevention Month focuses on the simple truth, "The more you help, the less they hurt." The goal is to teach all Americans how they can help end the cycle of abuse and neglect that tears at the very fabric of our families, our communities, and our country. Because the effects of child abuse are felt by whole communities, the search for solutions must be a community-wide effort -- and every citizen must get involved.
Child abuse prevention efforts succeed because of partnerships among social service agencies, schools, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies, and the business community. I encourage you to get involved. Volunteer on a crisis hotline for parents who are under stress, or help start a parents' support group. Perhaps you could find space in your community to establish a "drop-in center" where parents can get information and support. You could urge your religious or neighborhood group to sponsor a home visitor program for new parents. Or you might help your local school and youth organizations arrange for speakers and events about preventing violence against children.
These are just some of the steps we can take to help protect our children and to strengthen our families. If we don't change things, our children -- more of them each day -- will lose their chance at life. And our Nation will lose the tremendous potential that every young life holds.
America's children are products of the world we have made for them. Their well-being is a reflection of our commitment, maturity, and wisdom. If we nurture our children and fill their lives with genuine caring and respect, we will see our love realized in a world of enduring hope and promise.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, 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 the month of April 1995 as "National Child Abuse Prevention Month." I call upon all Americans during this month and throughout the year to help keep our children safe from harm.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
# # #