We Can Protect Our Children

As a retired social worker, I know the devastation that abuse causes

By Janice McCaffrey

Thank you for your in-depth article, “Falling Through the Cracks” (Sept. 23 Beacon). Child welfare is an important issue for all of us. I applaud Gov. Steve Bullock’s actions to increase services and create the Protect Montana Kids Commission. As a retired social worker, I know the devastation that abuse causes. I worked with families in high stress situations that all too frequently resulted in abuse. One major stress factor for families that we can alleviate is lack of resources, which can cause an inability to move upward on the social-economic ladder.

The U.S. Census report of Sept. 17 shows 153,954 Montanans, 40,619 children, live in poverty. The Census report goes on to say that 9.8 million Americans are kept above poverty through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).

Both are work-incentive tax credits with outcomes that include healthier children who are more successful in school and, therefore, are able to earn more in adulthood. The EITC and CTC also help local businesses. In 2012 alone the EITC put $170 million back into Montana’s local economies.

These tax credits began under President Gerald Ford, were strengthened under Ronald Reagan, and continue because they improve the well-being of working families and their communities. However, they are due to expire in 2017 if Congress doesn’t act.

In your article, James Caringi is quoted, “CFSD is limited with what they can do. It has to be all of us.” I believe all of us can make a difference. I believe a better quality of life for families can prevent child abuse.

Please join me in contacting U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and Rep. Ryan Zinke. Petition them to fight for our children by keeping the EITC and CTC improvements permanent.

Janice McCaffrey
Columbia Falls

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