On Monday, April 3rd, 709 pairs of children's shoes lined the Grand Staircase of the State House as part of the Children's Trust's annual Step Up for Kids event. Each pair of shoes represented one confirmed case of child abuse and neglect in a single week in Massachusetts.
State House News Service and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette covered the event:
“We are so close to ending child abuse and neglect,” Children’s Trust Executive Director Suzin Bartley said at the annual Step Up For Kids child abuse prevention event. “It is within our reach if we have the will and the commitment to do so.”
Bartley pointed to the Healthy Families program, which receives state funding and is administered by the Children’s Trust, as an example of an effort successfully breaking the cycle of abuse for participating families. Healthy Families matches new parents with trained home visitors who support them during pregnancy and a child’s first three years, teaching them about proper baby care, effective parenting skills and child development.
A Tufts University study of Healthy Families found that the program reduces the use of corporal punishment and decreases rates of homelessness and maternal depression, while improving children’s executive function and increasing parents’ educational attainment, Bartley said.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. We honored Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and State Representative Pat Haddad with the “Valuing Our Children” Award for their work to benefit the children and families of Massachusetts. The Two Ten Footwear Foundation and member companies Clarks, Crocs, Khombu, New Balance, BCNY Synclaire Brands, ShoeBuy, and Wolverine Worldwide donated the shoes, which were then donated to Children's Trust programs across the state. See more photos of the event here.