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Bill requires no delay in reporting child abuse suspicions

March 16, 2006
As parents, caregivers and responsible adults, it is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves: defenseless children. Indeed, the wellbeing of these children needs to be a major concern of all adults statewide.

Statistics reveal that the effects of child abuse are never completely overcome. It is a scourge that if not caught early can even have deadly consequences. Therefore, we need to report any form of child abuse the moment it is suspected. Senate Bill 442 addresses this need. It is "common sense" legislation that will provide a clear deadline for reporting child abuse to the proper authorities, and it will help prevent child abusers from destroying the lives and futures of Georgia's children.

To use an analogy: "How many of us would drive by a burning house in our neighborhood without calling the fire department?" I hope the answer is zero. Still, the question remains, "How long should it take to make the call?"

Should the flames be visible from the street? Should the flames be engulfing the entire house? What if, by then, the flames are beyond the control of the fire department? What if, by then, the house is damaged beyond repair?

Let's not let Georgia's children be damaged beyond repair. Just as we'd call the fire department at the first sign of a fire, we should spread the alarm at the first sign of danger concerning a child. Children living in abusive situations require no less. SB 442 removes the current vagueness from Georgia's legal code and replaces it with a firm 24-hour time limit to call authorities when child abuse is indicated.

By passing this legislation, we are taking an important step to rooting out child abusers and the devastating legacy they leave.

As important, by supporting SB 442, we are protecting Georgia's children and enabling not only their futures, but the future of Georgia as well.

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