Our job is children. We teach Washington County children every day. Some of those students are having a difficult time learning because of neglect and abuse in the homes. We can't fix those problems at school, so it is left to the Washington County Children Services to help us with those issues. This is the reason that Marietta Education Association is in support of the Children Services Levy on the ballot in November.
Just as it is in education, we cannot allow declining state and federal resources to jeopardize the safety and education of our children. Research shows that when struggling, troubled parents receive the treatment and services they need, child are better off in the long term if they return to their family rather than be in foster care. Caseworkers at Washington County Children Services deserve credit for making our children safer while making our families more stable.
While poverty and unemployment do not predispose parents to abuse or neglect their children, many families in Washington County's child welfare system struggle because of these issues. In 2010, 3,105 children in Washington County lived in poverty, and our county lost 1,494 jobs. Food stamp participation increased 43 percent from 2007 to 2011. Last year, Washington County Children Services fielded 1,661 calls reporting child abuse and neglect. We are fortunate to have a highly respected and nationally accredited children services agency, but Washington County families deserve the same kind of local levy support that voters in 45 other counties rely on to improve these children's chances for success.
The schools and Children Services are working together for the safety and education of our children. We need help now. Every child deserves a chance. Vote yes for the Children Services Levy.