By Sen. Raymond Lesniak, (D-20), Union
My office has been flooded with calls to support Caylee’s Law. My response:
The inadequacy of our laws to protect children was brought to light during the Casey Anthony trial. I am a co-sponsor of S3010, sponsored by Senator Nick Sacco, which upgrades penalties for failing to report a death by criminal violence or accident to the county medical examiner, the State Medical Examiner or the municipal police department where the death occurred, and also makes it a criminal offense for the parents or guardians to promptly notify the appropriate law enforcement agency that a child 13 or younger is missing.
While S3010 will hopefully provide greater protection for children, I’m troubled by recent actions by Governor Christie that will weaken existing protections.
When Governor Christie eliminated funding for After 3 programs for children from working poor families, he put 20,000 children at risk. Law enforcement officials have identified after-school programs as the most effective strategy to reduce youth violence and crime. Studies have proved that they also led to higher academic achievement.
Also troubling was the elimination of funding for Wynona’s House, which provides care and treatment for children who were physically or sexually abused.
I’m grateful for the attention to the problem of child abuse the Anthony trial has brought to our nation’s populace and hope the attention doesn’t fade away with the passage of Caylee’s Laws throughout our nation. The problem goes deeper than that. Much deeper.