BOSTON (WWLP) – Hundreds of bright, colorful shoes covered the Grand Staircase of the State House, but each pair represents a devastating statistic.
Each pair of these shoes represents a child who’s abused or neglected in Massachusetts each week. That’s 409 pairs of shoes total; 409 kids who suffer from abuse from all walks of life.
“In our jurisdiction of Hampshire and Franklin County, we have 5,000 reported cases of child abuse and neglect. It happens all over the communities, both rich and poor, middle class and struggling families,” said Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.
Family support organization, Children’s Trust, joined state lawmakers to let families know there are programs aimed to get young parents on the right track and prevent child abuse.
“We have a Healthy Families Program. It provides young, first-time teen parents with a trained home visitor, it’s a parenting coaching program, and what we know is that it’s that it’s very, very successful,” said Suzin Bartley of Children’s Trust.
The Healthy Families Program has helped 70% of young parents get back to school and a majority of them end up graduating. Children’s Trust believes that by providing parents with the resources and skills to be good parents that would represent one child who won’t fall victim to abuse.
All of the shoes on the staircase will go to kids that are in programs funded by Children’s Trust, like Healthy Families.