Law enforcement officials from Westchester and Putnam counties came together today in Yonkers to take a stand against child abuse.
Mount Pleasant Police Chief and President of the Westchester County Chiefs Association Louis Alagno, Chief and Vice President of the Westchester County Chiefs Association John Brogan and Putnam County Sheriff and President of the NYS Sheriffs Association Donald Smith joined advocates from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York at the Yonkers City Hall today to talk about new initiatives and programs.
The law enforcment officials joined Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and City Council President Chuck Lesnick at the event.
Scarsdale Police Chief Brogan said officials need to "think out of the box" on preventing child abuse and stopping crimes from happening.
"Youth crime is a problem for each and every police chief," Brogan said.
The initiative is all about "breaking the cycle" of child abuse and crime, he said.
"I am convinced that home-based programs are the way to go," Alagno said.
He added that Mount Pleasant "has the largest institutionalized population of any community in Westchester County, that includes several large facilities that treat juveniles, as well as the county jail."
Council President Lesnick said today's event coincided with Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"What we heard today is some of the devastating costs of the cycle of child abuse," he said. "And how child abusers tend to be children of child abusers, and they often abuse their own children."
"If we can break the cycle of child abuse" by doing things like home visits, education and intervention, it would protect children, save taxpayers money in the long-run and help society, the council president said.
According to the new report issued by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York, the 2010 data shows that more than 77,000 New York children suffered from abuse or neglect in 2010. In just Westchester County, according to the report, 2,321 kids were abused or neglected in 2010.
The law enforcement officials and advocates are focusing on voluntary home visit services to help at-risk parents cope with the stress of parenthood.
The groups are working on prevention and education to cut crime rates and protect children.
For more information, visit www.fightcrime.org or www.andrus1928.org.