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What Do WV Kids Really Need? 'Movement For Children' Aims to Find Out

July 26, 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A new coalition wants to know what each of us thinks will help kids the most. Children's advocates say Americans have long felt that child well-being is crucial, and they're joining forces to plan what they call "crowd-sourcing events" around the country, to find ways to put that public will into action.

Jim Hmurovich, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, says the "National Movement for America's Children" is intended to build grassroots momentum, starting with a listening tour in 15 states.

"It'll be different in every state; sometimes it will be a sit-down, sometimes it will be an event. What we intend to do is listen, to set a stage to ask the big question, 'What is it that we can all do to ensure that children grow up in healthy environments?'"

Hmurovich says they'll take the answers they receive to Washington, exactly one year before the presidential election. However, he points out that this is about more than government policy. They want to influence all sorts of institutions.

"Businesses and faith communities, and social service agencies throughout the country, must not only just talk about the importance of children, but show actions on what we can do to make this nation truly child- and family-friendly."

Hmurovich says people know that children benefit from healthy brain development, good school preparation, and nurturing environments, and the differences show up in mental health, criminal behavior, academic achievement, and job stability.

"It takes the United States $104 billion a year to remedy the things that should have never happened in the first place. That's a lot of money that we could be using to support the healthy development of our children and our families."

Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia will be co-hosting local events here during October as part of the national movement, although details haven't been finalized yet. The group says the national movement builds on their "number-one question" campaign, which is ongoing in West Virginia, and asks lawmakers and members of the public to consider "Is it good for children?" as a guiding question for their actions.

The national movement for America's children was launched by more than a dozen of the nation's leading child advocacy organizations, representing thousands of members across the country and hundreds in West Virginia.

More information can be found at www.movementforchildren.org

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV