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Advocates: Children's Voices Not Being Heard in Campaigns

One topic that was missing from the last presidential debate: children. Advocates hope the topic will be addressed Sunday night. (Christine Fletcher)
One topic that was missing from the last presidential debate: children. Advocates hope the topic will be addressed Sunday night. (Christine Fletcher)
October 7, 2016

ST. LOUIS – Advocates for families say the presidential candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, need to talk about what they'll do to protect children during the debate that's happening this Sunday evening.

Barbara Brown-Johnson, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, said Clinton has said she's a supporter of children's rights, but Brown-Johnson has heard nothing like that from Trump. She said if she had a chance to talk to either candidate, she'd tell them funding efforts need to be directed to prevention programs.

"It's great to respond appropriately, but how much better if we just make sure children aren't harmed from the beginning," she said.

The debate is Sunday night starting at 9 P.M. Eastern time. It's being held at Washington University in St. Louis.

Brown-Johnson said children who are abused and neglected often end up with serious problems when they're older, and that's why early prevention is key.

"High school dropouts, becoming juvenile offenders, using drugs and alcohol, long-term health problems, earlier death," she added. "All of the things that those of us who work in this field know can happen to kids if we don't intervene."

Brown-Johnson said she'd also make a plea to the candidates to address the issue of high-quality child care for everyone.

"We know that there's a tremendous return-on-the-dollar investment if we have children who have good, high-quality Pre-K education," she explained. "And it's also someone who can be in their life, looking out and making sure that they're well, and well taken care of."

Brown-Johnson said because this debate is "town hall style," citizens can ask questions, and she hopes the issues affecting children are addressed. People can submit a question, or vote on topics for the candidates at PresidentialOpenQuestions.com.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO