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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Voters should keep children in mind Nov. 4

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In this election year, I would like to call our attention to issues related to this country's most valuable resource: children. Millions of American children fail to receive the care and services they deserve and so desperately need.

The United States has the second-worst child poverty rate (after Mexico) among 26 of the world's most affluent nations. Every Child Matters calculates that in the seven years since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, roughly 28,000 American children have died as a result of child abuse, suicide or homicide; 20 million American children were reported as abused; 1,135,000 more American children are in poverty; 4,450,000 additional Americans and their families have no health insurance; and 300,000 people, many of them with young children, were added to the U.S. prison population. Abused and neglected children also have the right to receive appropriate care while in state custody, yet Missouri still falls short in providing the financial support necessary to foster families and residential treatment facilities that must raise funds to supplement the shortfall.

We urge all Missourians to join us in calling for political discourse that ensures every child is safe, healthy and has the opportunity to grow up to achieve their full potential. Children - whether they live with their biological family, a foster family or at a residential treatment facility - are our future.

St. Vincent Home for Children provides residential treatment services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for abused and neglected children with emotional problems, behavior disorders or learning disabilities. We also provide special education services to children who are unable to be served in a traditional school setting.

We know from experience that children can move forward in their lives to recover from abuse and neglect and become productive members of society when they have the proper support and services. Please remember children when you vote on Nov. 4.

Lee Ann Taylor

Executive director

St. Vincent Home for Children

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