Summer 1977 Home   Newsletters

Autumn 1977

Winter 1978

Many Sides of Action: Any Member Can Be a Lobbyist
Money and the Lack of It
Ka Po'e - The People Are the Source of the Law
ERA Update Hawaii
Legislative Reform Consensus
Join the d.a.r.
State League... 1978 Legislative Package
Study: Primary Process
Thank God, It's NMP (Sue Francis)
When We Look at the Problems of Our Cities (Ruth Clusen)

"Thank God, It's NMP"

A convenient label NMP. We all use it from time to time. I used it after I attended my first meeting as League representative to the Children's Protective Service Advisory Committee. Betty Lansdown was there to tell her tragic story' an emotionally neglected child, she became an abused spouse and a child abuser, afraid of her second husband who ultimately caused the death of one of her sons and abandoned a 5 year old daughter on a busy freeway. She ended up in prison where Parents Anonymous (PA) found her and helped her to break out of that horrible cycle of abuse. And now she travels to publicize Parents Anonymous and to help form local chapters. "Wow", I thought, "that's pretty heavy stuff, Thank God, it's Not My Problem."

After almost two years, I have learned that indeed it's not Just my problem -- it's everybody's. In most cases the child abuser is no different from the rest of society. We all live under stress. For the abusive parent or caretaker the stresses are often compounded and accompanied by a lack of knowledge of alternate methods of discipline or other outlets for anger and frustration. Over 97% of abusers want help and, with appropriate services can be helped. Even more encouraging are the results when prospective parents receive guidance in child care or help with other problems to prevent abuse from occurring.

I have also learned that child abuse services are related to many other social service programs -- either because they enhance each other, or because they are in conflict, both competing for the same tax dollars. We have: foster care, day care, adult care, health services, substance abuse programs, rehabilitation, corrections, income maintenance to name a few.

Just how much of our tax dollar goes to all these social welfare programs? And how well are those dollars spent? Could they be better managed? When social service policies hit our pocketbook, it's hard to label them NMP. Even more importantly, when those policies affect either directly or indirectly the quality of life of all people in Hawaii, both spiritual and financial, then how can anyone say, "It's Not My Problem"!

But all the problems can never be completely solved, can they? Perhaps not, but if we attack them one by one, we can gain an edge. Last year the State Council ion Child Abuse and Neglect and the Hawaii Family Stress Center were successful in getting funds for an early identification project on the neighbor islands to identify and offer services to parents at risk of abuse before their child is born.

Several Leaguers are already working in the Human Resources Area. Martha Lister is with the Mental Health Coalition. Along with Alice Ball from Junior League, I helped to form a Citizen's Coalition on Child Abuse and Neglect to establish legislative priorities and rally community groups for support. Fran Burgess works at the Health and Community Services Council and is a great source of information. Call us, call the League Office. You won't be asked to take on the whole social service system if you do, but maybe we can help you learn about one part of our state's human resources program -- and you can help the human resources in our state.

Sue Francis

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