By Nov. 6, everyone voting in Washington County will have had made a decision about whether to support a 1.46-mill, 10-year levy for the county's Children Services.
We hope they vote in favor of the levy, and help restore nearly $1.6 million annually to the department, which has seen funding cuts at the federal, state and local level.
The alternative is to not only fail to provide adequate protection to some of our most vulnerable population but to possibly continue a cycle of abuse and neglect in the community, as these victims grow up and have their own families.
We need to show that as a county and as a community we're willing to do all we can to stop the cycle now.
The cost for the levy is only $44.71 a year for the owner of a home valued at $100,000.
We can't expect the Children Services agency to continue to do more and more with less funding and fewer people forever. Eventually, there is less of a helping hand that can be extended, despite the best of intentions.
In 2009 the department had to cut its School Outreach Prevention Program, which had prevention specialists in each school district. Among other things, the program helped teach sexual abuse prevention, offered academic tutoring and truancy intervention and led to direct family interventions in cases where there were signs of trauma or neglect.
The levy money would help restore the program, which is something we think is necessary for area children, and it would also restore some staff positions.
Someone has to be there for these children when their family is not.
This is not an area where we could afford to continue to have funding cuts and simply not help.
Last year alone, there were 2,454 child victims of abuse and neglect in Washington County that Children Services assisted.
Most of us never have to think about the conditions they live in and the pain and fear they endure. Those of us who are lucky enough to be in that position shouldn't think twice about giving a small amount of money to help.