Pubdate: Sun, 20 Apr 2003
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2003 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Marcia H. Morey
Bookmark: (Youth)


As our General Assembly vigorously fights to safeguard low cigarette taxes, 
our children are the ones going up in smoke. Al Singer, a senior fellow 
with Child Advocacy Institute, hit the nail on the head in his April 13 
Point of View article "N.C. is soft on preventing juvenile crime." If the 
State of North Carolina was a parent, it would be guilty of neglect.

During the last six years, abuse/neglect cases have risen 13 percent; 
juveniles under court supervision are up 15 percent. One in three youths 
does not finish high school in four years. One fourth of our youth lives in 
single-parent homes at poverty level. Yet our elected officials fight to 
save cigarettes while slashing funds for mental health, juvenile justice 
and substance abuse.

Every week in court, parents ask judges, "Why do I have to wait for my son 
to get arrested before I can get him some help?" Unfortunately, that has 
become the unwritten law. Funding for juvenile crime and abuse prevention 
efforts has dried up.

If the General Assembly does not invest in our children now, the forecast 
for our next generation will be devastating.

Marcia H. Morey, District Court Judge, Durham
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