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Adam Rosenberg, director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, will be testifying in Annapolis today in favor of child abuse legislation and sent out this statement this morning:

In Maryland, it is a crime to neglect an animal, but it is not a crime to neglect a child.  Maryland is currently the only state in the country that has not passed legislation making child neglect a criminal act.  This legislative session, the governor has an important bill on his agenda, the Criminal Child Neglect Bill HB962/SB757 which, if passed, will make child neglect a crime.  The bill includes careful language to exclude cases where neglect is a result of poverty or an isolated accident.

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Child neglect is a serious national issue and unfortunately is not going away.   Children who experience abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit a violent crime. Moreover, 30% percent of abused and neglected children will go on to abuse their own child.  According to experts, neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment in the United States.

STATEMENT: "It is illegal to neglect an elderly person or a pet, but Maryland is the only state in the United States where child neglect is not considered illegal. Frankly, it's outrageous.  It's a crime that neglect is not a crime.  For the last several years Baltimore Child Abuse Center and other agencies have been working to protect children in Maryland, and this Thursday is a hearing in the House on these issues.  It is time to hold neglectful parents accountable and recognize the impact child abuse has on our children's futures."

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