Sunday, April 19, 2009

What about the kids, when parents are arrested?

It wasn't planned.  

But when I testified last week in the House of Representatives about a bill protecting children when their parents are arrested, a voice from the back of room spoke up.  It was an 18-year-old Girl Scout, who happened to be there to visit the State House on an unrelated matter.

She asked, "Do you want to hear from the voice of a child?"  

The Chairwoman of the committee was surprised, but invited her to speak.  And so she did, saying that she hadn't planned to tell her story for the first time in public, no less here to the Legislature.

Bravely, with great force and candor, she articlulated clearly the toll it took upon her when her father had been arrested when she was seven years old.  Her testimony was not only very moving, it was indicative of how widespread this issue is.  For thousands like her, I believe that we must improve our policies.

Please read the article below, which includes this note:

"In Winooski last year, according to Graham, police arrested a woman while her 14-year-old child was at school. The boy returned to an empty house, where he subsisted alone for more than two weeks before school officials began to ask questions."

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