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Support for child abuse registry

Re: The Detroit News’ Nov. 18 editorial, “Reject short-sighted child abuse list bills”: You need a license to drive a car. No such license, education or test is needed for the raising of a child.

This is because we, as Americans, consider that right to be one of fundamental privacy and have historically closely scrutinized state infringement on that personal interest.

But with that right comes responsibility. Our two legal lifetimes have been spent in the representation and protection of the abused/neglected children of Michigan. We have learned that too many adults view their children as extensions of their personal property. Further, far too many parents and (ir)responsible adults mistreat children again and again in the name of discipline, substance abuse and mental illness.

We sympathize with the caretaker who is bereft of resources, support and stability. Yet children, our most valuable and vulnerable resource, need our ongoing protection. Nothing in the proposed child abuse registry prevents the ongoing aim of adult/parental rehabilitation. The stigma of being a child abuser is merely a codification of an already proven fact, that one has abused a child as defined by the laws of this state. It is the fact of a conviction/adjudication which places an abuser on this registry.

Children need ongoing protection from their abusers and the abusers of their peers. Kids don't vote. They are American citizens who are future voters unable to write editorials or respond to campaigns which minimize their civil right to be free from harm. They can only rely on responsible adults to speak up, vote and campaign for measures which will protect their future. The child abuse registry is one of those measures. It should be passed.

Jennifer Pilette and William Ladd, Ann Arbor

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