By Brad Segall
EAST NORRITON, Pa. (CBS) — As work continues in our nation’s capital on ways to better protect children from sexual and violent predators, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick today got a firsthand look at how one Montgomery County child advocacy center is making it easier for kids to talk about abuse.
Fitzpatrick toured Mission Kids, a nonprofit child advocacy organization in East Norriton, to promote his legislation which calls for mandatory background checks for existing and prospective school employees, including contractors, eliminating a practice in which undesirable workers are encouraged to find work elsewhere — known to insiders as “passing the trash.”
Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) says that too often, a child predator is allowed to quietly resign and find a new teaching job. And he says that government also needs to come up with more funding for Mission Kids and similar centers.
“We have an obligation to make sure they can do their work and they can focus on that work without being distracted by the fundraising that is important for nonprofits and other organizations,” he said. “We can help, and we should help.”
Since Mission Kids opened its doors more than five years ago, it has hosted more than 2,100 interviews with children caught in abuse cases. This year they are already running 30 percent ahead of last year.
About a third of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties currently have child advocacy centers.