A Message from Dr. Merrick on Violence at the US Capitol

Statements & Messages

Many of you, like me, had to try to explain to your children the news and troubling images that flashed across our many screens yesterday. We attempted to answer questions and allay fears about safety and freedoms that we take for granted in a democratic society. As if parenting during a global pandemic was not hard enough, parenting during such deeply disturbing events shook many of us to the core.

It’s not much more than a year ago, when I was in Washington, DC, with our national policy team, that I walked those same halls of the US Capitol, that historic and sacred space, the seat and symbol of our democracy. Along with members of our national state chapter network, HFA affiliates, and other prevention partners, we advocated for stronger supports for children and families, to keep them healthy and thriving, and that work must endure—today, tomorrow, and for years to come.

The events at the Capitol showed what can happen—what will happen—when people ignore the structural and social factors at the root of the issues we measure and treat. We must continue to speak up for those without a voice and for those whose voices continue to be purposefully silenced. Our work to prevent child abuse and neglect and to achieve equity—to protect our most vulnerable children, families, and communities—is the outcome we must strive for unequivocally, always.

Together, we CAN prevent child abuse, America…because childhood lasts a lifetime.




Dr. Melissa Merrick
President & CEO


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