RIP Brielle Bennett
RIP Brielle Bennett
By Melanie Blow
As the murder case against Lashae Bennett progresses, the Stop Abuse Campaign is calling on Governor Cuomo and the NY legislature to fund programs that help pregnant women bond with and parent their babies, thus sparing children’s lives.
Brielle Bennett’s mother, Lashae Bennett, is being charged with the murder of her daughter after the medical examiner’s report revealed Lashae gave birth to the infant and let her suffocate before allowing paramedics to help Brielle.
“We know child abuse, neglect, abandonment and murder are linked to a mother’s ability to bond with her child, both prenatally and after the baby is born. It’s easy to identify the mother’s risk factors for maltreating her baby, and Maternal Home Visiting programs provide these mothers with support to enable them to bond with and successfully parent their baby” says Melanie Blow, COO of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
“The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experience study shows that abuse can never be undone. Abused children live shorter, less healthy lives and contribute less to society. Maternal Home Visiting programs, such as Healthy Families NY, Nurse Family Partners and Parents as Teachers save taxpayer money by preventing the increased health care, special education services, juvenile delinquency and the direct costs of CPS investigations,” says Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
“Women who hide a pregnancy, as Lashae Bennett appears to have done, who don’t access prenatal care, who make no plans for the baby once it is born, have likely experienced massive unresolved trauma. We know how to reach out to women like this, we know how to help them. But only 6% of NY residents have access to the Maternal Home Visiting services that do this. Women who find themselves in this situation don’t realize help is out there, because so little of it is. As a victim of repeated sexual assault as a teenager, I understand the powerful denial and constant fear that surrounds even the idea of an unwanted pregnancy. There is absolutely no excuse for abusing or killing a child. But there is no excuse for us to deny vital programs to 94% of the women who need them” says Ms Blow.