CHILD works tirelessly with individual State legislaturs to remove the legal exemptions that some parents claim from State laws that require parents to provide medical care for their children, regardless of their own personal or religious beliefs. I have seen the founder of CHILD, Rita Swan, present her case with great compassion and powerful impact. She reaches the hearts of the legislators, motivating them to put the health of children above the personal beliefs and religious "freedom" of their parents. Ms. Swan travels tirelessly to State after State, working with attorneys and health professionals to overturn the exemptions from child protection laws that many States have passed under the pressure of the Christian Science Church and similar cults that claim that Christ will do a better job than doctors in treating children's illnesses, even when the illnesses are life threatening. Over the past several years, Ms. Swan has acheived success in many States, thus greatly improving or even saving the lives of many children. CHILD does not have a large fund raising departement. It devotes almost all of its contributions to travelling and lobbying state legislatures throughout the country. The only thing donors receive from CHILD is a bimonthly newsletter documenting the poignant stories of child endangerment and the success CHILD has had. I can't think of a more worthy cause than protecting the health, and sometimes the lives, of innocent children. CHILD, working with minimal funding, has acheived great success in rescuing children from the cruel practices of some parents who allow their children to suffer or even die because they believe that God will protect them or, shudder, allow them to suffer and die because God wills it.
CHILD is an advocacy organization that works to eliminate religious exemptions to child protections. Most of us would never dream of denying our children all medical treatment, everything from noninvasive hearing/vision tests, to pain relief (even aspirin), to lifesaving insulin for type I diabetes. But some churches have successfully lobbied to exempt religious parents from providing such common-sense care.
CHILD documents how such exemptions have led to children being permanently harmed or killed for lack of treatment. These cases are tragedies for parents as well as for children. Most parents are not scofflaws and wish to do what the law requires. Also, these exemptions falsely give the impression that our government believes faith healing to be just as good as standard care. Children of all religions deserve to survive their childhoods so that they can make decisions for themselves.
CHILD has made a positive difference for many children through education, legal action, lobbying, and research. As far as I'm aware, CHILD is the only organization dedicated to this issue.
Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD) protects children from abuse and neglect caused by religious and cultural practices. Decades ago, Christian Scientists, who reject medical treatment, succeeded in getting almost all states to enact exemptions allowing parents to rely solely on prayer when their children are ill. As a result, many children have needlessly suffered permanent health issues and many have died. In most cases, the children suffered from illnesses that would have been easily and quickly resolved with medical intervention.
Thus, these state-approved exemptions have harmed children. In addition, the exemptions give religious parents the impression that the government endorses their prayer-only practices.
CHILD works to remove these harmful exemptions from state law. CHILD believes that the right of vulnerable children to get appropriate healthcare far outweighs the right of parents to neglect those children. CHILD has successfully reversed exemptions in several states. Most recently (2011), the director of CHILD, Rita Swan, demonstrated her dedication by temporarily moving from Iowa to Oregon to get the Oregon legislature to end religious defenses for homicide.
In addition, CHILD works to ensure that children are appropriately vaccinated, without exception for religious belief. The group also lobbies for the licensing of all childcare facilities, including those run by churches.