Update: Both of Maryland's senators have responded. Scroll down to see:
Help Get Funding for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
Write to Your Senators and State Representative
When you write a letter, fax, telegram or e-mail, you may use the following sample letter found on Oprah's website. Feel free to modify it how you see fit or simply copy and paste this letter into Ben Cardin's and Barbara Milkulski's web forms. I have provided links below. It's easy!
Dear [Senator/Congressman/or Congresswoman]:
I am sure you share my belief that we must do everything in our power to help protect our children from sexual predators in our communities. That is why I am asking for your help today.
I am extremely concerned about how we track registered sex offenders in our country. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an estimated 100,000 sex offenders are unaccounted for and not living where they are registered. Because law enforcement agencies are too underfunded and overwhelmed to track them, these dangerous predators are free to roam undetected from state to state, targeting and re-offending more innocent children.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was signed into law in 2006. Supporters of the law acknowledge there are adjustments that should be made to the law, but they are adamant, as am I, that the basic purpose and spirit of Adam's act must be upheld. The act calls for a National Sex Offender Registry, which is critical to the safety of our children.
I implore you to reexamine this law with fellow lawmakers, reauthorize it and see that it is fully funded. I realize our country's current economic crisis will not make this charge an easy one, but what could be more urgent and of greater importance than the safety and well-being of our children?
(your name here)
Contact Ben Cardin <----click here to paste this sample letter
Contact Barbara Milkulski <----click here to paste this sample letter
Please do this in memory of Sarah Haley Foxwell and Adam Walsh.
If you don't live in Maryland and want your voice heard, click here on this Oprah site.
An update to this post. I wrote to Ben Cardin. Here is his response.
Dear Mrs. Markopoulos:
Thank you for writing me regarding the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. I too believe that every child deserves to grow up in a safe and healthy environment.
On March 18, 2006, I voted for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and it became law on July 27, 2006. This legislation authorized many important programs and efforts. It created preventive measures, like the comprehensive national registry of sexual offenders and a national DNA registry for sex offenders that better enable our law enforcement agencies to track and capture noncompliant sex offenders. These critical safeguards help keep our children safe.
The Omnibus Appropriations Act, which became law on March 11, 2009, provides $22.16 million for the U.S. Marshal Service, which will provide federal assistance to jurisdictions to address violations of registration requirements; $33.6 million for additional prosecutors to pursue offenses related to the sexual exploitation of children; and $18 million for child sexual predatory elimination sex offender management, $12 million of which went to Sex Offender Apprehension grants, $5 million for Sex Offender Management Assistance and $1 million for the National Sex Offender Registry.
I recently signed onto a letter to Chairwoman Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Member Shelby (R-AL), of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies urging them to fully fund the programs implemented by the Adam Walsh Act to their authorized levels in the upcoming FY 2010 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill. Full funding of these programs will best ensure that we are doing our utmost to keep our children safe from those who would threaten their emotional well-being, health, and lives.
Thank you, again, for writing me regarding this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of any further assistance.
Please visit my website at http://cardin.senate.gov to sign up for my e-newsletter.
Here is what Maryland's other senator, Barbara A. Mikulski, has to say. I thank BOTH senators for replying to my email in a timely fashion.
Dear Ms. Markopoulos:
Thank you for getting in touch with me regarding the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (P.L. 109-248). It's good to hear from you.
I absolutely agree with you. Our country must do everything it can to protect our children. Child exploitation is horrifying and despicable. As a former social worker, I have seen first-hand the need for strong child protection laws and services. That is why I was an original co-sponsor of this critical legislation that helps to target, dismantle, and prosecute child predator rings.
As Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcomittee Chairwoman, I have fought for Adam Walsh funding to ensure that our state and local law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to enforce the Adam Walsh Act and track down unregistered child predators that exploit and abuse our children.
As I continue my work on Appropriations this year you can count on me to fight to fully fund the Adam Walsh Act. Our children deserve no less.
Again, thanks for contacting me. Please let me know if I can be of help to you in the future.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator