of Cruelty to Children, an organization dedicated to responding to the needs of abused and neglected children, Kimberly is working to raise awareness on how to protect children from child abuse. We are honored to highlight the work she is doing within this incredible organization.
How did you become involved with The NYSPCC?
I have always been passionate about helping women and children. While I served as a prosecutor for both the Los Angeles and San Francisco District Attorney's Offices, as well as during my tenure as First Lady of San Francisco, I regularly advocated and fought for children’s rights. When I transitioned to work as a journalist and legal analyst, I continued to bring focus to issues of child protection. My coverage of the Penn State sexual abuse story caught the attention of The NYSPCC, and they generously presented me with the Strength of our Society Award at their gala in 2012. Because The NYSPCC was the world’s first child protective agency, I couldn’t have been more honored.
Since then, I continued to work with The NYSPCC as a member of their Children’s Council. I regularly host their fundraising events and promote the important work they do on my show. As a Co-Host of “The Five,” I have the ability to raise national awareness about child abuse. It’s my pleasure and responsibility to shine a spotlight on this important issue and support the work of The NYSPCC.
What is the history of The NYSPCC?
In 1874, a woman named Etta Wheeler discovered that nine-year-old Mary Ellen was being severely abused by her adoptive mother in their New York City tenement. At the time, there were no laws to protect children from abuse, but there were laws to protect animals. Determined to save Mary Ellen, Mrs. Wheeler sought help from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). With help from the ASPCA’s lawyers, Mary Ellen was placed in a loving home and grew to live a normal, happy life. She married, raised a family of her own, and lived to the age of 92.
One of the ASPCA’s lawyers was Elbridge T. Gerry. He founded The NYSPCC, as the world’s first child protection agency in 1875 and helped to create the earliest legislation to protect children from abuse. This legacy has left an indelible mark on the history and progress of child protection in the United States, and The NYSPCC has continued to build upon it ever since.