Child abuse prevention

Dear Editor,

During National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, CASA of Warren and Forest counties challenges our local residents to stand against child abuse and take action to support children who have been abused or neglected.

From July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, 10 local children entered the foster care system due to abuse or neglect. Our local Children and Youth agency conducted 335 general protection investigations: 32 were screened out, 136 were validated and 167 were invalidated. Our local agency conducted 147 child protection investigations: 14 were courtesy interviews for other counties, 20 were indicated (3 were founded), and 113 were unfounded.

Throughout the month of April, CASA of Warren and Forest counties is calling on all members of the community to protect our children. Learn the signs of child abuse, know who to call, be aware of the children and families in your neighborhood, schools, and churches.

The four types of child abuse are neglect, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The person who is carrying out the abuse may also need help; for example, an overwhelmed parent. People may be unwilling to get involved, they don’t want to cause trouble, or believe they do not know the whole story.

The child may fear that the person who is abusing them is too important or powerful. They may also fear that they will not be believed. They may also feel ashamed, embarrassed, or worry that they are to blame. Worse, they might believe the abuse is normal.

Sometimes, the abuse results, in part, from the issues the parents or caregivers face, which also need addressing. These could be financial pressure, unemployment, mental health problems, or substance abuse issues. They, too, may have experienced abuse as children. Speaking up about signs that something is wrong can help children, but it may also help their caregivers. You can protect a child and end up helping the whole family.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call Childline at 1-800-932-0313.

Children cannot stop child abuse, adults can.

Lisa Thompson,

Director of CASA of Warren and Forest counties