Child Abuse Awareness
Rashmi Adi-Brown (Guest Blogger) @ Kids Matter
2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which expanded and centralized federal efforts to prevent and respond to Child Abuse and Neglect (CA/N). It is bittersweet to me that we have a month such as this. While I appreciate that we have April to remember and acknowledge that CA/N exists in our state, it is devastating to me that we do not emphasize that it happens every day, of every month, of every year.
We know the effects of CA/N negatively impact a child over the course of their life, affecting their success in school, work and life. It will impact their ability to love, trust and believe that the world, their world, can be a safe place.
In 2013, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 56,128 children were reported abused and or neglected in Kentucky. That number rose from 24,506 in 2012. Furthermore, 27 children died as a result of child abuse and neglect and there were 17 near fatalities. We know that there are risk factors present with a caregiver, whether in or out of the home, that may increase the chance of CA/N occurring. The risk factors may include: substance abuse, mental health issues and domestic violence.
I strongly believe it is our responsibility as adults, parents, and professionals to provide children with the basic tools for life: love, support, knowledge, and safety. When a child is abused or neglected it shakes the very core of their being. We have all heard the phrase, “… through the eyes of a child”. In the children I worked with, girls and boys of all ages, I saw sadness, worldliness and weariness in their eyes. There are so many children, year after year, whose lives and souls have been torn apart and broken because of the hurt caused by someone they loved and trusted.
We can only prevent and protect our children by stepping up. This means being aware and responsible as parents, citizens and professionals to do everything we can to keep children safe. We can do this by talking about CA/N: what it is, what it means, and providing support to neighbors, family and friends who may be having a difficult time, supporting local and state awareness events, and reporting CA/N if you suspect it is occurring.
YOU can be that person! Make a difference in a child’s life!
Written by: Rashmi Adi-Brown, M.S., Director of the Division of Youth and Family Services, CHES Solutions Group