MACOMB — A number of activities and awareness events will take place during the month of April as part of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA of McDonough County will set up an ongoing pinwheel garden display at Lincoln, Edison and St. Paul schools beginning April 2. According to information from CASA Volunteer Coordinator Vicki Duba, the pinwheels serve as a visual reminder of abused and neglected children. There will be a flag raising ceremony at 12:15 p.m. April 3 at Macomb City Hall. The community is invited to attend the ceremony to honor abused and neglected children. Mayor Mike Inman will read an official proclamation, followed by the raising of child abuse awareness flag by the Macomb City Police Honor Guard.
There will be assemblies on April 4 and 5 at Macomb Junior-Senior High School to provide students and faculty with information on what child abuse is, what it can look like and what can be done if it is happening to the individual or someone they know. On April 7, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Farm King and HyVee, volunteers and supporters of CASA will collect coins to help support the day-to-day operating expenses of the McDonough County CASA program. The second annual Run for CASA’s Kids event is at 8 a.m. April 14 at Old Dairy. The run is CASA’s biggest fundraiser and is designed to both raise awareness of child abuse and neglect as well as raise funds for CASA’s day-to-day operations.
CASA of McDonough County is part of the greater Advocacy Network for Children.
For more information on any of the Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month events, contact Vicki Duba at 309-544-0003.
Child Abuse Statistics
*Information gathered from 2015-2016 Children’s Bureau (Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
•Professionals (daycare providers, educators, legal and law enforcement, medical personnel) submitted 64.9 percent of suspected child abuse “hotlines” or reports.
•There are a variety of possible outcomes for each report. If the investigation reveals the allegations are supported by state law or policy, the report is substantiated. At the other end of the spectrum, the case might be closed because DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) could not even locate the victim.
•In 2016 there were an estimated 676,000 victims of abuse and neglect.
•Those 676,000 victims represent a 3 percent increase over 2012.
•28.5 percent of those victims were younger than 3 years old.
•Victimization was highest for children under one year old.
•Whether the child was male or female was not significant.
•Caucasian children represented 44.9 percent of those abused.
•Hispanic children represented 22 percent of those abused.
•20.7 percent of abused children were African American.
•74.8 percent of victims were neglected.
•18.2 percent of victimized children suffered from physical abuse.
•8.5 percent of the victims were sexually abused.
•The four-top caregiver risk-factors contributing to child abuse: alcohol abuse, drug abuse, financial problems and inadequate housing.
•In 2016, 91.4 percent of abused children were victimized by one or both parents.
•In 2016, an estimated 1,750 children died from abuse and neglect. That represents a 7.4 percent increase from 2012.
•70 percent of those were younger than 3 years old.
•Children under 1 year died from abuse and neglect at 3 times the rate of children who were one year old.
•Nearly 30 percent of the fatalities in this study had at least one prior DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) contact in the three years prior to the death.
What we can do as a community
Individuals make up a collective community, and each person can keep in mind the impact they can have on a child’s life even if it is through vigilance and reporting suspected abuse to authorities. CASA recommends learning the “Five R’s.”
•RAISE the issue. Call or write your political candidates and elected officials to educate them about issues in your community and the need for child abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment programs. Contact your local school district and faith community to encourage them to sponsor classes and support programs for new parents.
•REACH out to kids and parents in your community. Anything you do to support kids and parents in your family and extended community helps to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Be a good neighbor. Offer to baby-sit.
Donate your children’s used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family. Be kind and supportive, particularly to new parents and children.
• REMEMBER the risk factors. Child abuse and neglect occur in all segments of our society, but the risk factors are greater in families where parents abuse alcohol or drugs, are isolated from their families or communities, have difficulty controlling their anger or stress, appear uninterested in the care, nourishment, or safety of their children and seem to be having serious economic, housing, or personal problems.
•RECOGNIZE the warning signs. Some of the warning signs that a child might be abused or neglected include: Nervousness around adults, aggression toward adults or other children, inability to stay awake or to concentrate for extended periods, sudden, dramatic changes in personality or activities, acting out sexually or showing interest in sex that is not appropriate for his or her age, frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries, low self-esteem and poor hygiene.
•REPORT suspected abuse or neglect. If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, report it—and keep reporting it—until something is done.
Report suspected abuse or neglect by calling the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873) if you suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect. If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.
Reach Jared DuBach by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.