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Child Abuse Awareness Month


Each April, many different social service agencies come together to spread awareness about child abuse in our communities.  Talking about child abuse and the prevention of abuse and neglect isn’t easy and thus far, the focus has been on putting a number out to let everyone know how many children have suffered in our community.  Although these numbers are climbing locally every year, funding for programs to help these children keeps decreasing.  In this tough economic climate as we see the breakdown of families and individuals, we have to start spreading the word about how dangerous it is if we do not invest in the safety and well being of our children...  If we want our community, our country, and our world to be better places in which to live we have to find ways to engage the decision makers and give them the numbers in dollar amounts. 

The breakdown of the family, the intentional harming of children, results in unhealthy adults, unhealthy communities, and an unhealthy nation.  Think about the children we know have been abused or neglected.  They smoke earlier, are sexually active earlier, use illicit drugs earlier, and become pregnant earlier.  Health care costs for women who are victim of physical and sexual abuse as children have health care costs 36% higher than non-abused women.  Individuals with a history of child maltreatment were significantly less like to own a bank account, stock, a vehicle, or a home, and they earned $8000 less annually than non abused individuals.  The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of non-fatal child maltreatment is $210,012 which is an accumulation of health care costs, loss of productivity, child welfare system costs, special education costs, and criminal justice costs.  When a child dies there are costs in the millions. 

Child abuse prevention and the health, well being, and education of our youngest people should be a priority at the local, state, and federal levels. 

This April, we ask that everyone make child abuse prevention a priority and know that there is something that each and every one of us can do.

What you can do:

               Do what you can to be a nurturing parent and improve your own parenting skills

               Check out caregivers and know them well before leaving a child in their care

               Help out a stressed family

               Volunteer or donate to programs that work to prevent abuse or work with abused children

               Let politicians and legislators know what your priorities are and what you want them to focus on

               Know the signs of the different types of abuse and neglect and report abuse to the authorities

Remember, helping even just one child can make a huge impact.  If you are interested in joining child abuse prevention efforts already planned for the month of April, call the Macon County Child Advocacy Center at 422-6294 to see how you can get involved!

 

Bonomi, A.E.; Anderson, M.L; Revara, F.P; Cannon, E.A; Fishman, P.A; Carrell, D; Reid, R.J. & Thompson, R.S. (2009).  Health Care Utilization and costs associated with childhood abuse.  Journal of General Internal Medicine, 23(3), 294-300.

Our sincere 'thank you' to our guest blogger this week:
Alison Elsea Safe From The Start Project Coordinator & CAC Forensic Interviewer
Macon County Child Advocacy Center

1990 N. Water St., Decatur, IL 62526
Phone: (217)422-6294
mccac.org

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