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Tips for Tots: Child Abuse & Neglect

By Anne A. McGrady

April is child abuse and neglect awareness month, however, we as responsible adults should be aware of this concern each and every day of every year.  We have all heard about cases of child abuse and neglect.  Cases are sometimes reported on television and in our newspapers in heart breaking detail.  Instances of child abuse and neglect are more common than you might think.  Child neglect seems to be more widespread than child abuse.  Both can lead to physical and/or emotional problems or even death.  Child abuse and neglect is SERIOUS!

YOU have the responsibility to report any knowledge of child abuse or neglect to your local Department of Social Services or the Child Abuse and Neglect toll free confidential Hot Line located in Richmond (1-800-552-7096), or the local Police Department.  Quick action by you may prevent a tragedy.  Caution:  Be sure you have the facts correct and reporting is confidential and important.

Believe it or not, most cases of child abuse and neglect takes place in the home.  Homes are not the only place where children are abused and/or neglected.  Abuse and neglect may occur in other places which care for young children.  Those who are guilty of mistreating children may be completely unaware of their actions or inactions that may have serious effects on children.  For example – the child who falls to his/her death from a fourth floor porch after a rotten railing gives away, the child who lives in substandard housing with inadequate food, the child who is bitten by rats and the child who eats paint and dies from lead poisoning.

Can this neglect be blamed on the parent, guardian, poverty or the landlord?  Think about it – do all you can do to prevent it!  Prevent a child from living an abusive life and grow up thinking this is the way children are treated.  This child abused may become an abusive parent. 

Become a Child Advocate…

GREAT READS:

• A Child Called “It”, by Dave J. Peter

(This autobiographical account charts the abuse of a young boy as his alcoholic mother first isolates him from the rest of the family; then torments him; and finally nearly kills him through starvation, poisoning, and one dramatic stabbing.”)

• Understanding Child Abuse & Neglect, by Wain K. Brown

(This fundamental guide to understanding child abuse and neglect answers 20 important questions, explains how a case of child abuse or neglect is handled, contains valuable checklists and provides contact information for reporting suspected abuse or neglect.)

• Prairie Chicken Little, by Jackie Mims Hopkins, Ages 4-6

(In this prairie-style twist on Chicken Little, a prairie chicken names Mary McBlicken hears a rumble and is sure a stampede’s comin’!  A great adventure!)