Re­mem­ber­ing chil­dren who need our help

Pin­wheels go up as re­minder of Na­tional Child Abuse Aware­ness Month

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff re­ports

No child should ever have to worry about whether some­one is go­ing to hurt them at home. Yet on a daily ba­sis youth both lo­cally and around the na­tion still suf­fer at the hands of par­ents or guardians who claim their love for them, but in­stead use vi­o­lence of ac­tion and words to cause great harm.

It is a crime the com­mu­nity can do some­thing about, and is why every­one should put in their ef­forts now to pro­tect a child from such abuse and help oth­ers re­mem­ber that April is Na­tional Child Abuse Aware­ness Month.

Last week, the City of Cedar­town joined in that re­mem­brance and in­vited lo­cal of­fi­cials from the Tal­lapoosa Cir­cuit Ju­ve­nile Court, the cir­cuit’s CASA, and more to plant blue pin­wheels in front of City Hall at the prop­erty’s corner fac­ing East Av­enue.

Tal­lapoosa Ju­di­cial Cir­cuit Chief Ju­ve­nile Court Judge Laura Lundy Wheale, Polk-Har­al­son Court Ap­pointed Spe­cial Ad­vo­cate (CASA) Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Belinda Bent­ley, Ad­vo­cacy Co­or­di­na­tor Jen­nifer O’Neal, and Ha­ley and AndiGrace Kiser spent the morn­ing of April 3 ar­rang­ing the pin­wheels on the City Hall lawn.

The prob­lem of child abuse and ne­glect is not small. Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pro­vided by re­ports from fed­eral fig­ures cre­ated by the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, they es­ti­mated that 1,720 chil­dren died in the 2017 fis­cal year as a re­sult of abuse or ne­glect across the coun­try. That fig­ure was on the rise from 2013 to 2017, go­ing from more than 1,500 chil­dren who died to more than 1,700 on an an­nual ba­sis over five years, and that is a rate of per 100,000 chil­dren.

So in real fig­ures, some 1,720 chil­dren of 100,000 in the last year alone ac­tu­ally pro­vides a fig­ure of around closer to 40,000 plus chil­dren an­nu­ally who died, based on pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates of around 74.3 mil­lion chil­dren across 50 states.

Na­tional Child Abuse Pre­ven­tion Month is a time to ac­knowl­edge the im­por­tance of fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties work­ing to­gether to prevent child abuse and ne­glect, and to pro­mote the so­cial and emo­tional well-be­ing of chil­dren and fam­i­lies.

There are many ways that res­i­dents can be­come in­volved in pro­grams de­signed to help lit­tle victims of abuse and ne­glect.

One way is to be­come a CASA child ad­vo­cate. CASA ad­vo­cates are ap­pointed by judges to watch over and ad­vo­cate for abused and ne­glected chil­dren, to make sure they don’t get lost in the over­bur­dened le­gal and so­cial ser­vices or lan­guish in in­ap­pro­pri­ate group or fos­ter homes. Ad­vo­cates stay with each case un­til it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, per­ma­nent home. For many chil­dren their CASA Ad­vo­cate will be the one con­stant adult pres­ence in their lives dur­ing this time.

To learn more about be­com­ing a CASA ad­vo­cate, visit http://www. polkhar­al­son­casa.org/

Ad­di­tion­ally, read­ers should go child­wel­fare.gov to find a full re­port on child ne­glect and mis­treat­ment, and to learn more about hav­ing a healthy and happy family of their own with re­source guides at the site pro­vided by the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices depart­ment on the na­tional level.

/ kevin Myrick

Of­fi­cials gath­ered to­gether last week to place pin­wheels in front of Cedar­town’s City Hall build­ing to help draw at­ten­tion to Na­tional Child Abuse Pre­ven­tion Month.

Of­fi­cials gath­ered to­gether last week to place pin­wheels in front of Cedar­town’s City Hall build­ing to help draw at­ten­tion to Na­tional Child Abuse Pre­ven­tion Month.

/ kevin Myrick

Of­fi­cials gath­ered to­gether last week to place pin­wheels in front of Cedar­town’s City Hall build­ing to help draw at­ten­tion to Na­tional Child Abuse Pre­ven­tion Month.

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