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Children Must be Protected

Child Abuse Prevention is being observed this month. Child abuse is a national tragedy that kills three children every day and affects millions of children and families each year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It's critical that we all work together to form and support families so that tragedies like this don't happen all the time; in fact, tragedies like this shouldn't happen at all.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was signed into law on January 31st, 1974, and is the most important federal law addressing child abuse and neglect. The goal of CAPTA is to provide comprehensive care to child abuse victims and future victims by integrating services from several agencies, including legal, educational, mental health, and social service organizations. The following is a breakdown of the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act's definition of abuse and neglect:

  • Neglect is defined as failing to meet a child's basic needs.

  • Neglect can be physical, mental, or financial (e.g., lack of appropriate supervision or failure to provide necessary food, shelter, or medical care).

  • Emotional (for example, ignoring a child's emotional needs or exposing a child to domestic abuse).

  • Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs).

Brain damage, developmental delays, learning disabilities, relationship issues, violent behavior, and depression have all been related to abuse and neglect. Survivors of child abuse and neglect are more likely to face problems later in life, such as poor academic performance, drug use, teen pregnancy, and criminal activity, all of which impact not only the kid and family but society as well. Let's pause for a moment and dissect that. Even though the social cost may be minimal in comparison to an individual's traumatic experience, it's important to remember that abuse has long-reaching effects that extend well beyond the homes where it occurs.

The Administration for Children and Families is committed to assisting families by promoting policies that strengthen marriage and assist parents in raising their children in a happy and healthy environment. It's 2022, and I've been asking myself the same questions for the past few years since despite all the policies and resources in place, child abuse and neglect continue to be a global issue. Who is fighting for these children? Who is helping these kids? Who's protecting these kids? So, what can we do as a country to assist prevent child abuse and neglect? They go into detail in the community resource packet, titled "Gateways to Prevention," identifying ways that individuals can help increase awareness and techniques that can be implemented. The following items are listed:

  • Child Abuse Prevention Overview: Definitions and statistics on child abuse and neglect are provided, as well as an overview of why prevention is so important in dealing with the issue.

  • What Organizations Can Do: They can suggest activities and materials for preventing child abuse, as well as resources for dealing with the media.

  • What Individuals Can Do: Provide information on how to prevent child abuse and neglect, how to spot and report suspected maltreatment, and parenting tips.

  • Resource Directories: Provide information on national organizations that are working to prevent child abuse in conjunction with their state and local chapters, as well as organizations that can provide technical assistance.

  • Posters: These strategies are listed to help people better understand their role in preventing child abuse.

The four fundamental categories of childhood abuse are neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. While each of the categories might be experienced independently, they are witnessed together. I'd like you to realize that both boys and girls are as vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Children of all races and ethnicities are affected by child abuse. Many people believe that domestic violence just affects women, but it also impacts men.

According to statistics from the domestic violence hotline database, domestic abuse not only affects a child's mental health but also affects their ability to focus and learn in school. In these children's life, failure to achieve in school might lead to even more significant issues. Even if a child is not directly harmed, he or she will be exposed to domestic violence in the family. They are still affected by the scenario's stress. Children who witness domestic abuse experience increased tension, worry, and emotional challenges.

“Abused women are 70 percent more likely to get heart disease, 80 percent more likely to have a stroke, and 60 percent more likely to develop asthma," according to the report. These health problems add to survivors' misery while also putting additional strain on the healthcare system. According to the CDC, the cost of healthcare can reach more than $4.1 billion, yet some of that money is lost in lost productivity owing to injuries and premature mortality. Here are some ideas for what we can do as a society:

  • We need to invest more into after-school programs and facilities with crisis workers, counselors, therapists, and mental health care workers who can provide a safe refuge for children who are being harmed at home.

  • We need to invest more in parent education programs, and in some situations, parents who have proved that they are unsuitable to parent or have children in the home should be obliged to attend. We should make it mandatory rather than providing individuals the option to participate in these programs.

  • More mentorship and respite care programs are needed to educate children healthy boundaries, how to recognize trustworthy adults, how to check with others before doing something, body limits, and how to express themselves!

For the love of Christ, we as a people should use our voices for good and support these initiatives in your communities; children, too, need to be taught about their rights. Why not make programs and services that will keep our children safe mandatory, just as you were able to make wearing a mask or taking a vaccine mandatory? Enough is enough; the children must be protected.

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