Across Benton, Washington, Madison, and Carroll counties, there were 5,312 investigations of child maltreatment last year¹. We wanted to honor all victims of child abuse and neglect by taking a few moments to provide clarity as well as reflect on this tragedy that is sweeping our community and country.
Contrary to what many believe, CASA is not involved in the investigation of child abuse and neglect. Such an investigation into suspected maltreatment is conducted by a team of professionals which may include the state police, the Department of Human Services, Children’s Advocacy Centers, and local law enforcement. As more than 75% of substantiated child maltreatment involves a parent as the perpetrator², it is no wonder that so many of these children end up in foster care, sparking the need for CASA.
The long-term impact of abuse can be devastating. Victims of childhood maltreatment have an increased risk for mental disorders, unemployment, education failure, substance addiction, homelessness, and incarceration as adults. Of course, that does not begin to address the issue of child fatality. An estimated 1,750 children in the United States died from abuse or neglect in 2016: 30 from the state of Arkansas.
What can you do to help? Take a tip from our colleagues at Prevent Child Abuse America:
Five Ways You Can Help Prevent Child Abuse
1. Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams.
2. Help a friend, neighbor or relative. Being a parent isn’t easy. Offer a helping hand take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.
3. Help yourself. When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control – take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.
4. Get involved or volunteer. Ask your community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families. Or volunteer for an organization dedicated to preventing or supporting victims of child abuse (like CASA!).
5. Report suspected abuse or neglect. If you have reason to believe a child has been or may be harmed, call 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD (1-844-728-3224). Speak up!
Thank you to all of our supporters who have given their time and resources to support victims of child abuse. We hope and pray for the day that CASA won’t be needed in our community.
While we’ve said it, it bears to be repeated. If for any reason you suspect a child is a victim of abuse or neglect, please call the hotline: 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD (1-844-728-3224). You may be that child’s last hope.
¹Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services Report Card, 2017.
²U.S. Administration for Children & Families, Child Maltreatment Report, 2016.