Help our most vulnerable

Where is the outrage about the abuse and torture that children in our community are experiencing? Where is the help from relatives when people are abusing their own children?

All of the state and local government programs, law enforcement and nonprofit agencies cannot prevent child abuse, and they cannot adequately help child victims of abuse to recover. There are too many. The only hope is that an overwhelming majority of responsible adults will decide that it is time to get involved.

The leading cause of death in children ages 6 and younger is still physical abuse – usually by a parent.

There are 39 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the United States. That represents an epidemic – a quiet, hidden, secret, dark and horrific epidemic of children being tortured, usually by a parent, relative or someone they trusted. More than 17,500 abused boys and girls from our area have been served by Child Enrichment since 1978. More than half of all children served now have been sexually abused.

One way to help is for each adult, especially parents and people who work with children, to report any and all suspected abuse, severe neglect and sexual abuse. Start by calling your local sheriff’s department, and call the Department of Family and Children’s Services in your county. Always report when you suspect.

You can support your local Child Advocacy Center and CASA program. All of our programs and services are free to child abuse victims and their non-offending parents or caregivers. Children can and do recover from even the most severe abuse, but they need high-level, structured, professional therapeutic services.

Child Enrichment provided such services to hundreds of child victims each year. If you help Child Enrichment, we will be able to continue to help victimized children.

The 23rd Annual Cookin’ for Kids weekend starts at 7 p.m. Friday, March 23, with its Oyster Roast, and continues at 11 a.m. Saturday with the Wild Game Cookoff and many family-fun events – all at Daniel Field. Have fun, learn about our mission and help some children who really need a second chance at safe and happy lives.

The worst thing any of us can do is to deny the problem and do nothing.

Dan Hillman

Augusta

 

(The writer is executive director of Child Enrichment Inc., the Child Advocacy Center and Court Appointed Special Advocates.)

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