Editorial: Involvement, awareness for children

Aug. 26, 2014 @ 11:57 PM

If the idea of Church Watch sounds too “churchy” and throws a scare, consider child abuse and children in our neighborhoods.

Church Watch began in August 2008. Twice each year, clergy and community leaders offer constructive discussions on relevant topics. Thursday it is child abuse.

Each April, pinwheels are planted at Franklin-Vance-Warren Opportunity as Child Abuse Prevention Month begins. Each represents a child served by the organization and Head Start. They planted the 2,000th in their four years this past spring.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, child maltreatment referrals number more than 3 million annually for state and local agencies. At six referrals a minute, a lot of children are hurting.

And those are just the ones reported.

Just one Vance County child receiving protective services or having services recommended for their family by Social Services is one too many. Two or three a week should alarm each of us into finding a way to help.

Child abuse and neglect comes in various forms — such as neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Often, there’s a multiplying factor — one child, multiple areas of abuse.

So what can we do? Plenty.

Prevention comes through public awareness efforts, parent education and community prevention efforts. We’ve got to be involved. We need to see and do.

We’ve got to have layman’s understanding of being able to detect possible abuses, and know how to proceed from that point. We’ve got to make use of great organizations in our community committed to the family and committed to the children.

We need to rise up against the tide of society, to crack into the increasing volume of children themselves becoming parents of children.

Awareness can be a starting point. Involvement with organizations can be a starting point. Mentoring can be a starting point. Volunteering and giving the opportunity for a child to see a role model, whether they take it or leave it, is a starting point.

Children are more than the future. They are here now.