Editorial: Precious lives are deserving of our help

Apr. 05, 2013 @ 09:01 AM

Words from the mayor of Henderson were as real as it gets. Politics were not at issue; children were.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a national movement to bring awareness to an unfortunate aspect of life.

Pete O’Geary was there as children placed pinwheels into the ground. The wind and small hands turned them. Smiles were bright.

They placed 491 pinwheels, representing the families served by the Head Start and Franklin-Vance-Warren Opportunity’s Family Resource Center programs last year. These were the families that participated in preventative services, such as parenting education and support groups.

Unless we’ve been there, imagining the horrors of a child in abusive settings just doesn’t happen. We can try, but we can’t relate.

“When you look at all of these young children out there,” O’Geary said, “who could ever abuse one of them? It’s unbelievable.”

The ugliness of child abuse knows no boundaries.

From June to June 2011 to 2012, in the latest numbers available, Vance County Social Services helped 142 children receive protective services or had services recommended for their family.

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.

We have no magic bullets, though we wish we did.

But 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.

We see more than children as our future. They are now.