April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month – How do we make a difference?

by Vickie S. Watson, Community Relations Specialist

Some observances are ones you wish you did not have to mark. With nearly 700,000 children victimized every year by physical, mental, or sexual abuse, National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April is one of those observances.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau (2017) – Child Maltreatment 2015 report, there were an estimated 4 million referrals made to Child Protective Services, alleging maltreatment involving approximately 7.2 million children in the U.S.  Key findings in the report include:

  • The national estimate of children who received a child protective services investigation response or alternative response increased 9.0 percent from 2011 (3,081,000) to 2015 (3,358,000).
  • The number and rate of victims have fluctuated during the past 5 years. Comparing the national estimate of victims from 2011 (658,000) to the rounded number of reported victims in 2015 (683,000) shows an increase of 3.8 percent.
  • Three-quarters (75.3%) of victims were neglected, 17.2 percent were physically abused, and 8.4 percent were sexually abused.
  • For 2015, a nationally estimated 1,670 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.25 per 100,000 children in the national population.

Child abuse and neglect is one of the Nation’s most serious concerns.  But what about the state of Alabama?  In the report, noted above, there were a total of 22,067 referrals made to CPS in 2015.  So what can you do to make a difference? Join us on April 7, at 10:00 a.m. to hear Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall speak on the topic of child abuse prevention. With the proper knowledge, tools, and awareness, community members can work together to prevent child abuse and neglect. And maybe someday, we won’t have to observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month.