Editorial: Child abuse prevention month

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 News General Manager Collin Gaston, which first aired on Tuesday, April 3, 2018:

April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983. Since then, April has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse. While I'm glad a month has been designated to bring attention to a devastating issue, it's unfortunate that we need it. Abusing a child, for all obvious reasons, is a despicable act that results more times than not in the cycle of abuse continuing at the hands of those once abused.

The numbers are staggering. In 2015, it was reported in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that an estimated 683,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect and 1,670 children died as a result of abuse or neglect. Here at home in Alabama, in 2016 there were nearly 40,000 unduplicated child abuse and neglect reports and approximately 10,000 victims, according to the most recent Alabama Kids Count Data Book.

In response to this all-important issue, our state created the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention "The Children's Trust Fund," which encourages, supports and funds community-based programs tasked with maltreatment of children while also strengthening families.

How are a few ways you can help? Lend your support to organizations that help families, so they are better equipped to lead their families in a healthy non-violent manner. Another, tell your elected officials at every level that you want them to support programs that promote positive parenting. And literally at home, be a great neighbor and offer support to your neighbors with families so the stressors of parenting don't result in abuse towards a child.

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