2009-04-09 / Community News

April is Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month

213 Children Died in Fiscal Year 2008 Due to Abuse

Governor Rick Perry proclaims April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, saying "Every responsible person will agree that one abused child is too many. Yet our state's child protection caseloads are evidence of the shameful fact that child abuse is a widespread issue in Texas."

Sadly, 213 children died in Texas from abuse or neglect at the hands of their parents, guardians, or caregivers in 2008. Investigations by Child Protective Services (CPS), a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), determined more than 70,000 child victims suffered from abuse or neglect last year. More than 14,000 children had to be removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.

This month, DFPS will join Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates in its "Stand Up for Abused and Neglected Children" rally on the south steps of the State Capitol at 10:30 a.m. April 14. The month will wrap up with the Light of Hope Austin celebration at the Carver Branch Library on April 28 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The annual event features family friendly performances, activities for children, and an inspirational message that this year focuses on how you can make a difference.

To help combat and draw attention to the problem of child abuse and neglect, DFPS distributed 500,000 calendars filled with parenting tips called "The Parenting Toolkit: Building Strong Families."

Anyone can download the calendar and learn how to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect at www.itsuptoyou.org.

"As a mother, I know parenting is both rewarding and difficult. That's why it's so important to give parents the tools they need to cope with the stresses of parenthood," says DFPS Commissioner Anne Heiligenstein. "Yet, we all have a responsibility to stop child abuse. I urge all Texans to learn the signs of abuse and neglect and to report it when they see it".

To report child abuse or neglect, call 911 in an emergency) or the 24-hour Texas Abuse/Neglect Hotline, 1-800-252-5400. Reports also can be made via www.txabusehotline.org.

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