2009-04-16 / General Stories

The Unspoken Abuse: Neglect

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
by Tracy Wayne Richardson, Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), in 2008, 213 children died in Texas from abuse or neglect at the hands of their parents, guardians or caregivers. Neglect is the most frequent form of child abuse.

Last year, more than 83,000 allegations of abuse or neglect were confirmed, including:

• 50,310 confirmed allegations of neglectful supervision

• 14, 858 confirmed allegations of physical abuse

• 7,714 confirmed allegations of physical neglect

• 6,468 confirmed allegations of sexual abuse

• 2,235 confirmed allegations of medical neglect

Nearly 200,000 Texas children are reported abused or neglected every year according to Child Protective Services, a division of DFPS. More than 14,000 children had to be removed from their homes in 2008 because of abuse or neglect.

BCFS offers several programs throughout Texas that provide counseling and training to parents in order to prevent child abuse, including Services to At- Risk Youth and its Universal Child Abuse Prevention program, Great Start, Families for a Future, Healthy Start, and Precious Minds New Connections. All are free of charge.

Communities can stop abuse and neglect by paying more attention to the condition of children, reporting suspected abuse, taking part in awareness campaigns, and supporting parenting education.

Suspect Neglect When You See:

• Obvious malnourishment

• Lack of personal cleanliness

• Torn or dirty clothing

• Stealing or begging for food

• Child unattended for long periods of time

• Need for glasses, dental care, or other medical attention

• Frequent tardiness or absence from school

To report child abuse or neglect, call Texas' 24-hour Abuse/ Neglect Hotline at 1- 800-252-5400, or log onto www.txabusehotline.org If you find a child in a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.

For more information about BCFS, please visit www.bcfs.netfor children and families, foster care and adoption services, pre-natal and post-partum health services, emergency care for special needs victims of disasters, and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Tracy Wayne Richardson is BCFS' Universal Child Abuse Prevention Specialist, providing education, awareness, and a clear understanding of how our community can impact the prevention of child abuse.

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