Letter to the Editor / Published: November 20, 2017
No one should simply shake their head and sadly lament the horrific stories of child abuse that we read about in our own community. Instead of passive despair, let these tragic incidents serve as a galvanizing call to action for us all to commit to ending abuse and securing the safety and future of every child in Luzerne County.
Yes, we can end child abuse. We can end it when we all become advocates for children,
For some of us, that advocacy comes in a formal role. Teachers, child care workers, health care providers and others who come into daily contact with children can be vigilant for signs of abuse and neglect. Their actions to report suspected abuse or to offer extra time and attention to fragile children can do more than make a difference. It can save lives.
CASA volunteers — court-appointed special advocates — also put their passion for the well-being of children into action. Assigned to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, CASA volunteers make sure kids don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service systems or languish in foster care. Volunteers stay with children until their court case is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
For many abused children, their CASA volunteer is the one constant adult presence in their lives.
Are you interested in becoming a CASA volunteer? Take the first step by attending an info session. You’ll learn about the mission of CASA of Luzerne County and how you can lift up a child’s voice, a child’s life. You will also have the opportunity to witness audiovisual testimony from former CASAs and foster youth.
NEXT INFO SESSION:
Dec. 5 from 6 to 7 p.m. at CASA of Luzerne County, 667 S. River St., Plains Twp., Pa., 18705.
Call 570-855-2247 to reserve your seat.
Here are a few more steps you can take to make our community safer for our children,
n Be mindful of the signs of abuse and neglect in children, many of which appear before an obvious physical mark: lack of adult supervision, extreme passivity or aggression, poor hygiene, or watchfulness, as if waiting for something bad to happen.
n Also be aware of warning signs in parents: showing indifference or rarely touching or looking at their child, constant verbal criticism, demands for perfection, blaming the child for family problems, or other irrational behaviors,
n If you think a child is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate. Call 911.
n if you think a child is being abused or neglected, report your suspicions confidentially to Pennsylvania’s toll-free child abuse hotline, ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
n Take new or stressed-out parents under your wing. Offer to baby-sit, run an errand, or share your own challenges and insights about being a parent.
n Volunteer your time and/or donate to community programs that support children and families.
Your advocacy for children not only will help end child abuse, it will improve our community for everyone who lives here. Children who are abused and do not get the support they need to heal are more likely than other kids to drop out of school, end up homeless, turn to crime, and rely as adults on social welfare programs. When we work together to protect vulnerable children, it saves lives and tax dollars.
There are many life-threatening and incurable diseases that sadly afflict children. But we have the cure to child abuse. It lies within each of us. Now is the time to act.