April 4, 2012 —
Kentucky has already seen the destructive power of nature as storms and tornadoes have hit several communities across the Commonwealth this spring. There have been lives lost, whole communities devastated and families uprooted from their homes.
There’s another storm raging across Kentucky that can prove just as fatal and just as damaging. Child abuse and neglect hits thousands of homes in Kentucky every year. In 2011 alone, there were nearly 10,000 substantiated cases of abuse and neglect, involving more than 15,500 children. Over the past five years, at least 141 children have died as a result of abuse and neglect in Kentucky.
In most cases, there are warning signs of child abuse and neglect and it’s up to us to sound the alarm so these children can find shelter and refuge. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and it serves as a reminder that we have an obligation to protect the innocent young people in our communities.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you should immediately contact the Kentucky Child Abuse Reporting Hotline at 1800-752-6200. This number is answered 24hours a day, seven days a week. You can also report suspected child abuse to your county’s Child Protective Services Office, the local police or to the county attorney’s office.
State confidentiality laws will protect your identity and the report will be followed up by an investigation by Child Protective Services to determine if the report can be substantiated. Your call can literally save the life of a young person who may be in great danger.
You can also help after the storm has passed. Just as volunteers pitched in to help tornado victims recover from nature’s wrath, the children who are harmed in abusive and neglectful homes need immediate care and shelter. For more than143 years, Sunrise Children’s Services has been a place of refuge for hurting children, and today we continue to offer that in the form of a statewide network of residential programs and foster homes.
We are constantly looking for new foster parents to open up their homes to the young victims who need love and security. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help Kentucky’s hurting children, visit us at www.sunrise.org.
Dr. William Smithwick
President and CEO
Sunrise Children’s Services
Mt. Washington, KY