Child Abuse

[email protected]

[email protected]

Child Abuse Hurts Us All: Together We Can End the Pain

If you think child abuse doesn’t affect you, you couldn’t be more wrong. It may not be in your home, but child abuse is a problem that affects all of us. Children who suffer abuse or neglect are 53 percent more likely to become juvenile delinquents, 38 percent more likely to be arrested as adults, and 38 percent more likely to become violent criminals, according to a study conducted for the National Institute of Justice. What’s more, abused and neglected children are involved in delinquency and criminal activity earlier, commit more offenses, and more often become chronic or repeat offenders. Abused children also have lower IQs and reading ability, higher rates of unemployment, more low-paying jobs and higher rates of suicide attempts. Additionally, the National Institute of Justice estimates that child abuse costs this country approximately $56 billion annually; however, the human loss is incalculably greater.

You’ve seen the statistics. You’ve heard the reports. Child abuse happens all around us, and even though you may not recognize it or see it, you do suffer the effects. So you may ask yourself, “What can I do about it?” In a word, “Plenty.” Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs recruit, train and supervise community volunteers to advocate for children in court, helping them to find loving homes. As a court appointed volunteer, you take on a number of roles. You are a fact-finder for children in need. You are a powerful voice for a child in court. You are a “watchdog” for a child who otherwise may have no one. You have the power to provide the link between where a child is and where that child wants to be.

The statistics are staggering, and while it may seem overwhelming, there are many ways in which we can help. We all have the power to make a difference. In doing so, we will experience the satisfaction of knowing we’ve made a lasting impact on our community and its children for many years to come. You can help by becoming a CASA volunteer or supporting the East-Central CASA Program by providing a service, a product or by making a donation. The next volunteer training session starts on September 26, 2002. For more information about how you can assist CASA, please call 697-6106 or e-mail [email protected]

Mark Proctor, Executive Director, East-Central CASA Program