A Call to Action
April is Child Abuse Prevention month. According to a studies done between the 2016-2020 fiscal years, the amount of child victims has decreased by 7.9% nationally and 16.3% statewide (KY). While this fantastic news, there are still 38,862 children according to a CPS and CDV report in February of 2021 who are still experiencing abuse across Kentucky. According to kychildabuse.org, here in Bath County, there are only three confirmed cases of physical abuse and a higher number of 79 confirmed cases concerning neglect.
Those numbers don’t seem so high when you consider the almost 40,000 cases state wide, right? And the fact that nationally we’re ahead of the curve…right? Well, look carefully at how that was worded, Confirmed Cases, meaning only cases that received proof of abuse in a court of law. In a report from 2021 by Child Protection Services there are still 124-193 more children reported to be experiencing some kind of abuse be it sexual, physical, emotional, or neglect that are currently either unreported or reported but do not have enough evidence to be proven in a court of law in Bath County specifically.
So what can you do to help? Well first, you can look at the 2022 Policies! There are currently four bills in either Senate or House that are being considered to protect children from child abuse.
Senate Bill 8 would establish new membership of the State Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, expand the definition of fictive kin, expand Medicaid reimbursement eligibility for professionals who provide services at Children’s Advocacy Centers, and more.
Senate Bill 97 would require coroners to immediately notify law enforcement, the Department for Community Based Services, and local health department upon the death of a child and strengthen the process when a child fatality or near fatality occurs, including expanding the External Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel.