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.
Senate Bill 297 would modify “chain of command” child maltreatment reporting procedures and require immediate cross-agency reporting to ensure the report of child abuse or neglect is properly communicated to the appropriate external agencies.
House Bill 1 would enact a two-year state budget that, among other things, will impact child health coverage, education, and safety.
Call your representative and use your voice to speak out against child abuse so we can lower those statistics even further. Bath County is district 74 and our rep. is David Hale. By doing this you CAN make an impact.
How else can you help?
Easy, this month on the 18th-22nd is a call to action to raise awareness to protect our children. Fivedaysofaction.org has even more information on how you personally can help with stopping child abuse, but here are a few:
Understand it’s okay to have age appropriate conversations about our bodies, sex, and boundaries. The more educated a child is the more likely they are to understand what is abuse and what isn’t. This is a huge step in protecting your child.
Understand what it means to be the safe adult children can turn to when in need.
Teach your children what healthy boundaries are and establish family rules and values that can help to minimize inappropriate behavior.
Let your child know it’s okay to say no to an adult if they don't feel safe.
Teach them the meaning of consent. No means NO and that should be respected.
Know what your children are doing online so they can stay safe.
Don’t be a passive bystander be an active one. See something say something. It’s one of the basic rules for preventing abuse.
Wednesday, April 20th there will be free a statewide webinar open to anyone willing to learn more on how they can prevent child abuse. Together we CAN make a deference.
"....we all have a stake in preparing children to grow up to be healthy, thriving members of our community. Join this webinar to learn the basics of child maltreatment prevention and how you can take action to ensure children have positive experiences, and families have the resources they need, when they need them."