The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 19, 2014

Stand up against child abuse

The Clinton Herald

---- — April is National Child Abuse Month and I would like to take a moment to share that our children are precious and Clinton County has one of the highest in the state when it comes to children who have been abused.

You are able to check the statistics for Clinton, Iowa, yourself by checking the statistics at the Iowa Department of Human Services...the most recent statistics online are from 2012.

I want you to know that is OK to report possible child abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused, it’s critical to get them the help he or she needs. Reporting child abuse seems so official that many are reluctant to get involved in other families’ life. Maybe if you understand the myths behind making a report you can be more at ease to do it.

Well the effects of child abuse are life long, affecting future relationships, self-esteem and sadly puts even more children at risk of abuse as the cycle continues. Help break the cycle of child abuse.

Listed are some myths regarding reporting child abuse and neglect.

n What if I break up someone’s home? The priority in child protective services is keeping children in the home. A child abuse report does not automatically remove a child from the home unless the child is in danger.

Support such as parenting classes, parent partner, anger managements, behavior interventions, and other resources may be offered first to parents if the child is safe. Many of these parents struggle with issues and a helping hand might be all that is needed.

n They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. In most places, you do not have to give your name when you report suspected child abuse. The child abuser can not find out who made the report.

n It won’t make a difference what I have to say. If your gut is telling you that something is wrong it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can identify child abuse that might otherwise slip through. Don’t be afraid to continue to make may be saving a life.

We have a coalition for helping children and families. We simply are a listening ear and we have a free two-hour babysitting service at the Discovery Center the third Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon.

Clinton needs foster parents. I was a foster parent for approximately eight years and almost every child that was ever in our home has maintained contact via social media. Many of these had not only physical abuse but emotional abuse that was severe.

Everyone came into our home with a garbage bag with their possessions and they all left with bags and totes. Although there was heartache, the rewards far outweighed the negatives.

Just remember this, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of an abused child. Please remember to ask children....Are you safe?

Merlyn Law,