The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


August 17, 2013

Speak up when children are abused

It has happened to most of us. You are in a restaurant or store, and you see an adult speaking harshly to, screaming at or even striking a child. You feel helpless and conflicted as you watch the situation unfold. Is it your place to intervene? Should you call the police?

Now, a new report from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services adds weight to the argument that everyday citizens need to report possible child abuse. Last week, DCFS officials announced that the number of Illinois children killed by abuse or neglect over the past year likely will be the highest in 25 years.

The report shows that 94 of the 223 deaths of children investigated by DCFS officials during the latest fiscal year that ended June 30 involved credible evidence of abuse or neglect. Another 45 cases remain under investigation and are awaiting official rulings. That means the number of abuse-related deaths — what the department terms “indicated” cases — likely will surpass the state’s all-time high of 102 recorded in the 1989 fiscal year.

By comparison, there were 90 indicated cases statewide during each of the previous two years and 69 during the 2010 fiscal year. The upward trend is disturbing and is prompting DCFS officials to urge Illinoisans to report suspected mistreatment of minors before it results in death.

Another disturbing fact is that three of every four deaths linked to abuse or neglect involved households that had no prior contact with DCFS. The agency often is criticized in cases where the state was aware of problems in a family before a death occurred, but when 75 percent of the deaths occur in homes that have not been investigated by child-welfare officials, the need for better reporting becomes obvious.

When one sees an incident that appears to involve possible abuse or neglect of a child, it’s understandable to consider it a private matter in that family and to wish to avoid getting involved. But when one considers the cost to defenseless children, minding your business is no virtue. Better to report such matters and let the authorities determine whether they involve abuse or neglect than to ignore them and risk complicity in a child’s death.



Text Only
  • Youngquist photo World Book Night celebrated April 23 The Clinton Public Library children's department plans to start a Legos club this June. We would appreciate donations of new or used Legos bricks. Please, no Duplo bricks. Drop donations at the children's desk on the second floor of the library. Root

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walter Williams mug Equality in discipline George Leef, director of research for the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, authored a Forbes op-ed article titled "Obama Administration Takes Groupthink To Absurd Lengths." The subtitle is "School Discipline

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reader is grateful for Iowa-American Water's help I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to Iowa-American Water Company and its hard-working professional crew. I was without water, due to frozen pipes, for almost seven weeks. Everyone went above and beyond to get my wat

    April 17, 2014

  • 'Case Day' inspires students to aim high There's an MRCTV video circulating on the Internet that features a man with a microphone asking college students in Washington, D.C., to name just one member of the United States Senate. At least half a dozen are stumped. When he asks how many senato

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-15-14 13-Photo, Masters Bubba more than local hero? AUGUSTA, Ga. -- He plays a sexy game of golf, owns two green jackets and -- in what constitutes a show of major respect in these parts --Bubba Watson made rabid Georgia Bulldog fans take a break from spring football to watch some golf this weekend. A

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Leonard Pitts mug ...and this is Overkill News Network Enough, already. Please, for the love of Cronkite: Give us a break from the missing plane. Yes, we all wonder what happened to it. Yes, our hearts go out to the families seeking resolution. But really, CNN ... enough. Put your hands up and step away

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • If I can do it... If I can do this, you can also do this. What I would like to tell you about is being a volunteer driver for the Veterans Administration. I am retired from the electrical trade. I worked as an electrician for 36 years. When I took my retirement some t

    April 15, 2014

  • Allie Kibler mugshot YWCA camp offers fun for kids Each month YWCA members and volunteers are featured highlighting the many facets of our community in which they're a part of. This month, YWCA Youth Director, Allie Kibler shares information on this summer's YWCA Fun in the Sun Summer Camp program. T

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Could LBJ do as much today? Fifty years later, it's hard to imagine the enactment of the Civil Rights Act by today's polarized Congress. Maybe, as the old saying goes, today's fighting is so vicious because the stakes are so small. We Americans fight less among ourselves when w

    April 14, 2014

  • Retiring CCC instructors praise college's growth, direction After more than 35 years of service to Clinton Community College, we would like to offer some pre-retirement observations about the college: its past, its present and its future. When we arrived at the college in 1976, it had already been transforme

    April 14, 2014


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results