Child abuse chronic nationwide and locally

info@islandpacket.comNovember 10, 2011 

A recent BBC investigative report found the rate of child abuse in America as the highest among industrialized countries. It is estimated that a child dies every five hours from abuse and neglect in our country. Beaufort County is not immune to this problem. In the first six months of 2011, Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, a local children's advocacy center, has served a total of 170 child abuse victims by providing expert forensic interviews, medical evaluations and the long-term mental health treatment critical to healing. When a child is abused, it is easier to point fingers at our flawed system than to work together to find solutions. While there need to be system reforms, such changes can only happen if we make child safety a priority. The goal of the Department of Social Services is family preservation. This is a good goal but one that must always be weighed alongside the safety of the child. While it is DSS's job to intervene after abuse has happened, it is all our jobs to protect children in the first place. Another important means to prevention is to break the silence. We must engage in a discussion about the epidemic of child abuse on a national, state and community level. The BBC report takes us one step closer to our goal, by bringing the issue to the attention of legislators and the public. The rest is up to us to cast our votes and raise our voices for our nation's future, our children. Shauw Chin Capps executive director Hope Haven of the Lowcountry Beaufort

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