Protecting Our Children : Our Greatest Responsibility

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READING TIME: 3 min.

If ever you’re having a really bad day at work, a pull-your-hair-out/I-want-to-scream kind of day at home with the littles or just feeling as though things couldn’t get much worse, a sure fire way to gain some perspective is to turn on the news and discover another injustice against an innocent child.

That was me last Friday.

I had a tough week at work for many reasons and was lamenting to a coworker, when this breaking news report scrolled across my phone screen.

Instant Perspective.

Suddenly my stressful work week appeared minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

By now you’ve no doubt heard the horrifying story of Adrian Peterson’s two year old son. Tragic in so many ways and a reminder to all of us that none of our children are exempt from the dangers of abuse.

Adrian Peterson loses a son to abuse.
Adrian Peterson loses a son to abuse.

In college I did a six month internship at Child Protective Services (CPS).  Although opinions differ greatly from one person to the next when it comes to CPS, one thing is clear – they fill a need in our society that is ever present, and they do it all in the name of protecting a community of people who can’t protect themselves – children.

Child abuse exists in many forms – physical, emotional, sexual & even neglect.

My days at CPS made one thing so very clear – a child’s abuser is often someone who is either a parent, family member or close family friend. Sadly, the abuser is often someone the child once trusted.

The signs and symptoms of abuse can differ greatly depending on what type of abuse it is, however, there are certainly red flags that we should all be aware of.  According to WebMD, there are general signs that may suggest a child is the victim of some type of abuse or neglect:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Regression in behavior
  • Fear of parents/caregivers/adults
  • Acting out
  • Failure to thrive – physically, emotionally, and/or academically

The earlier an abused child finds help, the greater chance s/he has to heal and/or even survive. It pains me to think of how often people – for fear of offending, interfering, or simply being unsure – turn a blind eye to a child in need. If you see something suspicious or you get that feeling (moms – you know the one I’m talking about) that something isn’t right, please…

SPEAK UP.  

You could be the voice that saves a child’s life. 

Report suspected child abuse or neglect to your local or state CPS agency, local police or call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (staffed 24/7).

Have you ever put yourself in an uncomfortable situation in an attempt to protect a child?

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